File No. 812.00/385.

The American Ambassador to the Secretary of State.

No. 241.]

Sir: On November 5, El Debate, a weekly newspaper controlled by persons closely associated with the Government, published an editorial of a most violent and inflammatory character in connection with the burning of a Mexican citizen, Antonio Rodríguez, for the murder of an American woman at Rock Springs, Tex. The evident purpose of this editorial was to excite public opinion and to incite the populace to acts of violence; and it had that result, as agitation and unrest were immediately evident in the cafes and public places. This agitation found its first expression in the assembling of a mob composed largely of university students, small shopmen and the better class of artisans on the night of Tuesday, the 8th.

After a number of inflammatory speeches and the passage of some resolutions, which have not found their way into print, the mob, amounting to more than 1,000 persons, marched to the oifice of the Mexican Herald (an American-owned daily) and amid cries of “Down with the Gringos “and “Death to the Yankees,” attacked the Herald building with stones, breaking a number of windows and threatening the safety of the Herald employees. [Other similar attacks.]

During all this time the police remained absolutely inactive; at the conclusion of the demonstrations some arrests were made, but those arrested were liberated without exception a few hours afterward.

On the morning following * * * a mob of 5,000, further inflamed by an article in El Diario del Hogar (anti-Government), assembled in front of the municipal palace and after a number of inflammatory speeches marched in tumultuous order up San Francisco Street. * * * No less than a dozen American citizens were insulted and maltreated, some slightly, some severely * * *.

In the afternoon of the same day I addressed a note1 to the foreign office, and have to to-day received a reply2 which seems to indicate the present disposition of that department.

[Page 355]

Not fully content with this action, and anticipating that further outrages might occur in the evening, I endeavored to communicate with Mr. Creel for the purpose of impressing him with the seriousness of the situation. I was not able to find Mr. Creel, but Mr. Gamboa the subsecretary came to the embassy at my request and I talked very clearly and emphatically to him about the inertness of the authorities, the strong feeling of resentment in the American colony, and the danger of allowing matters to take their course, apparently with the acquiescence, if not with the sympathy, of the guardians of law and order * * *.

Later in the night the mob assumed dangerous proportions and malignant character, resisting the police and committing further acts of vandalism. To-day I visited Mr. Creel and he informed me that the Government proposed, from now on, to take the most vigorous measures not only in the repression of disorders but in seeking out and punishing the authors and instigators of the riots, including the publishers who by their violent and incendiary articles are in a large measure responsible for the events which have occurred.

Last night I discovered that many members of the American colony, resenting the outrages to which they and their families had been subjected, were in an ugly mood, and in the absence of police protection were preparing to protect themselves. Anticipating that unfortunate incidents might result from this feeling of resentment, I sent for a reporter of the Mexican Herald and gave an interview1 which was intended to allay the feeling of hostility which was rapidly fomenting in the minds of the unprotected and abused American citizens, and at the same time to serve as a note of warning to the Mexican public. I am pleased to say that the interview had the desired effect as it not only caused the abandonment of a public meeting of protest of the American colony but also caused the formation of an active Mexican public opinion in condemnation of the demonstrations.

I have [etc.],

Henry Lane Wilson.
[Inclosure 1.]

The American Ambassador to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

No. 519.]

Mr. Minister: It is my painful duty to call your attention to the circumstances attending the disgraceful rioting which has occurred in the City of Mexico, beginning last evening with the stoning of the office of the Mexican Herald and culminating this morning about noon with an outrage to an American flag which was displayed from the front of the Imperial Restaurant in the Calle San Francisco.

The cause of these riots is said to be the burning of a Mexican, Antonio Rodríguez, for the crime of rape followed by murder of an American woman at Rock Springs, Tex. The perpetrators were outside the law and criminals in the eyes of the law, and their acts are in no way representative of the Government of the United States or of the people thereof.

