Version classiqueVersion mobile
OpenEdition Books

The Forgotten Peace

 | 
Michael Small

Chapter 6. The aftermath

Texte intégral

  • 1 Severance, ed. (1914), editor’s essay, pp. 72–73.
  • 2 Wilson, quoted by Bryan, in Secretary of State to U.S. Missions in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, J (...)
  • 3 Canada Department of External Affairs files, RG24, Series A-3-a, Volume 1142, File: 1914-457.

1After the conference had ended there was the usual diplomatic round of congratulatory speeches and messages. At a farewell lunch to thank the reporters who had covered the conference “at this now historic spot,” Ambassador da Gama congratulated his fellow mediators “for appearing before you as probably the most united political body ever constituted in the world.” He declared that the mediation had established as a “principle of American policy” that international problems affecting the nations of the Western Hemisphere would always have “a fair examination and be settled without foreign interference.”1 Huerta’s Foreign Minister sent a message to his A.B.C. counterparts, expressing the profound thanks of the Mexican people for the results of the mediation, and rushed the signed protocols to the Mexican Senate for immediate approval. President Wilson sent a message to each of the A.B.C. Presidents conveying his government’s “admiration for the ability, patience, and gratifying success with which [the mediators] conducted the conference at Niagara Falls; and its great satisfaction that so much has already been accomplished by the mediation in the interest of the peace of America.”2 This message of thanks was reciprocated by more effusive replies from the Governments of Argentina and Chile. On a less elevated plane, the meagre Canadian government files after the conference consist entirely of requests for payment from the manager of the Clifton Hotel and internal memos arguing over which agency would pay the bills for the four policemen who had been assigned to the hotel to provide security.3

  • 4 San Francisco Chronicle, July 3, 1914.
  • 5 New York Times, June 26, 1914.
  • 6 Boston Post, July 5, 1914.
  • 7 Christian Science Monitor, June 29, 1914.
  • 8 Guerrero Youcham (1966), pp. 160–64.

2The American press, not surprisingly, offered a wide range of reactions to the results of the conference, influenced by their varying editorial stances towards the Wilson Administration as a whole. Many papers highlighted their conclusion that the conference had defeated jingoist sentiments and averted a costly war between the United States and Mexico. The San Francisco Chronicle, for example, concluded that “The mediation has been a most excellent thing for us, for Mexico and for the Americas.”4 The New York Times pronounced the result “such a triumph for President Wilson’s much misunderstood policy as to astonish even the staunchest supporters of the President.” By declining any indemnities “the disinterestedness of the United States is made clear to the world, and, what is more to the point, to the Mexicans themselves.”5 The Boston Post underscored “the great change in our relations with the South American republics and in their attitude towards us. Gone is suspicion, gone is the feeling that we are too haughty to recognize the nations to the south as co-partners in the continent’s destinies. Morally and materially the new friendship of the strong Latin American countries is of incalculable benefit to us.”6 The Christian Science Monitor judiciously noted the “peaks and valleys” during the mediation, but believed a constant ideal in favour of peace had dominated proceedings: “If the mediation between two North American republics is compassed by three South American republics’ tactful interposition and use of moral authority, a new era of Pan-Americanism will have dawned.”7 This sentiment was frequently repeated in uniformly enthusiastic editorials lauding the results of the mediation in the Latin American press.8

  • 9 New York Tribune, June 26, 1914.
  • 10 Journal of Commerce, June 26, 1914.
  • 11 Washington Post, July 1, 1914.

3Other American newspapers were more sceptical in their assessments. The New York Tribune argued that only the mediators’ decision to abandon their attempt to reach an internal political solution in Mexico had saved the conference from failure. The Tribune concluded that “the mediators ended right even if they started wrong.”9 The Journal of Commerce cautioned that the protocols had not solved the internal problems of Mexico: “There is no assurance that a permanent result will be reached. All that is really settled now is the imbroglio between the United States and General Victoriano Huerta.”10 Some papers were downright dismissive of the results. The Washington Post commented that “the A.B.C. mediators, having successfully marched up the hill, are about to march down it again and leave the Mexican situation where it was.”11 The Philadelphia Inquirer reserved its scorn for the “fiasco” of the Administration’s policy. In its view:

  • 12 Philadelphia Inquirer, June 26, 1914.

It makes no difference whether Huerta seeks terms and Villa is willing to grant them, or whether the Villa armies continue their victorious march upon the City of Mexico. In either event the future lies in the hands of Villa. The United States has no say in the matter whatever; it has no influence. It has expended many millions of dollars, and for what? Not one dollar is asked by way of “war indemnity” and how could there be, considering that there was never the slightest justification for sending our army and navy to Veracruz? The administration has “butted in,” to use a rather forcible expression of the day, and has been butted out of Mexican affairs as a positive factor. The situation is precisely what it would have been had there been no Veracruz invasion and mediation had never been heard of... So far as the administration at Washington is concerned, it is all a most miserable piece of business—the outcome of the attempt of mere theorists to play at statesmanship.12

4The three Mexican delegates to the conference provided their own ambivalent assessment of its outcome in a final letter to the mediators:

  • 13 Delegates of General Huerta to Mediators, attached to Dodge to Secretary of State, Washington, Jul (...)

The basis of the agreements will insure external peace, the restoration of internal harmony; in a word, national rebirth and national honor lie in the organization of a provisional government in Mexico. If it is organized, all that will remain to be done will be the execution of the agreements that promise these boons; if it is not organized, the agreements, lacking their base, will be destroyed and Mexico’s situation will be the same as before—uncertainty for the future and evil for the present.13

  • 14 Special Agent Canova to Secretary of State, Saltillo, July 6, 1914, United States Department of St (...)
  • 15 Canova to Secretary of State, Saltillo, July 6, 1914, United States Department of State (1922), pp (...)
  • 16 Letter from Carranza to Zubáran, appended to Vice Consul Silliman to Secretary of State, Saltillo, (...)

