File No. 812.63/91.
The Secretary of State to Special Agent Carothers.
Washington, May 17, 1915.
Department informed by Guanacevi Mining Company, said to be owned by Mrs. Phoebe Hearst and J. B. Haggin, American citizens, that its manager Guanacevi, Durango, has been notified by a military commander there that, on penalty severe punishment of owners and confiscation of mines, all foreign mine owners must pay employees in Mexican gold and silver coin or American gold, no paper money being allowed to circulate. Order said to have been signed by General Urbina and dated San Luis Potosi. Department also informed of order issued by Villa at Aguascalientes, May 4, on which General Urbina’s said order perhaps based. Villa’s order not entirely clear on question of money in which such payment must be made.
Immediately investigate and report on purpose of Villa order. If it was correctly interpreted by Urbina, point out to Villa what appear to be the facts, namely, that Mexican gold and silver not now circulating and that it would be practically impossible to import to many mines American gold or silver because of unsettled conditions and resultant certainty of robbery and perhaps murder of messengers carrying money.
Urbina’s order in terms discriminates against foreigners and under existing circumstances is plainly confiscatory. Make most urgent efforts for its immediate withdrawal and for such interpretation of Villa’s said order as shall not impose hardships, discrimination or confiscation on foreign mining property.