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M F: -X I G O 
BEFORE THE WORLD 



Public Documents and Addresses of 
PLUTARCO ELIAS CALLES 



Translated from the Spanish and edited by 

ROBERT HAMMOND MURRAY 



Price One Dollar 



First Printing 

New York 

THE ACADEMY PRESS 

112 Fourth Avenue 

1927 



Copyrighted 1927 



FOREWORD 



This compilation of a portion of the public docu- 
ments and addresses of President Calles has been 
made with the object of providing an adequate and 
a convenient reference source for the benefit of 
those who seek authoritative information upon the 
man and his work and upon topics relevant to the 
present state of governmental, social, economic and 
kindred conditions in Mexico. It constitutes a pres- 
entation and a record of the official and personal 
aspirations of the President and also of the govern- 
ment and the masses of Mexico upon national neces- 
sities and problems, and especially in matters which 
concern Mexico's international relations. In this 
book answers will be found to virtually all of the 
questions upon which illumination may be desired 
by persons who are interested in knowing what is 
being done in Mexico and why, and in the develop- 
ment of President Calles' programme of reform and 
reconstruction. 

New York, December, 1927. R. H. M. 



CAL,L,7SS AND SOCIAL, REFORMS IN 
MEXICO 



(Written by the Argentine author, Jose Ingen- 
ieros 9 after visiting Mewico, in 1925.) 

President Plutarco Elias Calles, who at 
'present is directing the destinies of the 
Mexican people, is an exceptional states- 
man, a notable personality^ in every way, 
a man worthy of the admiration of culti~ 
'oated intellects* Educated in modern 
socialistic ideas and conscious of the des- 
tinies of his country, General Calles is 
establishing a government of reparation 
and justice and leading Mexico along 
proper lines in the direction of social re- 
forms. Hence he is supported by millions 
of workmen and tillers of the soil who rep- 
resent the vital forces of the country. Few 
elements in Mexico are in opposition to his 
great and fruitful programme of national 
reconstruction, which should serve as an 
example to all the nations of America. 



MEXICO IN NEWS AND IN FACT 



(E. Gomez de Baquero, in El Sol, Madrid, 
December 25, 1926.) 

Each week, if not more frequently, the 
cable brings sensational information from 
Mexico of Indian uprisings, popular dis- 
turbances, military revolts, bloody official 
repressions, threats of war with the 
United States. Later most of these reports 
are authoritatively denied, but in the 
meantime they have gone the rounds of 
the press of the world, transmitted by the 
news agencies of the United States. This 
anthology of disasters, as Alfonso Reyes 
remarked during his lectures at Lyons, is 
too systematic to be free from the suspicion 
of being inspired. One does not need to 
be ^ a seer to perceive in this press cam~ 
paign against Mexico an incongruous mix- 
ture of oil and holy water and the irrita- 
tion of Big Business, of the captains and 
sergeants of industry, before the sight of 
Mexico defending its petroleum,, its 'mines 
and its agriculture from foreign economic 
domination; and also the opposition of the 
Catholic Church against the laws of secu- 
larization, which last, perhaps, is creating 
more clamor outside of Mexico than within 
the country itself. This coincidence of 
temporal and spiritual motives is not sur- 



prising. Are the Knights of Columbus not 
seeking to organize a Protestant crusade, 
considering that the Protestants are in a 
majority in the United States, to aid the 
Catholic Church against Mexico and its 
obstinate determination not to permit the 
monopolization of oil or of conscience? 
The poet Lopez Velarde was correct when 
he told the Mexicans that the oil deposits 
in that country were the gift of the devil. 
Possibly it is an indication of the decline 
of faith in miracles that among the news 
notices from Mexico transmitted by the 
Anglo-Saxon cables nothing has been said 
of the appearance there of some fatalist 
comet 9 hailed as presaging the downfall 
of President Calles, similar to that which 
the historians of the seventeenth century 
describe as having been seen in Constanti- 
nople and which was regarded as a har~ 
binger of the ruin of the city. 



MEXICO 
BEFORE THE WORLD 



POLITICAL PLATFORM 



SPEECH IN GENERAL TERAN, NUEVO LEON, 
ACCEPTING THE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION 



(From El Demacrata, Mexico City, September 6 t 1923.) 

Numerous political groups throughout the coun- 
try have honored me by making me a candidate 
for President. The greater part of these offers 
came when I was still a member of the cabinet of 
President Obregon and for this reason I deemed 
it expedient to delay announcing my decision on 
the question of my candidacy until my retirement 
from the government, owing to my conviction that, 
because of our national psychology and the funda- 
mental characteristics of our incipient democracy, 
no public functionary invested with, or exercising, 
official authority, should participate in a personal 
capacity in political-electorial activities. 

Understanding with deep gratitude the action 
taken by these political parties in their recent 
convention in advancing my candidacy for Presi- 
dent of the Republic and now being separated 
from all official connection with the government, 
the time is fitting for me to define my position in 
the approaching campaign. Therefore I consider 
it pertinent, for a proper public appreciation of 
the issues of the contest, to state my position brief- 
ly, but clearly and frankly, upon the political situ- 
ation as it affects the Republic. 

It is apparent that in all the nations of the 
world at present there is in process a fundamental 



transformation in social institutions, and in the 
public conceptions of them, of an economic, a juri- 
dical and a political nature which has for its ob- 
ject the reorganization of society upon a more 
just and equitable basis. The fundamental ob- 
ject of this reform movement is the redemption, 
the betterment and the progress of the masses. 

In Mexico this social phenomenon presents pe- 
culiar characteristics, for the reason that the de- 
sires of our working classes for progress and the 
improvement of their position are more intense and 
more justified than among most other peoples, con- 
sidering that they have been inspired and tortured 
by the innumerable afflictions consequent upon four 
centuries of exploitation and misery. In some coun- 
tries the public power has deemed it possible and 
expedient to impede the development of modern 
human aspirations by opposing them with all of 
the force at the command of the ruling authori- 
ties. Among us, the government emanating from 
the Revolution has seen fit to confirm on many and 
repeated occasions the justice of assisting our 
people in their desires to uplift themselves and has 
considered it proper to attack the social problem in 
a spirit of ample justice and equity and, within its 
attributes and according to the measure of its possi- 
bilities, to provide for the economic, intellectual and 
moral betterment of the workers. 

