File No. 812.00/14346.

The Brazilian Minister to Mexico to the Secretary of State.


303. Carranza has changed the capital to Vera Cruz closing all Government offices here, including public schools, for the purpose of humiliating this city and reducing it to the insignificant situation of a capital of a new State called by him Valle de Mexico. It is ascertained his aim in so doing is to force the transfer to Vera Cruz of the Diplomatic Corps whose existence here he feigns to ignore and to whom he has not addressed any communication so far.

British Chargé d’Affaires sent yesterday following telegram to his Government, and the French, Spanish, German, Italian, Austrian, Japanese, Guatemalan, Chilean have done the same and probably the others will also do so:

I have had the honour to report to you the numerous changes in the Cabinet of Occupation of this capital as they occurred, and in my telegram of yesterday I reported to you the decision of Señor Carranza to transfer the capital to Vera Cruz as well as the fact that all the Ministries here were now closed and that the municipality was the only civil authority left. Thus the Diplomatic Corps is left without any one with whom they can deal. Foreign representatives have on the whole been treated with all proper respect by the chiefs who have [Page 650] followed in such quick succession, though they have made little if any secret that they found them an embarrassment and the Corps has thus been of real use. But with the increasing anarchy their position has become increasingly difficult and even precarious. It threatens to become ridiculous if they are left subject to incidents at any of the military changes of authority and entirely en Fair, having, as I said, no one with whom they can deal. On the other hand they clearly cannot establish themselves at Vera Cruz as this would be tantamount to a recognition of Carranza, and though he appears to have for the moment the strongest following yet there is not the slightest ground for trusting in his stability; and it may be taken as certain that the interests of any country whose representatives took such action would be a butt for the malevolence of the other parties.

Under these circumstances I believe it is my duty to warn His Majesty’s Government to consider while there is still time the advisability of withdrawing their diplomatic representation from Mexico leaving their interests to be protected locally as well as may be by the Consuls each of whom might, following the example which has been set by the United States, be appointed as special confidential agent to the most successful chief in his district.

I do not say that the moment has yet absolutely arrived for such a step but I firmly believe it is very near and it may come any day. It is, of course, of great importance that unanimity should prevail in anything that may be decided.

If I may venture to express an opinion, best course to be adopted is that we should be furnished with instructions to leave but be given latitude as to the moment for carrying the instructions into effect.

The situation grows worse every day. The Zapatistas are making frequent attacks on several points at short distances from the center of the city. The cutting off by them of the water supply, the scarcity and high prices of food on account of lack of communication and the indescribable uncertainty of the paper money which one day is given forcible circulation and next day is declared of no value creates for banks, commerce and the people in general a condition very near to despair. Considering the kaleidoscopic rapidity with which unexpected situations are created and again changed here and the possibilities of this capital being recovered by any one of the numerous factions now contending for the supreme power, I think as a temporary and conciliatory solution it would be advisable for the American Government to intimate to Carranza but in a strong and decisive way the imperative necessity of leaving somebody in the Foreign Office here to deal in his representations with the [omission] leaving the telegraph open for the transaction of more important matters with himself or his Foreign Minister at Vera Cruz, every diplomatic representative here being, of course, free if he feels the need to deal with Carranza personally.

Please let me know your views on this.

Cardoso de Oliveira.