Samuel Guy Inman
Intervention in Mexico


To the average American in the first quarter of the twentieth century, Latin America represented a backward land under the paternalistic protection of Uncle Sam; and to the American businessman the southern republics offered opportunities for investment and huge profits. Thus, in 1910, when Mexico, the nearest republic and the most profitable one for American investment, began to boil with a social revolution, tension between the two governments increased to the point of war, or as the Americans termed it, intervention. Although both governments share the credit for averting war, the contribution of liberals on both sides of the border towards the amicable settlement of the disputes deserves greater recognition. Little is known of the many Americans, individuals and groups, who so articulately opposed intervention and presented the Mexican side of the dispute. Among them were the Protestant churches in the United States and their missionaries in Mexico. Their opposition to the interventionists, whether wealthy oil men or rabid nationalists, remained firm throughout the ordeal.

As leader of the Protestant missionary movement in Latin America, Samuel Guy Inman led these forces in resisting the temptation to invade Mexico. He was convinced that intervention would mean the destruction of all Protestant missionary activity in Mexico, and vigorously launched a publicity campaign to prevent that disaster. Despite the difficulty of proving the total effect of Inman's effusions upon public opinion and foreign policy, it can be clearly established that he played a significant role in increasing popular disapproval of intervention and the desire for the eventual renewal of better relations between the two countries.

Inman was born on June 24, 1877, on a farm just beyond the limits of Trinity, Texas. His father, who had emigrated from Tennessee, died when he was only ten months old. His mother died when he was eleven and he lived with his aunt and uncle in Houston until he finished high school. Inman began college at Texas Christian University but in 1902 he accepted a position as a social worker for the Disciples of Christ Church in New York City. After three years of working in the slums of lower Manhattan and finishing a bachelor's degree at Columbia University, he was sent by the Disciples Church to Monterrey, Mexico, as a missionary. Two years later, he established the Peoples' Institute at Piedras Negras to aid in the improvement of living standards of lowerclass Mexicans through education. His abilities to both help and understand the Mexican became so widely known that in 1915 the Committee for Cooperationin Latin America offered him its top executive position executive secretary. l

Representing thirty Protestant missionary organizations in the United States and Canada, this committee maintained liaisons with the various isolated missions in Latin America and coordinated Protestant policy on Latin American matters. As executive secretary, Inman's duties were to study and to interpret Latin American conditions, as well as to visit the numerous missions in the field. An impressive series of magazine and newspaper articles, lecture tours and annual visits to Mexico increased his influence on both sides of the Rio Grande.

By 1919, at the age of forty-two, Inman was a successful missionary, a lecturer and writer of wide popularity, and a respected authority on conditions in Mexico. In that year he engaged in what appeared to be a losing battle before a Senate subcommittee for the preservation of Mexican sovereign rights. How this little man (5' 4") from Texas withstood the verbal power of the career politician, Senator Albert B. Fall, and the financial might of the wealthy oil baron, Edward Doheny, is a subject of considerable wonderment.2 Each of these personalities represented the attitudes and interests of several powerful pressure groups in the United States, each of which could, and often did, influence the policy of the national government.

Capital from the United States had penetrated deep into Mexico long before the revolution. From 1877 to 1910, Mexico was under the thumb of President Porfirio Diaz, who had invited large scale foreign investments and had even provided it with every type of protection. The revolution of 1910 was in part a reaction against this foreign penetration. After a period of violent civil war in which Francisco Madero and Victoriano Huerta fell from power, Venustiano Carranza assumed the presidency in 1914. Throughout this period of unrest from 1910 to 1919, several hundred American citizens lost their lives, and thousands more lost returns on their investments. Under tremendous diplomatic pressure from the State Department, Carranza promised to respect and protect the lives and property of Americans in Mexico.