In this connection I consider the action of our 
public authorities to be most justified and prudent. 
Consequently I applaud with sincere enthusiasm 
the exact compliance with the provisions concern- 
ing labor and social welfare contained in Article 
123 of our Constitution, as well as the intelligent 
and reiterated endeavors of President Obregon to 
define with the greatest conciseness and in a pre- 
cise and categorical form the general and perma- 



nent elements in the relations between employee 
and employer and the particular local juridical 
aspects or circumstances presented by the same, 
to the end of determining, with full knowledge of 
the facts, the respective jurisdiction of the federal 
powers and the local governments in the regula- 
tion, forwarding and resolution of labor and social 
problems. 

I also applaud with all my heart the funda- 
mental principles of Articles 27 and 28 of the 
Constitution. These include an agrarian policy 
of strict legality, and particularly the distribution, 
or restitution, of common lands to the villages or 
hamlets which lack lands and water for their use 
or necessity; the providing of facilities for all 
Mexicans to acquire title to free national lands for 
farming or grazing purposes, in amounts sufficient 
to meet the necessities of their families and to 
guarantee their economic independence; the sub- 
division into small holdings of great estates; the 
patronizing of cooperative societies for the crea- 
tion of public works of social necessity and the 
encouragement of thrift, of personal initiative and 
the spirit of enterprise among our laboring classes. 

I consider as a prime and determining factor 
for the prosperity and progress of our poorer 
classes the vigorous and substantial impulse which 
has been given to public education, the establish- 
ment of schools, even in the most remote parts of 
the country, and the incorporation into the courses 
of study of useful and practical tendencies. Fi- 
nally, the systematic campaign against vice and 
crime, fanaticism and idleness, which is being 
waged by the government, is highly beneficial to 
our people and worthy of the greatest praise. 

The ideas which I have expressed are already 
matters of public knowledge. My term of office 

3 



as Minister of Gobernacion afforded me oppor- 
tunity of leaving them established officially when 
I retired, with the eloquent evidence supplied by 
established facts. On the other hand, my com- 
plete agreement with the President is perfectly 
well known, not only with respect to financial 
policy and the strict compliance with contractual 
obligations, but also in connection with the rig- 
idly legalistic tendencies which have animated his 
relations with the state and local governments 
throughout the Republic, his condemnation as anti- 
Constitutional of all intervention by legislatures or 
other authorities in local elections, and his insistance 
upon the independent administration of the fi- 
nances of the municipalities. 

I especially approve and sustain the principles 
and practices which have served as a standard for 
our President in his international policy. 

With these antecedents, ft appears logical to 
conclude that the political organizations which 
have done me the honor of making me their candi- 
date for President thereby desire to signify their 
complete approbation of the policy developed by 
the chief executive and also their expectation 
that his successor shall faithfully carry out the 
same programme. If this conclusion is correct, I 
desire to say that this is the sense and the object 
of my political principles. If my supporters de- 
sire me to continue the political and administrative 
programme of General Obregon, I must solemnly 
piledge myself to all the political parties who have 
given me their support, and to all the people of 
the Republic, that I accept the candidacy and, on 
the bases indicated, will enter the contest serenely, 
with ill-feeling toward none and without exclud- 
ing any person from the right to be voted for, 
against which repression I shall fight with all my 



influence, for I desire that the campaign shall be 
essentially democratic; that I condemn with all 
energy acts or proceedings of officials or private 
individuals which have a tendency to interfere 
with the free and spontaneous manifestation of the 
will of the people; that there shall be absolute 
equality, so far as I am concerned, among all the 
political groups which support me and that all my 
partisans shall by their acts dignify and elevate 
the level of the campaign, subjecting all of their 
acts and proceedings to the canons of the law, 
morality and good faith. 



POLITICAL PEOGRAMME 



SPEECH AT THE MEETING ORGANIZED BY HIS 

SUPPORTERS IN THE THEATRE IRIS, 

MEXICO CITY 



(From El Democrata, Mexico City, September 20, 192S.) 



Despite all that is affirmed by professional poli- 
ticians, and which may be called the science of 
deceit, I firmly believe that in political activities, 
as in all others, honorable men should speak the 
naked truth, regardless of what the consequences 
may be. 

I believe that in order to form a strong govern- 
ment, to control and to organize the country, it is 
necessary to cement the government with truth 
and with justice. Therefore, upon expounding my 
ideas, I shall avoid euphemisms, mental reserva- 
tions and farce, although this will probably cost 
me some votes as a candidate for President. 

There are politicians who seek to deceive the 
public with specious promises of impossible ac- 
complishments which, on one hand, offer to the 
voters the bait of purely rhetorical promises and, 
on the other hand, coquet with the great capital- 
istic interests, from whom they seek money with 
which to enable them to mount to power; and who 
offer, in this new world of the strife of the classes, 
unconditional aid to both opposing interests and 
thereby dream of obtaining the votes of everyone. 



But those who do this cannot expect to gain the 
confidence of the people ; neither can they organ- 
ize thereby a stable government. They are like ships 
which leave port without rudder or compass, 
which are blown hither and thither by the first 
wind that beats upon them. The people now re- 
alize that the trickster who begins by deceiving 
them as a candidate will end by deceiving them 
as President of the Republic. 

If, in order to create a strong government, it is 
necessary to cement it with truth, so that all the 
citizens may respect it, it is also necessary to or- 
ganize it according to the principles of the strictest 
morality. Morality may only be attained through 
the selection of the administrative personnel, with- 
out other standards than those supplied by the 
honesty of the persons chosen to serve the govern- 
ment, considering that experience has taught us 
that the greatest efficiency cannot be counted upon 
from the servile servants of a personal bureauc- 
racy controlled by motives based upon political 
loyalty political loyalty of a very relative value, 
considering that in this form this virtue partakes 
of the character of merchandise offered for sale to 
the highest bidder. 

