The Secretary of State to the Mexican Ambassador (Bonillas)

Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note No. A–4596, under date of August 21st,40 informing me by direct instruction of your Government that it has learned that forces of the United States Army have invaded Mexican territory in pursuit of the captors of the aviators Davis and Patterson, who had landed at Falomir Station in Chihuahua at a distance of one hundred and twelve kilometers from the frontier. You further state that as the entry of said troops constitutes a violation of the national sovereignty of Mexico, you protest in the name of your Government against such act, and ask that the United States order the immediate withdrawal of its troops.

In reply I have the honor to inform you that the Mexican Government was immediately notified of the capture of these American officers by bandits, and requested to take steps to obtain their prompt release unharmed. As it seemed evident that the Mexican Government was unable to accomplish this, a ransom had to be paid to the captors in order to save the lives of these American citizens. Furthermore, since it appeared that the Mexican Government had taken no effective measures to hunt down these bandits, a detachment of American troops entered Mexico in pursuit of them.

The attention of the Mexican Government has been repeatedly called to the menace to the lives of American citizens growing out of the lawless conditions existing in many parts of Mexico, and especially along our border. The Mexican Government has had ample time and warning to adopt adequate measures to restore orderly conditions. The Government of the United States cannot be expected to suffer the indefinite continuance of existing lawless conditions along its border, which expose its citizens to maltreatment at the hands of ruffianly elements of the Mexican population, which their Government seems unable to control, and which have undoubtedly been encouraged to continue their acts of aggression against citizens of the United States by reason of the immunity from punishment for such acts which they have enjoyed.

No violation of the national sovereignty of Mexico was intended by this expedition. It was despatched upon the hot trail of the bandits in question with the sole object of punishing them for their mistreatment of officers of the American Army, and of preventing future activities of a similar nature upon our frontier. This object, having been accomplished as far as was possible in the circumstances, [Page 561] orders have been issued for the return of the troops to American territory.

Accept [etc.].

Robert Lansing
  1. Not printed.