The chief point of friction between the two countries centered around the Mexican Constitution of 1917 which was part of Carranza's program for reestablishing order and progress in Mexico. In general, the new constitution was acceptable to the United States except for a few clauses. Article 27 was a reversion to old Spanish law in restoring to the state the ownership of land and natural resources. It stipulated that only Mexican citizens and companies could acquire and develop land and natural deposits. It prohibited foreigners from ownership of land 100 kilometers from the seacoast. Another section provided that the Constitution should not be retroactive, but a third gave the executive complete power to regulate stock companies which could be employed to make it retroactive. Decrees of the Mexican government involving the interpretation of Article 27 indicated to American oil interests that their property would be seized under guise of taxation.3

This petroleum legislation was an attempt to found a new order upon a basic principle of Mexico's economic life which was laid down at the very beginning of the Spanish occupation. Spanish law made a distinction between land surface rights and mineral rights below the ground. It reserved to the Crown the exclusive ownership of the subsoil. Therefore, the Spanish Crown held the title to all mining property. When Mexico became a republic, the rights of the Spanish Crown passed to the national government. All subsequent mining laws of Mexico were based on this tradition. A person who bought a mine received a permit. He did not own the mine, only the product it produced. However, under the Diaz regime, the Mexican Congress in 1884 passed a law exempting oil from this ownership classification. The Mexican Constitution of 1917 merely restored the government's rights to own all minerals under Mexican soil.

Carranza and his administration had assured the foreign oil interests that there was no intention of confiscating present holdings, but only of insuring that in the future natural resources would contribute their part to national taxation. Since only a small part of the oil deposits of Mexico had been tapped at that time, further exploitation still tempted the foreign companies. The oil companies maintained that the Spanish Crown laws had never mentioned oil as a property of the government and denied that they sought more oil leases, declaring that they only wanted to safeguard their present holdings. A majority of the oil men feared that the Mexicans would eventually make article 27 retroactive.

Rabid nationalist and business interests of the United States believed that their government was being too lenient with Mexico. They favored the armed defense of foreign investments in Mexico, and defended the rights of the Mexican upper class. This group believed that the United States should give active support to the real governing element in Mexico, which they assumed to be merely the upperclass Creole population. Secondly, they urged the creation of a buffer state between the United States and Mexico, consisting of Mexican territory lying between the Rio Grande and the twenty-second parallel. They continuously urged that the United States actively intervene in Mexican affairs.4

These interventionists gained the support of a powerful group of senators led by Senator Albert B. Fall of New Mexico. In 1917, Fall stated, "I favor the immediate organization of an army of 500,000 men, ostensibly for the policing of Mexico, or for the invasion of that country." He went on to say that Mexico should not be annexed, but kept in a "peaceful condition as a buffer state" between the United States and Latin America.5 The most vocal and influential of the interventionists, however, were the spokesmen for United States oil interests. When the Yankee petroleum owners in Mexico started their campaign for intervention in that country, Inman vigorously opposed that movement. In his campaign against the money and influence of the oil companies, he discovered it was" they who supplied [Mexican] revolutionists with arms so that their companies could extend their power without government interference."6 When they were unsuccessful in their attempt to control the Mexican government, the oil companies then turned to the United States Senate to demand justice from Mexico.

The oil companies which favored intervention combined to form the Association of Producers of Oil in Mexico. The chief objective of this association was to regain American property benefits, expressed by them as "rights' in Mexico. They attempted to influence public opinion and the Congress of the United States. As early as 1915 pamphlets and handbills were printed and circulated to the American public. One such handbill told a fearful public that:

All oil and gasolineconsuming industries in the United States including automobile manufacturers and users and railroad and steamship lines, are threatened with a most serious shortage, unless the United States acts promptly to halt the confiscating oil legislation and decrees of the Mexican Government aimed at the American owned companies.7

The handbill claimed that the price of gasoline had already advanced two cents per gallon and would continue to rise unless the Mexican government was stopped from confiscating the North American oil properties. The oil companies claimed that they were merely acting on the advice of the State Department, and the article quoted President Wilson and Secretary of State Lansing to the effect that unless the Mexicans respected American rights, the United States merchant marine would be seriously threatened.8 It was further claimed that over 90 percent of the fuel oil used on ships along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts came from Mexico. The writers of this handbill, apparently feeling that they had not covered all American interest groups concluded with a warning to the farmers: "the rural population is the biggest buyer" and the Mexican government certainly intended to raise prices. An article in Current Opinion claimed that the United States was using 400,000,000 barrels of oil annually, that domestic production produced only 300,000,000, and, therefore, that Mexican oil fields were the "only hope" to keep the United States economy moving.9

