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

No. 3929

Sir: In confirmation of my confidential telegram No. 110, May 27, 6 p.m.,8 I have the honor to report that I was received by General Obregon, quite informally, at Chapultepec Castle at four-thirty last Friday afternoon,9 at which time I placed in his hands a copy, in English, of the proposed Treaty of Amity and Commerce.

General Obregon received me most cordially, and as stated in my telegram, no one else was present during the interview.

After the usual preliminary greetings, I thanked the General for his kindness in tendering me a private car at Nuevo Laredo and explained that I had already engaged satisfactory and comfortable accommodations.

I began by stating that the friendliest feeling existed in the Department, and elsewhere in the United States, for him, and I told him of your sincere hope that he would be able to establish a stable and permanent government in Mexico. I said that my Government considered that the time had arrived for a full, complete and lasting understanding, once for all time, with Mexico, irrespective and independent of political or other changes in either country, and that such a permanent understanding required previous arrangements for the settlement of all important questions and difficulties between the two countries. I stated that the Department had made a careful study of his public statements, since the issuance of his manifesto, in June, 1918 [1919], when he announced his candidacy for the presidency, those made prior to his election, and especially those contained in the formal statements made by him through the Foreign Office on April 3rd [2d] last;10 that partly with these statements [Page 405] as a base an instrument has been drawn up which is reciprocal in character. In this instrument, a copy of which I stated I would have the pleasure of placing in his hands, no special privileges are asked for American citizens; that we ask for American citizens in Mexico that which we afford Mexican citizens in the United States, and I stated that great care had been exercised to avoid anything that might tend in the slightest degree to offend the susceptibilities of Mexico.

I then stated that the signing of the instrument would constitute recognition by the United States Government. In other words, I said, the act of recognition and signing the document would be concurrent.

I then spoke of the moral effect, in Mexico and in the United States of recognition, and of the moral and other support the United States would be in a position to extend to him; that then the question of financial recognition by private individuals, would not in my belief, be long delayed.

I explained that he could initial the document, which would indicate his acceptance of it and his willingness to sign it; that if he were desirous of prompt action, I should be very glad to telegraph the Department to that effect and request full powers in the premises; that if there was no need of immediate action I felt certain, if he so desired, a high official of my Government would be sent to Mexico with full powers to sign the document with his duly accredited representative; that in view of my inferior rank it might be a good political move for him to suggest that a High Government Official of the United States come to Mexico for that purpose. I intimated, personally, that, if he so desired, I felt that even the Under Secretary of State might be available for this high duty.

I added that I was under instructions to say to him that his wishes in regard to publicity would be respected.

I concluded by repeating that the signature of the document by a representative of the United States Government, under full powers, with his representative, acting similarly, would constitute the recognition of his Government.

General Obregon, who neither speaks nor reads English, received the draft of the Treaty but made no attempt to inspect it. He began by repeating what he stated to me last June (1920), last September11 and again on April 14th last, as to the necessity, as he saw it, for a complete understanding among all of the American countries, as a matter of protection against European, and possibly, Asiatic, aggression. He acknowledged that the future of Mexico depended on that of the United States, and expressed a strong desire to see [Page 406] the two countries arrive at a proper understanding. He said that the local political situation would have to be considered and ended by saying that he doubted if he had authority under the Constitution to sign such a document as the one I had placed in his hands. He also expressed greater doubt as to its ratification by the Senate. Several times he remarked that he was making these statements before having read the document I had handed him but he added that it would receive his careful consideration.

I shall not fail to keep the Department promptly advised by telegraph of all developments in regard to these negotiations.

I have [etc.]

George T. Summerlin
  1. Not printed.
  2. May 27.
  3. Ante, p. 395.
  4. See the Chargé’s report of his interview with General Obregon, Sept. 13, 1920, Foreign Relations, 1920, vol. iii, p. 182.