File No. 817.00/1696.


No. 113.]

Sir: I have the honor to report to the Department that the only development in the political situation since my last dispatches is the movement among Gen. Mena’s followers in the assembly to elect him for the presidential term which is to succeed that of President Diaz. Some of the deputies have gone so far as to state that unless this course is agreed to they will not approve the loan contracts.

Gen. Mena came to see me on the 1st instant * * * and finally * * * requested my opinion on the measure. I replied that I was unable to give an official opinion without first consulting with my Government, but that personally it appeared to me that there were grave legal objections, even apart from the terms of the Dawson agreement No. 4; that I did not see how a constitutional assembly, the successor to a constitutional assembly called to elect a President for the provisional term of two years, could possibly elect the President for the succeeding regular term of four years. I argued rather firmly with the general for a few minutes and expressed my hope that were he to become President he might become so legally with the full recognition of the American Government.

Before leaving the general became very conciliatory and requested me to consider the incident as confidential and closed. * * *

This morning Gen. Mena again called at the legation and after a few minutes conversation again opened the question. * * * He repeated all his previous arguments in favor of the step and, in addition, that there was a precedent in point in the action of the Assembly in 1859, I believe. I repeated the objections which I had made in our previous conversation and added that the precedent which might be established would hardly contribute to a popular form of Republican Government.

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I further added that I could give no official reply until I was in receipt of pertinent instructions from the State Department. * * *

Of course, the approval of the loan contracts depends in a large measure upon the will of Gen. Mena, who remains in control of the majority of the Assembly. * * *

I have, etc.,

F. M. Gunther.