In January, 1919, the Association of Producers of Oil in Mexico gathered together "practically all American investment interests" in Mexico to form the National Association for the Protection of American Rights in Mexico.10 Such business organizations as the Rockefeller Oil Companies, among them Standard Oil of New Jersey, joined forces with Anaconda Copper Mining Company, a rubber corporation, and several associations of cattle men and cotton growers, to gain sympathetic support from the Paris Peace Conference. Edward Doheny led a sevenman delegation to Paris to demand that the rights of foreigners in Mexico be firmly established by international agreement and that protection of life and property be insured. Similar organizations from Canada, England, and France coordinated their efforts in Paris. The Paris Peace Council, however, did not wish to concern itself with the Mexican problem, and no attempt to dictate to that government was made by the world leaders.

Nevertheless, it seemed apparent, at least to the antiinterventionists, that many business groups, the oil interests in particular, were going to great lengths to bring about intervention in Mexico. The propaganda efforts of the interventionists influenced a large segment of the North American population due to their techniques of exaggerating the general disorder in Mexico and the crimes of the bandits.

One of the most outspoken groups against intervention was the Protestant churches involvedin missionary activities in Mexico. They did not make any claims against the Mexican Government for property losses suffered during the ten year revolution.11 The Committee for Cooperation in Latin America issued a statement in which it declared that "the missionary in Mexico is concerned with the people of Mexico, not with the material products of the country."12 It denounced armed conflict with Mexico and declared that the missionary would abide by the laws of the Mexican government. Inman and other church leaders feared that if the United States intervened in Mexico, the efforts of forty years on the part of the missionaries in building up good relations with Mexico would be lost.

Inman presented a report on the situation to the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church. He accused the oil men of trying to force war with Mexico through the use of propaganda. He felt the American people were being deceived by prejudiced propaganda, and "intervention in Mexico is coming just as fast as certain interests can possibly force it."13 He told the Presbyterian Board that what the oil interests wanted was for the United States to get control of Mexico so that they could obtain billions of dollars of oil properties. Inman warned that intervention in Mexico would spell the doom "of all American missions' work in Mexico." In his opening statement, he had said, "I hope this letter will act as a riot call." (When in September, 1919, he appeared before a Senate subcommittee, this "riot call" letter was to cause him considerable difficulty.)

Another organization interested in nonintervention in Mexico was the League of Free Nations Association, founded in 1918 and directed by James G. McDonald. Its members included editors, publicists, and students of international politics. The objectives of the League were to evolve a new form of world organization to remove the causes of war and to build up closer and more friendly relations between nations.14 Inman was a member of this League and participated in creating, in July, 1919, a Mexican Committee within the League. The duty of this Mexican Committee was to syndicate daily and Sunday feature material to the press throughout the country in order to present true facts and statements of actual conditions in Mexico. The committee was also to correct reports and articles which did not present the true situation in Mexico. The League issued a statement of its position regarding the Mexican situation: "The Association is opposed to intervention and believes that the United States government should adopt a sympathetic attitude toward the liberal government in Mexico."15

* * *

The campaign against intervention received nationwide attention in 1919 when Inman published his first book, Intervention in Mexico. His purpose in writing the book was to tell the actual conditions in Mexico as he saw them, and to convince the reader that intervention would be a mistake. In the book, he developed the idea that a sympathetic approach should be taken toward the Mexican domestic situation. The book was timely because it came at the climax of the Wilson Administration's attempt to introduce a significant change in the government's policy toward Latin America. Wilson tried to reduce tensions in the hemisphere by substituting a policy of cooperation in place of the rather heavyhanded policies of the Roosevelt and Taft administrations. But the President's impatience and moral principles clashed and brought his efforts to naught. In intervention in Mexico, Inman wrote that he felt Wilson's special policy of constitutional democracy in Mexico, United States style, "utterly failed."16

