File No. 812.00/15462.
Vice Consul Goen to the Secretary of State.
Durango, July 8, 1915.
Sir: I have the honor to report that Mr. Chanel, a French citizen and civil engineer and long a resident of Durango, had been employed to look after and take charge of some properties of Mexican citizens who on account of conditions in the Republic two years ago had to emigrate to the United States. Foreigners generally disapprove of any foreigner attempting to protect or even manage any property strictly Mexican owned, unless the arrangements were made previous to the commencement of revolutionary activity. Therefore there is no particular sympathy with the victim, Mr. Chanel, to whom General Calixto Contreras addressed a very threatening letter, distributed as a handbill here in Durango in which Mr. Chanel is told he will have his head cut off or be banished, as the General determines.
The significance of the letter is in its general accusation against all foreigners, and the fact that each military officer presumes to exercise complete sovereign authority over persons and property throughout the Republic. So far as known, General Contreras does not hold at present any military or civil position in this State, but is with his troops near Aguascalientes with the army of General Villa, where the letter is dated. However, he assumes to exercise authority in this State over persons and property. * * *
I have [etc.]