Pancho Villa and the Attack on Columbus, New Mexico Author(s): Friedrich Katz Source: The American Historical

Review, Vol. 83, No. 1 (Feb., 1978), pp. 101-130 Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the American Historical Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1865904 . Accessed: 02/10/2011 20:44
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Pancho Villa and the Attackon Columbus, New Mexico
FRIEDRICH KATZ

ON

the town of Columbus, New Mexico, to cries of "Viva Villa" and "Viva the According all available evidence, leaderoftheattackwas the to Mekxico." generalFrancisco"Pancho" Villa. The raiderswere Mexican revolutionary a in repulsedby unitsof the i3th U.S. Cavalry,garrisoned Columbus,after Americans battle.More than one hundredMexicans and seventeen six-hour The died in the fighting. United States responseto the attackcame quickly. initially composedof fourthousand expedition, Withinone week a punitive eight hundredmen (later increasedto ten thousandmen) commandedby invaded the Mexican state of Chihuahua under GeneralJohnJ. Pershing, of WoodrowWilsonto capturetheleaderand instigator from President orders provedto be both expedition theColumbusraid, Pancho Villa. The Pershing the disaster.In politicalterms,it brought United a politicaland a military of largesegments the Statesto thebrinkofwar withMexico and antagonized terms,it failed completelyin its attemptto Mexican public. In military into withdrew the expedition captureVilla. On February5, 1917,thepunitive UnitedStates,havingfailedeven to catch sightof its elusiveprey.' in intervention Latin Americahas been all too common;the U.S. military Villa raid on Columbus is the one instance of Latin American military intervention the United States. Perhaps forthat reason, it has been the in What led Villa to undersubjectofwidespreadspeculationand controversy.
I would like to thankthe University Chicago forDoththe researchtimeand moneyit grantedme to of preparethisarticle. 1 There is a verylarge body ofliterature the punitive on expedition intoMexico. For some ofthe main workswritten Americans, Haldeen Braddy,Pershing's by see Expedition Mexico(El Paso, 1966);Clarence in Clendenen, The 11nited Statesand PanchoVilla (Port Washington, N.Y., 1971); ArthurS. Link, Wt'ilson. Confu.si(on(Cr i.-l9ii and "S, (Princeton, 964),and Wilson:. 1 Campaigns Progressivism Peace(Princeton, and for 1965); Hlerbert Molloy Mason, Jr., TheGreat Pursuit (New York, 1970);Donald Smythe, (;uerrilla Warrior (New York, i963); Michael L. Tate, "Pershing'sPunitive Expedition:Pursuerof Banditsor Presidential Panacea?" TheAmericas, (1975): 46-72; and FrankTompkins,Chasing 32 V'illa (Harrisburg, Pa., 1939). For two Mexican works, one a monograph and the othera collection documents authorssympathetic of by to E. Carranza, see AlbertoSalinas Carranza, La ExpedicionPunitiva (Mexico, 1936);and Josefina de Fabela, ed., D)ocumentos hist6ricos la Revolucion de For works AlexicanaXII Expedicion PunitiVa, 2 vols. (Mexico, 1967-68). by Mexican authorssympathetic Villa, see AlbertoCalzadiaz Barrera,Porque to V'illaataco a Columbus (Mexico, 1972); Nellie Campobello, Apuntes sobre vida militar b'rancisco de V'illa(Mexico, 1940); and la FedericoCervantes, F'rancisco y la Revoluci6n (Mexico, i960). Vlilla I0I

MARCH

9, I9I6,

A MEXICAN

RAIDING

FORCE

of fivehundred men attacked

102

Friedrich Katz

take this seemingly quixotic adventure? The dispute among historians as to his motives shows no signs of abating. Among the reasons usually given, the most prominent are (i) Villa's desire to revenge himself on the Wilson administration for its recognition and support of his enemy, Mexican President Venustiano Carranza; (2) Villa's desire to revenge himselfon U.S. arms speculators who had cheated him; (3) Villa's wish to capture supplies of food and arms; and (4) Villa's hope of obtaining German arms and support in returnforhis attack against the United States.2 Most historians have viewed the attack on Columbus as an act of irresponsibility best and of complete at irrationality at worst. Some have suspected Villa of harboring an almost pathological hatred of the United States afterthe Wilson administrationhad with repaid him forhis initial support of U.S. aims and his refusalto interfere U.S. business interestsby aiding his rivals. In any case, the great disparity between what Villa might have expected to gain and what losses Mexico could expect to sufferas a result of his attack on the United States has led many to interpret the raid as little more than the revenge of a reckless desperado. New documentaryevidence suggests that Villa was neitheras irrational nor as irresponsible as is commonly suggested. The reasons and circumstances usually adduced to explain his decision to attack Columbus were at best secondary in importance. The primarymotivationwas Villa's firmbelief that Woodrow Wilson had concluded an agreement with Carranza that would virtuallyconvert Mexico into a U.S. protectorate. Although such an agreement never existed, Villa had reasonable grounds forsupposing that it did. In light of this supposition, his actions can no longer be construed as the blind revengeof an unprincipled bandit. They must be viewed as a calculated effort to safeguard what Villa believed others had blindly surrendered-Mexico's independence.

To UNDERSTAND HOW VILLA CAME TO BELIEVE in the existence of an agreement forwhich he neverreceived any directevidence, one must delve somewhat into the historyof the constitutionalistmovement,of which he was a part, and of its relations with the U.S. government and U.S. business interests. The constitutionalistmovement emerged in northernMexico in March 1913 after the overthrowand assassination of revolutionaryPresident Francisco I. Madero by conservativeforcesled by General Victoriano Huerta. The immediate
2 For interpretations the motives Villa's attackon Columbus,see, in additionto theworks citedin for of the previousnote,Charles Harris III and Louis R. Sadler, "Pancho Villa and the Columbus Raid: The

Missing Documents," New Mexico HistoricalReview,50 (1975): 335-47; Larry A. Harris, Pancho Villa and the Katz, "Alemania y FranciscoVilla," Historia Mexicana, 12 (1962): Raid (El Paso, 1949);Friedrich Columbus Revolution(Berlin, 1964); Francis J. Munch, "Villa's 83-103, and Deutschland,Diaz, und die mexikanische Columbus Raid: Practical Politics or German Design?" New Mexico HistoricalReview,44 (iq6q): 189-214; Mexico, 1915-1916: A New Look at the Columbus in James A. Sandos, "German Involvement Northern Telegram Historical Review,50 (1970): 70-89; Barbara Tuchman, The Zimmermann Raid," Hispanic American
32 (1975): 72-92.

(New York, 1958);and E. Bruce White,"The Muddied WatersofColumbus,New Mexico," TheAmericas,

stronglyopposed confiscatingthe wealth of Mexico's upper class. oil and other From the beginning.and perhaps even by contributionsmade by U." and Douglas Richmond. 1963).I I had been financed essentially by funds "borrowed" by Madero's brother. 1976). Cervantes. investments See. 19151920" (Ph. unddie mexicanische Revolution. They faced a longer and more exhausting struggle against a more vigorous and determined enemy than that opposed by the Madero movement. it was clear to the various leaders of business interests. "Standard Oil and the Financing of the Mexican Revolution. ed. Carranza did not very frequentlydeal with this problem in public. Wilkie. even though he was forcedon occasion to accede to confiscationscarried out independentlyby some of his generals. 6o-6. confiscating all the landholdings of the Chihuahuan upper classes. As soon as he could. University of Washington. "Agrarian Changes in Northern Mexico in the Period of Villista Rule. reprint ed. he did in everything his power to emphasize the temporary character of such measures and prohibited the land frombeing divided among the peasantry. When Carranza could not preventthe confiscationof estates.Gustavo. see Kenneth J. 186. 1955). James W. and Edna Monz6n de Wilkie (Mexico.Pancho Villa. 45 Di)az. New York. La Vida del GeneralLucio Blanco (Mexico. For possible links between Madero and the oil companies. 1917). FranciscoMadero. Carranza's financial strategywas verydifferent.4The propertyof other foreigners. Initially.Many Spaniards and much of theirland was were expelled fromthe Villa-controlled territories especially Americans.S. See Katz. Primer Jefedel EjrSrcito de la Republica: Leido ante el Congreso la Uni6nen la Sesion de 15 de Abril de I9I7 (Mexico. was left confiscated.Villa burdened them with neitherheavy taxes nor contriHe butions. Grieb. strategies were evolved by the revolutionaryleaders in Two very different northernMexico to meet the expenses of the fight. 68. "The First Chief and Revolutionary Mexico: The Presidency of Venustiano Carranza. Friedrich Katz. untouched. FranciscoVilla. Insurgent Mexico (1914. Since U." C'alifornia HistoricalSociety Quarterly.. These were managed on the state's behalf by state administrators. Meyer.on one of the few times he did publicly address this issue. 122. he spoke to the Constitutional Convention at Queretaro in 1917. Deutschland. Michael C. October 1973). preferringinstead to stress his commitment to agrarian reform. "Agrarian Changes in Northern Mexico.S. Carranza. he returned these properties to their owners. D. Stanley R. and John Reed. the Spaniards. 5 The problem of the confiscation of haciendasby revolutionary authorities and the later return of these estates to their formerowners by the Carranza government is one of the most important and least studied aspects of the Mexican Revolution.Venustiano del Encargadodel PoderLjecutivo Constitucionalista. especially. sought to shiftthe burden of financing the revolution onto the old Porfirian upper classes and some weaker groups of foreigners-above all. by forcedloans levied on wealthy Mexicans in the northernparts of the country. By the end of 1913 he went further. dissertation. Ross. Carranza decided to shiftas much of the burden of new taxes as possible onto foreign companies. He very de definitely showed his opposition when he reprimanded General Lucio Blanco. See Informe Ct. (1971): 59-71. 79. and Katz." in Contemporary Mexico (Papers of the Fourth International Congress of Mexican History. froma French railroad company. 1976). Apostleof Democracy (New York. who in 1913 divided the lands of the Hacienda de los Borregos among the peasants.on Pancho Villa and theAttack C'olumbus 103 problem was to find ways to finance its war against the Huerta government. See Armando de Maria y Campos. At firsthe contented himself with exacting forced loans. 1969). whose sway extended essentiallyover Chihuahua and Durango.3 the constitutionalistmovement that raising funds on such a makeshiftbasis for would not suffice them.5 In order to meet his financial problems. The short-livedMadero movement of I 9 I 0. .

