File No. 312.115C96/45


Department’s January 14, 5 p.m. Holmes, the only survivor of the massacre, has no knowledge as to whether Watson and companions requested military escort or guard for their trip from Chihuahua to Cusihuiriachic, nor, if so, whether authorities refused to furnish escort or guard. He says he and the others felt safe in making the trip.

F. E. Stevenson, who is secretary of the Cusi Mexicana Mining Co., a property adjoining the Cusi mines, and also secretary of the Mine & Smelter Operators’ Association of Mexico, had occasion to confer with Watson about association matters on the morning the party left Chihuahua, January 10. In that conference Watson stated that he and party were leaving that day for the Cusi mines and Stevenson asked him if a Mexican escort was to accompany them. [Page 658] He advised Stevenson that such escort would not accompany them, as he had talked with the authorities and they told him it was not necessary.

As to what assurances, if any, Watson and companions had received from Mexican authorities that it would be safe to resume operations at Cusihuiriachic: The immigration authorities in Juarez, knowing that the purpose of the return of Watson and companions to Mexico was to resume operation of the Cusi mines, upon application of the El Paso agents of the Cusi Company gave a general passport to the Watson party. The Governor of Chihuahua also gave a personal passport to Watson. Watson went to Chihuahua and was there on January 4 to ascertain if it would be safe to resume operations. While there he got the de facto authorities to send a garrison to and maintain it at Cusi. On that day three trains of troops of 20 cars each, supposed to carry a total force of 1000 men, in charge of General Jose Cavazos of the de facto Government, left Chihuahua for Cusi at 9 a.m. and 1.30 and 4 p.m. respectively; the 1.30 train also carried the Mexican civilians Lopez and Loweree, employees of the Cusi Mining Co., Eduardo Henriquez, employee of the Cusi Mexicana Co., and Pascual Aliaga, employee of the Minas San Juan y Anexas Co. Said Henriquez is a brother of the de facto Governor of the State of Chihuahua. After being satisfied that a garrison was going to the camp and after the second military train had left Chihuahua, Watson left for El Paso at 4 p.m. On January 6 Watson telegraphed the Chihuahua agent: “Wire if troops arrived Cusi, and trains running North Western”. To which the agent replied on the same day: “Troops arrived Cusi. Since yesterday evening North Western trains suspended indefinitely, account no fuel”. On the same day the agent also telegraphed: “Cusi office again reports everything quiet,” and, “Lopez telephones: ‘We have just located two missing bags and we are now receiving same in our office.’” The missing bags referred to were silver that had been stolen during a previous looting of the camp, and perhaps indicated to Watson a restoration of order with the establishment of the military garrison. Having passports issued by authorities, and a garrison having been established which they understood to number 1000 men, they had ample assurances that it would be safe to resume operations at Cusi.

Upon the question of safety en route: The de facto authorities had run their three military trains to Cusi on the 4th and, as afterward came to the notice of the party, was that day running a special to pick up and bring back the National Railways equipment used for those three trains. The crew in charge of this special were employees of the de facto Government. The first information that the North Western Railroad officials had of it was the notice at Chihuahua when the train was ready to leave Chihuahua that morning. It was derailed at Kilometer 68 by the fact that two rails had been removed from the track. The first information that the North Western officials had of the derailment of the train was received at Chihuahua between 2 and 3 o’clock. As the passenger train containing the Watson party left Santa Ysabel at 1.20 and had only 8 kilometers to run, which it usually ran in about 15 minutes, it is seen [Page 659] that the information first received at Chihuahua of the derailment of the special train was after the massacre of the party in the passenger train. Furthermore, when General Obregón was in El Paso and Juarez, in the course of conferences about the railroad he expressed a desire that the operation of the trains should be resumed, particularly referring to the Chihuahua division, where the massacre later occurred. The general freight and passenger agent of the North Western Railroad says he distinctly asked the general if there would be any danger of attack upon the trains, to which he states the general replied there would not be. He also states that General Trevino expressed a similar desire for resumption of traffic. On the evening of January 9 he casually mentioned to the general that a train would be run to Cusi the following day, to which the general replied “Miry bien”. This agent states that he does not complain of the intention of Generals Obregon and Trevino.