Inman declared that it was impossible for Americans to understand the Mexican point of view because of general ignorance of Mexico. He divided this ignorance into five area -- geography and history of Mexico, lack of knowledge of the internal political currents of the country, "the difference between Anglo-Saxon and Latin psychology," the inability of Americans to separate Mexican difficulties from their own political and economic activity, and "the fake reports which we get through the press." Historically, the Mexicans had been a dislocated and exploited people. Landed barons and priests of the Catholic Church had formed an "unholy alliance," joined later by foreign capitalists, to keep a vast percentage of Mexicans suppressed under a system of economic and social exploitation. The United States "ought to rejoice that the people have finally gathered the strength to Protest against their wrongs." He criticized the American press for giving false reports about President Carranza and described Carranza as "much the same kind of man that President Wilson is." Inman suggested that both men had great ideas, high principles, and a strong nationalism. In reference to the 1918-1919 Mexican - United States oil crisis he quoted a disillusioned oil man who was waiting until the 1920 national election when Wilson would be defeated for the presidency, and then under a new president the oil men could "demand and secure justice from Mexico." The author concluded by pleading with his readers to have patience with Mexico.17

The book attracted considerable attention because in it Inman denounced any attempt by the United States to intervene in Mexican affairs. He accused many Americans who had investments in Mexico with attempting to force their government to intervene by armed force in that country. A few days after the book was presented to the public, President Carranza, in a message to the Mexican Congress, also charged that some United States citizens interested in oil properties in Mexico were maintaining a powerful press campaign devised to impress upon the public mind of the United States as well as both Houses of Congress the necessity of intervening in Mexico.18

Intervention in Mexico was released to the public in August, 1919. The publisher, Association Press, gave wide publicity to the book, and it seemed likely that it would be favorably accepted by the public. More than one hundred newspapers and magazines praised the book. The historian, Herbert Priestley, wrote that "here is a book in which one feels from the first word to the end the absolute sincerity of the writer."19 He called it "a well written book" and said that Inman "has no axe to grind, no spleen to vent, no propaganda to serve except that of the altruistic work in which he is engaged." The New York Tribune said it was a book that should be appreciated by all those who wished to "possess authentic information about that country."20 The Washington Evening Star called it an "intimate, fairminded and important study of the vitalquestion of Mexican development."21 The Cuban La Reforma Social referred to the author as a writer of genuine sincerity and one who was not blinded by a vision of imperialism.22

The timeliness of the book was evident by the rapid course of events in United States-Mexican relations. By the summer of 1919, the United States had become hypersensitive about affairs in Mexico. The continued disorders of Carranza's administration, and the fact that he did not have full control of the country, caused an increasing number of Americans to favor United States intervention. On June 24, Senator Fall introduced in the Senate a resolution intended to break off diplomatic relations with Mexico; President Wilson protested the move and the resolution died. However, because of the activities of the interventionists and the noninterventionists and the general disintegration of United States-Mexican relations, a subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was established to hold hearings to investigate Mexican affairs. Senator Fall obtained the chairmanship of that subcommittee.

Other members of this subcommittee were Senators Frank B. Brandegee of Connecticut, Republican, and Marcus A. Smith of Arizona, Democrat. Smith was unable to attend the hearings because of ill health. Brandegee was frequently absent; therefore, almost the entire direction of the hearings was vested in Fall. Even a full committee would have changed matters little because the members of the Senate subcommittee were not impartial jurors. Fall, from the border state of New Mexico, was a well-known interventionist. Brandegee was described by one newspaper as being more of an "ultranationalist than Mr. Carranza."23 Smith also was known to represent border sentiment. "The committee," said the New York Evening Post, "is all hot over the border to start with."

James McDonald, executive secretary of the League of Free Nations Association, on hearing of the forthcoming investigation, requested an opportunity for several of the League's members to speak to the committee. He also sent three chapters of Inman's book to Fall. The Senate invited the League to send any of its members who wished to be heard, and Inman was among those McDonald asked to appear. The League wished to establish by the testimony of those of its members who had recently visited Mexico that conditions there had greatly improved, and that there was no need for intervention on the part of the United States. The League also wished to prove that an elaborate propaganda, directed by the oil interests, was attempting to influence the press and public opinion against Mexico, and that relations would continue to deteriorate unless a more sympathetic attitude was taken toward Mexico.