S. Villa's expropriations prevented this process fromoccurring in Chihuahua.8 6 Pascual Orozco.. government.6 Thanks to his expropriationof large cattle estates in Chihuahua and.iexis an Rebel: (Lincoln. The confiscationshad the additional tactical advantage of divertingmuch of the popular support Orozco had been able to secure throughvague promises of land reform. Villa could count on sufficient resources to finance his revolutionformost of 1914 without having to put pressure on U. eventually. many of whom had actively supported the Madero movement. support. arms and. later. The Orozco revolt frequentlyhas been linked to the large estate owners in Chihuahua.S.wrote in his autobiography. No revolutionary movement could have survived in Chihuahua without destroying both the economic and political power of the traditional ruling oligarchy.104 Friedrich Katz predominated in northernMexico.in part. Villa doubtless hoped to gain access to U.S. the character of the region he controlled. Nov. government.S. of the cotton grown by Spanish landowners in the Laguna area.S.S.No prominenthacendados supported the Madero movement in Chihuahua. even to gain officialrecognitionby the U. The latter's domain possessed a relatively liberal group of hacendados. this produced repeated conflictswith U. companies.S. businessmen. Carranza) were recruited fromthat group.S. companies purchased land and other assets frommembers of the upper class who panicked as the Revolution progressed and were ready to sell out at cut-rate prices. business interestsfarbetter than had his rival.S. ultimately. 336-37. the in difference the social originsofthe two men. the Madero family. in contrast to the states of Coahuila and Sonora dominated by Carranza. I.with the U. 8 One of America's most famous muckrakers.however. Neb. See Vida A' eva (Chihuahua). a fact which helps to explain why taxes on those companies were far higher in Carranza's zone than in Villa's. See Michael Meyer. The (Guggenheims: Making ofan American Dynasty(New York. Villa solved his financial problems by dealing less reverently with Mexicanowned private property than Carranza. Most of them fiercelyopposed the Madero movement and showed themselves signally unprepared for even the most moderate reforms. but the only reason they gave was that he was 1912. they were the firstto take an active stand against Madero by aiding the Orozco rebellion of 1912. . staged an uprising against Madero in In his program he emphasized the need for agrarian reform. Villa insisted that he had treated U. Villa's irreverencetoward private propertyalso reflected.Nexican people after the United States recognized Carranza. a policy that reflected. Lincoln Steffens. Villa expropriated Chihuahua's large estates. "The Reds in New York who were watching NMexico were on Villa's side. and . Villa grew up as a sharecropper and later became a cattle rustler. Almost all of the Madero leaders in Coahuila and Sonora (for example. a former leader of the Revolution of 9 o-l l. 1937). business interestsand.7 Through his restrainttoward U. Elsewhere in Mexico.Yet he did not cater to the interestsof U. 1967). By contrast. Despite the obstacle to furtherAmericanization. business. Carranza-at the other end of the social spectrum-was born and raised a hacendado.S.ascual O()rozco theMexican Revolution The Harvey O'Connor. companies won him a good measure of initial U. in fact. 21. promising the peasants that the land would be divided up as soon as the victoryof the Revolutionhad been ensured. U.though he never distributed any land. In a manifesto issLed to the . Villa's impressive ability to control his troops and his restrainedtaxation of U. Realizing this. 1915.S. Villa's region had a far less liberal class of hacendados.

Pancho Villa and theAttack Columbus on 105 How did Villa's tolerance toward U. WhereasVilla .He 'Well.narrow-minded. i6.S.In April 1914.Scott Papers. is For a briefperiod.S. were farmoresympathetic Carranza.S. This policydid notlastlong. They indicatePierce'sstrong sympathies Carranza.also favored Villa. Villa's relations with the administration have been the subject of intensive research. leastthrough of which 1914.entitled"Pancho Villa.1960).thebest the to Jan. strong enough to at least a bandit. a Barabbas.Jack Reed in a talkedthatway. whosecompanycontrolled hugeCananea minein Sonora. businessinterests by favored Villa.beforeU.C. Wilson:The Struggle NVeutrality (Princeton.to Lazaro de la Garza.Ricketts Scott.9 Wilson was willing to throw U.head ofanotheroil company. .' And they agreedthatVilla was theman. Autobiography The ofLincoln U. establishedclose relations withCarranza. Reports and Hearings.University to Texas at Austin. The authenticity is the Herald'srevelations confirmed a telegramsent by Felix Sommerfeld. 1915.had a similarattitude. statedhis strong He over of nomination AlbertoPani as administrator the Mexican railroads.Clendenen. theNew YorkHerald. (2) respect forparliamentary institutionsand an intentionto carry out free elections as Madero had done. above all. . we have triedout bothofthemand Carranza. especially.Obstinate. Co. Sommerfeld de la Garza. for Mexico-was more thanjust a lawyer. This was certainly 334-36. Some ofthe letters thusobtainedwerepublishedin adherents. I thought a trick used to practice making quick of I on decisionin politicsat home.William 1915. Ricketts.and he laterwentin on Villa's side. the American of referred Villa as a bandit and called forU.the GermanAmbassadorin G. to of taxes on intervention Mexico. box 15 (general correspondence). stated beforea Senate hearingin ig9g that his company. Steffens York.See UnitedStatesSenate Documents. you see. recognition Carranza. The oil companies. he has thrown out again and again.who-according to Paul von Hintze.president Mexican Petroleum.. Hearst's changeofattitude in was probablydue to the imposition higher at foreign holdings Villa.wallet no.and onJune3.who owneda huge ranchin Chihuahua. You mustn't theidea that get just because he's a bandithe's no good. Theycame eagerto 'startme off right. the called on and invited to luncheon.Lazaro de la Garza Collection. 1919. Villa's representative. (4) strict respect forU.S. 20.S.Yet thereis little doubtthatsomeofthemostimportant trueofthe largest of mining companieswithlargeinterests Mexico supported in Villa.Sherbourne Hopkins. 1931). 715. 1912." Hearst's New York American blamedWilsonfor supporting not of Villa as president Mexico. TheGuggenheims. Investigation ForeignRelationsCommittee.Libraryof Congress. business interestsaffectthe policies of the Wilson administration?Unlike his relations with the business interests. us proud as hell.who was in]June involved onlyin theoil businessbutalso in Mexican railroads. well as his disappointment of as of to Villa's reluctance recognize Pani's authority. had supported Carranza from1913 onwardand paid him$685. "Of course. Steffen's statements onlypartly are true. the New YorkHerald for 1914.AA2. 8. (New Villa is. 1914. In an editorial September26. Washington. landowningbourgeois.also linkedto Standard chiefretainedthe Oil. organizedfromthe United States in Latin America. and PanchoVilla. publishedon RandolphHearst. whichis so steadily wrong all social questions. for 9See. close collaboratorof in a of Hopkins. Link." he wroteto GeneralHugh ScottinJanuary1915.J." See Hintze to Bethmann-Hollweg. whereasCarranza was a respectable. Theirreason? withhim. See June28.the . 1920): 278. 13.S. probablyorganizedby Huerta DeutschesZentralarchiv Potsdam.I'd ask Wall Street.' " LincolnSteffens. a tookplace in Hopkins'sWashington office.ooo an advanceon future taxes.IfI could of findout whichside Wall Streetwas on.S. Senate Document no. 14.2d Session. Pierce. D. and ArthurS. support behind any serious contender for power in Mexico who could meet five criteria: (i) a demonstrable inclination to carry out social and political reformsto stabilize the country. Not all U.chaps. no.including some kind of agrarian reform(Wilson never specified how far-reaching such a reformhad to be and at whose expense it was to be carried out).So I severalofthem inquireddowntherefor big businessmenwithMexican interests. .bothhe and Hopkinsexpressed As supportforCarranza's hope thathe could now regainmuchofhis former influence.like many others as doingbusinessin Mexico. them-The AmericanSmelting and Refining See O'Connor. propertyrightsand no partialitytoward European and. we can't do a thing won't listento reason. of Mexican Affairs. the StrongMan of Mexico.D. break-in. 285.S. not had lostmuchofhispowerto theBritish the of of Cowdrayinterests. undated. Edward Doheny. HenryClay Pierce. to had close linkswithStandard Oil. (3) dedication to the system of free enterprisewithout being subservientto any single business interest. 4461. man thattheyfound Villa.Von Hintze called him "a professional attorney revolutions Feb. I could go to the otherwiththe certainty being right. The U. Both he and the Mexican revolutionary same lawyer. British interests. and (5) a commanding personality. i (66th Congress. a result Carranza's control muchofMexico. We have had him seen and-he's all right.

the man charged with making policy recommendations to the U. '0 For an excellentassessmentof Woodrow Wilson's attitudetoward underdeveloped and States Revolutionary Nationalism Mexzco in (Chicago. 12Jusserand to Doumergues. Archivesdu Ministerede Affaires (Paris).Wilsonalso expressed 1 See Link. I do not see anyoneexcepthim who would successfully carryout thistask. new ser. property. He Villa becomespopularvery easilyand is able to maintainhis popularity. representatives.1 o6 Friedrilch Katz impose control over all of Mexico. bespoke desire forreform.. president said thatVilla. and a number of high officialsin the administration believed they had found such a man in Villa. His public statements beliefin free cordialitytoward U.well able to seize and hold power in Mexico and ready to turn it over to an elected president once the Revolution had triumphed.. however. 1914. interests located in Villa's and Villa's unwillingness to protest. and a first-class Huerta is. onlystatedthathe considered He president.S. Villa's good relationship with U. The U. he would forceall revolutionaries maintain order.and sometimes authorities creating own code of law. 2. country." The Wilson administration's sympatheticattitude toward Villa manifested itselfclearly in the comment made about Villa by an unnamed high official to the French ambassador in Washington as early as January 19I4: In contrastto what is generallystated. occupation of Veracruz further strengthenedthe Wilson administration's sympathyforthe Chihuahua revolutionary.S.Villa is not a man withoutproperty. 1914.S.S. Etrangeres. the newspapers than primary as He are describehim to be. Wilson's special emissary to Mexico. Mexique Pol. president.'0 For a time President Wilson. (Paris). an excellent dangeror ofthe law. He is not illiterate.'2 The lack of complaints among the large U. When the Frenchdiplomatasked him whom he would supportin case of a break betweenVilla and Carranza. see countries. he had the appearance of a strongman. In the presentstate of Mexico. to would be encouraged developthe on beingquestionedas to whatextent foreigners stated that therewould be no dispositionto prohibitsuch development.See Charge d'Affaires that its leader did not aspire to become a candidate forprovisional Archives Ministere Affaires du de Etrangeres. had no otherschooling as school but he did attendthat. 1971).and is verypopular amongthem. . In addition. is of Indian origin. new ser. against territory the U. imposedhis rule on others. (Washington) ForeignMinistry.and Wilsonthought his himcapable ofkeeping word. RobertFreemanSmith.afterhis break with Carranza.helps them. 9..S. territories had no control. takes care ofhis soldiers. of the president Mexico.chap. 9.had declaredthathe would tolerate no excesses.Were I wellre-establish but. His He parentsowned a ranchand enjoyeda certainprosperity. Wilson: Struggle Aeutrality.as Carranza had done. His letters even well formulated.S.respect for U. He would be order. I am convincedof that.S. Mexique Pol.Jan. 27. to July27.he could very incapableofruling. his his controlling adherents.ifhe wantedto. upon entering Mexico Cityat the head ofhis troops. has no fearofphysical rider.It is the same life where of which many people led in remoteterritories our own West.The United such ideas in a conversation 238-41. institutions. This diminution of support emerged quite clearly in conversations he held with Duval West. West reported that Villa. and commitment to free enterprise. business interestsbegan to deteriorate.where everyonewas his own master. I would chargehim withthistask: He would successfully to carryit out. He marksman. The for in on on the subjectof Villa withthe Frenchcharged'affaires Washington July27. Wilson did not answer him and believed Villa's armytheessentialforceofthe Revolution directly. Secretaryof State William Jennings Bryan. and he veryearlyled the lifeofa ranchman.

