612.119/2487: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in Mexico (Summerlin)

1879. Your 1900, January 12, 1 p.m.

On January 6, American Consul at Chihuahua telegraphed request from Governor Ortiz for permission to import 5,000 rifles from United States for use in protecting life and property in Chihuahua. Governor proposed to distribute said rifles where needed so as to release soldiers from Garrison duty in cities and villages for active campaign against bandits. On February 11 Consul telegraphed that Governor had advised him it was believed that Mexican Government could supply sufficient quantities of cartridges.

In view of the fact that Villa has threatened to destroy American property if protection money is not paid him by March 1, and in order to place the full responsibility for protection of life and property in Chihuahua upon the Mexican Government, Department has requested War Trade Board to release through El Paso, 150,000 cartridges and 5,000 rifles, for use in Chihuahua.

War Trade Board has also been requested to release an additional 2,000,000 cartridges through Laredo, consigned to Government at Mexico City.

If possible, discreetly ascertain what steps Mexican Government has taken or will now take to furnish Castro with adequate supply of cartridges.