The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, September 01, 1913, Page 3, Image 3

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The Commoner
President's Message on the Mexican Situation
"The steady pressure of moral force
will before muny days break the bar-
riers of pride and prejudice down, and
wo shall triumph as Mexico's friends
sooner than we coidd triumph as her
0 enemies and how much more baud-
somely, with how much higher and finer
satisfactions of conscience and of
honor!" President Wilson.
The message of the president of the United
States, delivered at 'a joint session of the two
houses of congress; August 27, 1913:
Gentlemen of the Congress: It is clearb my
duty to lay before you, very fully and without
reservation, the facts concerning our present
relations with the Republic of Mexico. The
deplorable posture of affairs in Mexico I need
not describe, but I deem it my duty to speak
very frankly of what this government has done
and should seek to do in fulfillment of its obli
gation to Mexico herself, as a friend and neigh
bor, and to American citizens whose lives and
vital interests are daily affected by the distress
ing conditions which now obtain beyond our
southern border.
Those conditions touch us very nearly. Not
merely because they lie at our very doors. That
of course makes us more vividly and more con
stantly conscious of them, and every instinct of
neighborly interest and sympathy is aroused and
quickened by them; but that Is only one element
in the determination of our duty. We are glad
to call ourselves the friends of Mexico, and we
shall, I hope, have many an occasion, in happier
times as well as in these days of trouble and
confusion, to show that our friendship is genuine
and disinterested, capable' of sacrifice and every
generous manifestation. The peace, prosperity,
and contentment of Mexico mean more, much
more, to us than merely an enlarged field for
our commerce and enterprise. They mean an
enlargement of the field of self-government and
the realization of the hopes and rights of a na
tion with whoso best aspirations, so long sup
pressed and disappointed, we deeply sympathize.
We shall yet prove to the Mexican people that
we know .how to serve them without first think
ing how we shall serve ourselves.
But we are not the only friends of Mexico.
The whole world desires her peace and pro
gress; and the whole world Is interested a3
never before. Mexico lies at last where all the
world looks on. Central America is about to
be touched by the great routes of the world's
trade and Intercourse running free from ocean
to ocean at the isthmus. The future has much
in store for Mexico, as for all the states of
Central America; but the best gifts can come
to her only if she be ready and free to receive
them and to enjoy them honorably. America
in particular America north and south and
upon both continents waits upon the develop
ment of Mexico; and that development can be
sound and lasting only if it be the product of
a genuine freedom, a just and ordered govern
ment founded upon law. Only so can it be
peaceful or fruitful of the benefits of peace.
Mexico has a great and enviable future before
her, if only she choose and attain the paths of
hones$ constitutional government.
The present circumstances of the republic, I
deeply regret to say, do not seem to promise
even the foundations of such a peace. Wo
have waited many months, months full of peril
and anxiety, for the conditions there to improve,
and they have not improved. They have grown
worse, rather. The territory in some sort con
trolled by the provisional authorities at Mexico
City has grown smaller, not larger. The prospect
of the pacification of the country, even by arms,
has seemed to grow more and more remote; and
its pacification by the authorities at the capital
is evidently impossible by any other means than
force. Difficulties mora and more entangle
those who claim to constitute the legitimate
government of the republic. They have not
miade good their claim in fact Their successes
in the field have proved only temporary. War
and disorder, devastation and confusion, seem
to threaten to become the settled fortune of the
distracted country. As friends we could wait
ao longer for a solution which every week
seemed further away. It was our duty at least
to volunteer our good offices to offor to assist,
if we might, in effecting some arrangement
which would bring relief and peace and sot up
a universally acknowledged political authority
Accordingly, I took the liberty of sending tho
Hon. John Lind, formerly governor of Minne
sota, as my personal spokesman and represen
tative, to the City of Mexico, with tho following
Press very earnestly upon tho attention of
those who are now exercising authority or
wielding influence in Mexico tho following con
siderations and advice:
The government of tho United States docs not
feel at liberty any longer to stand inactively by
while it becomes daily more and more evident
that no real progress is being made towards tho '
establishment of a government at the City of
Mpxico which the country will obey and respect.
The government of tho United States does
not stand in the samo case with the other great
governments of the world In respect of what is
happening or what Is likely to happen in Mexico.
We offer our good offices, not only because of
our genuine desire to play tho part of a friend,
but also because we are expected by the powers
of the world to act as Mexico's nearest friend.
We wish to act in these circumstances In the
spirit of the most earnest and disinterested
friendship. It is our purpose in whatever we do
or propose In this perplexing and distressing
situation not only to pay the most scrupulous
regard to the sovereignty and independence of
Mexico that we take as a matter of course to
which wo are bound by every obligation of right
and honor but also to give every possible evi
dence that we act In the interest of Mexico
alono, and not In the interest of any person or
body of persons who may have personal or
property claims in Mexico which they may feel
that they have the right to press. Wo are seek
ing to counsel Mexico for her own good and in
the interest of her own peace, and not for any
other purpose whatever. The government of
tho United States would deem itself discredited
if it had any selfish or ulterior purpose In
transactions where the peace, happiness, and
prosperity of a whole people are involved. It
Is acting as its friendship for Mexico, not as any
selfish Interest, dictates.
The present situation In Mexico is Incom
patible with tho fulfillment of International obli
gations on the part of Mexico, with the civilized
development of Mexico herself, and with tho
maintenance of tolerable political and economic
conditions in Central America. It Is upon no
common occasion, therefore, that the United
States offers her counsel and assistance. All
America cries out for a settlement.