and Villa. File 812. furtherdiminishing the flow of revenue. See thereports special Spanish agent de en Historia la Revolucion el Estado Sonora de "Los Espafiolesen August 1915. Perhaps by this time Villa simply feltstrongenough to reveal concepts and sentimentshe had not dared to express before.14 Afterhis defeat at Celaya in April I9I5. He had exhausted a great part of the resources-mostly cotton and cattle-that the confiscated estates had brought him.15 The effectswere immediately obvious: prices soared. 1971): 236-38. 172-75. 1890-i950(New York. 1910-1930.S. companies and by tryingto cajole them into resuming operations through threats of confiscation. Politicay Econ6mica de M6jico. companies. When he made the declaration in February I9I5. as of the Spanish ForeignMinistry. 1976)." and Villa had to compete with Great Britain. 16 Reportby agent Emilio Zapico to the Spanish ambassador in Washington. Villa's financial situation worsened. as well as large U. then. I gettheidea from foregoing the statement from failure GeneralVilla to and the of take theopportunity afforded the questionto makeclear thewishofhis followers by to encourageforeign capital thathe is standing thepopulardemandthat"Mexico on should be forMexicans" and that an open door to foreign investors an ultimate is dangerto the nation. of Social.S. EmilioZapico to the Spanish ambassadorin Washington. Many oil companies fromwhich Carranza drew his revenue were located near the coast and felt sufficiently well protected by foreignwarships even to expand theiroperations. they were never published. what had been a "buyer's market" turned into a "seller's market. i9i0-i930" (Ph.Pancho Villa and theAttack Columbus on I07 exceptthat. of State Files. like many observers in Mexico. was convinced that Carranza's defeat was imminent. 4 MarvinD."Los Espafiolesen la Vida University Madrid. support forVilla. began to divest themselvesof large amounts of Villa currencyacquired when it seemed that he would soon prevail. IfIistoria la Revoluci6n el Estadode Chilhuahua.S.(Mexico. and food riots broke out all over the Villa zone.13 It seems surprisingthat Villa. National Archives. chap.in Loscertales. la Vida Social. chose to make such a declaration to the man on whom Wilson relied fora criticaljudgment concerning further U. quoted in VicenteGonzalez Loscertales. Bernstein.S.D.or would not. whose intelligencewas attestedto by friendand foe alike. dissertation.5"293-395. His motive was certainlynot propaganda. and other powers forscarce U. his decisive defeat at Celaya was still two months off. Financial problems had already begun to plague him by the end of I9I4. Villa's statementswere not designed forpublic consumption.that he should attempt to relieve his financial distress somewhat by imposing heavier taxes on U.mainly the mining companies. That it was his idea that the country should be developedby Mexican capital and thatthiscapital shouldbe compelledor required-he did notsay whator howor when-to employitself theestablishment theusual industrial in of enterprise. Archives December 1915. TheMexican Mining Industry. No wonder. business interests in Mexico. France. his access to weapons was obstructed by the outbreak of the First World War. Mexican and U. Suddenly. arms. food became scarce.S.'6 13 Undated Report by Duval West to the Secretary of State.00 14622. 16FranciscoAlmada. Dept. As the civil war with Carranza wore on and escalated.be permitted to own lands. Villa was more acutely affectedby such suspensions than Carranza.in thecase oflands. 1971). . suspended operations. 9.and 2 en de of (Mexico. 964). speculators. Politicay Econ6mica de M6jico. Villa's remarks happened to coincide with his increased pressure on U. To compound the evils besettingVilla by the end of I9I4. enterprises.foreigners shouldnot. many U. Record Group 59.S.S. Whatever the cause.

for chap. in fact. "You are not the only one astounded by the action of the administration.S. and l `ancho( illa. otherwise you can't explain to them that it was not your fault if not carried out.'7 From May I9I5 onward. Scott Papers. The historyof Mexican-American relations between May and October 1915 is a topic well beyond the scope of this paper. 17 18 . 1915 to James R. made Villa suspicious that some important clandestine event had changed Wilson's mind. and Pancho Villa. companies mounted. 456-94. 19 In a letter of October 14. T'he U. afterVilla's militarydefeats had decisively if not fatally weakened his hold on Mexico. Scott later stated that he never delivered this message to Villa. box 20 (general correspondenice). Chief of Staff General Hugh Scott wrote. especially. as I believe that matters of that kind should be held back when dealing with primitivepeople unless you have the carrying out of them in your own hands.io8 Friedrich Katz At this moment Villa sufferedhis most palpable loss of popular support. 165-91. Clendenen. learn of Wilson's assurances. 155-207. can understand it.S. who was acting as a lobbyist forVilla. Garfield. his relations with Washington grew more and more muddled.S."9 The president's sudden about-face. Lansing told Scott to assure Villa that Wilson would under no circumstances recognize Carranza.S. Nobody in the State D)epartment. I had a lucid interval down there while talking to Villa. below the Secretary himself. state department but not a complete break between Villa and the Wilson administration. Attempts were made to impose a solution to the civil war by eliminating both Villa and Carranza fromthe scene. It'ilson: 'TheStruggle Neutrality. coming only a short time after he had invited Villa to send delegates to Washington to participate in a peace conference and afterLansing had given assurances that the United States would never recognize Carranza. but Villa's agents in the United States did.U." Library of Congress. 14. See. Villa sought relief by increasing the financial pressure on U. Wilson sent General Hugh Scott to negotiate with Villa concerning the return of some expropriated U. In October 1915 Wilson finallyrecognized Carranza's government. Lansing told me to say to Villa that under no circumstances would we recognize Carranza.He wished to avert a complete takeover by Carranza. Link. Only a few weeks before the United States governmentgranted recognition to the Carranza government. Villa agreed to the administration's proposal that he send delegates to participate in a peace conference-sponsored by the ABC powers and the United States-at which the contending Mexican factions would be represented. Both sides still needed each other to forestalla complete victoryby Carranza.S. all the more so since the nature of these relations has been closely examined elsewhere. and is of relevance to this study. and Clendenen. is the suddenness of Wilson's change of heart regarding Carranza. Nothing Carranza ever did in the way of promising social and political reform proved as detrimental to Villa as the economic collapse that struck the territoriesunder his control. Tensions between Villa and U.S. You remember I told you that Mr. companies. The U. holdings. fears of German intriguesin Mexico significantly influenced this decision. and did not tell him what Secretary Lansing told me to tell him. Wilson tried to steer a precarious course.S. which in turn provoked angry reprimands from the U.S. U.'8 What has not been sufficiently analyzed. cooling his support of Villa appreciably though not entirely.

He made no overtdeclarations against the Wilson administration. I wishto expressmythanks GeneralGonzAlez to Garza's daughter. Lourdes. New Mexico. when his troops attacked Columbus. detaileddescription and analysisofVilla's Sonorancampaign. Domination of both Chihuahua and Sonora would have diminished significantlythe effectivenessof the weapons embargo. government take us into consideration and that the originalplan of the at participants theconference wouldbe implemented withsatisfactory for results US. 8 (1977): 125-50? ..July 1916. It would have meant. Villa assumed a new attitude toward the United States. 20Report of'Operations of "General" Francisco Villa since November i915." Western of Historical deceived .everything was proceeding yourfavor. even though it had already recognized Carranza. urged his chief in October 1915."Massacre at San Pedro de la Cueva: The Significance Pancho Villa's DisastrousSonora Campaign. Villa hoped to tip the scale and assume controlofthe entirestate. privatearchiveof General Roque GonzAlezGarza (Mexico City)..22Afterthis humiliating defeat. situation our was very good.. By invading Sonora. territory-with officialU. 26. On October 29 the emissary wrote Villa a long description and analysis of the events leading up to the recognition of his enemy: It was a great blow to me to see that you have always been miserably deceived. Perhaps the administrationin Washington. permission. Sonora. we wereone step clearestassurancesthat. one that was to dominate his actions more and more between November 1915 and March I9I6. formerhead of the Government of the Revolutionary Convention and Villa's representativein the United States. The state was wracked by a civil war between the forces of Governor Jose Maria Maytorena. 1915. Nlexico. Oct. afterthe recognition of Carranza by the United States.S. Naylor. propertyunder Villa's control.S."Massacre at San Pedro de la Cueva. I was also viewofinternational politicalrelations. For a 3. however. ended disastrously for Villa. Headquarters Punitive In Expedition...S.S. This hope is probably one of the main reasons why Roque Gonzalez Garza. as one U. His army was decimated when Carranza unexpectedly reinforced the garrison at Agua Prieta by marching his troops across U. would be forced to accommodate Villa in some fashion.. to proceed as rapidly as possible with plans to attack Carranza's forcesat Agua Prieta. 22 Naylor. fromthe point of fromrecognition by the United States . 31. 21 QUarterly. I was clearly told that. "the increased possibility of smuggling arms from the United States." 130.. Mexican Claims Commission. In fact. Afterarrivingin Torreon . and those loyal to Carranza.from pointof viewof international the politics. National Archives."20 It would also have placed appreciable amounts of U.Pancho Villa and theAttack Columbus on VILLA'S I09 FIRST REACTION TO THE RECOGNITION of his enemy was mild.S.for permission to use thisarchive.2" The Sonoran campaign. This new attitude doubtlessly owed much to the interpretation that Roque Gonzailez Garza gave to Wilson's decision to recognize Carranza. he still hoped to circumventthe most painful consequence of Wilson's action-the embargo on weapons-by carryingout his planned invasion of the border state of Sonora. the Field.see Thomas H. in thatonlya smalleffort our partwas required the on for to U. A few days went by and you received the Roque GonzAlezGarza to Villa. who had allied himself with Villa.. possiblythis took place in good faithbut you were always deceived. military intelligence officerput it.and no Americans in his zone sufferedharm.

26.24 It was published in the November 21 issue of Villa's newspaper... U. Gonzalez Garza archive. 1915. "God knows how many secret pacts" Carranza had signed with the United States. Vida)P'ueva.S. a He continued angrily. who had plundered them.23 The dark plot and secret pact that he intimated were spelled out in a manifesto issued on November 5. the to U. we werevery Everything badly off...was an enormous humiliation us since for we weredelegatesto thepeace conference. This resolution approvedand we suffered greatblow.. communicated abrupto thefour ex to winds.All historical precedents wereignored.S. Bitterly.he stated. (2) GonzAlez Garza to Villa.I 10 Friedrich Katz Gonzailez Garza did not mention the name of the person who had given these assurances to Villa. forI have no otherexplanationforthe sudden change in U." The manifesto furthercharged that Carranza had agreed to eight conditions imposed by the United States: (i) amnesty to all political prisoners. of In another part of the letter.S. I havenever in but thatCarranzawouldtriumph thought theinternational he after playedthecomedyofbeingthemostnationalpoliticalfield isticofall Mexicansand after provoked UnitedStatestwoor threetimes. turnedout to havebeen a lie. policyagainstour groupand in favor Carranza. 19I5 in Naco. Silvestre Terrazas. I have seen manyinjustices."-had suddenly obtained not only the recognition but also the active support of the United States. Oct. Historia de la Revolucion el Estado de Chihuahua. Almada quotes a conversation with Villa's formersecretary of state. This decision. special agent in the Villa camp with whom Villa had entertained good relations. but I am convincedthat something verydark has been agreed on.S. werenottoldanything thesolemn We and declarations made by Wilsonat an earlierdate weresimply discarded. 23 24 . who had deprived foreigners as often as he could of the lands they owned in the eastern and southern parts of the Republic. territory.2: 382. en Almada. sincewe had come to theconference readyto make peace but in an honorable was way. The gth of October arrivedand the at participants the conference decided to recognizeCarranza .. Sonora. who for a long time had been part of Villa's administrationin the state of Chihuahua. The manifestobluntlyanswered its own question: "The price for these favors was simply the sale of our country by the traitor Carranza. That he left open the possibility of the intermediary's good faith indicates that he was probably referring George Carothers.we were not even listenedto. signed by Villa and probably drafted by Roque Gonzalez Garza's brother Federico. as the basis forhis observation on the authorship of the manifesto.Even commonsense was notrespected.Gonzalez Garza then went on to describe how Villa's delegates at the Washington peace conferencewere treated by their American hosts: Our situation was depressing. support to Carranza entailed nothing less than a $soo-million loan and permission for Carranza's troops to cross into U. and who had always aroused the repugnance of the U. According to Villa. The manifesto raised the question why Carranza-who "had never given guarantees to Americans.S.I do the he not entirelyknow what has been decided concretely.

