File No. 812.00/14143a.

The Acting Secretary of State to the Brazilian Minister to Mexico.


385. Department is advised that proposed agreement57 between Maytorena [Conventionist general] and Benjamin Hill [Constitutionalist general] relative to prosecution of hostilities so as to avoid violations of American territory [by troops] in Sonora has been signed by Hill without hesitation, but that Maytorena refuses to sign without orders from his Government. General Scott at Naco, Arizona, is informed that Maytorena had received no instructions from President Gutierrez up to December 31 and that it is believed, as the agreement affects only military operations, General Villa could authorize Maytorena to sign agreement. It appears that one of Maytorena’s patrols fired upon Naco and several bullets again fell upon American territory, and that two of Hill’s men who had left their trenches to catch a horse were attacked by Yaquis who killed one and chased another one thousand meters into American territory and when the American troops caught the soldier of Hill, the Yaquis fired on the Americans. A troop of American cavalry went out to apprehend the Yaquis, but the latter withdrew to the [Page 787] Mexican side and the Americans did not pursue them. In reply to General Scott’s request that Maytorena be instructed to sign agreement with Hill, General Villa replied December 31 that while recognizing United States’ right to defend life and interests of Americans in Naco, to sign the agreement would be greatly prejudicial to him and would prolong the situation in Sonora; that he had mobilized 8,000 cavalry under General Cabral who were now proceeding to Naco to take that town by assault; and that if General Scott would have patience for four days more Naco would be taken and the situation ended in a definite manner. It has been suggested to General Villa that the contemplated attack on Naco could not be permitted, as it could not be made without bullets falling on the American side. The proposed attack on Naco contemplated by General Villa would be extremely dangerous to the rights and property of Americans. The situation is regarded by the President as extremely critical and fraught with grave possibilities.

Please bring the foregoing to the attention of President Gutierrez and impress upon him most emphatically the necessity of preventing the mobilization of 8,000 cavalry at Naco, with a view to attacking the opposing forces which hold that town. An attack must necessarily cause bullets to fall on American territory and place in jeopardy the life and property of American citizens. Attempts to take Naco in these circumstances might force the United States to defend its citizens and their interests by force of arms. It is needless to point out to you the seriousness of such an event.

A communication in the sense of the foregoing has also been sent to General Villa through General Scott at Naco.

Robert Lansing.