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FAILURE TO APPREHEND AND PUNISH MURDERERS OF AMERI
CAN CITIZENS IN MEXICO.
Mr. Clayton to Mr. Hay. No. 1945.].
EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES;
Merico, September 9, 1903. Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of my note of
7th instant to the foreign office, relating to the murder of the American citizen, John E. Week, at Zamora, State of Michoacan, about March 3 last. I have the honor to transmit also a copy of other correspondence relating to the case.
In connection with this subject, I respectfully invite the attention of the Department to the following cases where American citizens were murdered, resulting in the nonapprehension of the murderers: Benjamin Y. Garcia, Victor Gerster, J. S. Stanfield, Philip Nesdal, J. W. Cullen, and William Savage.
In the case of J. S. Stanfield, although his supposed murderer, J. H. Greenwell, was arrested by the Mexican authorities, no efficient effort seems to have been made to prosecute his case.
I consider that the apparent inefficiency on the part of the Mexican officials in the aforesaid cases calls for strong representations to the Mexican Government by this embassy, and in view of the fact that
the presentations that have been made to the foreign office heretofoe have been barren of results, it is my opinion that the subject in oneral should be brought to the attention of the President. If the Tepartment concurs in this opinion, I respectfully suggest that it would add great weight to such representations if my action should be based upon its instruction. I have, etc.,
Mr. Clayton to Mr. Algara.
EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES,
Mexico, September 7, 1903. Mr. SECRETARY: The Department of State has brought to my attention the case of John E. Week, who was murdered at Zamora, State of Michoacan, about March 3, 1903, and has instructed me to take such action as may be necessary to have the assassin brought promptly to justice.
Upon this subject I quote from a communication of the United States consular agent at Guadalajara, under date of the 5th instant, as follows: "I have been obliged to gather my information by correspondence. One correspondent wrote me that he had a personal interview with the judge having jurisdiction in the case, and the judge said: The murderer was known and there were several eyewitnesses to the murder; however, the Government had no money to apprehend murderers.'»
The aforesaid consular agent telegraphed me on the 5th instant as follows: "I can not learn that the murderer of John E. Week has been apprehended or that efforts are being made to apprehend him.”
I earnestly invoke the good offices of the Mexican Government toward bringing the murderer of Mr. Week to justice. I have, etc.,
[Inclosure 2.- Telegram.]
EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES,
Mexico, September 5, 1908. Wire me if the murderer of John E. Week has been apprehended.
Guadalajara, September 5, 1903. I can not learn that the murderer of John E. Week has been apprehended, or that efforts are being made to apprehend him.
EDWARD B. LIGHT.
CONSULAR AGENCY OF THE UNITED STATES,
Guadalajara, September 5, 1903. Sir: Your telegram of this date, inquiring as to the murderer of John E. Week at Zamoro, was duly received and answered.
As the Government does not authorize me to incur the expense of a personal investigation of such cases I have been obliged to gather my information.
b orre spondence. One correspondent wrote me that he had a personal interview wit the judge having jurisdiction in the case, and the judge said: “The murderer ras known and there were several eyewitnesses to the murder. However, the Goven. ment had no money at its disposal to apprehend murderers." I then tried to lean by correspondence the names of the eyewitnesses and the murderer, but have failee to obtain it to this day, although I have written to my correspondent twice.
The murderer of Philip Needel (an Ainerican) in this State, at Navidad, about the 2d of October last is still at large. I am unable to learn that the murderer of William Savage has been tried for his crime. He was arrested and thrown in jail. While there he killed a companion who occupied the same cell. It was stated that he would be tried, sentenced, and shot for that offense, which would make it unnecessary to try him for the former offense. All this information I get from correspondents.