The assembling of the mob in the streets near the municipal palace was known to this embassy before the insults mentioned occurred, and it seems singular that the municipal authorities should not have been similarly well informed and thus have prevented the unseemly outrage to the flag of a friendly nation. From trustworthy sources I learn that no arrests were made even when the [Page 356] disorder was at its height and that bystanders rather abetted than discouraged the mob.

I deem it my duty to advise your excellency that a continuance of this rioting is anticipated this evening.

I anticipate that your excellency’s Government will immediately take the precaution to prevent a recurrence of insults to the American flag, and that those guilty of the vandalism of this morning may be sought out and punished. In the meantime I am with the greatest regret communicating the events which are occurring to the Government at Washington.

I avail [etc.],

Henry Lane Wilson.
[Inclosure 2.]

The Minister for Foreign Affairs to the American Ambassador.


Mr. Ambassador: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your excellency’s note of this date, bringing to my attention that a mob, after having last night stoned the offices of the Mexican Herald, to-day at noon insulted an American flag which was hanging over the door of La Imperial Restaurant on San Francisco Street of this city.

As very properly stated by your excellency, the disturbance by such mob was due to the indignation caused among the people by the report that a Mexican citizen, presumably guilty of a crime, was burnt alive by a mob in the adjoining State of Texas before he had first been brought to any sort of trial.

The Government of Mexico deplores and condemns the acts of violence committed in this city, and I can assure your excellency that the authorities will proceed without delay to ascertain who are the persons guilty of the criminal acts of to-day, so that they may be duly punished. I trust that similar action will be taken by the authorities of the Government which you so worthily represent against those who are guilty of burning alive in Texas the Mexican Antonio García.

The governor of the Federal district has just informed me that 12 of those who appear to be guilty were arrested and other arrests were made this afternoon.

I avail [etc.]

Enrique C. Creel.
[Inclosure 3.]

Statement of the American ambassador published in the Mexican Herald of November 10, 1910.


When interviewed last night the American ambassador, Henry Lane Wilson made the following statement:

I am deeply shocked at the outrages committed against Americans in Mexico City in an anti-American spirit. Hotels and business houses have been attacked and damage done; American men, women, and children insulted on the streets for no other reason except blind and savage resentment against the acts of a mob in the State of Texas. The spirit that animates the mob in the City of Mexico seems to be similar to that of the miscreants who, outside of law, burnt a Mexican citizen for murdering an American woman.

For an outrage against a Mexican citizen neither the American Government nor the American people are responsible, nor do they sympathize in the least degree with that spirit of barbarism. Proper redress for outrages committed against citizens of any country residing in another country is obtained through diplomatic channels, and not by acts of vandalism and outrages to persons and property, which place the perpetrators on a level with those against whose crimes they are protesting. The mob which has infested the streets of Mexico for the last day and a half has perhaps inflicted some injury on American citizens in Mexico, but it has inflicted far greater damage on the reputation of Mexico throughout the world as a civilized, peace-loving, and progressive power. It is to be regretted that the police authorities have, during the occurrence of these events, shown themselves wantonly neglectful of their duties, and have stood idly by while the American flag was outraged and American persons and property were attacked.

Neither the Mexican Government, which is always dignified, patriotic, and quick to respond to just complaints, nor the better class of Mexican people can be held responsible [Page 357] for the outrages which have been committed, and it can not be doubted for a moment that the representations which have been made by this embassy will receive sympathetic consideration and procure prompt action. The unfortunate, affairs which have occurred have been duly reported to Washington, and it may be relied upon that the action taken there, while just and conceived in the spirit that should animate a friendly nation, will leave nothing undone which should be done. In the meantime I beg to advise all American citizens to go quietly about their business and refrain as far as self-respect will permit them from such words or deeds of resentment as would place them on the same plane with the violators of the law.

The purpose of this interview is to allay agitation and to advise the American colony, of whom there are 10,000 in the City of Mexico, that they should refrain from acts which might further embarrass a situation already difficult.

  1. Inclosure 1.
  2. Inclosure 2.
  3. Inclosure 3.