would grant a $500-millionloan to the Mexican governmentto be guaranteed by a lien on the entire income of the Mexican treasury. for Villa raised the possibility of an armed conflict with the United States. " Villa asked. history ties. state department with assembling all possible informationon Villa's activities. the formerU. allowingtheirsoil to be crossedbythe"constitution" of or a alisttroops. wishto statethatI have no motive wishing all betweenmycountry and the UnitedStates. Not even George Carothers.. (7) the United States.or financial agents the United States had stationed along the border reportedthe publication of this manifestowhich contained such clear forebodingsofVilla's intentions.with a representative of the U. "harbor the illusion that they can exploit 'peacefully while thanking God' the riches of Mexican soil?" He continued. For thisreason."Can foreigners. and (8) General Pablo Gonzalez would be named provisional president and would call forelections within six months.or had they 25 V'ida NVueva (Chihuahua). made any mention of the Naco Manifesto. Nov. said. Almada en printed this manifesto in the appendix to his La Revoluci6n el Estado de Chihuahua.since he has freedme of the and.S. who was charged by the U. through Wall Street bankers. Although it has been ignored by U. This does notimply feeling enmity hatredagainsttherealpeople ofthe UnitedStatesofNorthAmerica. traditions. glorious whomI respectand admirefortheir and fortheirlove ofprogress. . and finance would be filledby candidates enjoying the support ofthe Washington government. I declineany responsibility future efforts giveguarantees to to well perfectly thatI have alwayscarriedout superhuman Let assign responsibilieach of theirnationalswho is livingin our country. 21.2: 382. Tehuantepec. (6) the Mexican National Railways would be controlled by the governingboard in New York until the debts to this board were repaid.S. and an unnamed region in the oil zone. special agent with Villa. 1915. foreign affairs. Did these men simply not bother to read Vida Nueva. (4) all paper money issued by the Revolution would be consolidated after consultation with a representativenamed by the White House. historians. effectiveguarantees? .S. (3) an agreement that the ministries of the interior. while he denied that that was his intent: for a I After such a clear-cut declaration. Villa's policies in the next months were clearly presaged in passages of this manifesto.25 Significantly. governmentto have supervision over Mexico's compliance with this provision. Wilson for.S. can Can they be naive enough to assume that Carranza's government give them As far as I am concerned. I sincerely and emphatically declare that I have much to thank Mr. to thosewho wereonce free to of professor philosophywho is citizens and are now vassals of an evangelizing of the of people and who violatesthe sovereignty destroying independence a friendly thestatesofArizonaand Texas. to obligation giveguarantees foreigners above all.on Pancho Villa and theAttack Columbus III concession grantingthe United States rightsover Magdaa ninety-nine-year lena Bay. (5) all for just claims by foreigners damages caused by the Revolution would be paid and all confiscated property returned. diplomatic.not one of the innumerable political.. theirexampleoforderand economy.after I have conflict since the Americanpeople know for events. military. especially the Yanquis.

as I contend. because of racial antagonisms and commercial and economic ambitions. Dec. the specter of a pact between Wilson and Carranza began to loom ever larger in Villa's thinking. 1972): 141-43." To the Carranza generals he proposed an alliance 'ithat would unite all of us against the Yanqui who. most likely.I I2 Katz Friedrich become captives of their own image of Villa the Bandit. is the natural enemy of our race and of all Latin countries. he wrote. we have accepted a Yanqui protectorate. would leave Mexico to enjoy elsewhere the enormous sums of money they believed he had accumulated while in power? Did Leon Canova. Calzadiaz Barrera. Villa returnedto Chihuahua at the head of a decimated and demoralized army and found Carranza's troops gaining on his last strongholds in the state. who had by now reached the city of Camargo. In it he made far more concrete proposals than before. i6. it can enter Mexican territory. 1." In case such an alliance was signed. when the United States wants or needs to. its triumph was now inevitable. the head of the Latin American desk in Washington. In it he mentioned the eight provisions of the secret pact that." He added that Carranza had now converted the conventionist movement (Villa and his allies) into the only and independence of Mexico. to suppress it?26 On November 22. de 28 FranciscoVilla toJefe de la Columna Expedicionaria Nortey a los demas Generalesque forman del of parte de ella: Camargo o en donde se Encuentran. because of this Carranzistas "so as not to new development. he would give up command of his troops. Three days aftersigningthis letter. On December i6 he sent a letter to the commanders of the Carranza forces heading for Chihuahua. and. Villa stated that. who. capital of the state of Sonora. But. . Three weeks afterhis unsuccessful overturesto the two Carranza generals. of however.University Californiaat Berkeley. As disaster approached.(Mexico. Villa.28 Villa made a farewell speech to the people of Chihuahua fromthe balcony of 26 Since. 78. Will you allow this?" Villa asked Carranza's generals. evidenceto substantiate no thisassumption. 27 Alberto .27 Villa's hope that the accusations against Carranza would stave offdisaster in his Sonoran campaign proved unfounded. in his opinion.vol. although Angel Flores did send a reply to Villa (the contents of which are not known). Villa sent a letter to the two commanders of Carranza's troops in that cityManuel Dieguez and Angel Flores. 1915. I9I5. After iterating his accusations against Carranza. as events began to turn against him. he only asked them to give their opinions on the charges.pt. forreasons of his own. Carranza had signed with the United States and stated that "we are now in the hands of the North Americans.Villa's charges were based on a plot involving Canova. hoped to enter into some kind of negotiations with Carranza's commanders. Dieguez declined to do even that. afterhis troops had launched an unsuccessfulattack on the Carranza garrison at Hermosillo. his troops had stopped fighting shed Mexican blood. Bancroft Library. He made no specific overturesto them. Silvestre Terrazas Papers. the lattermighthave wanted to preventVilla's accusations frombeing broughtto the attention his superiors.There is. know of the manifestoand decide.11echos Reales la Revoluci6n. forthis group that defended the integrity reason and in spite of all defeats. That the United States allowed Carranza's troops to cross its territorymeant that.

.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~^0 i net e i-*-Sw ott# -'' S ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~M f~~~~~~~~~~ {> < es ~ ~ ~~~~~~ Villa in the mountains.. *~~~ ----~--- ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ .'-''..on Pancho andthe Villa Attack Columbus II3 > 0 .*.. 1977).. . . . eds.lfi*' ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ... Pancho Villa: Intimate Recollections PeopleWhoKnewHim (New York..F. :! ..v.FromJessie Petersonand Thelma Cox Knoles. Photo courtesy by Hastings House Publishers.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ t: +: }=' Si ' r w-A-s.'<'s.'..

Fromtheforegoing willseethatthesale ofthiscountry complete under is and you these for we not stated a circumstances.Villa wentto therailroadstation the capitalcityofthestateto bid goodbyto Silvestre Terrazas.30 This pattern behavior of of had provedcharacteristic many Latin Americancaudillos who lefttheir countries after unsuccessful to coups and revolts rewardthemselves their for exertions withwhatever wealththeyhad been able to accruewhiletheywere mastersofthe nationaltreasury.S. 30 29 . reasons previously. for and and crowns. 53 of Terrazas's Memoirs). He instructed of Terrazas to go to El Paso to arrange withCarranza's authorities thesurrender Villa's troops for of at theborder townofCiudadJuarez. proposalswhichI rejected. havedecided tofire bullet our and more and ourselves attack to against Mexicans. andPancho Villa. Villa had controlled finances theDivisionoftheNorthfor the of years. observers expectedVilla to crosstheborderto find in refuge theUnitedStates. perhaps in order to go to Europe and study the new military techniques being utilizedin WorldWar I. "it will become clear that U.S.Terrazassuggested Villa thathe leave to Mexico. "Beforesix months have passed. describing secretagreement wroteto his ally. "I will never leave my country.S."Here I will stayand fight. Withno one restraining supervising or him. Papers Relating the of (1915). divided armyintoguerrilla my bands.reinforced thisinterpretation sendingWilsona telegram thatindicatedthatVilla would seekrefuge theUnited by in to Foreign Relations theUnited States States. of Clendenen.Villa's Governor Chihuahua. brothers. 5."' announced. 777. "El VerdaderoPancho Villa" (chap. territory and the Villa after containedin his Naco Manifesto.(1955): 769-71. toprepare organize in theAmericans their owndensand make them know Mexicois a landfor the that free a tomb thrones.The U. wherehe could stead retreat he easily elude any hostiletroops.Had he wanted.114 Friedrich Katz the Municipal Palace.hisclosecollaborator and Chihuahuan secretary state. He repeatedhis accusationsthatCarranza had signed a secretpact withthe United States.he could easilyhave depositedlargesumsofmoney foreign in banks. to But Villa did not conform the model."' Villa did not revealto Terrazas the meaningof his six months'timetable. Fidel Avila. his A fewdays after farewell of speech. traitors.S. written fewdays a later." he told Terrazas. recognition the Carranza faction of was not disinterested but in factdependent thesame proposalswhichWashington on made as theprice me of granting recognition.and each chief willgo to thatpartofthe he for of country considers appropriate a period sixmonths.to Emiliano Zapata. With aimofinforming people thesituation inorder organize of and the the to and of recruit greatest the number menwiththeaforementioned I have possible aim."But he stillhad hopes forchange in Mexico.29 As Villa's forces dwindledand theoccupationofall citiesin Chihuahua by Carranza's forces became imminent.222-23. Villa answeredthathe would inwitha numberofloyalmenintothemountains. manyU. isthetime That period we Reportof Operationsof "General" FranciscoVilla. 31 Silvestre in de Terrazas. whichwas foundon the body of a dead Villista afterthe Columbus attack.After for attributing responsibility his defeatat Sonora to Wilson forallowingCarranza's troopsto crossU. But he did make his plans abundantly clear in a letter. Boletin Ia de 8 Sociedad ChihuahuenseEstudios Hist6ricos.

VENUSTIANO CARRANZA as Chiefof the opposingpartyhas Considering: contracted whichplace the country the hands offoreigners. Bruce White. along withFile 2377632. "The Muddied Waters of Columbus.-owned mine.34It is significantthat none of Villa's upper. All were executed. governmentand U. or even the Gonzalez Garza brothers-were involved in this scheme. we shall proceedto organizein therespective and regions the country. property whereverhe found it.S. thatthe C. thing compromises in a the honorableMexican people will neverapprove. waitingbut forthe hourof our utmostweakness! thatrather Considering: the than permit hour to come when we would fallintothe hands of the ambitiousNorthAmericans. thattheUnitedStateswillexactthefulfillmentsaid compromises Considering: of and that upon not obtainingsame will intervene our country in underany pretext." 72-92. and confiscated a large number of cattle and horses. 19I5.on Pancho Villa and theAttack Columbus II 5 we have set to meetin the stateofChihuahua withall the forces will have recruited in the country carryout the movement that will uniteall Mexicans. File 34 Ibid. would become the accomplicesto the we traitor's party.32 hatredand provoking The letterto Zapata was preceded by a conferenceof all militarychiefsstill loyal to Villa at the Hacienda de Bustillos on December 23. The completetextofthisletter was first publishedin E. interestsin his Naco Manifesto. New Mexico. punishing our eternalenemy. 35 Investigators the Punitive of Expedition concludedinJuly1916. of the conventional army. 2384662. ChiefS.who has lookedforthe ruinof our country.the one thathas always been encouraging and difficulties quarrelsamong our race. in which he had stated that Americans should not believe that Carranza was capable of giving them sufficientguarantees to continue exploiting the resources of Nlexico. In Santa Isabel on January 17 loyal Villa troops under the command of Pablo Lopez stopped a train carrying seventeen American mining engineers who were returningto Mexico fromthe United States to restore operations in a U.35 32 This letter was part ofa collection documents of foundon a dead Villistaafter Columbusattack. William Randolph Hearst's ranch.S. The conference adopted a resolution that stated. Villa decided to implement the warning given the U.or middle-class supporters-such as Felipe Angeles. Raul Madero. thisconnection willbe observed "In it . File Record Group 94.S. to The movewe have to maketo the UnitedStatescan onlybe accomplished through the north. which had long been spared."Pancho to Villa and the Columbus Raid: The Missing Documents. Jose Maria Maytorena. In January I9I6 he occupied Babicora. A complete list of the documents and an attempt analyzethemwas publishedat thesame timein Harrisand Sadler. Villa began to confiscate U. While preparing his attack on the United States.I beg you to tellme ifyou agreeto come here as withall your troopsand on what date so that I may have the pleasure to go perand sonallyto meetyou and together startthe workof reconstruction enhancement of Mexico. of C." 345-47. the They neverreached the state department filesbut are containedin the AdjutantGeneral's Office. 2384662. 33 See Adjutant General'sOffice.S. we do not have any ships. In the meeting held todaywe have agreedthatGeneralFRANCISCO VILLA. he sent emissaries to mobilize troops in other parts of the country to fightagainst the United States.shall take the propersteps to advise the nationofthe threatening dangerto itsintegrity." of On the same day that Villa appealed to Zapata.

