812.404/1674

The Ambassador in Mexico (Daniels) to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: In view of a resolution offered by Congressman Higgins,39 and the publication of certain statements in some Catholic journals which have been misled and have misled him, I wish you to know that the publications representing me as having given an interview of high praise of General Calles, of approving even inferentially any educational or religious policy of the government, or of making any statement in regard to any public official or official action by the Government of Mexico, are without foundation. I gave no interview or made any of the statements attributed to me.

The only views to which I have given expression are contained in the only two addresses I have made since my return from the United States last June:

1. The first was on July 26, 1934, when I was speaking to Americans who were here attending the annual summer Seminar. That address was forwarded to the State Department in the regular pouch of that week. The criticisms in American papers were based on an extract in the speech where I quoted General Calles’ declaration in favor of universal education. It seems that in another part of his speech General Calles criticized the clergy. At the time I made my address I had not read the full text of the address by General Calles and did not know it contained any reference to the church or the clergy. I had only seen the extract incorporated in my address. I quoted him along with Thomas Jefferson and Horace Mann as believing that the education of all the people was of primary importance. At that time I had heard no intimation of the amendment to the Constitution providing for “socialistic education”, which was ratified in December. Therefore, I could not have made any reference to a plan of which I [Page 785]had never heard. Some of the critics seem to think I approved in July a policy which was not proposed until the fall. One journal charged me with favoring “atheistic education”. My life record of devotion to the Christian faith and defense of the freedom of religion is complete answer to these publications.

2. The only other statements I have made were contained in my Thanksgiving Day address, which was sent to the Department immediately after delivery.

One paper recently printed an article containing the following:

“A few weeks later Mr. Daniels paid a visit of honor to the Mexican Senate on the very day on which by constitutional amendment and by statute it had destroyed the last remnant of his three sacred liberties of education, of religion and of the press; and he escaped the literal violation of Mr. Phillips’ injunction by allowing his guest, Senator Reynolds of North Carolina, to pronounce the eulogies.”

During his visit here in December, Senator Reynolds, of North Carolina, naturally expressed a desire to attend a session of the Senate. The Minister for Foreign Affairs arranged a date. I accompanied Senator Reynolds to the Senate Chamber. He was presented to the Senate as a member of the United States Senate, and spoke briefly. He touched upon no controversial questions, speaking generally of good neighbor relations and rejoicing in the construction of the great highway which would aid in strengthening the friendly intercourse between the two countries. If “on the very day” we visited the Senate, any legislation as to education was under consideration, I did not know it, and I am sure that the same is true as to Senator Reynolds. Most publications I have seen have no better foundation than the allegations contained in the extract quoted above.

I am sure those critics who have been misled by incorrect publications would withdraw their criticism if familiar with all the facts. You will know the course to pursue, if any, to give the facts to any member of Congress or others who may offer resolutions or make inquiry at the Department. I have never at any time made any remarks inconsistent with my devotion to freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, or universal education.

Sincerely yours,

Josephus Daniels
  1. John P. Higgins, Representative from Massachusetts.