The Chargé in Mexico (Hanna) to the Secretary of State

No. 3060

Sir: With reference to my recent telegrams, in regard to the Mexican political situation, I have the honor to report the following additional details as they have appeared in the local press—or have reached the Embassy from other reliable sources.

The immediate causes of the crisis which has been reached in the Bonillas,–Obregón–González presidential campaign were the order bringing General Obregón to this city and the Mexican Government’s attitude towards the State of Sonora.

It appears that General Obregón had reached Matamoros in the course of his Presidential campaign when he received an order from the Acting Secretary of War to report in Mexico City where his presence was required as a “witness” in the trial of the rebel leader Cejudo, granted amnesty some time previously by the Mexican Government but subsequently arrested and imprisoned in this city on a charge of plotting rebellion. When General Obregón appeared in court in obedience to this summons he learned that he was not only a witness but was also charged with rebellion against the Mexican Government on the evidence contained in a letter addressed to him by Cejudo, February 19, 1920, which indicated that Obregón had been conspiring with Cejudo.

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Apparently General Obregón anticipated some such turn in events, because he stated in an address which he made at Monterey, just before coming to Mexico City to appear in court, that it was possible that he would be charged with crimes and subjected to treatment which would compel him to abandon his political campaign. He closed the address with seditious utterances and veiled threats of rebellion. In view of the extensive publicity given to this speech, a translation of it is enclosed (Enclosure No. I).2

General Obregón was not placed under arrest but I am informed that he was kept under close surveillance and was given to understand that he would not be permitted to leave the city. The same was true of his principal supporter, General Benjamin Hill, who was recently threatened with arrest on the charge of having violated Army ord[i]nances in actively engaging in politics while on the active list of the Army.

The dissatisfaction in the State of Sonora aroused by President Carranza’s determination to send a large Federal force to that State under the command of General Diéguez finally took the form of telegrams to President Carranza, from the Governor and Legislature of Sonora, making threatening protests against the execution of the Executive order, to which Mr. Carranza replied reasserting his determination and warning the Sonora State authorities that he would consider as rebellion any act committed by them not in accordance with the Constitution. Shortly thereafter Sonora met this unyielding attitude of the Federal Government by the coup d?etat which resulted in the complete separation of Sonora from the Central Government. It appears that this was accomplished without bloodshed and that the Federal troops in the State deserted to and supported Governor de la Huerta.

While these events were happening, the “Obregonista” deputies and senators in the Federal Congress issued a public manifesto, a translation of which is enclosed (Enclosure No. 2),2 in which they expressed their opinion of what they consider the “imposition” of Mr. Bonillas as the presidential candidate of the Carranza administration, and predicted a destructive revolution if the Executive should persist in refusing to change his attitude.

A day or two after the coup d’etat in Sonora, it was reported that Generals Obregón and Hill had escaped from Mexico City, together with many of the more prominent supporters of the Obregón cause, supposedly with the intention of organizing a military force from rebel bands and disaffected Federal troops with which they will endeavor to precipitate another revolution.

I have [etc.]

Matthew E. Hanna
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.