The Acting Secretary of State to President Wilson

My Dear Mr. President: Some time ago an International Committee of Bankers on Mexico was formed by various banking groups in the United States, England, and France, to consolidate and protect the interests of various investors in Mexican securities. Subsequently, Dutch and Swiss bankers were included in the groups. J. P. Morgan is Chairman of the American group, but Lamont, who is alternate Chairman, has been taking the active lead in the matter and has kept me advised of developments. According to the record, the State Department informed the American group of bankers that there would be no objection to their joining the International Committee, provided the American group would have a predominating voice in the policy and activities of the Committee.

Some weeks ago, the British and French groups began to press the American group to send a joint committee to Mexico to investigate conditions and to take up at least preliminary discussions with the Mexicans. I discouraged this because we thought that a premature visit of such a committee might be construed as having political significance and deter the Mexicans from taking measures necessary to justify recognition. Lamont concurred in our views. Very recently, however, the British and French groups, being pressed by the investors they represent, have been more insistent upon sending someone to Mexico. To this end, Sir William Wiseman arrived last week. He comes primarily representing the French Committee, but also, I understand, carried in effect a proxy from the British Committee. Both Committees have recommended to Lamont that Wiseman go to Mexico to represent all of the groups. I have informed Lamont confidentially that this would be very unsatisfactory and [Page 235] that when a committee does go to Mexico it should be headed by an American in whom we would have confidence. Lamont would, in my opinion, be the most satisfactory and dependable one to head a committee at the proper time, if he can possibly get away.

Lamont informs me that while the foreign committees are apparently desirous that no action should be taken which is not entirely agreeable to this Government, we ought, in his judgment, within a reasonable time, find a modus vivendi, or else it will be difficult, if not impossible, to hold the five-Power team in hand. Wiseman has informed him that he has, in any event, private business which will necessitate his going to Mexico and that if he were to discuss matters there on behalf of the British and French Committees he would do so on the theory that it would be necessary for the Government to commit itself to certain reconstructive attitudes as to foreign loans before any real discussions could be undertaken.

Lamont especially desires a hint as to the expediency of letting Wiseman go down there alone, and also calls our attention to the fact that the American bankers must show some disposition to our investors to “get busy”.

Lamont is discreet and dependable and I think it would be wise to inform him that there would be no objection to a committee headed by an American, preferably himself, going to Mexico the first part of December. This will give time to the Mexican Government, if it can and so desires, to take such action as would justify your extension of recognition. I should be pleased to have your instructions and guidance in the matter.

Faithfully yours,

Norman H. Davis