In the modern world campaigns of democracy 
are not merely political fights, but essentially so- 
cial contests, and for this reason I intend, from the 
beginning, to express my opinions with entire 
frankness. 

The agrarian tendencies of the Revolution, 
which live and flourish among our rural popula- 
tion, cannot be" suppressed until this national ne- 
cessity is satisfied. The solution lies in our laws 
and it is only necessary to continue the fight to 
force a compliance with these laws. Agrarianism 
must be developed with all energy and without 



vacillation, but within the limits of method and 
order, in order that our agricultural production 
may not suffer and without harm coming to those 
whom we are seeking to benefit By reason of 
the relation between the population and the ex- 
panse of the Eepublic, as well as on account of 
the state of culture in which the masses are found 
and the slight resources which they possess, it 
would be foolish to destroy the productiveness of 
the land. I speak and fight for the compliance of 
the agrarian policy of the Kevplution, for in this 
lies the revindication of the right of the people 
to live. To satisfy this necessity, the breaking up- 
of the large estates which are yet intact and which, 
because of their size and the system under which 
they are worked constitute a monopoly of the 
soil, must be brought about through evolutionary 
proceedings, amply planned and studied, backed 
by a firm system of agricultural credit and by the 
organization of cooperative societies by the small 
farmers. 

Opportunity thus will be given to obtain land, 
in the first place, to those energetic and industri- 
ous elements of our population who already pos- 
sess some experience in farming. Later, for we 
are dealing with a country with a comparatively 
small population, encouragement should be given 
to immigrants and colonists from other countries, 
which only can be done by placing at their dis- 
posal lands which can be brought under cultiva- 
tion by the construction of a series of irrigation 
works. And still more, the entire tendency of the 
Revolution should be in the direction of placing 
the land within the control of those who cultivate 
it. 

I am frankly a Laborite and an ardent defender 
of the rights guaranteed to labor by Article 123 

8 



of the Constitution of 1917. I have never made a 
secret of this. My intervention in various con- 
flicts between employees and employers, in which 
I have striven with all my power to see that jus- 
tice was done to the workers, has earned for me 
my reputation as a radical, which is a source of 
so much concern to the reactionaries. 

I have fought in order that the workers might 
obtain a part of what was due to them, in propor- 
tion to the forces developed by them and to the 
part of their life which they have sacrificed to 
production, in order that they might live better, 
obtain more comforts for their families, educate 
their children and that the worker might be given 
a dignified position in our social life and be taken 
into consideration in all the activities of national 
life. 

One part of the responsibility for the solution 
of the labor problem rests, without doubt, upon 
the federal Congress and upon the local legisla- 
tures. Until now there is lacking a proper regu- 
lation of Article 123 to provide guarantees to the 
workers and to banish the unfounded fears of the 
capitalists that they will be harmed by being com- 
pelled to institute more just and humanitarian sys- 
tems of labor for the benefit of their workmen, 
and by once for all causing to disappear the back- 
ward tendencies of some reactionary capitalists 
by bringing them to realize that the workers must 
be considered as an integral and principal part of 
productive activities. 

In the class strife throughout the world there 
is a third class which should enact an important 
role the middle class. The middle class, always 
ground between the upper and the nether mill- 
stones, has been despised and exploited by those 
on top without being sufficiently appreciated by 

9 



those beneath. This class should not remain in- 
different. It is its right and its duty to fight for 
its happiness and for the improvement of its con- 
dition. In these fights for social emancipation the 
middle class should avail itself of the powerful 
weapons of the proletariat and of the capitalist. 
It should utilize the cultivated talent of the last 
and of the decision and the character of the work- 
ers because, like them, it has tempered its soul 
in pain and suffering. I should be very well satis- 
fied if, during the development of my political 
campaign, the middle classes should take an ac- 
tive part in it, if they should organize and shake 
off the marasmus which binds them and through 
their own forces conquer the position which is 
theirs and form an equilibrium with the other two 
classes of society for the general benefit of the 
country. 

The high priests of politics, the politicians, who 
were known to everyone and who always fail be- 
cause they lack that which is necessary in order to 
triumph in life, faith and manhood these high 
priests have complained that in my statements and 
speeches I have failed to outline my programme upon 
petroleum legislation, upon the question of the pay- 
ment for damages caused by the revolution and for 
the lands which have been taken in solving the 
agrarian problem. Those who criticize me believe 
that it is necessary for a Presidential candidate to 
flatter the capitalists in order to obtain their sup- 
port and that the fact of one being a candidate im- 
plies an obligation to satisfy them as to future legis- 
lation. It is my personal conviction that these 
matters are within the jurisdiction of the federal 
Congress and as I firmly expect that the future Con- 
gresses will be truly representative of the nation 
I am confident that they will resolve these problems 

10 



justly and at the same time defend the national in- 
terests. And in case the wealthy possess sufficient 
gold to purchase the consciences of the legislators, 
I shall be the first to send up the cry of alarm in 
order that the Mexican people may demand that 
they comply with their duty and prevent them, by 
direct action if necessary, from consummating their 
own ruin. 

