File No. 835.032/21

Ambassador Stimson to the Secretary of State

No. 236

Sir: I have the honor to enclose copy of the official volume containing the President’s speech at the opening of Congress.

I enclose translation of that part of the President’s address which relates to Mexico, Pan American affairs and the relations of the Argentine Government with the United States.

I have [etc.]

F. J. Stimson


At the beginning of your last session I had occasion to inform you of the invitation extended by the Government of the United States to be represented at the Pan American Financial Conference, which was to meet at Washington with the object of establishing closer financial relations among the nations of this continent. I also had occasion to inform you of the names of the delegates appointed to represent Argentina at that conference.

Principally on account of the abnormal circumstances of the American Republics resulting from the European war, reacting on them by reason of the close economic relations of the two continents and compelling them to resort first of all to their own resources, the conference could not fail to do a valuable work. Its results will be felt in a future which I presume to be almost immediate.

That conference resolved that, in each of the nations represented, a High Commission should be constituted, presided over by the Minister of Finance in each country, charged with the study of the best methods for obtaining uniform Pan American legislation in financial and commercial matters. These High Commissions were to send their representatives to this capital in November, 1915, to study the general bases for another financial conference to occur in Washington in 1916.

It was later decided to defer the meeting in Buenos Aires until April, 1916, and hence to postpone the Washington conference until 1917.

The Representatives of the High Commissions of the several countries met in Buenos Aires on the date indicated and fulfilled their purpose. Their work assures the success of the labors of the conference to be held in the United States next year.

Turning from a consideration of the circumstances attendant upon the state of war in Europe, the outlook for international American relations is very favorable.

Last year we were honored with the visit of the Foreign Ministers of Brazil and Chile, who came in the name of their respective Governments, to join in our patriotic celebrations. This visit produced, as you know, the signing of the peace treaty of May 25, 1915.

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Conceived in the same spirit as the agreements latterly signed between the United States and the principal countries of the continent and with European nations, this instrument, which is at present before the Chamber of Deputies and already ratified by the Senate, is the last link in the chain which morally and materially united the three countries.

Like the Bryan treaty, since last year awaiting the sanction of Congress, the document signed on May 25, by the Chancellors of Argentina, Brazil and Chile tends to push to the remotest corner of probability a conflict between the three Powers; so that I can term it the culmination of an extended diplomatic effort destined to place upon an immovable foundation the friendship of three nations whose combined endeavor is a guarantee of peace and progress for this part of America. So that it is not hyperbolical to affirm that the investigation commission for which it provides will be the materialization, as it were, of the triumph secured in the cause of peace against the thousand factors daily opposed to its ideals.

The vote with which the Argentine Senate ratified the treaty and the approval of the Brazilian and Chilean Chambers are, it seems, a safe guarantee of the fact that the legislative bodies of the three nations have put a just appreciation on the work to which I have referred.

The perfect understanding on general matters which is the result of the Pan American policy of the three Governments which are signatories to the treaty of May 25, was once more brought into prominence in connection with the deplorable state of affairs in Mexico, which unfortunately still continues.

Congress will remember our action at the critical time when a difference between the United States and General Huerta, then in power in Mexico City, might have imperiled the peace of the continent. North American troops had already been landed at Vera Cruz and blood had already been spilt, when the Governments of Argentina, Brazil and Chile offered their mediation, happily accepted by the disputants.

In the Niagara Falls conferences which followed, the mediation proved most successful. The Government of the United States renounce with regard to Mexico all claim to indemnization or satisfaction and, recognizing that the country had no constitutional head, agreed to recognize the provisional government which the Mexican factions should elect in place of the government of Huerta, voluntarily resigning. The better to effect this, the mediators, through from the first, in accordance with a traditional attitude of the Argentine Chancellery, they had declined any intervention in Mexican internal affairs and were not disposed to abandon that position, favored a meeting between Generals Carranza and Huerta, for an exchange of ideas as a solution of their differences.

On September 16, 1914, the first part of the engagement entered into by the United States was materialized: the North American troops evacuated Vera Cruz. The other part of the engagement could not be carried out right away. The representatives of the two great Mexican factions could not agree and even when Carranza had taken possession of the City of Mexico, evacuated by Huerta, and had thereby entered into the exercise of the executive powers, the Zapatists and Villistas continued to war among themselves and against the occupant of the capital.

During 1915, anarchy in Mexico reached a fearful height, followed by the ruin, misery and depopulation of the unfortunate country. It was a hecatomb which the conscience of America could not look upon indifferently, and the sympathy of all the countries of the continent was aroused.

Voicing this general sentiment, Secretary Lansing, the new Secretary of State of the United States, called a meeting of the Ambassadors of the A. B. C., with the three senior American Ministers at Washington (who proved to be the Ministers of Uruguay, Bolivia and Guatemala), inviting them to unite in a Pan American effort to solve the Mexican problem.

Faithful to our policy of nonintervention, so many times reiterated, the Argentine Ambassador at this meeting and subsequent ones from the first sustained his conviction that the pacification of Mexico was a thing to be effected solely through the action of Mexicans and that, without any outside intervention, only a government recognized by the chief Powers could bring about that result and secure happiness to the unfortunate country. Others shared this opinion with him.

In that conviction and in the belief that the lack of a responsible international medium added not a little to the want of security for the life and [Page 18] property of the Mexicans themselves and of strangers resident in the country, the conference decided forthwith to limit the scope of its action to securing recognition for a government which could furnish the securities necessary, refraining entirely from interference with the Mexican factions and from bringing pressure to bear upon any of them.

The conference having resolved to accept whatever political situation might ensue from this step, from the point of view of the physical and moral possibilities which the government to be so chosen might offer in guarantee of the interests of all the inhabitants of Mexico, two paths to the desired goal lay before them. They might have issued a call to all the warring factions to come to an agreement to appoint a government to be recognized or which might be accorded recognition motu proprio, or, if an agreement were impossible, appeal to the persons constituted in authority who would actually retain power in the capital, with the greater probability of prevailing over the other parties.

One compromise and another was tried. Personally and unofficially each one of the members of Mr. Lansing’s conference offered his good services to the Mexican ‘bosses,’ without result. This means having been abandoned, the conference was forced to adopt the second and on September 18, 1915, concluded its sessions, affirming the necessity for some responsible authority, but leaving each Government free to judge for itself of the capacity of any one of the Mexican parties to fulfil the duties of Government before the world and free to recognize such a government when it deemed it most opportune.

In view of this resolution and in accordance with simple and inevitable facts, the Argentine Ambassador, in accordance with instructions from his Government, on October 19, last year delivered the formal recognition by the Argentine Government of General Carranza as provisional president of Mexico.

Other Powers had been before hand with us in this; they, like ourselves, had doubtless believed that this procedure was necessary if the countries of America were to help, even indirectly, in the pacification of the sister State.

We have now only to hope that a moral force and an international authority such as have been vested upon the present government of Mexico through recognition, will bring the country the peace which we all have so ardently desired for her.