Henry Lane Wilson to Woodrow Wilson




Wilson Papers, Library of Congress, Library of Congress, Washington, District of Columbia


Personal to the President

Dear Mr. President

I send you, herewith, for your private and confidential information a copy of an interview had with Dr. William Bayard Hale by the Political Secretary to General Diaz, who is also an American and correspondent of the new york sun. This report was furnished to me by General Diaz, who informed me at the same time that he had received other reports of a similar character and that both he and the Government had taken note of Dr. Hale’s antagonistic attitude toward me and toward the present Government from the very moment of his arrival and before he had any opportunity to make proper investigation. I have assumed that Dr. Hale has no official mission in Mexico and that he is not charged with the making of any report to you concerning conditions in Mexico, but in the event that information should be offered you from this source I deem it my duty, as your personal representative here, to say to you that this person is by temperament and habit entirely unfit to form a just and clear idea of the situation here. His mind appears to me, from the conversations which I have had with him, to be unevenly balanced, and the questions which he asks relative to events which have occurred here indicate a complete failure to grasp the underlying causes of the unrest in Mexico and absolute ignorance, or, rather, misinformation as to the true history and chronology lying behind the scenes of the Mexican drama.
I know there is a disposition at this time in the United States to make of Madero a martyr to democratic ideals. Whatever may have been the history of his taking off, and I am not prepared to accept without reserves the opinion that the Government was privy thereto, the fact remains that the Madero family despoiled and corrupted every avenue of Government and business in Mexico; that they talked glibly of liberty and human rights but gave none to the people; that they robbed the Government; seized without process of law the property of foreigners and Mexicans; debauched, silenced and censored the press; established secret political societies which maintained a reign of terror; and made illegal arrests without warrant of law. All of the true and secret history of their brief rule in Mexico and prior thereto is known to no one but to me. Others may have it in part but I have it all and eventually I shall place it before the world together with clear demonstrations not only of the anti-American policy of these people but of their deliberate and organized efforts to attack almost every American interest in the country by legal conspiracies in collusion with the courts, and of the absolute inability of this Embassy to secure the punishment of the murderers of Americans or of those who had deprived them of their property by violence or by stealth.
I feel, my dear Mr. President, that whatever may be your final attitude towards this Administration, and it has its bad points as well as its good points, that it is my duty to you to see that you are in no wise misled, either by the reports of sentimental idealists or by those who are endeavoring to bring about conditions which will force intervention, as to the real character of the Madero Administration.
I do not expect to be in charge of this post very long. I have served my Government in the diplomatic service honorably and usefully for seventeen years. I had the absolute confidence of Presidents McKinley, Roosevelt and Taft and the last named has placed in my hands a letter relative to my work at this post up to and including the last day of his Administration which would appear to justify my hope of receiving your confidence during such period as I may have the honor to serve under you. Beyond having the truth made known I care nothing.

I beg to remain, my dear Mr. President,
Very sincerely yours,
Henry Lane Wilson

Original Format





Wilson, Henry Lane, 1857-1932, “Henry Lane Wilson to Woodrow Wilson,” 1913 July 1, WWP17864, First Year Wilson Papers, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.