Mr. Covarrubias to Mr. Olney.


Mr. Secretary: With reference to your note of the 9th of June last, and to my reply of the following day, in which I informed you that I would communicate it to the Government of Mexico for such action as might be proper, I have the honor to inform you that with respect to the case of Jesus Garcia I have received instructions from my Government to state to you that according to the attested proofs which exist in the ministry of foreign affairs, and which were in due season communicated to your Department, Jesus Garcia was arrested by the sheriff, John Roberts, in Mexican territory, 1893, and taken by him to the American side, which was the basis of the claim of the injured party.

Mr. Romero presented to your Department the appropriate complaint [Page 445] in a note of the 6th of September, 1893, to which your Department replied, under date of the 25th of the same month that it had recommended to the governor of Arizona that he should institute a scrupulous investigation and make report concerning the facts, which he most assuredly did not accomplish; and called the attention of my Government to the fact that after two years and nine months which had elapsed since the presentation of the complaint to that of the United States, the governor of Arizona confined himself to sending a sworn affidavit of the very same officer who was accused, saying that he had effected the apprehension of Garcia in the Territory of Arizona, when he might very readily have justified his conduct on the spot and proved his assertion if, as he affirmed, the arrest of Garcia had been effected in American territory; and herefrom springs the presumption that the investigation promised was not in fact made, because the report which would have been made could do no less than confirm the facts stated by the Government of Mexico, and proved by the documents sent to your Department, to which I now add the copy, which I have the honor to send to you annexed, of the note which the vice-consul of the United States in Nogales, Mexico, addressed to the minister of this country in Mexico on the 4th of December, 1893, informing him that he had made an investigation of the affair and was persuaded that “the authorities of Mexico had just cause of complaint.”

I respectfully call your attention to the circumstance that according to the report of Vice-Consul George, he made an arrangement with the Mexican authorities whereby he returned Garcia to them, and expresses astonishment because the authorities of Sonora did not comply with the agreement entered into by him to overlook the violation of national territory, and invites the minister of the United States to inform the secretary of foreign affairs of the Mexican Government of the aforesaid agreement, and obtain the revocation of the order communicated to the governor of Sonora for the arrest of Roberts and Bachelier if they were found in Mexican territory.

Setting aside what there is untenable in the pretensions of the vice-consul, since invasions of territory are very serious offenses which are always the occasions of claims between government and government through their respective diplomatic agents, and can not be settled by confidential agreement between subordinate authorities and simple consular agents, the fact that the aforesaid vice-consul proposed this arrangement by asking the local authorities if they were disposed to overlook the matter provided he should return their man to them (“if they would drop the matter if I turned their man over to them”) shows that the arrest was not effected in the Territory of Arizona. This confession of culpability and the proposal of reparation could only have been made in view of the results of the investigation which he conducted—that is to say, that the unfortunate Garcia was arrested and beaten in Mexican territory by the sheriff Roberts and Bachelier, and taken by force to the territory of the United States.

Consequently the Government of Mexico gives me instructions to ask that of the United States that, in view of the information which was offered to it, the guilty parties be punished and indemnification made for the injuries caused to the offended person—being confident that its demand is justified, not only because of the proofs previously presented, but by the aforesaid document signed by a functionary of the United States resident in the place of the occurrence.

Be pleased to accept, etc.,

M. Covarrubias.
[Page 446]

Mr. George to Mr. Gray.

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that on the 23d of July, 1893, Jesus Garcia, a Mexican citizen, was arrested by the local authorities at Nogales, Ariz., for disturbing the peace. He broke away from the officers and ran across the line into Mexico, but was pushed back again into the territory of the United States by Mr. A. Bachelier, an American citizen, and as he fell was rearrested by the American authorities, was tried, convicted, and sentenced to serve a term of sixty days’ imprisonment.

The Mexican local authorities took the matter up, claiming that the rearrest occurred upon Mexican territory, and examined quite a number of witnesses to establish that fact, and bad blood apparently existed on both sides of the line and it was only a question of time before the quarrel would become violent unless peace could be restored. I investigated the matter and came to the conclusion that Mr. A. Bachelier had done wrong in pushing the man back after he had crossed into Mexican territory, and that the Mexican authorities had just cause for complaint; and in order to prevent the matter from being referred to the respective State Departments and burden them with useless correspondence, I called upon the Mexican local authorities and asked them if they would drop the matter if I turned their man over to them the next day. They agreed to this, whereupon I held a consultation with the justice of the peace before whom the man had been tried; and upon additional evidence being introduced, the justice concluded to remit the fine and turn the prisoner over to the Mexican authorities, which was done at 10 o’clock the next day, and peace and good will was apparently again restored. It appears now, however, that the Mexican local authorities here have not kept faith with their agreement, and have referred the matter to their General Government, and the Mexican Federal Government has issued an order to arrest Deputy Sheriff Roberts and A. Bachelier should they cross into Mexican territory.

Mr. A. Bachelier conducts a bakery and delivers bread on both sides of the international boundary line, and so long as the order of arrest remains in force his business will be handicapped.

I am convinced that the Federal Government at the City of Mexico is not aware that any compromise had been agreed upon, and that the man over which all this trouble occurred was not of good standing, but one of those individuals who are more or less of a disturbing element on the frontier. I trust that you will use your good endeavors to bring this matter before the proper Mexican authorities and have the order of arrest rescinded.

I am, etc.,

Reuben D. George,
United States Vice-Consul.