File No. 312.115/140.
Consul Bonney to the Secretary of State.
San Luis Potosí, [undated.]
Sir: I have the honor to attach hereto copy of communication received from General Thomas Urbina, military commandant, and translation thereof, together with translation of my reply thereto. I ask the approval of the Department of the position taken in said reply. This correspondence followed much verbal resistance to demands.
After arresting and threatening many Mexicans and several Spanish subjects, and extorting money from them, a prominent English gentleman, Mr. Claude Stanhope, was taken early in the morning to the headquarters of General Urbina and detained for more than 24 hours, until money was paid.
Immediately following, and on February 16, 1915, the Chief of the Department of Hacienda, José Kasperowitz, cited four Americans to appear at his office, for the purpose of levying an extraordinary tax. [Page 990] These Americans were A. S. Sharp ton, H. L. Barkley (representing Pierce Oil Corporation), Gustave Von der Maden (representing Cía. Metalúrgica Mexicana) and F. S. Ulmer. I immediately visited Mr. Kasperowitz, and induced him to take these names off the list, with the understanding that the parties could voluntarily contribute if they wished, but without prejudice or consequences in any event. The Chief of Police (Jefe de Armas) the next day cited Rafael Aja for the same purpose; upon my intercession he was immediately released from the interview and from the demand. The next day, however, Kasperowitz cited Mr. A. L. Gonthier and Joseph Deutz. Then took place the correspondence attached hereto. The demands of the authorities upon Mr. Gonthier and Mr. Deutz are yet in suspense, and Mr. Deutz is now in this Consulate, fearing an experience similar to that of Mr. Stanhope.
The British Tranvía Company were called and paid 2,000 pesos; the French Brewery paid 2,500 pesos.
The British Vice Consul and American Consul joined in a protest, but the German Consul and French Vice Consul refused to do so, as they have business interests. It was thought the Spanish Vice Consul had best not join in the protest.
On February 19, in an effort to reach General Francisco Villa in the matter, I telephoned to Consular Agent Glenn at Guanajuato, asking that he telegraph an urgent message to George Carothers to secure an immediate order to stop the extortion.
General Urbina is probably known to the Department by reputation. I invite attention to the remarks in his communication regarding recognition of consuls. I do not know whether my telegrams in the matter have been forwarded. It is reported today that General Raul Madero will reach San Luis Potosi soon, and the subject will be immediately taken up with him.
I have [etc.]