In my speech in this city on September 21st, I 
said that some enemies of my candidacy, and even 
some organs of the press, affirmed that as an as- 
pirant to the Presidency I was not satisfactory to 
various foreign governments* I then stated, with 
all sincerity, that I did not preoccupy myself with 
such arguments, that I was responsible only to the 
people of Mexico and that even to enunciate such 
criticisms was, to my way of thinking, an attack 
upon their sovereignty. Because I firmly believe 
that a worthy people, conscious of their rights, 
should not consult foreign governments in the settle- 
ments of domestic questions. Nevertheless, these 
statements, honorably and sincerely patriotic, have 
been badly interpreted and commented upon in even 
a worse manner. I have been painted as a man who 
desires to see Mexico isolated from friendship and 
harmony with other peoples. This is unjustified. 
It would be foolish for me to take such a position. 
I desire the rapprochement of my country with 
every other country in the world, but it is my firm 
conviction that these relations must be established 
upon a firm basis of mutual respect, of equity and 
of justice, without assenting to the proposition that 
strong nations should impose their will upon weak 
nations in matters of domestic concern. I consider 
that, as all the acts of individuals should be regu- 
lated according to moral standards and that they 
should govern their relations in compliance with 
moral obligations, so also should nations conduct 

11 



their affairs according to the mutual respect which 
is imposed by national dignity and morality and 
comply rigorously with the legal agreements which 
they contract with other nations. 

Once more I desire to make my profession of 
political faith, by saying that I accept and will con- 
solidate the policies of General Obregon. And I re- 
peat this with all clarity, for at this time there are 
those who are attacking our illustrious President, 
believing that they will be successful by unfurling 
the banner of the opposition. 

I will follow his policies, not alone because it is 
demanded of me by the most elemental loyalty, but 
also because by so doing I shall have the conscious- 
ness of not being a traitor to the Revolution and of 
developing a labor in favor of the men of the fields 
and of the workers and, because of the great forces 
which have been set in operation by this administra- 
tion through the Ministry of Education, to extir- 
pate ignorance from among our people, for I can 
assure you that this work is the most intense and 
efficient of its nature which has ever been carried 
on in Mexico. For this accomplishment alone, ir- 
respective of the others, the people of Mexico should 
be grateful to General Obregon and to those who 
have aided him, from the highest official to the most 
humble of our self-sacrificing school teachers. 

To conclude, you may be certain, my hearers, as 
well as the entire nation, that I shall always battle, 
in all ways and on all grounds, for the definite 
triumph of the principles of the Revolution; that 
I enter this campaign conscious that having been 
entrusted by the Revolution with its sacred banner, 
I am armed with the conviction which I always have 
had, now have and always will have, of blind faith 
in the triumph of our cause. For if by some fatality 
it is defeated, because the obstacles reared by the 
reaction are beyond my power to overcome, tomor- 

12 



row another will rise up who will surely triumph, 
inasmuch as the cause of the redemption of the 
masses, of liberty, of human improvement, is, in 
the last analysis, the force of progress, and this can 
be halted by no one. The world can not go back. 
We have faith in the future. 



13 



FOR THE WORKING CLASSES 



SPEECH IN MEXICO CITY OCTOBER 21, 1923. 
(From El Democrata, Mexico City, October 22, 1928.) 

I will be brief. In the first place I desire to ex- 
press my gratitude for this manifestation, a grati- 
tude which is more profound when I consider, in 
common with everyone else, that those who are 
present, either as parts of political groups or as in- 
dividuals, are here in full consciousness of why they 
are here and that they are aware of the mission 
which has been entrusted to them. As the result 
of my clear and explicit declarations of September 
5th last, of my always well defined antecedents as 
a man and of the attacks being made upon me by 
my political adversaries, it is apparent to all my 
friends and partisans that I am not a faltering 
revolutionist, that I am with the Revolution, that I 
defend the principles of our Constitution, as ex- 
pressed in Articles 27 and 123, and that I shall 
devote all of my energies, all of my character to 
elevating the moral, intellectual and economic level 
of the working classes, in order that they may no 
longer continue to be a group of criminally exploited 
slaves. 

In my previous declarations I have said that I 
would follow the policy of General Obregon. I did 
this in the full belief that General Obregon has 
pursued a purely revolutionary policy in the ad- 
ministration of the internal affairs of the country, 
a decorous policy in foreign affairs and a policy of 
honor without blemish in his personal affairs. 

14 



Consequently I am not here today to offer you 
anything new, or to make you miraculous promises 
or pledges of chimerical reforms. I am not inclined 
to pursue votes by offering a programme promising 
reforms in ten years that cannot be realized in two 
centuries. I confine myself to promising to sustain 
with every energy our Constitution in its revolu- 
tionary postulates, without permitting it to be over- 
ridden by the powerful. And because of my past 
record, which is on open book; of my firm and clear 
declaration of my revolutionary faith and also, by 
reason of the fact that the reaction, knowing me per- 
fectly well and knowing that nothing nor no man 
can cause me to deviate from a straight line and that 
no interest, much less a political contest, can force 
me to sacrifice my principles, has raised against 
me this outcry and this artificial tempest realizing 
all this, I am certain that the working and the 
middle classes of the Republic next July will demo- 
cratically answer these attacks upon me by electing 
me President of Mexico. 

My sincerity has been criticized by some poli- 
ticians who say that my radicalism is not in accord 
with the times, that in the old world, in Europe, in 
Italy and Spain, there have been movements with 
which my programme does not accord. I say to 
these critics, affirming my revolutionary creed, that 
I do not accept, nor shall I accept, reactionary move- 
ments which are sustained by force and by reac- 
tionary governments. Others have said that my 
candidacy is not regarded favorably in the United 
States and in Europe. That is a matter of indiffer- 
ence to me. I have to render an account of my 
acts only to the people of Mexico, the free people 
of my own country. Those who think differently 
are of the stripe of the traitors, who, upon a certain 
historic occasion, went to Europe in search of a 
prince to govern them. The traitors who are still 

15 



at work should remember the Cerro de las Campanas 
(The Hill of the Bells at Queretaro, where Maxi- 
milian was executed.) 

The initiation of this campaign has thrown into 
relief the extravagance of the wealthy in the use of 
their money, in a certain way. The names of Presi- 
dential candidates who were regarded as suitable 
instruments for the great interests had scarcely 
been mentioned when the land monopolists voted 
three hundred thousand pesos to begin their cam- 
paign. We began to hear of the millions of the in- 
dustrials, the bankers and the oil people which are to 
be devoted to the distortion of public opinion of the 
gold of these interests with which, according to their 
belief, it is possible to corrupt any one. Three 
hundred thousand pesos has already been thrown 
to the winds to combat the revolutionary candidate. 
These are the same gentlemen who never have com- 
miserated the wretched condition of the farm labor- 
ers and who have even gone so far in their deter- 
mination to deny a scrap of ground to the people, 
a handful of corn to the family of the peon, as 
traitorously to invoke the aid of foreign govern- 
ments. 

