File No. 312.112 B61/13a.

The Acting Secretary of State to the Mexican Ambassador.

No. 433.]

Excellency: I have the honor to inform your excellency that this Department is in receipt of reports from the American consuls at Ciudad Juárez and Ciudad Porfirio Diaz, together with confirmatory evidence in the form of the depositions of eyewitnesses, which go to establish that on the 21st or 22d of February last two young American citizens, Lawrence F. Converse, of Glendora, Cal., and Edward M. Blatt, of Pittsburgh, Pa., were kidnapped by the Mexican citizens Ramón Núñez, Deogracias Archuleta, Leonardo Jiménez, and either Miguel Zambrano or Anecleta [Ascención] Archuleta. The kidnappers after seizing these American citizens while on their own soil and forcibly taking from them their personal belongings, bound them with ropes, conveyed;them across the Rio Grande River, and delivered them on Mexican territory to Mexican soldiers who were apparently awaiting the return or the kidnappers, and whose commanding officer appeared to be directing the kidnappers’ work. At the time of their seizure the Americans appear to have been at the ranch of Melquiades Perea, who, with his wife Florentina Palmores and other eyewitnesses who were present at the time the Americans were kidnapped, testify to the above facts. It further appears that after these Americans were carried into Mexican territory and turned over to the Mexican soldiers they were placed in the carcel at Juárez and kept for three days incommunicado (during which time their testimony was taken) after which they were held on the charge of sedition and were remanded to await trial in the Federal court. The Americans, both of whom appear to be but boys, are said not to deny having been for several days in the camps of the insurrectionists, nor that they at one time belonged to the rebel forces, but they say that they had abandoned the insurrectionists and were at the time of their kidnapping en route to their homes.

Inasmuch as the kidnapping of American citizens from American territory would constitute, under the circumstances given above, a [Page 607] grave violation of the sovereignty of the United States by officials of the Mexican Government the matter is being most carefully investigated by this Government with a view to determining the actual circumstances of the case, in order that the final attitude of this Government shall be in strict accord with the facts. Should such an investigation result in clearly establishing that these two boys were actually kidnapped upon American territory and taken into Mexican territory the Government of the United States will, as your excellency must perceive, find itself under the necessity of requesting that they be immediately returned, with appropriate explanations, to the American territory from which they were taken.

Should it transpire in the course of the investigation that they have committed any offense which is properly extraditable under the existing treaty of extradition between the United States and Mexico, I need not assure your excellency that your Government will naturally possess the right to institute, in accordance with the treaty, regular proceedings looking to the return of these boys to Mexico for trial and punishment for the extraditable crime with which they may be charged.

Accept, etc.,

Huntington Wilson.