The Secretary of State to President Wilson

My Dear Mr. President: I am sending you flimsies of two despatches which bother me very much.1 The last one is dated yesterday at six p. m.

Obregon, whether he intends it or not, is using language to arouse opposition to foreigners, and it is impossible, of course, for anyone to guess what may be the result. We are unfortunate in not having any Special Representative in Mexico City. We have a man, and I believe an excellent one, recommended by Senator Mark Smith, but he took sick on reaching Washington and is now in the hospital. He is the one who was intended for Mexico City and adjoining country.

I am wondering whether it may not be necessary to speak more emphatically than we have done. I have used all the adjectives that properly go with persuasion but things seem to grow worse instead of better and the representatives of other nations are very much concerned.

Mr. Lansing has suggested it might be worth while to notify Carranza and Obregon that in view of the language which is being employed by Obregon to excite hatred of foreigners, thus greatly increasing the risks, and in view of the interruption of traffic and communication by Carranza, thus further increasing the risks, that we would hold Carranza and Obregon personally responsible for injury that resulted from the methods which they are employing.

We have no soldiers nearer than Texas and are not in a position to protect Americans and other foreigners from riot, in case Obregon should succeed in stirring up riot—which he promises in advance not to resist—and I am not sure but we may be justified in bringing this pressure to bear upon Carranza.

They are proposing to evacuate, but before doing so they may create a condition there which will result in violence. The fact that the people of Mexico City are ready to welcome Zapata, whom they formerly so greatly feared, or Villa, who was also a terror to them, [Page 529] as a substitute for Carranza and his best general, Obregon—for Obregon seemed to stand highest among those supporting Carranza—this fact contrasts strangely with the predictions and fears expressed by the people of Mexico City before Huerta left.

Will you please let me know whether you have any instructions to give?

With assurances [etc.]

W. J. Bryan
  1. From the Brazilian Minister in Mexico, March 4, 1915, 5 p. m. and 6 p. m. Foreign Relation, 1915, pp. 656 and 657, respectively.