I shall bless the moment when the lands are dis- 
tributed and when every honorable and worthy citi- 
zen may be able to place his foot upon his own 
property. The revolutionists, the men of conscience, 
are with me those who do not seek gold or office, 
neither of which I have to give them. Those who 
desire them should apply to the other side. On this 
side are the revolutionists of good faith, who will 
defeat reaction at the polls, as already it has de- 
feated it on the field of battle. 



16 



SOCIAL POLICY 



A MANIFESTO TO THE NATION. A BATTLE FOR 

SOCIAL REFORMS, MORE THAN A POLITICAL 

MOVEMENT OR AN ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN 



(From El Democrata, Mexico City, December 9, 1928.) 

Since my acceptance of the candidacy for Presi- 
dent, offered me by all of the political groups of 
revolutionary tendencies, I have expressly stated 
that my fundamental proposition, should I be 
elected, will be to continue the work begun by Gen- 
eral Obregon, in the sense of putting into practice 
the social reforms which are embodied in the aspira- 
tions of the Mexican people. 

General Obregon has been the first executive who 
has oriented his policy in the direction of bringing 
about the social betterment of the people, which 
since 1910 has been the aim of the Mexican revo- 
lution. 

His government has been the first to realize, as 
rapidly as Constitutional limitations have permitted, 
an efficient distribution of lands. It also has been 
the first to afford means for developing the forma- 
tion of labor organizations and placing the indus- 
trial worker in a position to benefit by the social 
programme contained in the Constitution of 1917. 

THE VAIN EFFORTS OF THE REACTIONISTS 

It is natural that the reaction should endeavor to 

prevent the consolidation of a regime so firmly 

oriented in the direction of social reform and that, 

impotent otherwise to halt this movement, it should 

17 



place in the field a reactionary candidate, seeking to 
accomplish in this manner that which it will never 
succeed in doing in the legitimate field of civic 
activity. 

We have seen the inutility of the press campaign 
which has recently been waged against the govern- 
ment of General Obregon and of the logical continu- 
ation of his revolutionary policy, a campaign which 
promised, in the loss of a majority control of the 
Congress, which is the last refuge of the hopes of 
the de la Huerta faction, to seat its candidate 
through the medium of frauds to be perpetrated in 
the installation of the next Chamber of Deputies, 
which will have the responsibility of canvassing the 
Presidential vote. This movement, upon seeing 
closed to it, through its lack of democratic force, 
the road to a legal election of its candidate for 
President, resorted to the evil method of the cuar- 
telazo (army uprising), always an unfruitful pro- 
cedure when directed against a government identi- 
fied with the interests of the masses. 
These neo-reactionaries, headed by Enrique Es- 
trada and Guadalupe Sanchez (two sworn enemies 
of agrariarism and accomplices of the great land 
owners of the states of Jalisco and Vera Cruz) for- 
got that the majority of those composing the federal 
army preserved their revolutionary idealism and 
consequently, for the first time in our history, the 
regular army was, because of reasons of common 
origin, allied with the masses of the city and of the 
rural districts and with the strong nucleuses of the 
middle class which in all parts of the country 
responded to the call of the workers. 

THE EEVOLUTIONISTS UNITED 

The reaction foolishly believed that the revolu- 
tionary sentiment had become befogged. To its sur- 
prise and terror, from the commencement of my 

18 



ampaign (which is more of a social than a political 
movement) it could see that the revolutionists of all 
beliefs were arrayed like one man behind the radical 
platform which I represent and that they could 
clearly distinguish the alluring, but deceitful, wiles 
of a man who, despite the many evils which he has 
caused and still may cause, nevertheless by his de- 
fection from the revolutionary ranks has worked a 
social benefit by bringing about the demarkation 
between the two camps and forcibly producing a 
categorical definition between the true and the false 
revolutionists of Mexico. 

But nevertheless, considering that the reaction 
has committed the stupid error of abandoning the 
field of legality in favor of another terrain, in which 
undoubtedly it is more weak than in the first one, 
and of forcing an issue against a majority of field 
workers and industrial laborers, backed by the ac- 
tion of a government and by a revolutionary army, 
we ourselves will meet it on this ground, temporarily 
abandoning the political campaign once again to 
defend with arms the revolutionary principles repre- 
sented by the government of General Obregon which 
is menaced by new reactionaries, heirs of the trea- 
sons of Comonf ort and of Santa Anna, 

PLACES HIMSELF AT THE ORDERS OF THE PRESIDENT 

Before this menace it is my duty, as it is that of 
all sincere revolutionists, to offer my services to the 
President of the Republic and to place myself at his 
orders, to the end that he may utilize me in any post 
which, as a soldier of the Revolution, he may assign 
me. So far as I am concerned, considering the ele- 
ments identified with my candidacy, I am certain 
that, in accepting my nomination for the Presi- 
dency, I did so because it signified the continuation 
of the revolutionary programme of the present 
executive of the Republic. 

19 



I know that, with the same enthusiasm with 
which they have thrown themselves into the political 
campaign, the field laborers and the workers of the 
Republic and the generous-minded youth of the 
middle classes who have shared with them their 
anxieties and their sufferings will bare their breasts 
to the reactionaries, in defense of the legal institu- 
tions of our country and will seal with their blood 
the obligation which we all have contracted to labor 
energetically for the social betterment. 



