File No. 862.20212/273

The Ambassador in Mexico ( Fletcher) to the Secretary of State


133. I have just had an hour’s conversation with President-elect Carranza in the course of which I read to him paraphrases of your telegrams No. 123, April 21, 7 p.m., and 124, April 21, 8 p.m. He thinks it will be a good plan if the representatives of the Allied powers now in Washington, along with the preparation of plans for the prosecution of the war, could agree upon an outline of terms of peace; that these terms might be communicated through their diplomatic representatives in the United States to the Latin-American neutral powers who would act as mediators in their presentation to the German Government. He intimated that it might be possible, if these neutrals found the terms just and equitable, that in presenting them to Germany they might state that unless accepted these neutral nations would take sides with the Allies. He said that this was a thought which has occurred to him but that he did not wish to make the suggestion in any official way and asked me to telegraph it to you for such consideration as it might merit.

In the course of the conversation I explained to him fully the considerations which had driven us into the war and pointed out to him the danger which Mexico and other American nations would incur from an inconclusive peace, which would leave the military [Page 266] party in Germany as a standing menace to all nations who wished to work out their destinies in unarmed peace. I think he is coming to a juster appreciation of the great issues involved in the war and of Mexico’s interest as affected thereby.

The Mexican Government receives every day by telegraph a synopsis of what is said in the leading papers of the United States relating to Mexico, and he complained of the misstatements and decidedly distrustful and hostile attitude of our leading papers with regard to Mexico in its relation to the war and asked me to endeavor to put things in their true light before the Department which he hoped might discourage the circulation of absurd and baseless stories about Mexico. He said that he was very much pleased with the interview I had given out yesterday and that it would have an excellent effect in reestablishing mutual confidence.

He stated that he would be very glad to receive any evidence or information we might have showing German activities tending to compromise Mexican neutrality, and that he would take immediate steps to frustrate them. He said that the recent taking over of various British railways was not to be regarded in any way as hostile to Great Britain or the enemies of Germany, but that such measures became necessary in connection with the activity of the various insurrectionary bands operating along those railways and for the safe movement of traffic.

I feel sure that Mr. Carranza fully realizes the desirability and necessity of Mexico maintaining strictly its neutrality.

His attitude was frank, cordial, and rather encouraging.