612.119/2404: Telegram

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

1900. Strictly confidential. Your 1794 January 11, 6 p.m. with reference to request of Mexican Government to export 5,000,000 [sic] cartridges and other munitions.

[Page 549]

Bonillas interview has also been published here. Evidently, Mexican Government is trying to force favorable action by publicity, or place us in an unfriendly attitude.

Pacification conditions have not materially improved since my arrival here almost two years ago, and confidential reports reaching Embassy show that rebel activity is increasing. Ammunition factory here is practically closed down and Mexican ammunition is of very inferior quality. Much of the rebel ammunition is secured by them from Government forces. Should rebel activities undermine present Government and anarchy or such a state of affairs supervene as would force intervention, our Government would assume heavy responsibility in permitting exportation of such a large quantity of cartridges. Yet I believe Mexican Government urgently needs ammunitions to munition itself and to protect life and property even in the unsatisfactory manner it is now protected. Perhaps it might be arranged, after consulting War Department, to permit periodical exportations of portions of ammunition referred to.

I am inclined to approve shipments mentioned to Chihuahua.