20 



SPEECH IN IRAPUATO, GUANAJUATO 



DEMANDS THAT THE INDUSTRIALS CEASE TO 
EXPLOIT THE WORKER AND THAT THE 
THREE ENEMIES OP THE PEOPLE, 
THE CLERGY, VICE AND IGNOR- 
ANCE, BE COMBATTED 



What a challenge to the reaction is this assembly, 
formed by the reunion of free citizens; of citizens 
conscious of their rights, who are attracted here 
because they realize that in this campaign are being 
discussed the postulates upon which are to be formed 
the future social organization of Mexico ! The re- 
action insists that the people of Mexico "are not 
capacitated for democracy, that they should remain 
in ignorance, that they lack the light of reason or 
even of intuition. It affirms, especially referring to 
the indigenous races, that they are not capable of 
appreciating the situation in which they live and 
that, accordingly, it is impossible for them to judge 
the problems of their own country or to understand 
what is best for their own interests. This meeting, 
I repeat, is more than a challenge. It is a stroke 
given by the Mexican people to those who pretend 
to declare, for the benefit of their own private in- 
terests, that the people are incapable of directing 
their own destinies and of organizing a government 
in accordance with the general interests of the 
country. 

Here are assembled representatives of all the 
directing elements of the country, the middle class, 
the industrial workers and the agricultural laborers, 
those to whom I appealed upon initiating my cam- 

21 



paign. These elements of Mexican society, of whose 
support I have desired to avail myself from the 
commencement of this political campaign, despite 
the alleged incapacity of which they have been in- 
dicted by the intellectual leaders of the reaction, 
possess a greater consciousness of their rights, of 
their responsibilities and of the interests which at 
this moment are contending in the political arena 
than those elements which call themselves capable, 
the intellectual conservatives. 

The worker, the agricultural worker, the man of 
the middle classes, have responded to my call and 
in my journey through the Republic I have seen 
them form themselves into compact and enthusiastic 
groups to defend the banner of the Revolution, 
which is their own banner. On the other hand, the 
intellectuals of the reaction clamor in vain. Their 
voice is lost in space. Despite their rage, they can- 
not rally their forces. The exploiters of the people, 
the parasites, are ignorant of the effort and the 
character which is tempered and developed on the 
battle-field. They lack the great soul which is neces- 
sary to fortify them for the daily combat against 
misery. 

Regardless of all the explanations which I have 
given in numerous discourses upon the range of 
my programme, the reaction apparently continues 
to worry over my principles, which it declares to be 
unsound and unsettling. The press of the capital 
continues to print editorials based upon erroneous 
reports of my speeches although, aside from the 
usurpations and injustices which the privileged 
classes in this country have raised as their banner, 
there are no human reasons for combatting this 
programme which, I repeat, is not mine, not a thing 
which belongs to Calles, but that of the people oi 
my country, of the working and producing masses 
of my country, of the Revolution. 

22 



CALLES' PROGRAMME HAS BROKEN THE OLD 
STANDARDS 

What is there unsound in the programme which 
we are preaching? There is nothing in it which is 
beyond one's unbreakable will to place into practice, 
to convert into reality, which is not established by 
our laws, which is not contained in our Constitu- 
tion. What has happened is that my crusade has 
shattered the old standards of archaic politics. It 
has broken away from the traditions and customs of 
those who believe thta political activity is based 
upon deceit, of the politicians who forever insist 
that electoral campaigns serve only the purpose of 
soliciting votes on a basis of promises which are 
never complied with. On the contrary, I believe 
that my duty orders to me to state clearly, with all 
simplicity, but also with all energy, what are my 
political principles and the principles of social re- 
forms which I propose to develop in my govern- 
ment. It is this which in reality has alarmed the 
reaction, for my campaign has effectively aroused 
the working masses and awakened their class con- 
sciousness. But I believe that this is my obligation 
and my duty, considering that I prefer to lose the 
election rather than win it by deceiving the Mexican 
people. For this reason I and the group of revolu- 
tionists who accompany me preach the new orienta- 
tions for the organization of society, but this does 
not mean embarking upon a programme of untried 
theories and with which the world is unfamiliar. 
We preach orientations and reforms which are being 
effected among all the civilized peoples of the world, 
for it would not be just to our own country if it 
should be permitted to lag in this historical evolu- 
tion, if it should lose irreparable time in its progress 
and if the sacrifices which it has made to modern- 
ize itself and to raise itself to a higher scale of 
civilization should remain sterile. 

23 



THE LANDED ARISTOCRACY HAS ACCOMPLISHED 
NOTHING 

The reactionaries, the conservative landed aristo- 
crats, call themselves live forces and pretend to 
possess a hereditary, almost a divine, right to rule 
the people for whom they have done nothing, except 
to exploit them ruthlessly and to keep them always 
submerged in ignorance, to the end that they should 
continue to remain helpless. 

What have these great land-owners of the Bajio 
(a rich agricultural region in the vicinity of Ira- 
puato) done for national agriculture through the 
centuries? Where are the irrigation systems which 
they have installed to insure the steady cultivation 
of the land? Where is the modern agricultural 
machinery which they have imported, and which 
is used in a majority of countries, to enable Mexico 
to produce crops as cheaply as they are produced in 
other countries? 

I have not seen anything of this sort, despite the 
fact that I have travelled in all parts of the Re- 
public. I have seen only in an enormous majority 
of the cultivated fields of my country, in the produc- 
ing acres of the haciendas, in the lands of the large 
proprietors, long lines of miserable oxen, silent and 
resigned, and the peon, wretched and exploited, 
struggling, as the oxen struggle with the primitive 
Egyptian plows, with the immense burden of their 
poverty and their sorrows. And is one a destroyer 
who asks lands to transform these exploited men 
into men who are economically free? Who asks 
that the hacendado, instead of enslaving the peons, 
shall resort to modern methods of cultivation, 
through the intelligent application of technical 
measures, to obtain profits which now come to him 
only through the exploitation of men? I believe not, 
and I am absolutely certain that the cry of our con- 
sciences, accompanying my voice, protests against 

24 



secular injustice and aspires vehemently to implant 
this reform which is demanded in Mexico by the 
most elemental justice and by human dignity. 