On September 8, 1919, Inman appeared before the subcommittee, and began his testimony by reading a prepared statement which analyzed the Mexican problem and praised the missionary movement. "The American missionaries, because of their long contact and interest in Mexico, know more about the Mexican people than any other Americans." He added that 50 percent of the young leaders of the Mexican government were influenced by mission schools, or were educated in the United States. He said that Carranza was not responsible for the radical nature of the Constitution of 1917, particularly those features opposing the foreign investor and church institutions. Actually, he continued, Carranza opposed these measures, but in order to hold his party together, he had accepted them, intending to change some provisions later.

Throughout Inman's opening statement, Fall indicated his hostile attitude by constant interruption. His main objective appeared to be to discredit his witness by ridiculing his sources of information, or by refusing to allow any type of general statement to go unchallenged. Fall pressured his first antiinterventionist witness about technical facts concerning Mexico, and prodded his memory for obscure events of the past. Inman fought back, interjecting whenever possible a defense of President Carranza and the Mexican point of view. In response to a question concerning American investors in Mexico, he claimed that the Carranza government had tried to work out a favorable solution to the problem of foreign land rights with the American investors, but that the Americans had refused to meet with the government. "Conditions are very bad in Mexico" he admitted, but they were improving and there soon would be "better conditions than under the Diaz regime ...."24 The letter that Inman had written to the Mission Board-secretaries while attending a Mexico City conference in February, 1919, referred to earlier as the "riot call letter" was another topic on which he was crossexamined. In this letter he had made the statement:

You have no doubt been following the hearings in Congress concerning the Mexican question, and have seen how by the calling of only a certain class of witnesses, all is made to play into the hands of interventionists.25

Fall accused his witness of sounding the "riot call to the church people of the United States . . . that the Congress of the United States was determined on intervention," Inman, under pressure, admitted that the riot call letter was hastily written without any thought that it ever would be published. The questioning throughout the session, was conducted almost entirely by Fall.

The six hours that Inman spent on the witness stand were long and grueling. Under it, Inman had admitted that he was involved in writing antiinterventionist propaganda. He had charged that huge sums of money were being spent to bring about intervention and that those who favored this action by the government might even go so far as to instigate raids across the border into the United States for the purpose of inflaming the American public. However, he had been forced to admit that this information was hearsay.

(In a Senate subcommittee investigation of the oil situation in Mexico in 1935, Herbert Sein, formerly a member of the Mexican Consulate in New York, testified that American oil companies paid bribes to bandits in the Mexican oil fields "with the full knowledge and even with the approval of the State Department."26 Mr. Sein also said that Doheny admitted at the hearings before the subcommittee that his companies had paid bribes to bandits and agreed that the State Department was fully aware of, and even suggested, the action.)

The following day, Inman resumed his testimony. He asked to read a final statement inreference to his "riot call" letter. He defended his statements against intervention and the interventionists. But when he concluded his statement by asking that no further reference to the letter or its contents be made, both Fall and Brandegee rebuffed him for even daring to control the line of questioning. Actually, since he had written the letter acting as executive secretary of the Committee on Cooperation in Latin America, he was trying not to involve that Committee in his personal testimony.

The subcommittee members followed the same line of questioning as on the previous day. They asked Inman questions about technical data on education and government in Mexico, or points about Mexico's past history, and whenever he appeared to be unclear on a question, both Fall and Brandegee would pursue the matter in an obvious attempt to discredit their witness.

That afternoon, Edward Doheny, the oil magnate, attended the hearing. Aside from Fall's mention of the fact that Doheny was attending the hearing, no notice was taken of him. This session was dominated by questions concerning Inman's book. Inman had denounced the American press as being prejudiced and having reported false news from Mexico. Fall asked if he meant the Associated Press. Inman replied that "he had no information to accuse any one single news service."27 Fall read a statement from Inman's book: "'Foreign capitalists, with their immense concessions, have usually been willing to join the system of exploitation.' What immense concessions do you know of?" asked the Senator.

"I cannot recall," was all that Inman could say.

