File No. 812.63/372

Vice Consul Coen to the Secretary of State

No. 137

Sir: I have the honor to report that the political and economic conditions in the Durango Consular District are such that it is impossible for the owners of mines to comply with the provisions of the decree dated September 14, 1916, making the operation of mines in Mexico obligatory, with penalty of forfeiture for noncompliance.

[Page 1043]

In corroboration of the above statement I beg to refer to my despatch No. 136,2 dated February 16, 1917, upon political conditions in Durango State, in which despatch the distribution of the de facto garrisons are given. It shows that there are no garrisons outside the capital and along the principal railroad, and that all mining districts and the trails leading to them are in the hands of rebels or at least unprotected.

In addition, there are no railroad facilities to bring in supplies or take out ores, even if it were safe for miners and owners to reach their properties or stay there. I understand that not one of the three big smelters is in operation; the one in Torreon has tried several times during the past year to operate but each time has had to close. The Velardena plant has also been closed for more than a year and has no intention of opening at this time. The Monterey smelter, which is the last resort of miners in my district, was closed some months ago.

All these plants would operate, I believe, if it were possible to get fuel and other supplies, but several years’ experience and repeated attempts have shown the futility of their efforts.

I have [etc.]

Homer C. Coen
  1. Not printed.