File No. 312.51/131.
The Acting Secretary of State to the French Ambassador.
Washington, July 24, 1915.
Excellency: I have the honor to inform your excellency that the Department deems it proper to advise you that it has received a mail despatch from the American Consul at Durango, in which it is stated that a Mr. Chanel, a French citizen, has had certain threats made against him by General Calixto Contreras. It appears that General Contreras’ animosity against Mr. Chanel has been aroused by his taking charge of the properties of certain Mexicans at present residing out of Mexico.
The threats referred to have been contained in a handbill circulated broadcast, and in it the threat is made that if General Contreras receives one more complaint against Mr. Chanel he will have meted out to him banishment or “another penalty more severe.”[Page 1066]
The Department is informed that General Contreras does not appear to hold, at present, any military or civil position in the State of Durango but is with the troops of General Villa near Aguascalientes. It is stated, however, that General Contreras assumes to exercise control in the State of Durango over persons and property.
In this connection I have the honor to inform your excellency that the Department has information indicating that the foreign element generally in the State of Durango considers it very indiscreet for a foreigner to attempt to protect or even manage any property strictly Mexican owned, unless the arrangements were made previously to the commencement of revolutionary activity.