but he had refused signit.butitcan be statedquite positively thatVilla was notin thevicinity Santa Ysabel at thetimeofthemassacre. 1971). ThereHe Villa became extremely reserved aboutthenameofthetownhe planned after.and of he to further whenreports theincident that of reachedhimbycouriers was inclined denyitsauthenticity. was afraidtheymight revealhis plans to theAmericans. but changedhis plan after partofhisforces deserted. 7. weresuch thatVilla could nothavehad first-hand thatordersto rid able to issue directordersto Lopez to kill them. eds. Archivo la Palabra Mexico.themainreasonhe gavewas thesecretU. 8.ii6 Friedrich Katz V~~ _~~~ . course.Villa decidedto strike at directly theUnited to to Statesfarearlierthan he had announcedin his letter Zapata. 1977). According in a one participant the attack. the thatVilla's locationat thetimeofthemassacrewas farfrom scenewheretheact was enactedand that of he was so situatedand the circumstances attending accidentalarrival thetrainbearingthe ill-fated the advanceinformation havebeen to seventeen Americans. Nevertheless. could havereachedLopez at anytime. FranciscoVilla y sus Tropas. Villistaskilledin the Columbus raid. killing with the warningsVilla clearlyexpressedto Wilson and to Americanminingcompanies in his Naco Manifesto.36 decidedto attackPresidio.Ordersfrom Villa to killAmericans. or later in personat the unexpected of Rodriguez. Typescript Juan de by Caballero (Dec.. de 36 Confederaci6n Veteranos de de Revolucionarios la Divisi6ndel Norte.Villa concentrated largepart and toldthemhe plannedto of his troopsat the Hacienda de San Jeronimo attackthe UnitedStates. through Rodriguezbefore Lopez left Mexico weregivenLopez by Villa.however. Juan Caballero.Again. Texas.Carranza pact.There is reason to believe.S. either telegraphic by instructions at meeting El Valle betweenVilla and Casas Grandes forMadera. From Petersonand Knoles. Pancho Villa (New York." was definitely this congruent Reportof Operationsof "General" FranciscoVilla. . Photo courtesy Hastings House Publishers.Relato de Hechos Hist6ricos la Actuaci6ndel Gral. Villa toldthemthatthepact had been offered himearlier to at to thatVilla first Caballeroreported Guadalajara. For reasonsthatare notclear.

he Papers There is no evidencethatCarranza everwentbeyondthelimited States (1915). protectorate. nevertheless. readiness negotiate the U. Nor is there slightest the incompatible withhis staunchnationalistic posture. attention the service.It was onlywhen theyarrivednear Columbus. of representaseriously by and Mexican conservatives tivesof U. Sam Ravel. concessions made publicly. Of Thereis nottheslightest of all the accusationsVilla leveledagainstCarranza.S. pressure convictions. (but not of Carranza's faction). claims could scarcelyjustifythe accusation that he had converted Such a pact would have been entirely Mexico into a U. result the was a majorvictory theconservative It but ofCarranza's own conservative to ofU. whichhe His to had held fastfrom day he joined the Revolution. was not.Perhapshe wantedto take his revengeon the arms dealer.S. in U.S.documents considered a leadingofficial thestatedepartment. Relations theUnited of Relating the to Foreign 38 in to Villa's profound belief theexistence of 37 Ibid.S. The pact.Villaandthe Attack Columbus on Pancho II 7 to attack.New Mexico. have WhyVilla pickedColumbus forhis target not apparent.37 such considerations for an tutedhis main motive launching attackon theUnitedStates-his firm conviction thatCarranza had sold out Mexico to the United States. WHAT REAL SUBSTANCE WAS THERE Carranza and the UnitedStates?Had such a pact in factever a pact between of been proposedby Wilson?Had it been hatchedby members his administration? Was it pure invention Villa or his collaborators? Was it a scheme by whichhoped Villa's actionswould provoke devised U.Leon Canova.In May ofthatyear. intervention Mexico? Was it a concoctionof the German secret whichhoped to distract from European theater of U. thatWoodrowWilsoneither such an agreeproof proposedor contemplated mentwithany Mexican factionat any timeduringthe Revolution. . suppliesthere. head ofthe statedepartment'sMexican desk.S. notentirely figment Villa's imagination.S. 705-07.S.who had been Mexico City's chiefof police duringthe administration Victoriano of Huerta. who he felthad betrayedhim. and Eduardo Iturbide.38 for forces.S.however. businessinterests. that his men foundout wheretheywere going. no doubt. elaborateda in scheme fora U.Perhapshe hoped to get moneyand noneconstiBut wereclearlysecondary.S.Carranza had indeed manifesto-containeda grain eight-point the and during Revolution agreedto examineU. althoughCaballero doubtsthisversion. in was a of show thatin 19I5 such a plan had been conceivedand was fact.He might is wantedto use the attackto settleold scores. claimsfordamagessuffered This.-supportedcounterrevolution Mexico. business by interests.onlyone-point five the of truth. was returning confiscated properties their to former owners. in war by forcing to intervene Mexico? it evidence thatCarranzaeversignedsucha pact. They hoped to involve least part of Villa's armyat a timewhen Villa had suffered some at serious defeatsbut Carranza's supremacyhad not yet been clearlyestablished.

" the servedas intermediary between administration who frequently Anderson.unlikeits real predecessor.including was mentioned-from in collection. declaringthat the United States "should not take up a man who " For a description the Canova-Iturbide 470The Neutrality. banks. 40 Canova to theSecretary State.I I8 Friedrich Katz the bothMexican leadersfrom politicalsceneby Wilsonhopedto eliminate support and helpinga candidatewho could gain overwhelming recognizing in be and thusmight able to end thecivilstrife Mexico.S. At from bothfactions thatthe officials thatpoint. The conservatives advisor"withunspecified powadministrative UnitedStatesofan "unofficial to In reforms. see conspiracy. nated by the United States. diary.S. paperscontain May 28. 1915. confiscated by realproperty and businessinterests "all Churchand other that bands or otherswithoutproperor due process of law since revolutionary "41 by February13. it among the population. On withoil interests.Library Congress. May 28. 95. The plan also had vocal supportwithinthe of most outspokenwas Secretary the InteriorFranklinK.July22. 1915. Link. were to grantwide-ranging help the conservatives of "Americansupervision customs and government U.wouldsecureforIturbide popularity lacked.43 his who in lateryearsbecame closelyidentified Lane. Wilson: Strugglefor of 74.Most oftheavailableinformation contained Anderson's Very for especially entries April23.S. the Mexican armysimilarto that in 191 " Iturbidehimself in it. of Iturbidewas quite willing. 43 Ibid.42 camp by re-estabpurposewas to exploitdisunionwithinthe revolutionary would be domilishinga Diaz-like regimethat. 1913 shall be re-occupied theirlegal owners.July 23. But Bryandismissed initiative plan was discussedat a cabinetmeeting. role as lobbyist American Revolutionary Nationalism. is in of onlythebarestoutline Canova's plot. a high statedepartment by Canova's plot was farmore than an attempt official and a fewMexican and Americanassociatesto secureadvantagesin Mexico. order but would act as the leader ofthe military out to to thathe might in a position compelthe new government carry thepledgeswhichit would have be to make in orderto securethe supportofthe UnitedStates. businessinterests. administration."40 his memorandum thenSecreers to "overseethe necessary taryof State Bryan. the the plan." AndersonDiary. see 42 For Anderson's for mining.Dept.May i9.00 15531 of 1/2.TheU.RG 59.S.june'29. They apparentis the conservatives' was of as werewillingto agreeto some "compromises" faras thecomposition thegovernment concerned." exchangefora largeloan-$500 million were also to accept the appointment the by U. by revolutionary Its for U.These gestures. and oil.forexample. The plan was backed by importantsegmentsof Mexico's preand of oligarchy.Canova proposedto a numberofadministration group headed by United States throwits supportto a counterrevolutionary of and supplythatgroupwithstocks food openlyavowthatsupport. Smith.Canova did not explain what he meantby "necessary sent to Chandler but he did stipulatein anothermemorandum reforms.S. Iturbide. I. supporting whichhe regardedas essential.39 return such rightsto both the U. ofStateFiles. forces.andJuly30. and otherinterests. the i in desireto apply a strategy 19'I5 similarto thattheyapplied in 191 . ensureconservative and AlvaroObreg6nas a representative thepro-Carranza forces would have no part in the new Government.to include Manuel Bonilla as a representative the pro-Villa of control To of forces. of The statedepartment 41 Diary ofChandlerAnderson. was whichit could thendistribute In for he the hoped.File812. whomManuel Calero was a representative. 1915.Junei. . bankers.May 14. whom ChandlerAndersonwas spokesman.

the other was Mr. and (3) the return of expropriated holdings to foreignersand Mexican enemies of the Revolution.1913 to 1920. according to a memorandum by Anderson: his would favor [Iturbide's] Burleson. with because he felt thathis own connection last seemedto offend Iturbidesomewhat it was a guaranteeof its cleanness. Canova made only one reference to financial to support. Library of Congress. and the rightof the U. Williams.It appeared thatwhat Burlesonwantedto know had undertaken. the United States were to go along if with Canova's plan. who had been vouched for by a Democratic senator. 4 . Link. Burleson.S. Kenna.ifany. the oil regions. Houston. 1926): 133. authorities and that it included a covert pact encompassing most of Villa's charges. He said further movement it were endorsedby the administration. statedthat he thought administration the if and and thatitwas clean.45 The plan contained three of the main provisions to which. itcould showsufficient strength backing.the plotters never mentioned other provisions that appeared in Villa's Naco Manifesto.S.and anotherwhose had name he said frankly he did notknowbecause theoffer come in an indirect that that Speyer and Company were prepared to financethe way. what they had promised these interests in return.the brother JohnSkeltonWilliams. and the Mexican railways. whose brother. control of the Isthmus to Tehuantepec.S. July 23. This movement. 1915. In their proposals to U. and Canova's plan was discarded.46 if " As quoted in David F. Robert Lancaster Williams was a banker and railroad executive. bankers to Mexico and American financial control of essential parts of Mexico's economy. 475-76. naval bases in Magdalena Bay. advisers were to be. In their talks with U. U.obligations and to Iturbidetold him that therewere threebankerswho had offered financethe of movement. One was Mr.the plottershad remained vague on threecounts: what financial interestsbacked their plan. In his letter to Bryan. officials. they was who was backingitfinancially what. . to the other charges of the Naco Manifesto? There is a very strong possibility that the Canova-Iturbide plot went far beyond what they they were willing to reveal to U. according to Villa's accusations. Was there any validity. Wilson: The Strugglefor Aeidtrality.S. (2) strong influence over the Mexican governmentby advisers in Washington. he later expressed agreement with Bryan's position. officials.""" Although Wilson did not voice any opinion at these meetings. Iturbide was somewhat frankerin a conversation with Postmaster General Albert S.S.S. and what the specific tasks and powers of the U. government to send troops to Mexico whenever it considered such a step to be necessary. 46 Diary of Chandler Anderson. Nor did Canova and Iturbide mention the right of the United States to impose its candidates as secretaries of foreign relations and of finance on a new Mexican government. then. provisions that would have made Mexico not only economically but militarilydependent upon the United States: U. He included lettersfromSpeyer and Company offering lend $500 million to the new Mexican government. Carranza and the United States had agreed: (i) the $500million loan by U. I (New York. . John Skelton Williams. EzghtYearswith Wilsons Cabinet.S.S. had been appointed comptroller of the currency by Woodrow Wilson.on Pancho Villa and theAttack Columbus I I9 would probably play in with the reactionaries. Edward Dudley Kenna was also a railway executive. who was vouchedforby SenatorUnderwood.

