File No. 312.51/132.
The French Ambassador to the Secretary of State.
Washington, July 28, 1915.
Mr. Secretary of State: Your excellency was pleased to tell me in your letter of the 24th instant, of the dangers besetting a French citizen, Mr. Chanel, at Durango, on account of the ill will borne him by one General Contreras of the Villista party who seems to have conferred powers upon himself in that region. The cause of that ill will and of threat that may even arouse anxiety for Mr. Chanel’s very life is that he is said to have taken in charge property owned by Mexicans compelled to flee their native country.
This is considered imprudent and it is indeed possible that it is. Perhaps also it is generous rather than imprudent. At any rate it cannot warrant the attitude assumed toward Mr. Chanel by the improvised authority now existing at Durango. Appealing to the sentiments of humanity and good will which the American Government has evidenced more than once and which have not been brought into play in Mexico alone, I venture to express a wish that the American Consul at Durango be directed to use his influence to insure to Mr. Chanel’s life and property that respect which may be legitimately expected.