Believing it to be important that I be informed of these matters officially, I addressed a letter some time since to the secretary of state asking this information, but while an abundance of time has elapsed since I wrote to gather the information, I am without a reply. I have made some allowance for the fact that there has since that date been a change of secretaries and governors. It is my intention to take this matter up with the governor scon after his return to this city. I went once to his office for the information, but he was away then, and he has been out of the city considerably of late. I called the attention of the former governor (Curiel) to the murder of Nesdel, and he assured me that an effort was being made to locate and apprehend the murderer; that he had fled and his whereabouts were unknown. I shall be glad to receive any instructions in these cases which your may have to give me. Very respectfully,
Epw. B. LIGHT, United States Consular Agent.
Mr. Adee to Mr. Clayton. No. 951.]
DEPARTMENT OF State,
Washington, September 19, 1903. Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 1945, of the 9th instant, transmitting copies of correspondence relating to the murder
of John E. Week, and, in connection with the subject, inviting the Department's attention to other cases where American citizens have been murdered in Mexico.
In reply I have to state that the Department is of the opinion that you should again bring the cases you mention (except that of Greenwell, who is charged with the murder of Stanfield) to the attention of the Mexican foreign office, refer to the fact that representations previously made by the embassy in regard to them have been without effect, and ask that efficient measures be taken to prosecute the murderers. You may say that this is done under the instructions of your Government.
In the case of Greenwell, his extradition was asked by the Mexican Government, but the extradition magistrate in the United States held that the evidence was not sufficient to warrant his surrender. I am, etc.,
ALVEY A. ADEE,
Mr. Clayton to Mr. Ilay. No. 2034.]
EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES,
Mexico, November 17, 1903. Sir: Referring to the general subject of the failure of the Mexican authorities to arrest and bring to justice the murderers of American citizens in Mexico, as set forth in my dispatch No. 1945, of September last, I have the honor to report that under Department's instruction No. 951, of September 19, 1903, I brought the matter to the attention of the Mexican Government in my note of the 3d ultimo, copy inclosed, in response to which I have received notes from the foreign office, copies and translations inclosed, dated as follows: In the case of Benjamin Y. Garcia, the 8th; two of the 17th and the 20th of October; of Victor Gerster, October 8; of Philip Nesdel, October 8 and November 6, and of J. W. Cullen, October 8; all of the present year.
On the 8th instant I addressed a note to Acting Secretary Algara, copy inclosed, acknowledging the receipt of his aforementioned notes, and adding to the four cases above referred to those of William Savage, John E. Week, and John S. Newman. The murderer of William Savage, although heretofore apprehended, has escaped from prison and is at large.
Awaiting its further instruction, I have, etc.,
Mexico, October 3, 1903. MR. SECRETARY: I am instructed by the Department of State to bring to the attention of your excellency cases where the Mexican authorities have failed to arrest and bring to trial murderers of American citizens, as follows: Benjamin Y. Garcia, killed June 18, 1898, by the Spaniard, Alfonso Entram basaguas; Victor Gerster, killed about January 20, 1902, by the Mexican, Francisco Gallardo; J. W. Cullen, killed about September 1, 1902, by the American, R. H. McKinnis.
The Garcia murder was verbally brought by me to Mr. Mariscal's attention on the 29th of September, 1898, at which time his excellency promised to exert his influence with the proper authorities for the prompt apprehension and trial of the accused. Having heard nothing further from Mr. Mariscal upon the subject, on the 9th of December, 1899, I again brought the matter to his attention by my note of that date.
The murder of Victor Gerster was brought to Mr. Mariscal's attention by my note of June 7, 1902.
The murder of J. W. Cullen was brought to Mr. Mariscal's attention by my note of March 5, 1903.
I respectfully invite your excellency's attention to the three aforesaid notes of this embassy and to the subsequent correspondence in each case.
In addition to the foregoing cases I am also instructed to again bring to the attention of your excellency's Government the murder of Philip Nesdel, which took place October 2, 1902. This case was brought to the attention of Mr. Mariscal by my note of December 2, 1902, to which and the subsequent correspondence I respectfully invite your excellency's attention. In this case it appears from the report of the governor of the State of Jalisco, made to the secretary of foreign affairs on December 16, 1902, and transmitted to this embassy with Mr. Mariscal's note of December 22 of the same year, that Higinio Ayón, supposed to be one of the murderers of Needel, was arrested on the 15th of December, 1902, but I have not learned that the said Ayon has been brought to trial, nor that Porfirio Fregose, the other supposed murderer mentioned in the governor's report as being pursued for the same crime, has been apprehended.
