Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

The Ambassador of Mexico89 called to see me this morning to say goodby before leaving for Mexico tomorrow. The Ambassador [Page 134] told me that he did not know what he was called back for, but that he believed it might have to do with the question of continental defense in view of the European situation. He said he was given to understand that his stay in Mexico City would be short and that he would be able to come back to Washington within a few days.

I asked the Ambassador what he might have in the way of information from his own country with regard to the alleged German activities in Mexico and with regard to the alleged arrival in Mexico recently of considerable numbers of Germans.

The Ambassador said that he thought that a disquieting factor was the fact that, unlike the last war when all the Germans left Mexico, during this war not only are the Germans formerly resident not leaving, but the number had even increased. He said, however, that he was given to understand that only 60 German “tourists” had arrived in Mexico during the past 60 days and that the number of new arrivals was nowhere near as great as alleged by newspaper correspondents. He said he believed that the objective of Germans in Mexico would be to try and create local internal disturbances, operating with the connivance of certain left wing groups. …

The Ambassador expressed the view very strongly that those American governments, including Mexico, who had received protests from the German Government with regard to their adherence to the continental declaration of protest against the invasion of Holland and Belgium90 should communicate the protest received to the Inter-American Neutrality Committee at Rio with the request that the Neutrality Committee formulate recommendations to all the American Republics as to the attitude which the 21 republics should take. The Ambassador expressed finally the very urgent belief that confidential conversations should be had between the military and naval authorities of all of the American republics so that continental defense might be coordinated in the event of an emergency.

S[umner] W[elles]
  1. Francisco Castillo Nájera.
  2. For further correspondence on this subject, see vol. i, pp. 727 ff.