John Lind to William Jennings Bryan
Vera Cruz, Mexico,
Dated January 28 1914,
Rec’d 11:10 pm
Secretary of State,
Referring to my interview with Mr. G. H. Hewitt, a prominent Englishman, reported January twenty-fourth, I wish to state that in that interview Hewitt suggested a plan very similar to that outlined by Mr. O’Shaughnessy namely that Huerta resign, take the field and stand as a candidate at the election next June, his successers to receive the support of hthe United States; that he had talked with Carden and that Carden was willing to “ bell the cat” and put such a proposition to Huerta. My answer was that the United States had no new proposition to make, and then I explained the negotiations under way with Aldape last October which contemplated the appointment of commissioners etc., and I said that if Huerta would submit a proposition of that character through an authorized representative I would be glad to transmit it to Washington with such representations as the situation appeared to justify. Hewitt departed with that understanding. This morning hisbusiness partner who was with him on the former occasion called on me to report what Carden said on being informed of our conversation. Carden said that the President holds it against his principles to treat with the rebels and bandits and that he, Carden, knowing that, would not abuse his friendly relations by suggesting such a proposition. In the first conversation Hewitt asked me whether the United States had any concealed or ulterior motive which it sought to accomplish by its Mexican policy. I said to him “ My dear Mr. Hewitt I think you realize fully that our country has attained a position of at least sufficient potential power to make it unnecessary to conceal our motives. Aside from that, diplomacy of that character has never been practiced by the American Government; ” and I added: “ Our hand is strong enough to be played open and we do.” Hewitt evidently repeated that conversation to Carden, for Carden said that whatever Lind or any of them might say it was the policy of the United States to dominate Mexican affairs in the future; that that is what he meant by the “ulterior motives”; that England did not propose to permit such domination; that she would insist on a voice in all Mexican matters and that Germany was in accord with her on this point. He also stated that he had no fears but that England would prevail as her diplomacy was continuous and that of the United States intermittent and wholly lacking in continuity. A general conversation followed and in the course of it Carden said he had no fear of revolutionary success; that the territory which the revolutionists could reasonably hope to control only contained three million people and that those three millions could not overcome the remaining twelve. He also detailed the plans that he had suggested to Huerta based on England's experience in the Boer War. These included the construction of blockhouses ten miles apart along the lines of the railway that the Government intended to protect; also the concentration of the best troops in localities where they would be available for quick transit to any point attacked by a considerable force. On the question of finances, while he stated the European loans are probably out of the question at this juncture, he also said that Huerta had only touched Mexican resources; that he could profit by the example of the United States which issued billions of paper money during the civil war and that such money should be made receivable for duties as well as in discharge of debts.
From the character of the men referred to and the circumstances I believe this report of Carden’s attitude and statements absolutely authentic. I am informed that Carden has been very active in promoting the visit of the Japanese naval officers from the west coast.
Nearly a month has elapsed since my conversation with the President. No action has been taken so far as I am advised along the lines discussed in that conversation. Are the plans the same as then indicated and are any positive steps contemplated in the near future? An intimation of the present purposes of other governments would assist me greatly in guiding my work and in forming more accurate estimates of the situation from time to time.