(X is an intimate friend minein whomI have implicit of confidence.knew of the plan and had assured him of the in approvalof the government.) .thatV.and that Cecil Ira McRaynolds. thengaveX a carboncopyon pink He to for the forth arrangements financing movement the paper ofa bilingualletter setting and the concessionsand compensation be givenby the new government when it to came intopower.Iturbide completely evaded the question as to what obligations his party had assumed toward U.the Shipping Board was behindit and thatSenatorJamesA. X This afternoon. whomI willcall "S. we may surmise the outlines based on still other plans and agreements that were drawn up some time afterthe attack on Columbus. and [that] manyprominent Mexicans and in Americans thiscountry wereinvolved and arrangements weremade to place ample fundsat the disposal of thosethatwere engagedin the enterprise.his attorney.a Counselorin the State Department. I9I7-two came out with theirfirstplot concerning Mexico-Secretary of State Lansing wrote a secret memorandum to Wilson concerning yet another plot. unofficialadviser" charged with implementing them. who appeared to be the He [X] said that he was informed centralfigure the movement. government. that the generalplan had been workedout. special interests. Although we have no direct evidence as to what was intended.an attorney by New York. This document.he asked himto see me and find truth.McRaynoldstoldtheMexican S thathe was certain Departmentof State knew all about the plan because. Six days later. had of a high official the Department. S repliedthathe did because he would have nothing do withit unlessitwas alright. (Polk told me laterthatO'Gorman had called to see him about the purchaseof some shipsin Uruguaybut nevermentioned Mexico. O'Gorman ofNew York had talked the matter overwithFrankL.he did notwishto do anything the matter unlesshe was absolutely surethatthisgovernment approvedit.) had been consulted a Mexican ofgood family He by belonging theold to regime. who said he was actingforAndersonHurd. and a half years after Canova and Iturbide On December 6. he asserted. Polk.merits extended quotation.I20 Friedrich Katz That the third backer chose not to reveal his identityor that Iturbide chose not to disclose his identitymay indicate that the person was judged unacceptable to either Bryan or the U.S. in S said that. the intriguingquestion about the Canova-Iturbide plot is what was meant by "necessary reforms" and what was to have been the power of the "U. in thoughprobablyonlyan agent.S. " I am personally acquaintedwithS and believehimto be X honorableand straightforward. and that McRaynolds told himthatthisplannedrevolution theapprovaloftheDepartment State. came to see me and said thathe had runacrossa mostremarkable plot in relationto Mexico.had been employed by the ShippingBoard to negotiateforthe purchaseof German ships in Mexican had ports. which was classified until recently. Knowingthat of X was a friend mine. X again saw Lansing and added more details to the plot: that AndersonHurd. Naturally.S.whileit seemedto be alright[sic]. toldhimthathe the X was familiar withmypolicyin relation Mexico and thathe was certainthatV had to not been authorized speak forthe Department to encouragethismovement or but to thathe would see me ifS desiredhimto do so. also been employedby the thatthe Board in somecapacity. Significantly. from S told X thathe had been interviewed Cecil Ira McRaynolds. said that S statedthathe had been approached witha proposition undertake revolution to a againstthe Mexican government.

Leland HarrisonFile. and V oftheDepartment State. Dept. told X thathe understood S thatV was to be paid out of the lattersum." See Harrisonto Bell. 1967). my and the end that I and theyand the politicalpartywhichsustainsus will use all our influence and the means at our disposal to bringabout the following: That the (a) of appointments the secretariesof Foreign Relations and of the Treasuryof the will Mexican government be givento men especially fitted re-establish mainto and betweenthe governments Mexico and the United States tain completeharmony of confidence youand yourprincipals in and inspire withreference thecarrying of to out 47 SecretMemorandaofSecretary StateLansing. Lansing feltthat the matterwas too sensitiveforhim to commit to paper the names of the persons involved." the Mexican of "good family. Other documents in the same file. the man originallyin charge of Washington's Latin American desk.and thatit was understood betweenI and "V" that"V" was to geta portion thismoney helping put thedeal of for to through. through "V. Swain. The high officialof the Department ofState.Woodrow and theMexicanRevolution (New York. box 208 (Mexican intrigue).Teitelbaum. "Admiralty greatly disturbed a report by thatCanova has been implicatedin some Mexican intrigue and is likelyto lose his job. 12. told practically identicalinformation the that was in the secretmemorandum Secretary of Lansing whichwas turnedover to this office the at of beginning the investigation Mexican affairs.41 1.Leland HarrisonFile. state department the carefully followed every his ibid.$2. thatwas includedin thefile. of McRaynolds also told S the Standard Oil Co. box 208 (Mexican intrigue). of Dec. 1918.obligatemyself themto perform do. Another memorandum in thesame fileofJuly12.They metin New Yorkand discussedtheplan. " was Leon Canova. as a 48 Canova's identity "V" is confirmed a document by namely.and thathe had had a conference whichwerepresent at Corwin. 17. Teitelbaum." had halfsanctioned financing a the of revolution Mexico through in certainNew York bankersto the amountoffive milliondollars. that"V" said thattherevolution thesanctionofthe State Department had and thatthebankers to milliondollarsfor made arrangements producethe five thatpurpose. thatMcLemorehad and told informant confidence.and Helm oftheStandardOil Co.Of thatsum. was to put up $5 millionto begin with. National Archives.5 million the finance revolution. . circumstance Wilson nearlyunique in the State Department".Office the Counselor. later solely in charge of Mexican affairs. 19I8.Attack Columbus on Pancho Villaandthe I2I McRaynolds told S that the primary purposeof the proposedrevolution was to securetheoil at Tampico and the Germanshipsin Mexican waters. Point IO of this secret agreement stated.S.an oil man.5 million wereto be used for to purchasing ships.47 Obviously. had told Congressman McLemoreofTexas in confidence. 1917. 6 and Dec." was Eduardo Iturbide. historian a trying find reasonsfor to the Canova's resignation. In recognition the services of whichyou and yourprincipalsobligatethemselves to I and associates. at thelast moment. of of State. NationalArchives. After Lansing discovered the plot.whichstated. he relieved Canova of his post.Jan. Embassyin London. however. of State.even though the paper was a secret memorandum to the president. which X (whose identity cannot be ascertained) handed to Lansing. a available forstudy.. formyself.$I. of Informant said that all thiscame from Iturbidetelling Spellacy some timeago thatthe State Department. "S. contains provisions strikingly similar to those mentioned by Villa in his accusations against Carranza.269. wirefrom theU. "V. higher but the officials the State Department of to refused sanctionit. movement. and the reasonswere carefully concealed from So public scrutiny. "The cause ofhisleavingis nowhere statedin thepublished private or records wrote.48 The bilingual pact signed by the conspirators. in and informant me in confidence.He "resigned"from statedepartment the on December2.. well organizedwas thisconcealment thatnearly fifty yearslaterLouis M. thebalance-$i million-was to go to thosewho had been the and in instrumental aidingthe movement." The statedepartment obviously was afraidofthe scandal an immediate dismissalof Canova mightproduce. conclusively identify two of the three persons mentioned. Dept. Afterhis resignation. principals. 1918 confirmed Iturbide's identity "S": "Informant me thatMichael as told Spellacy.

that "in all cases the Mexican government" would "retain control or majority of the stock of the railway company. withthecharacter financial of or the adviser fiscalagent. and the returnof the said railway and the control and complete operation of the same to the governmentof Mexico. and to agree upon the appropriate measures that are to be taken so that your principals may supervise in Mexico the expenditure of the Funds secured by loans placed by them. across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. of State.S. naval stations in the Pacific. One indication is the remarkable similaritybetween the charges Villa leveled at the United States in his Naco Manifesto of 1915 and the provisionsofthe I917 accord.grant to the parties involved. the strategic military railroads of the Republic of Mexico. and his associates operate the railway line between Puerto Mexico and Salina Cruz. " Also included was a clause which provided that this railway would be made part of a militaryzone. granting to your principals. there is a strong probability that it existed. moreover.etc. Leland Harrison File. Dept. to place the said railway in firstclass operating condition. National Archives. ' under the terms of the agreement. now existing or to be hereafterconstructed under a stipulation that will provide for a mutual offensiveand defensive alliance and require both parties to protect the said zones in all cases of threatened danger. interests were to have the deci49Bilingualunsignedagreement. box 208 (Mexican intrigue).49 Did a similar agreement underlie the I9I5 Canova-Iturbide scheme? Although there is no conclusive evidence for such an accord. as Point io (g) specified that a mission be nominated by the new government which would be empowered to negotiate with the United States concerning " the bases which are to serve forthe followingmatters: Chamizal. such portion of said stock as may be proper but not exceed 49% of the same.. with all the necessary equipment. together with such compensation as may be agreed upon.)" In Point io (i) it was stated that "To bring about the utmost harmony and cooperation between the governmentof Mexico and the United States . now Lord Cowdray. . the profitsfromthe sale of the bonds to provide the necessary funds to enable the government of Mexico to bring about the terminationof such concessions. " It was "understood. the waters of the Colorado River." Point io () had as its purpose "the termination to a compromise satisfactory them of the concession under which Sir Weetman to Pearson. and to double-track the same forits entire length. we are in favor of and will work to bring about the voluntary creation by the governmentof Mexico of militaryzones to cover and include the lines of all north and south trunk railways. terminals.I 22 Friedrich Katz theobligations herein contained. which the United States would have the rightto protect if it feltthe railway was threatened.(b) That theMexican government appointyour will principals. Such in appointmentas fiscal agent will also carry with it the designationof the bank recommended your principalsas depository the Mexican government by of upon qualification such in a properway.for negotiation of all financialquestions which are to be negotiated the United States . U..)" It did. November19i7."the conditions being equal. ..