Again and again the committee members picked apart Inman's words, ridiculed ideas they felt were unclear and pressed the witness whenever he appeared to be unsure of himself. Inman was just no match for the sophisticated Senators. Fall was noted for being clever on matters concerning oil, Mexico, and intervention. The closing hours of the second day of hearings were more friendly. Inman, unshaken from his position, concluded:

Mr. Chairman, I did not claim to know all about the subject; I felt that I had a message to give to the people. . . . I wrote the book from a sense of duty as an American citizen. When I first began writing it, there was not near the interest in Mexico as developed later.28

Fall, in a less antagonistic tone, said, "I think I can congratulate you that it [the book] has very largely added to the interest in Mexican affairs."

During the two days he was a witness, Inman's reputation was in serious jeopardy. Under the clever, antagonistic questioning of Fall he was often stripped of his defenses. He barely escaped a citation of contempt from the subcommittee, was almost accused of treason, was denounced as a propagandist for Carranza, criticized for being unfaithful in his duties to his Protestant church employers, and unfairly appraised by Fall as being ignorant of Mexican affairs. Inman came out of the encounter scarred and bruised, but undaunted, and within a few months afterthe hearings he was to be morally vindicated by the discovery of illegal collusion between Fall and Doheny in American oil fields. The national attention that the investigation received thrust Inman before the widest audience he had ever reached and afforded him an opportunity to create more converts for nonintervention.

The day following Inman's testimony, September 10, Doheny took the witness stand. It was no surprise to Inman to find Doheny treated as though he were a member of the committee rather than a witness. Fall was friendly, polite, and even helpful quite the opposite from his attitude toward Inman. Doheny was allowed to complete his statement without interruption, no embarrassing questions were put to him, and neither committee member spoke or acted with the superior attitude they had held earlier. Neither member challenged Doheny when he said: "The parties in power in Mexico had determined to make an enemy of me on account of my success; and I want that to go into the record."29

The accounts of the hearings in the press confirmed this biased attitude of the subcommittee members. The Nation reported: "Now and then we have the spectacle in Washington of a whitewash. In the case of Mexico it looks like a blackwash."30 The New York Evening Post carried an even clearer picture of the hearing:

The Mexican hearing is creating for itself a dramatic setting. No Committee of the present session so far has proceeded with the inquisitional fireworks that Senator Fall has chosen to set off. Dr. Samuel Guy Inman of New York was the principal witness. He is opposed to intervention in Mexico. Whereas Senator Fall has grouped around him border people who have been crying for intervention and a course of severe punishment across the boundary.31

Inman joined in the denunciation of the subcommittee. He claimed that he was on trial because he had dared to write a book and articles on Mexico in which he "had disagreed with certain oil interests and with the chairman of the committee, who was judge, prosecuting attorney, and jury all in one."32

The New York City newspapers, on September 16, carried the story that Inman had been fired as executive secretary of the Committee on Cooperation in Latin America. He was discharged, one article said, for political activities in connection with the question of intervention in Mexico.33 But the newspaper announcements were premature. That same morning, the executive board of the Committee met to consider what was to be done about Inman's testimony before the Senate subcommittee. Two members, representing large mission boards, said that the executive secretary's political activities had cost their boards several million dollars in contributions from the oil magnates, and suggested discharging Inman. But most of the members did not oppose the position he had taken on intervention. Bishop Francis J. McConnell of the Methodist Church in Denver, who administered the Methodist missionary program in Mexico, defended Inman's right to speak from his convictions. He also was convinced that Inman's appraisal of the Mexican situation was "one hundred per cent correct."34 TheCommittee's executive board, therefore, upheld Inman and assured him his job was secure.

The vigorous support from the Committee for Cooperation in Latin America did not end all of Inman's difficulties. His book, Intervention in Mexico mysteriously disappeared from bookstores and newsstands shortly after his appearance before the subcommittee. He asked the president of Association Press, Francis Harris, what the disappearance meant. Harris replied that "opposition [to the book] has arisen I am sure from your testimony before the committee."35 No explanation was given regarding the missing issues of Intervention in Mexico. Rumors reached Inman that the first issue had been bought off the market by the oil interests and specifically, he believed, by Doheny's personal order.36

The Association Press began to hedge about issuing a second edition, and a barrage of letters traveled between the author and publisher. On February 17, 1920, Harris asked Inman to be "very patient and very forgiving," and he would "square an injustice" to the author.37 "In the meantime," Harris continued, "will you do me the great personal favor of calling off James G. McDonald of the League of Free Nations?" McDonald had entered into the dispute on Inman's behalf. Harris asked Inman for a confidential statement regarding certain passages in his book which he could not substantiate under oath. On February 24, Inman replied to Harris' letter. He refused to answer questions covering specific points of his testimony, and he berated the Association Press for its stand.