THE ACCUSING VOICE OF THE WORKER 

In the Constitutional Convention in Queretaro 
the laboring elements of the Kepublic demonstrated 
in their discussions their capacity and their aptitude 
to treat technically the problems which concerned 
them. These are not lyrical and demagogical state- 
ments intended to burlesque the Olympian wisdom 
of the intellectuals of the reaction. We are now 
treating of a serene and conscientious analysis of 
realities. It was a worker in Queretaro who demon- 
strated what were the reasons for the crisis through 
which the textile industry was passing, and today 
I desire to repeat the fundamental causes advanced 
by the workman to demonstrate that these men who 
pretend to be the leaders of the country are, through 
their incapacity and folly, none other than the 
authors of our ruin. 

This workman said, and he spoke truly, that in 
the textile mills there was machinery which was 
fifty years old, and that it was rarely that a mill 
could be found in which the machinery was less than 
thirty years old. Naturally, modern industry, im- 
pelled by the advancements in the mechanics of tex- 
tile technique, has left in the rear the antiquated 
systems of textile production in Mexico. What is 
the result? The result is that our industrials, in 
order to enable them to compete with the foreign 
producers, who have reduced their costs by employ- 
ing modern methods and modern machinery, pro- 
pose two remedies. One, to surround the Republic 
with a prohibitive tariff wall, which would compel 
the consumer, that is to say the producing classes 
of the country who form the majority of the popu- 
lation, to pay a premium for the clothes which they 

25 



require, or secondly, to obtain the profits which 
they are now unable to gain because of their out- 
of date machinery by reducing the wages of their 
workers, That is to say, that the profits which a 
properly conducted business would net them should 
be obtained by exploiting the workmen. 

Hence this system, which reveals the incapacity 
of our industrials, is founded on an enormous in- 
justice, a transcendental error of social organiza- 
tion. In reality, under the capitalistic system, there 
are charged to the expense of production and carry- 
ing on the business, first, interest upon the capital 
invested ; second, a charge for amortization of this 
capital which would provide for renewing the fac- 
tory and the machinery in ten or fifteen years, which 
is regarded as the limit of the effective life of this 
equipment, owing to the rapid improvements made 
in modern industrial methods. 

DEDUCT THE CHARGES, BUT Do NOT USE THEM 

Our industrials have always made these deduc- 
tions, but they have never used them to replace or 
renovate their machinery, which would place the 
textile mills of Mexico on an equality with those of 
other countries and enable them to compete with 
the latter, without taking it out of the worker's 
wages or loading it upon the backs of the consumers. 
In some cases three, four or even five times the 
value of the machinery has been charged against 
the industry, in addition to interest upon the capital 
invested. But the Mexican industrials never have 
taken account of the social duty encumbent upon 
them to renovate and modernize their machinery 
and thereby avert the necessity of lowering the 
wages of their employees and augmenting the cost 
of living to the consumer. It is easier to hoard 
these deductions for amortization in the shape of 
inert capital or to spend them in high living, than 

26 



to exert themselves to be real industrials, to con- 
tribute to the aggrandizement of the country and to 
the betterment of the workers. 

And to fight against such industrials, to insist 
that they modernize their machinery and humanely 
improve the condition of their workmen, without 
prejudicing the interests of the consumers, is to be 
called a disturber of industry! 

A NEW ORIENTATION OF NATIONAL POLICY 

In our platform there are not alone principles of 
social action. We also seek to provide a new 
orientation of our national policy. In order to or- 
ganize a democracy in Mexico it is necessary that 
the public offices, from that of village mayor to 
President of the Republic, be filled by men elected 
by popular vote. For this reason, in my campaign, 
I am most concerned with the political affairs of the 
states, the districts and the municipalities. I have 
no candidates, either for Deputies or Senators or 
for Governors of the states in which the local elec- 
tions coincide with the federal election. I have de- 
clared, and I now repeat it, that those who should 
have candidates are the people. My only desire is 
that those who occupy these posts shall be citizens 
who actually obtain a majority of the votes cast and 
who shall be men representative of the interests and 
of the desires of their constituents. 

HAPPINESS is NOT FOR THOSE WHO DESERVE IT, BUT 

FOR THOSE WHO WlN IT 

But in the modern world, nothing is gained with- 
out fighting for it. Happiness is not for those who 
deserve it, but for those who know how to win it. 
Hence it is our obligation as honorable and sincere 
men to say to the people of the Republic, to the 
laboring masses, that their economic well-being and 
their political liberty must be worked out by them- 

27 



selves, by educating their character, by organizing 
with persistence, by joining together in self-sacri- 
fice, by fighting energetically. Those who win over- 
come obstacles, rise above them, are not held back 
by difficulties, but crush them. Only through the 
character and energy of the Mexican people shall we 
be able to bring about the realization of this pro- 
gramme, which is eminently constructive. Tomor- 
row, in payment of all our efforts, we shall have the 
happy country of which our fathers dreamed, for 
which we ourselves long and which surely our chil- 
dren will enjoy. 



CANDIDATE AND PRESIDENT 



ADDRESS BY RADIO, DEFINING HIS POLITICAL 
PRINCIPLES AND PROGRAMME 



(From El Democrata, Mexico City, April Jf, 1924*) 

Being accustomed to living in contact with the 
sentiments and the wrongs of the Mexican people, 
no consideration of a purely political nature would 
have caused me to aspire to the Presidency of my 
country had I not been convinced that the historical 
moment and the preparatory work accomplished 
through the Mexican Revolution, and very especially 
the generous policy followed by President Obregon 
in dealing with social questions, would permit the 
executive who suceeded him, provided he was ani- 
mated by desires for the betterment of the various 
classes, to carry on in Mexico the task of just re- 
demption imposed upon him, to the end that some 
benefit in the way of happiness might be gained, 
not alone for those who are privileged by fortune, 
but also for the humble. 

