William Bayard Hale to Woodrow Wilson


William Bayard Hale to Woodrow Wilson


Hale, William Bayard, 1869-1924




1913 September 28


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


Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924--Correspondence


From Mr. Haleon
Mexican Affairs
Mr President:

Yesterday I submitted to you a telegram from Mexico City which suggested that Gamboa might be chosen President by popular vote, byut be rejected by the Mexican cCongress. I have this morning had a telegram from another source confirming thizs possibility–––indeed, representing it as probable.
Under the election law (a copy of which I handed you) the Chamber of Deputies "counts" the vote; "counting" seems to be a very flexible and comprehensive rprocess–––indeed, the Chamber is authorized to "resolve itself into an Electoral College." In case no candidate has an absolute majority of all votes cast, the Chabmber may elect one of the two leading candidates. Or it may, on any of several indicated grounds, invalidate the election.
My information is that Manuel Calero and Flores Magon., Liberals, now control Congress. Calero the other day succeeded in throwing out of the Cabinet the Clerical, Urrutia, for having put him, a Senator, under arrest. Since this success, the Liberal element in Congress appears to have taken the bit in its teeth. It refused to let Huerta give the portfolio of Education to a Catholic, by a vote of 80 to 14. It is not likely to permit the Presidency to pass into the hands of the Clerical candidate, Gamboa.
Now, Manuel Calero has talked to me by the hour of the desirability of a real, country–wide election. Flores Magon has shown me letters he has sent to the northern Revolutionists urging them to take part in an election.
My suggestion is that the moment is propitious for the United States to take steps towards putting into force its original propositions for an armistice and an election to be participated in by the whole country. I believe that consent to this could now be secured, both from the Mexican Congress and from the Revolutionists; and that a stable basis of peace could thus be established. The mind of Manuel Calero and Flores Magon I know; that they could now carry through the proposition I believe. As for General Carranza–––his most trusted friend and adviser, Senor Escudero, is now in Washington, and I have today learned that Escudero is strongly of the opinion that the revolutionary chief could be inducesd to enotrer into negotiations looking towards an armistice and a national election.
Why not move for a real solution of the Mexiacan problem?I had a briecf conversation with the Secretary of State last evening. Mr Bryan’s attitude is that matters are going on so satisfactoriily that further efforts are unnecessary–––––the policy of the Administration, which has for its chief aim the elimination of Huerta, is going to be vindicayted, anyhow.
That happy result now indeed seems probable–––though if the October election should be declared invalid, Huerta would still be in power. But, with all submission to Mr Bryan’s judgement, it seems to me that to eliminate Huerta and yet leave Mexico in disorder is a small practical gain. The northern Revolutionists are not going to participate in an October election; here is Carranza today denouncing in advance as a traitor whoever assumes the Presidency as a result of it. The Mexico City people may come to some sort of a settlement among themselves, may even set up a government whcich we may recognize, but it may be set down as a certainty that the North will remain in revolt; we shall have months more of disturbances along the frontier, destruction of the property of Americans and occasional murders to provide material for interbvention agitatorys, and, likely as not, before we are through with it, a secession of the northern tier of Mexican States, with all the embarrassments that would entail.
The one chance for peace, the only chance in sight, is to induce the Carrancistas to participate in an election.
It would mean a postponement of the election for some weeks. But it is a mere fact that no election worth dubbing such can be held October 26th, four weeks from today. The law calls for the final revision of the voting list by August 15th. Transportation and communication are demoralized everyhere; couriers could not penetrate (if they were permitted to) into Sonora, Chihuahua, Durango, Campeche, in a month’s time. A delayed election that would mean something would surely be better than a farcical performance on schedule time.
True, the Revolutionists declare that they will take part in no election so long as Huerta remans in the presidential chair. Even that may be arranged, if only once the Mexico City government and the Revolutionists could be brought into negotiations.
The situation is precisely what it was three years ago when President Diaz was being slowly crowded to the wall. The Maderistas refused to take part in an election unless Diaz first resigned––––Diaz, with thirty years rule behind him! The idea was preposterous. But with a Mexican everything is impossible the frirst time he hears of it. De la Barra was induced to meet and converse (here in Wasghington) with Dr Vasquez Gomez–––––negotiations wrere opened, in other words––––and Diaz presently found it perfectly possible to resign, leaving de la Barra rto preside over an orderly election in which the whole country voted.
I can see no reason why that history might not be repeated.So far as I know, our government has made to no approaches to the Revolutionists. Ought we not do so? Peace can never be attained in Mexcico until they are reconciled. More than two months ago, de la Barra said to me on behalf of Huerta, that though the Mexican government could have no direct dealings with the rebels, it could deal with them through us. It would be the greatest blessing to Mexico if the United States could somehow quietly bring the Mexico City government and the Revolutionists into communication with each other. The element that seems now to be in the ascendency in the capital desires, I know, an understanding with the North. The Liberals in the Congress cannot propose it, and indeed, it would be physically extremely difficult for either side to communicate with the other.
We could open physical channels of communication between them. We could set negotiations going. By means of suggestions, privaltly made, we could probably bring about an armistice and a real election.–––accomplish, not merely such a “vindication” of the Administration’s policy as the crowding out of Huerta would be, but the complete success of restoring peace in Mexico.
Senor Escudero expects to leave for Hermosillo, to rejoin Carranza, within a few days. He would furnish an excellent means of reaching Carranza, if the idea is favorably regarded.


####Sept 28

Original Format



Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924




Hale, William Bayard, 1869-1924, “William Bayard Hale to Woodrow Wilson,” 1913 September 28, WWP18050, First Year Wilson Papers, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.