(i) U.S.(e) That theMexican Government givefacilities your of will to principals theupbuilding thesugarindustry thecountry. the rightto purchase the vessels to be sold because of havingbeen interned the by Government any reason. intothe same kindofagreement I915 thattheydid in 1917. would adhere to it. of the industries iron and steel.00 155311/2. " and " (d) To bringit about thattheMexicanGovernment grantto yourprincipals. 1915.000 men.The United States was to grant a large loan to Mexico and its in supervise finances turn. businessinterests wereto share controlof the Tehuantepecrailroad. . the covert of for provisions.50 Since the same plotters. Also includedwereotherconcessions the UnitedStatesthatVilla to in had not mentioned his accusations.S. had backed Canova's plan in I915 could indicatea similarsupport oil companies. of National Archives. althoughthereis in no definite evidence thattheoil companieswereas involved theplotof 19I5 in as in thatof I917. "that 20.51 50 Amongthe otherconcessionsto its U. by thereis no reasonto assumethat theoil interests less compunction had a about supporting plotin 1915 thanin 1917. of State Files RG 59. . it would have spelled complete political and economicdomination Mexico: theovert of provisions provided an "unoffifor cial administrative advisor" and U. stronginfluence U. complemented If by " the "covert plan of 19I7. File 812. And. Villa's armyheld a keypositionin the scheme. That the Mexican Government grantto yourprincipals. What may be termed Canova's motivating "overt"plan ofMay 1915 would have sufficed put an end to the Revolution to and have transformed Mexico intoa U.S.Pancho Villa and theAttack Columbus on 123 in of siveinfluence selecting Mexico's secretary foreign relations and secretary of finance. U. but. Villa's entirearmywilljoin the " movement. .The UnitedStateswas to be givennavalbases in the Pacific.were involvedin both thereis good reasonto assumethattheywerereadyto enter schemes. Navy over Magdalena Bay. protectorate. He also wrotethathe had discussedthosepartsoftheplan that he had revealedto Bryanwithtworepresentatives Villa.Canova and Iturbide. backers.S. (2) by businessinterests overtheTehuantepecrailroad.S.S. of includingthe acquirement and exploitation minesofiron. "I'm assured." Ibid. willnotimposenewtaxesor burdens for of in and whichimpedethisindustry. and (3) probablecontrol by the U. legal means. IT IS NOW POSSIBLE TO GET A CLEAR IDEA of the eventsleading up to and Villa's attack on Columbus. by 51 Canova to the Secretary State.Certainly. ofwhommorewill of be said later.the Mexican side was willing "to bringabout the attachment return thetrueowners.ofthefunds and to by whichtheso-calledCommission for the RegulationofHenequen has in thisCity. the preference the upbuilding for and operation in the Republic of Mexico. who was very sympatheticto oil interests. and those related thereto. in all probability." Canova wrote Bryan. Carranza had forfeited their original support after beganraising he taxes on oil.S.whichhitherto had been underBritish control. Dept.mainlyin Magdalena Bay. intervention Mexico whenever United States in the perceiveda threatto the operationof the railroads and to a numberof important ports and otherstrategic facilities.July 17. mostly trainedsoldiersof the old Federal Armycominglargelyfrom Villa's ranks. thata man likeChandlerAnderson. (f) will otherconditionsbeing equal. otherconditions beingequal. supervision customs.

a far more moderate revolutionarythan Villa. policy. it is certain that by the summer of I915 news of the Canova-Iturbide plot had reached Villa's representativesin Washington. overtures made in seekingGeneral Angeles'cooperation. C. of A fewdays before I GeneralAngelescame to Washington. Canova "showedhis mentat thesame place acceptedby GeneralAngelesbefore hand" thatGeneralAngelescould not and did not meet. Canova's home.. 19i5. was secretly advancingthe candidacyof Eduardo IturbideforProvisionalPresident Mexico. concluded that Car62 Wright of so judged thecontents theletter significant he transmitted to Lansing.The same evening carriedthecomplaint to Mr.. National Archives. saying. support if he were to approve all the provisions contained in Canova's plan.S.editor of the New York Globe. to Llorentewas mistaken. Canova meet General to the Angeles. described in a letter to H.which was held in Mr. Woodrow Wilson reversed himself with inexplicable suddenness and recognized Carranza. When. Dept.00 15834. of State Files.124 Friedrich Katz Villa did not for long remain in the dark about the contents of the plan. to kepthiminformed thematter. called on Mr.When. 9i15. . as he later reported. (Canova may have felt that in May 19I5 Villa had little to lose and that.enclosed in Wrightto Lansing.. he was simply approached and offeredU.there was every reason for Villa to presume that he acted on instructionsfromthe administration. Aug. Canova's praise of Iturbideand the conference. RG 59. the State Dept. the who complainedwith a degreeof temperthat Mr. in October 19I5. G. a journalist and businessman who kept in touch with the various Mexican factions represented in Washington. There was no way forVilla to learn that the cabinet had rejected Canova's plan. A fewdays later I arrangedan appointment have Mr. although it is not quite certain how he firstfound out.. the Wright.S. Llorente. E. Villa would be ready to settle for anything in order to retain at least some remnants of his power." whichassured me that Mr.the accreditedrepresentative the of of thatMr. frankly Mr.52 Since Canova was the highest state department officialdirectly concerned with Mexican affairs.following claimed he feltso insultedby Mr. shortly after invitingVilla's representativesto a peace conference in Washington. in proofof the to whosenameshe was statement he could offer thatnewspaper all was correspondents I told notat liberty divulge. General Angeles. he thata further appointMr."I don't pay any attention them. even Roque Gonzalez Garza. Canova forhis guidanceand he coollydismissedthe affair. 17. Canova's plan was nothing short of officialU. To the Mexican revolutionary. who were deeply incensed about it. Llorente.whichtheywould Mexican troubleby injecting fight the last ditch.Teitelbaumto that it Wright. File 812. Perhaps. Canova was complicating and fathering Iturbide'scandidacy.) At any rate. i8. chief the Mexican division Mexican Convention forces.Aug. reaction of Villa's emissaries to the plot: On severaloccasions duringthe past weeks I have discussedwithyou the serious of charges being made by Mr. Llorente of I thatit lookedto me likea motein hiseyes. having already been decisively defeated.even if backed by Americanforces.They are hard to please. William Teitelbaum. Leon Canova.

Villa's main problem was that he had no way of substantiating his charges with one exception: his accusation that Carranza had given U. protectorate. Neither Dieguez nor other Carranza generals (except one) deigned to reply to his letters. of But . If he did not comply with the provisions.S. In his letter to Flores and Dieguez. As a consequence of this poor response. his generals would see Villa's accusations confirmedand turn against their chief. The following month Wilson went one step furtherand allowed Carranza's troops to cross U. As the weeks passed and none of these hopes was realized. "what will you do?" This issue remained uppermost in his mind for a long time. If he applied any ofthe provisionsofthe pact. Villa had already touched on the issue. frustration his further aggravated by Carranza's ability to assume an extremely nationalistic posture even after having consented-so Villa thought-to Mexico's conversion to a U.and Villa rid himselfofall lingering doubts as to the cause of the blatant reversal by the American president. territory order to inflicta crushing defeat in on the man he had backed only a short time before. farfrom withthegreatest trying expeltheinvader. theappendixto AntonioNM.S. . Villa no doubt became extremely frustrated. he railed against Carranza: VILLA'S PUBLIC ACCUSATIONS FOUND NO RESPONSE. troops the rightto enter Mexican territory returnforpermission to cross the United States to in rescue Agua Prieta from Villa's attack. Wilson would drop him and Villa's own movement might revive. It is a measure of the depth of that despair that Villa and cross seriously proposed to Zapata that he abandon his home territory wide sections of Carranza-controlled land to attack the United States. In the first manifestohe issued afterPershing's invasion. ed.on Pancho Villa and theAttack Columbus 125 ranza must have bought this recognition by agreeing to importunate U.S. government to this utilized in the perversity gravity international of relations personalgain and without any for way respecting honorof Mexico. .. demands. 1975)." The Naco Manifesto fellon deaf ears. Romance hisltrico (Chihuahua. see villista Delgado. then. "If American troops enter Mexico. He became firmlyconvinced that nothing less than Carranza's consent to the terms spelled out in Canova's original plan could have swayed Wilson so quickly. The people of Chihuahua did not flockto his banner afterhe exposed Carranza's plans fromthe balcony of the Municipal Palace. Withthegreatest in good faith.53 the 5 For a full textofthismanifesto.S. . 172-73. that Villa soon made his convictions known publicly and accused Carranza of having "sold out. Little wonder. have remained I inactive withmyforces thehopethat theactivities the so-calledConstitutionalist toward of Government would be directed repellingthe invasion and securing the re-unification the Mexican people. Villa's anger and despair mounted." he asked. For a time Villa hoped-as he told his collaborator Silvestre Terrazas that Carranza would himself jeopardize his situation.

126 Friedrich Katz By attacking the United States and invitingpossible reprisals. Villa hoped to expose Carranza for what he thought he was: a tool of the Americans. attentionfromthe European theater. He also told Dernburg that he "was convinced that an American interventionin Mexico could be brought about. . In the same month that Jagow gave his approval. May 1915. M. the German vice-consul in Ciudad Juarez. if any. Bernhard Dernburg.S. 56Jagow to Holtzendorff. In my opinion.S. Texas. so much the better.But Sommerfeldstated that he had not done so because he was not sure whether German authorities wanted such an intervention. El Paso.whereittendsto be proin English."55 Holtzendorffjudged the matterto be of such gravitythat he submittedit for approval to Germany's secretaryof state.S. that an intervention Mexico in so would constitute onlydistraction the American the for government." Even thoughI am not fully convincedthat deliveriesof munitionscan be stopped entirely. Max Weber to Major Britton Davis. Bonn. invasion of Mexico would stop U. Gottlieb von Jagow. Mexico i. as long as the washwoman in Washington is at the head. he will continue to burn and loot until America intervenesin Mexico and brings about the downfall of Carranza. " Dernburgto Holtzendorff. would be verydesirable that it Americabe drawnintoa war and be distracted from Europe. did Germany's much-rumoredinvolvementplay in Villa's decision to attack Columbus? In May I9I5. Keedy and Eduardo Linns-turned up in Washington as representativesof 5 vol. German ambassador.S. The tie between him and the Wilson administration would have been ruptured and his position severely shaken.S. withoutconsulting Count Bernstorff. Dernburg reported that Felix Sommerin feld. Villa's representativein the United States. Germany's propaganda chief in the United States. May 1915. If the latterallowed U. If Carranza refused to have himselfexposed and simply ignored the original agreement and resisted the Americans. 5. arms shipments to the Allies and distract U. wrote to a business partner in the United States in December I9I6.S. "Villa wants intervention and stated in public in Chihuahua that. two men-J. Max Weber.56 Sommerfeldobviously had undertakenextensivepreparations forcarryingout this plan. 1916. intervention Mexico. I. Dec.S. who gave it his wholehearted approval.we must answer"yes. had told him that he (Sommerfeld). Since we cannot now do anythingin Mexico. American intervention would also be best forour interests there. the submitted a plan to Admiral Henning von Holtzendorff(a high officialin the German admiralty who was soon to become its head) to use Villa in order to provoke U. Villa hoped to create an insoluble dilemma forCarranza. ibid. intervention. could easily have provoked U.German ForeignMinistry Archives. Secret.It will not intervene Chinese affairs.Privatearchiveof Max Weber."54 One more question needs to be considered: What role. chiefof staffat the Arizona border.while engaged in negotiationstwo months earlier between Villa and the U.He did point out that a U. He wrote. troops to penetrate into Mexico without offeringresistance.

They had neverbeforeand were neveragain linked with Villa in any way.March 7.58 There is no informationabout what role these men played in the negotiations with Villa. called him "verypro-German. 13. Mexican Revolution.whoseclandeswithGermanmilitary II.S." 70-89. of State Files RG 59. Jahnkedescribesextensive Merseburg. of the Mexican desk.on Pancho Villa and theAttack Columbus I27 Pancho Villa. the head officialof the German foreignoffice. 1918. According to the project for counterrevolutionin Mexico that he submitted to Bryan. Kapp papers.59 to referred as a Germanagent by CustomsAgentZachary Cobb. The one thing they did not need to do was to inventa plot that would have imposed a quasi-American protectorate over Mexico. The best sourcesfora definitive in (about whose involvement filesof GermanArmyIntelligence Germanintelligence agencies. Actually. lieutenants.Mexican authorities to Monteverde the Mexican Consul in Los Angeles. I9I6. Germany had not word "erroneous. On the basis of interviews and thatDr. no. negotiations unsignedreportto WolfgangKapp. Nor did the German governmentitselfbelieve that any of its agents had caused or were even involved in the raid on Columbus. wrote to German Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg.S. feld's plan. a reportto Lansing on July 27.Whatever by WorldWar I weredestroyed bombsin WorldWar theVilla intrigue thereis no evidence)thatsurvived archivesin Potsdam. They may verywell have revealed to him those aspects of the Canova-Iturbide conspiracy that Canova would have kept secret. Bernstorff. They may also have suggested to Villa that Carranza was involved in the negotiations with Canova.who was ofGermanoriginand servedas Villa's personalphysician possibility thata bank in thattown (the financial adviser. Keedy is mentioned Jahnke'scollabora917 tor. Canova. this evidence is not sufficientfor assuming German 419. In March 1917.Duringa recent at Northern Mexico. On the whole."An probably Max von Montgelas.Rep. El. who headed German naval intelligence in as NorthAmericafrom I to I9I9. Dept. Iturbide. see Cobb to the 5 Keedy was first of Secretary State. and their allies among Mexican conservatives and U. survived werethoseprincipally I visitto thisarchive. In an with Keedy. File 862. im in researchers the DeutschesMilitararchiv Freiburg Breisgau. . Rauschbaum.Archivode Relaciones Exteriores.57Linns was suspected in 1917 by U. James Sandos raises the with one of Villa's former Mexico. 1917. capable of wielding influence in the United States. 2. 92.There are some indications arms to Villa. business interestshad done that already. On March 28. DeutschesZentralarchiv in 58 Linns was placed on a confidential "Trading withthe Enemy" list.202 12/742. 1915-1916. Naturally. added the word "leider" ("unfortunately") before the that. AmbassadorFletcher. authorities of being linked to Germany. Canova negotiated primarilywith these men to win the support of the Villista faction for his plan. Oct.may have inducedVilla to attackColumbus by reporting in ColumbusState Bank withwhichVilla had dealings)had cheatedhim." He was regretful been involved in the Columbus attack. MC 336 roll 59. "It is not surprising that the attempt was made to state that German intrigues were responsible for Villa's attack and to depict Germany as the disturber of the peace. In several reports by Kurt Jahnke."Teitelbaum.Sandos. a who had not been informedof Sommerfewweeks afterthe attack. see suspectedhim of supplying the Columbus raid. 1917. the two men were German agents whom Sommerfeld had probably recommended to Villa as skilled negotiators. no proofof this erroneous statementwas forthcoming. "German Involvement of answerto thisquestionwouldbe thefiles the for responsibility the raid. together World War II and are now available to tine services involved withVilla. as faras he knew.U. WoodrowWilson and the " This evidencedoes not entirely in of of rule out the possibility Germansponsorship or participation and after remainedin touchwithVilla bothbefore thatSommerfeld theattack.The recordsofthe Germannavy.S.