These oil men who are trying to bulldoze you are poor psychologists. Their compelling the suppression of the book would bring on them a storm of indignant criticism compared with which anything I could possibly say, would be a quiet summer breeze. If they at all sensed the opposition that is already developed against their highhanded methods, they would realize this, and quickly release you from ¨whatever committal may have been made to them.38

Relations with Association Press deteriorated, and there were many arguments over royalties, the number of books actually sold, and the possibility of a second issue. Inman accused the Association Press of not following up on his suggested list of prospective buyers of his book. (The list included mostly religious and international organizations.) He also accused the publisher of not fulfilling his promise to Protect the author. "Because of the attitude of the Association Press." declared Inman, "the book has been absolutely killed."39 The publishers attempted to answer Inman's charges, but it was clear that they could not justify their actions. They sent an official apology to Inman, but it was small consolation. In the end, Inman asked, and the publishers agreed, to cancel the contract.

Although Intervention in Mexico was reissued in late 1920 by George Doran and Company, its effectiveness had diminished, because Mexico, in the course of a few months, had undergone tremendous change and improvement. No more than 2,000 copies of the book were sold. Nevertheless, because of the many book reviews and the subcommittee's frequent quoting from the book, its effect upon the interventionist pressure groups, upon the Congress, and upon the newspaper reading public, was far greater than the limited sale would indicate.

On May 28, 1920, the subcommittee issued its final report. It declared that Mexico under Carranza was not safe for American citizens or American investments. It recommended that the American government not recognize the Carranza regime, and that recognition should be given only when an understanding was made that certain sections of the Mexican Constitution, notably parts of Article 27, would not apply to Americans. The final recommendation of the subcommittee was that if the above conditions (as well as others not mentioned) were refused, and if disorder continued, the United States should intervene to bring an end to the internal conflict. The wording and recommendations of the subcommittee's report clearly recorded a victory for the interventionists. The Americans who felt as Inman did, that Mexico had a right to solve its own internal problems, were ignored.

In spite of the subcommittee's final recommendations, calmer logic prevailed. The crude treatment of Inman and other witnesses by the subcommittee backfired upon its members, and public opinion was swayed increasingly toward allowing Mexico to solve its own internal problems. The testimony of the anti-interventionists also caused the subcommittee's final report to be delayed several months. During that time Mexico began to regain political stability. Carranza was assassinated in 1920, and was succeeded by Alvaro Obregon. Under Obregon the civil war ended and the Mexicans began to rebuild their wartorn nation. Nearly ten years later, Inman presented his views of the interventionists of 1919 in a memorandum. He cited the activities of the interventionists, notably Fall and Doheny. He claimed that the Senate subcommittee actually had worked for intervention in Mexico instead of investigating Mexican-American relations. He charged that:

The committee made every effort to discount everything I said in favor of Mexico, to show that I was employed by the Mexican government, and in other ways to discredit me before the American public. . .40

Inman also claimed that after the investigation he was followed by men employed by the interventionist interests, and that secret emissaries attempted to influence the organizations that employed him. His book was suppressed, "and everything possible was done to ruin me."

On the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution Inman rose to great heights as an inter-Americanist during the years after 1919, but evidence of corruption crushed the careers of Senator Fall and Doheny. The new President of the United States, Warren G. Harding, was just the type of man the interventionists had wanted. He served the purposes of the financial interests, but the oil reserves of the United States drew the oil men's attention away from the perplexing problems of Mexico and intervention. Within two years of the new President's term, both Fall and Doheny were the key figures in a multi-million dollar scandal involving the nation's oil reserves. Their exposure caused regret to few Americans. Fall was sentenced to a year in prison and fined $100,000. Doheny escaped official punishment but was so thoroughly discredited by the adverse publicity that he sought the safety of an early retirement.