The Department of State, upon information received from this embassy, is impressed with the belief that the representations previously made by the embassy to your excellency's Government in regard to these murders have been without effect. The Department has therefore instructed me to ask that efficient measures be taken to prosecute the murderers, which I now most respectfully and earnestly do. I avail, etc.,
[Inclosure 2.— Translation.]
Merico, October 8, 1905. MR. AMBASSADOR: Referring to the note of the 3d instant, in which, by instruction of your Government, your excellency is pleased to urge the prosecution of the persons supposed to be guilty of the murder of certain American citizens in the Republic, I have the bonor to say, in regard to the case of Benjamin Garcia, no later information than that which was communicated to your excellency on June 22 last has been received, but I have asked the governor of the federal district foranother report, and requested him to give the proper orders to the end that the judge in charge of the case may direct that more active steps be taken to procure the arrest of the homicide in question.
I renew, etc.,
Mr. Algara to Mr. Clayton..
DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS,
Mexico, October 17, 1903. MR. AMBASSADOR: Referring to the note of the 3d instant, in which your excellency was pleased to ask for information in regard to the prosecution of persons guilty of the murder of certain American citizens, I have the honor to transmit to your excellency herewith a copy of a communication addressed to me by the governor of the federal district in regard to the case of Benjamin Garcia.
I renew, etc.,
MEXICAN REPUBLIC, GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERAL DISTRICT, SECTION FIFTH,
Notwithstanding the efforts of the police to procure the arrest of Alfonso Entrambasaguas, guilty of the murder of the American citizen Benjamin Garcia, it has not been effected, for the reason that, according to information received and already communicated to your Department, he has left the territory of the federal district, but the orders to the police have been repeated, and the judge of Tlalpam has been directed to take the measures indicated. MEXICO, October 16, 1903.
GUILLERMO DE LANDA Y ESCANDON.
Mexico, October 17, 1903. MR. AMBASSADOR: Referring to my other note of this date in regard to the case of Benjamin Garcia, I have the honor to transmit to your excellency herewith a copy of a communication addressed to me by the governor of the federal district, in which he copies a report of the judge of first instance of Tlalpam, upon the steps taken to procure the arrest of the supposed murderer of Garcia.
I renew, etc.,
MEXICAN REPUBLIC, GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERAL DISTRICT. The judge of first instance of Tlalpam, in communication of the 14th instant, says to this Government:
"Referring to your communication, No. 14706, in which you copy another from the department of foreign affairs, asking for a report in regard to the condition of the proceedings in the case of the murder of the American citizen Benjamin Garcia, and recommending that active efforts be made for the arrest of the criminal, I have the honor to say that every effort has been made, and that this court has done everything-absolutely everything-possible to procure the arrest of Alfonso Entrambasaguas, supposed to be the guilty party.
"In view of a note of the chargé d'affaires ad interim of the United States, of April 13 last, in which he said that he had been informed that the said Entrambasaguas was, under an assumed name, at or near Fierro del Toro, State of Morelos, engaged in farming and dealing in forage and zacaton, further orders of arrest were issued, and, among others, a requisition was sent by telegraph to the place indicated, and a written requisition was sent later, as is shown by the record. All else within the power of the undersigned himself and in conjunction with other authorities was done.
"If the just desires of the department of foreign affairs have not been accomplished it is not the fault of the undersigned, but because of absolutely unavoidable circumstances.
"Of all of which I have the honor to advise you, in order that you may be pleased to communicate the same to the department of foreign affairs, and I beg that you will assure it that I am truly desirous that prompt, full, and strict justice may be done in the matter."
Which I have the honor to copy for you in reply to your communication of the 18th instant.
Renewing, etc., MEXICO, October 16, 1903.
GUILLERMO DE LANDA Y ESCANDON.