5Not surprisingly, Carranz a never sent any representatives to Niagara Falls to negotiate with Huerta’s delegates on the formation of a provisional government. As Carranza explained on July 6 to Wilson’s special agent, Leon J. Canova, not only were all the Constitutionalist generals against it, but accepting such a plan would “promise only an unstable peace and insure another revolution.”14 Furthermore, he cited the example of Juarez fifty years before, which, he said, showed that when a country was under revolutionary military rule certain reforms could be accomplished only by decree. According to Canova, Carranza declared that “if arms and ammunition can be obtained through Tampico so he can distribute them to the different divisions of the army, he will assuredly be at the capital in a short time and will guarantee establishment of peace on a firm basis and not on the quicksands of a transaction where no guarantees could be given.”15 By July 9 Carranza had hammered out United States a written agreement that temporarily mended the rift between himself and Villa. On July 10 Carranza formally notified the mediators of the Constitutionalists’ decision. He concluded by asking the mediators to advise Huerta’s delegates that “the only form acceptable to me to finish our internal struggle is the unconditional surrender of General Victoriano Huerta with the army that sustains him.”16

6Huerta resigned on July 15 and went into exile. He turned power over to the last of the six foreign ministers appointed during his tenure, Chief Justice Francisco Carbajal, who acted as President for less than a month. Carbajal tried to negotiate the formation of a provisional government with Carranza, with no greater success. Pressured by Villa’s army from the north, Obregon’s forces from the northwest, and the ever-present militias of Zapata in the south, the resistance of the Federal Army collapsed in early August. On August 13 Carbajal’s representatives signed an agreement with General Obregon dissolving the Federal Army First Chief Venustiano Carranza entered Mexico City on horseback on August 20.

  • 17 This summary is drawn from Link (1954), pp. 127–48.

7The triumph of the Constitutionalists was merely the end of one chapter in the tortuous history of U.S. involvement in the Mexican Revolution. It did not result in immediate recognition of Carranza’s regime. Instead, the United States found itself trying to balance between two armed factions within the Constitutionalist camp. After their victory the long-standing rivalry between Carranza and Villa became irreparable. U.S. policy initially tilted towards Villa, who had always been more amenable to Wilson’s advice and entreaties. Rivalry turned to civil war later in 1914, after Villa’s supporters deposed Carranza at the Convention of Aguascalientes in November that year. Carranza was forced to retreat to Veracruz, which the United States finally evacuated just ahead of his arrival. Then Carranza rallied his supporters and fought back, defeating Villa in a series of battles during the course of 1915. Using a now familiar formula, Robert Lansing, on behalf of the State Department, convened a series of meetings in Washington with representatives of the A.B.C. powers and three other Latin American republics, all of whom urged the contending factions in Mexico to settle their differences under a Pan-American council. Carranza rejected this proposal, as his armies were set to recapture Villa’s stronghold in Torreon. At this point Lansing was convinced that the United States had to recognize the winning faction in the Mexican civil war, or risk Germany using the political divisions in Mexico to distract the United States from the growing conflict with Germany over unrestricted submarine warfare in the Atlantic. In October 1915 the United States and the A.B.C. powers finally recognized Carranza’s regime as the de facto government of Mexico. But it took another eighteen months, a second U.S. military intervention to punish Pancho Villa, and the release of the Zimmerman telegram to Carranza before the United States extended de jure recognition and returned an Ambassador to Mexico City. By that point, in March 1917, the United States was on the brink of war with Germany17.

Notes

1 Severance, ed. (1914), editor’s essay, pp. 72–73.

2 Wilson, quoted by Bryan, in Secretary of State to U.S. Missions in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, July 7, 1914, United States Department of State (1922), p. 559, File No. 812.00/12430.

3 Canada Department of External Affairs files, RG24, Series A-3-a, Volume 1142, File: 1914-457.

4 San Francisco Chronicle, July 3, 1914.

5 New York Times, June 26, 1914.

6 Boston Post, July 5, 1914.

7 Christian Science Monitor, June 29, 1914.

8 Guerrero Youcham (1966), pp. 160–64.

9 New York Tribune, June 26, 1914.

10 Journal of Commerce, June 26, 1914.

11 Washington Post, July 1, 1914.

12 Philadelphia Inquirer, June 26, 1914.

13 Delegates of General Huerta to Mediators, attached to Dodge to Secretary of State, Washington, July 3, 1914, United States Department of State (1922), pp. 555–56, File No. 812.00/12411 (U.S. spelling preserved).

14 Special Agent Canova to Secretary of State, Saltillo, July 6, 1914, United States Department of State (1922), pp. 558–59, File No. 812.00/12429.

15 Canova to Secretary of State, Saltillo, July 6, 1914, United States Department of State (1922), pp. 558–59, File No. 812.00/12429. Canova was a member of a Spanish American family from St. Augustine, Florida, and had lived for a number of years in Cuba. He was dispatched by Wilson to northern Mexico as a Special Agent to assist George Carothers, and specifically to accompany Carranza’s headquarters, while Carothers did the same with Villa.

16 Letter from Carranza to Zubáran, appended to Vice Consul Silliman to Secretary of State, Saltillo, July 10, 1914, United States Department of State (1922), p. 562, File No. 812.00/12469.

17 This summary is drawn from Link (1954), pp. 127–48.

© Les Presses de l’Université d’Ottawa | University of Ottawa Press, 2009

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540

Acheter

Volume papier

Chargement

Unavailable