The attempt by various vestedinterest groups in the United States to reduce Mexico to a protectorate of its northern neighbor ran headlong into allied organizations and individuals who envisioned, real or imagined, the horrors of Yankee imperialism. Through their perseverance, particularly Inman's, the government moved more cautiously in its dealings with Mexico. Relations between the two North American republics gradually improved. Less than three weeks before the United States entered World War II, November 19, 1941, the State Department recognized Mexico's right to expropriate the American oil properties, and virtually forced the oil interests to accept the proffered financial compensation.41 A new day in relations dawned when Mexico, a few months after the Pearl Harbor attack, joined the United States in mutual defense.


1. Robert E. Spear to Inman, April 14, 1915. Samuel Guy Inman Papers, Library of Congress.

2. Doheny, a millionaire, commanded companies that owned some 1,4000,000 acres of land on the east coast of Mexico and had almost $300,000,000 invested in surface improvements.

3. Howard E Cline, The United States and Mexico (Cambridge, Mass., 1953), PP. 168-169.

4. New York Times, April 17, 1920.

5. New York Times, September 9, 1917.

6. New York Times, February 28, 1926.

7. "Oil and Gasoline Shortage Threatens United States" (New York: National Association for the Protection of American Rights in Mexico, n.d.) Copy in Inman Papers, Library of Congress.

8. Actually President Wilson had earlier warned about "powerful influences" who were attempting to force an intervention in Mexico, and ordered some of his "Administration officials to consider steps" to bring the agitation to an end. New York Times, March 25, 1916.

9. "Importance of Mexican Oil Fields to the United States," Current Opinion, LXVIII (January 1920), 111.

10. New York Times, January 18, 1919.

11. Decimal files, Department of State, Washington, D.C., 312.11/473. Anna Atwater to Henry Anderson, August 19, 1925.

12. Decimal files, 812.404/291, Inman to Frank B. Kellogg, February 20, 1926.

13. U. S. Congress, Senate, Subcommittee of the Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearings, Investigation of Mexican Affairs, 66th Cong., 1st Sess. (1919), I, 41.

14. lbid., pp. 190191.

15. In the Matter of the Settlement of Disputed Questions Between Mexico and the United States (New York, 1921), p. 15.

16. Inman, Intervention in Mexico (New York, 1919), p. .

17. lbid., p. 176.

18. New York Times, September 2, 1919.

19. Herbert I. Priestley, Review of Intervention in Mexico, in Hispanic American Historical Review,III (February 1920), 5356.

20. New York Tribune, October 25,1919.

21. Washington Evening Star, July 25, 1920.

22. La Reforma Social, October, 1920.

23. New York Evening Post, September 8, 1919.

24. Hearings, p. 17.

25. lbid., p. 45.

26. New York Times, February 28, 1926.

27. Hearings, p. 119.

28. lbid., p.140.

29. lbid., p. 272.

30. The Nation, CIX (September 20, 1919), 387.

31. New York Evening Post, September 16, 1919.

32. James G. McDonald, "Questionable Questioning," The Nation, CIX (September 20, 1919), 400.

33. New York Times, September 16, 1919.

34. William R. Wheeler, A Man Sent From God, A Biography of Robert E. Speer (Westwood, N.J., 1956), p. 196.

35. Harris to Inman, February 17, 1920. Inman Papers, Library of Congress.

36. "Memorandum on Senate Hearing on Mexican Investigation," February 13, 1921. Ibid.

37. Harris to Inman, February 17, 1920. Ibid.

38. Inman to Harris, February 24, 1920. Ibid.

39. Ibid.

40. Memorandum on Senate Hearing on Mexican Investigation," February 13, 1927. Ibid.

41. Cordell Hull, The Memoirs of Cordell Hull (2 vols., New York, 1948), p. 1140.

Copied from PERSI files from Allen County, IN Public Library - listed as
Samuel Inman, b. 1877, Trinity, TX (CACQ, 46, 4, Dec 1964)