A satisfactory settlement seems to us to be
conditioned on
(a) An immediate cessation of fighting
throughout Mexico, a definite armistice solemnly
entered into and scrupulously observed;
(b) Security given for an early and free
election In which all will agree to take part;
(c) The consent of General Huerta to bind
himself not to be a candidate for election as
president of the republic at this election; and
(d) The agreement of all parties to abide by
the results of the election and co-operate in the
most loyal way in organizing and supporting the
new administration.
The government of the United States will be
glad to play any part in this settlement or in
its carrying out which It can play honorably and
consistently with international right. It
pledges itself to recognize and In every way pos
sible and proper to assist the administration
chosen and set up in Mexico In the way and on
the conditions suggested.
Taking all the existing conditions Into con
sideration, the government of the United States
can conceive of no reasons sufficient to justify
those who are now attempting to chape the
policy or exercise the authority of Mexico in de
clining the offices of friendship thus offered.
Can Mexico give the civilized world a satisfac
tory reason for rejecting our good offices? If
Mexico can suggest any better way In which to
show our friendship, serve the people of Mexico,
and meet our international obligations, we are
more than willing to consider the suggestion.
Mr. Lind executed his delicate and difficult
mission with singular tact, firmness, and good
judgment, and made clear o the authorities at
the City of Moxlco not only tho purposo of his
visit but also tho spirit In which it had boon
undortakon. But tho proposals ho submitted
were rejected, In a noto tho full toxt of which
I tako tho liberty of lnylng before you.
I am lod to bollovo that thoy wore rejected
partly bccatiKo tho authorities at Mexico City
had been grossly misinformed and misled upon
two points. Thoy did not realize the spirit of
tho American people In this matter, their oarncst
friendliness and yet sober determination that
some just solution be found for tho Mexican
dillicultieH; and thoy did not bolleve that tho
present administration spoke, through Mr. Lind,
for the people of tho United States. Tho effect
of this unfortunate misunderstanding on their
part is to leave them singularly isolated and
without friends who can effectually aid them.
So long as the misunderstanding continues w
can only await tho time of their awakening to
a realization of the actual facts. Wo can not
thrust our good offices upon thorn. Tho situa
tion must bo given a little more time to work
itself out In tho new circumstances; and I be
lieve that only a little while will bo necessary.
For tho circumstances aro new. Tho rejection
of our friendship makes them now and will in
evitably bring Its own alterations In tho whol
aspect of affairs. Tho actual situation of the
authorities at Mexico City will presently bo ro
vealed. Meanwhile, what is It our duty to do? Clearly,
everything that we do must be rooted In patlonc
and dono with calm and disinterested delibera
tion, impatience on our part would bo childish,
and would be fraught with every risk of wrong
and folly. Wo can afford to oxerclso tho self
restraint of a really groat nation which realizes
Its own strength and scorns to misuse It. It
was our duty to offor our actlvo assistance. It
Is now our duty to show what true neutrality
will do to enable the people of Moxlco to set
their affairs In order again and wait for a further
opportunity to offer our friendly counsels. Tho
door Is not closed against tho resumption, either
upon the inltlatlvo of Moxlco or upon our own,
of the effort to bring ordor out of the confusion
by friendly co-operative action, should fortu
nate occasion offer.
"While wo wait tho contest of tho rival forces
will undoubtedly for a little whilo bo sharper
than ever, just because It will bo plain that an
end must be made of tho existing situation, and
that very promptly; and with tho Increased
activity of tho contending factions will come,
it Is to be feared, Increased danger to tho non
combatants in Mexico as well as to those actually
in the field of battle. The position of outsiders
Is always particularly trying and full of hazard
where there is civil strife and a whole country
Is upset. Wo should earnestly urge all Ameri
cans to leave Mexico at once, and should assist
them to get away in every way possible not
because wo would mean to slacken in tho least
our efforts to safeguard their lives and their
Interests, but because it Is Imperative that they
should take no unnecessary risks when It is
physically possiblo for them to leave tho coun
try. We should let every one who assumes to
exercise authority in any part of Mexico know
in tho most unequivocal way that we shall
vigilantly watch the fortunes of those Ameri
cans who can not get away, and shall hold thost
responsible for their sufferings and losses to a
definite reckoning. That can bo and will ba
made plain beyond tho possibility of a misunder
standing. For tho rest, I deem It my duty to exerclsa
the authority conferred upon me by tho law of
March 14, 1912, to seo to It that neither side
to the struggle now going on In Mexico receive
any assistance from this side the border. I
shall follow the best practice of nations in the
matter of neutrality by forbidding tho exporta
tion of arms or munitions of war of any kind
from the United States to any jpart of tho Re
public of Mexico a policy suggested by several
interesting precedents and certainly dictated by
many manifest considerations of practical ex
pediency. We can not in the circumstances ba
the partisans of either party to the contest that
now distracts Mexico, or constitute ourselves tha
virtual umpire between them.
I am happy to say that several of the great
governments of the world have given this gov
ernment their generous moral support in urging:
apon the provisional authorities at the City of
Mexico tho acceptance of our proffered good
offices in tho spirit in which they were
We have not acted in this matter under the ordi
nary principles of International obligation. All
the world expects us in such circumstances to
act as Mexico's nearest friend and intimate ad-