successfullysought a rapprochement with Germany. Kapp. .had it Wien. which continued even afterthe exit of Pershing's troops from Mexico. was deeply affectedby Villa's attack. Villa. too. Battered and nearly destroyedin December I9I5.the AustrianForeignOffice it (which carefully monitored the activitiesof its closest ally) neverattributed to Germany.Rep. For many months-as long as Carranza seemed incapable of expelling Pershing's punitive expedition-Villa became a symbol of national resistance in Chihuahua.60 Carranza.Tagebucher. It even retook the capital city of Chihuahua and held it against Carranza's forces. now in the Wolfgang Office Merseburg. KurtRietzler.Haus-. in almost the same way he thought it would. to indication than all ofthisis thatthe Germannavy. They had apparently been purchased froman arms factoryin Bridgeport. Its strengthebbed again only afterthe punitive expedition leftMexico in February I9I7.March 23.and Merseburg thepapers the of the Reichskanzleiin the Deutsches Zentralarchiv Potsdam contain any evidenceforGermany's in of a involvement theColumbusraid. Deutsches Zentralarchiv of in There I foundan anonymous report theactivities Germannaval intelligence Mexico between1917 on in and 1919. But what of Villa's avowed main purpose in attacking the United States- to duringWorldWar I was informed thatthe mostsensitive filesrelating sabotage and secretoperations of were destroyedby the navy itselfafterthe war. From March I9I6 onward. reaching several thousand by September I9I6.German Foreign Office. The same is trueforthediariesofKurtRietzler.a plan whichhad previously of withthe would certainly have enhancedthe navy'sprestige endorsement the GermanForeignOffice.1916. close collaborator in whichcontainsomeofthemostsensitive data thatreachedChancellorBethmanntheGermanchancellor.i67.Hof-.SpyandCounterspy (New York. Neither filesofthe GermanForeignOffice Bonn. 60 EmmanuelVoska and Will Irwin.I have foundno evidenceforany claim ofthiskindby the navyin any ofthe relevant nor in archives. meanwhile.thehead oftheMexican deskat theGermanForeignOffice in orandum to this effect March 1916.deprived of easy access to arms and despairing of his ability to expel the punitive expedition. whichwas probablywritten KurtJahnke. PA Berichte Mexico. 13. El. Dokumente (G6ttingen. 92. Bonn.I 28 Friedricch Katz IN THE SHORT RUN THE ATTACK PROVED BENEFICIAL to Villa. A further benefit of the raid was Villa's receipt of several coffinsfilled with arms shipped from Germany after the attack. Ambassadorin Washington the Minister ForeignAffairs. 1916the navywas engagedin a growing submarinewarfare.would have had every for In government powerstruggle withother theGermangovernment.Potsdam. The only reportson the clandestineactivities the intelligence serviceof the German navythat I managed to locate are containedin the German Foreign in archives Bonn and amongthepapers ofa leadingGermanpolitician. the GermanForeignOffice after wrotea memwaysto supplyVilla witharms. Mexico i. sought thatone can say is that. 1940). of rulersof Germany. German DemocraticRepublic: Kapp Papers. no. While rejoicingat Villa's attack. Wilson imposed a weapons embargo on Mexico-never strictly observed-which was to last until the fall of Carranza in I920. The latter.immediately receiving news of the raid. vol. A moreimportant reasonto claim thecredit withotherbranchesof been responsible Villa's attack. 1972).Austrian und Staatsarchiv of April17. faced a severely shaken Carranza and survivedfivehard and savage years of guerrilla warfare until Carranza was overthrownin I920 and Villa made peace with his successors. though not in the fatal way Villa had hoped for. successful A operationsuch as the agencies because of its demand forunrestricted obtainedthewholehearted organization Villa's attackon theUnitedStates.who headed Germannaval intelligence North by in nor Americafrom1917to Ig199 and who had alreadybeen a Germanagentin 1916. Memorandumby Montgelas. 1916.Connecticut before the outbreak of the war.All Aufsa1ze. 56. Neither thesereports of intercepted the British thereany indication German by is in the telegrams the Germansecretservice of of sponsorship Villa's Columbus attack. his army multiplied. Mexican-American relations deteriorated and stopped just short of open belligerency. Hollweg duringthe courseofthewar.

Robles Dominguez agreed (a) To act in Mexico and Latin America as the interpreter PresidentWilson's of policyof confidence and fraternity betweenthe UnitedStates and Latin America."'" A few days later. and others. 1918. that is. Helm. who was now willing to aid in the overthrowof his erstwhileleader. The "Chamizal" dispute. Subsequent events not only failed to bear out the charges of his Naco Manifesto insofar as Wilson and Carranza were concerned. the British representative in Mexico. had sought to alert Mexican and U.He presumes thatthe League wouldplace thisstrategic pointin thehands of the United States foruse as a naval base on the Pacificand that through the intermediation the League. ibid. reported on some of the conditions Robles Dominguez had accepted as a price for gaining the support of these U.the difficulties the of Tlahualilo Company. willhandleand French. Only a few months afterSecretaryof State Lansing discovered and rejected Canova's plot to secure domination over Mexico for Standard Oil and other U. by attacking Columbus.. and Mexicans. dummy. business interests in December 1917. certain oil interestsrepresentedby a Mr. etc. obedient an will be appointed.Pancho Villa and theAttack Columbus on 129 the preservationof Mexico's independence? Villa actually increased immeasurably the real threat to his country's independence. etc.S. It was Villa's misfortuneto have been right in his general suspicions. Louis Car Company.S. . Mexican interests of would be dulyprotected. a longtime adherent of Carranza. the United States sought to impose conditions severelylimitingMexico's sovereigntyas a prerequisite forthe withdrawal of its troops.S.twoofeach. interests to convert Mexico into a protectorate-he failed completely. and it is worthwhileto quote them forthe similaritythey bear to previous agreements..S. but wrong in his specific assumptions. troops penetrated into Mexico. public opinion to the threat to Mexico's independence that loomed uppermost in his mind-plots by U. U. but they even failed to direct attentionto the veryreal foundations that underlay some of those charges. the Mexican politician let it be known that his movementwas to be financed by "the International Harvester Company. Hohler to Foreign Office. (d) To bringup forpromptsettlement pendingquestionswiththe UnitedStates all which serveas a cause of friction. And if Villa.S. Foreign Office 371 3244 2658. he would settle in a spiritfavourably disposed towardsthe foreign interests. Americans. the St. Public Record Office. Plots like the one he outlined at Naco. check the receiptsand expenditure the Government." the ConsultativeBoard of which composedofBritish.62 61 62 Cumminsto ForeignOffice. and. (b) To establish here the "Bank of Mexico. (c) To deliverto the League of Nations Magdalena Bay which on account of the interest displayedin it byJapan and the UnitedStates threatens involveMexico to withboth. Cunard Cummins. companies. April 1l. London. In a conversationbetween a representative Robles Dominof guez and a British diplomat in Washington. For this pact the politician involved was AlfredoRobles Dominguez. a new scheme had already been conceived. involving the same purpose but different names. April 1918. will practicallybe the of It of Ministry Finance thoughforappearances sake a Mexican Minister. in i9i6. continued to be hatched and to escape public notice.

at the veryleast. business intereststo carry out any aggressive policy in Mexico as long as the United States was involved in World War I.S.130 Friedrich Katz The failureto implementthese plans was due in the main to the unwillingness of both the U. Pershing's he of and the testimony Juan Caballero.TheUnited See Villa invasion.S.that futureintervention Mexico would be more difficult and costly than had been assumed. to a worsening led of as the Mexican Constitution 1917. 32442658.S. Memorandumof the General Staff. it convinced the American public.In the pantheon ofpopular legend. i898-1ig4(Princeton. however. the failure of the Pershing expedition did much to repair the damage.nowherein the manifesto at any time thereafter he Villa in so to again refer the secretpact.65 is still celebrated as the man who attacked he the United States-and got away with it.S. American RichardD. 1qi8. Clendenen. neutrality. Policy.The factsI have established leave no doubt about Villa's and participants of of hereas wellas thetestimony a largenumber witnesses Villaalaco Porque 234-47. ForeignOffice371 May 9. whichhad figured prominently his Naco declaration.64The failureof the Pershing expedition. If Villa's attack on Columbus had done much to imperil Mexico's precarious independence. military now believed that. not only enhanced Mexico's standing vis-a-vis the United States. divisions would be needed to occupy Mexico.Edgcumb Pinchon. but also Villa's standing with many of his own countrymen.63 by I9I8 that estimate had to be revised upward. In the manifesto issued after (olumbus..S. forexample. not support.VivaVilla! (New York. 1973). Foreign and Generals.S. however. Garrison estimated that fourteenU.some authorshave officially groups in the United States.although themanifesto pact. Romance mayhave been thathe began to doubttheveracity app.351- . twentydivisions (fivehundred thousand men) would be needed.Admirals. if may have hoped to obtain U. hisltrico see For neither claimednor disclaimedresponsibility. government.in his fight 64 52.338-39.S. expressed in countless stories and corridos. The adoptionof of neutrality.S. States Pancho involvement.As a result. 172-73. Public Record Office. thetextofthe manifesto. governmentand some important U. Ultimately. relations against Carranza. 65The legends about the attack on Columbus have been compoundedby the fact that Villa never nor assumed responsibility gave an explanationforthe attack. protectorate over Mexico. 63 London. to Wilson's objection in principle to establishing a U.Calzadiaz Barrera. and betweenthe Carranza administration the U. by gone as faras to claim that the raid was a provocation interventionist See. One ofthe reasonsforhis attitude villista.By 1917. and 1Villa. In April of that year the British general staffreported that the U. as well as in the U. 1933). Villa accused Carranza in that. It was also due. military. for may have had additionalreasonsforavoidingany responsibility the Columbus raid. In 1914 Secretary of War Lindley M. It is significant ofthesecret Carranza-Wilson did nor to of capitulating the PunitiveExpedition. well as Carranza's German-inclined Villa Under thecircumstances. Delgado. Challener.

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