President Wilson to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Secretary: You were right in thinking that I had not received your letter of the fifth, containing your interesting suggestions about Mexico, when I sent you my message of the seventh. I think that in any case, however, Mr. Fuller would serve us admirably in the way I indicated, not only, but also in preparing the way, cautiously and tactfully, for what we intend to do. I would be very much obliged if you would ask him if he can do us this great additional service, saying that you do so at my request and advice, as well as on your own judgment.

The suggestions contained in your letter of the fifth furnish an excellent foundation, it seems to me, for planning something definite and final in the Mexican matter, and run very nearly along the lines of my own thought. I would like you to consider the following:

What did Angeles and Bonilla have in mind? I suppose they are still in Washington, or near at hand; and it seems to me that, directly or indirectly, we ought to know everything that is in their mind, especially now that the Huerta cloud has again appeared on the horizon.

Do you know whether Iturbide really represents anything substantial? Is it possible that he is in any way in cooperation with the scoundrel, Huerta?

Is there not reason to fear that without the present factional leaders, who seem to represent the strongest that has been thrown to the surface, we would be in a wallow of weaknesses and jealousies down [Page 541] there, unless some man (perhaps Angeles) could be commended by our confidence to the trust of the rest?

Should not the conference proposed in case Carranza does not act (as seems to me certain) be proposed by the A. B. C. group and their associates, and should not they and their associates in some way preside and direct at that conference?

We must be careful not to act in a way which will wound sensibilities. Villa has again and again offered to eliminate himself, and if it should come to our requesting all the present leaders to withdraw in order to effect a satisfactory settlement, these repeated offers should be made the most of and the leaders of the other factions challenged to follow his example. We must play these men as they are.

After the six diplomats we have sounded hear from their governments (assuming, as I think we may, that they will hear favourably) I think their advice will probably be of a good deal of service to us in determining just how to approach the men we shall have to deal with in the way that will be most likely to appeal to them . . .

I shall be glad to have the benefit of memoranda on all or any of these matters, and thank you sincerely for the thought you are giving this perplexing matter.

Faithfully Yours,

W. W.