I also believe that a similar programme of social 
action, of justice and a more human coordination 
of rights and duties will bring about in our country 
a greater consolidation of all the legitimate inter- 
ests of the people, which will have the result of 
quelling the waves of protest which, among peoples 
in process of development, are frequently translated 
into movements of revolutionary convulsion, and 
that, within an ambient of concord, which will bring 
contentment to all, it will be possible to develop 
amply the public riches. 

29 



Those of us in Mexico who desire to bring about 
social reforms are not seeking to ruin property and 
wealth or to upset values. But it is our opinion 
that if the conquests which the workers in other 
civilized countries have gained can definitely be 
brought about in Mexico, millions of Mexicans who 
are now social outcasts can be freed from their 
shackles, through education, moral and economical 
stimulus and proper protection under advanced 
laws. 

I firmly believe that the Constitution of 1917, in 
its fundamental articles, is adapted to public necessi- 
ties in Mexico, and that its honest application, with- 
out employing it as an arm of destruction, but as a 
medium for collective improvement, will aid in a 
powerful manner to solve our weighty social prob- 
lems. 

The handling of the agrarian problem, under- 
stood and dealt with, as I conceive it should be, as 
an integral and a constructive problem, which in- 
cludes the distribution of lands, the creation and 
encouragement of small land holdings, the provid- 
ing of water for irrigation purposes and the foun- 
dation of an agricultural credit which will give 
impetus to the national development of agriculture, 
far from comprehending a suicidal programme is 
a work which is designed to be eminently construc- 
tive, in its effect upon the well-being and the pros- 
perity of the country. So far as this programme 
touches the advantages of a social character which 
are sought by the laboring masses, its implantation 
in Mexico, together with methods and systems of 
providing legal protection for labor, which among 
the most advanced peoples have brought prosperity 
and fortified all industries, can be resisted only by 
reactionaries who are fossilized and blinded by class 
hatred. 

If the people concede me their confidence and I 

30 



become President of Mexico I shall endeavor, above 
all, to establish a robust nationalistic spirit, with the 
firm and energetic proposition of transforming 
Mexico into a real country, and to stimulate every 
generous and honorable effort toward reconstruc- 
tion. I cherish the hope that I shall be supported 
by all men of good will, who not alone possess the 
courage to demand their rights, but who compre- 
hend the high duties that devolve upon us as leaders 
of the nation, in order that some day we shall not 
feel, as we do now, dispirited and ashamed as we see 
on one side the happiness and the prosperity of the 
few and on the other the interminable hosts of the 
sad and the disinherited, those who have poured 
out their blood to win us our freedom in the crises 
of our history, without gaining for themselves more 
than eternal neglect and, at the same time, per- 
petual glory. 



SPEECH DEFINING THE FIELDS OF ACTION 
IN NATIONAL POLITICS 



(From El Democrata, Mexico City, April 15, 1924.) 

General Calles delivered a stirring address, say- 
ing that since the commencement of the campaign it 
has been his desire to throw into relief the differ- 
ence between the various fields of action, he being 
aligned with the Revolution, while the reaction at- 
tacked it, and to place the partisans of either side 
where they belonged. In a way, this desire had been 
realized, for he was unable to observe either in the 
meeting or in its vicinity the presence of a single 
representative of the reaction. 

He continued by saying that his ideas on social 
problems were well known, that he did not count 
upon obtaining votes with which to sustain them 
by flattering the masses, but because of his firm 
conviction that only through the realization of these 
ideas could the country progress. That there should 
be leaders with sufficient courage to remind the 
people of their duties and obligations, as well as 
those who preach to them only of their rights. 

General Calles said that the field workers who 
received lands were obligated to cultivate and im- 
prove them, and to begin by improving themselves 
and their families, intellectually and by educa- 
tion; physically, by demanding better standards 
of living; morally, by diverting themselves with 
wholesome recreations and abandoning vicious 
habits; economically, by their strength and their 
work. He added that the worker who failed to 

32 



place into production the lands obtained by him 
through the Revolution and to use the fruit of this 
field for the improvement of himself and his 
family, did not deserve to be given land and that 
the Eevolution should take it away from him, as 
it was now taking it from the great landed propri- 
etors. 

The speaker also declared that the agrarian 
problem did not alone include the distribution of 
lands, but also a system of providing the small 
farmer with the means of cultivating his fields. 
This, he said, demanded enormous effort and 
great sacrifices on the part of the people collec- 
tively. Consequently, it was necessary for the 
small farmer to do his share by making the land 
produce and by bettering his own condition and 
that of his family. He ended by exhorting the 
laborers to devote to their work the same energy 
of which they have provided evidence in the revo- 
lutionary strife. 



CONSTRUCTIVE NATIONAL POLICY 



(An interview, from El Democrata, Mexico City, 
April 18, 1924) 

What is your opinion of the campaign which is 
being carried on by your opponents to depreciate 
your work and to defeat you in the coming elections ? 

What they are doing, I think, is perfectly logical. 
When one's efforts are impugned, it signifies that 
there is something which needs to be purified, re- 
gardless of whether the reasons assigned for the 
attack are good or bad. If they are bad, the at- 
tacker opens himsef to ridicule. If, on the con- 
trary, they are good, they serve to orient the argu- 
ment in such a manner as to afford the object of 
the attack an opportunity to rectify his errors. In 
both cases I believe that criticism is a service to the 
one who is criticized. 

What is your opinion of your partisans in the 
Labor Party? 

The action of the men who direct the Labor Party, 
like that of all the leaders who are affiliated with 
the Calles cause, has demonstrated that they possess 
a proper conception of their duty and that they 
are conscientiously moved more by the necessities 
of the Republic than by their own personal or group 
ambitions. Those who can discipline their ambi- 
tions provide a high example of fortitude, worthy 
of the warmest praise because it teaches those who 
follow them to discipline themselves. 

Do you expect to have the support of the middle 
classes? 

34 



I believe that I have it. I have always tried to 
stimulate the middle classes by encouraging them. 
I have earnestly desired that they participate ac- 
tively in the political renovation of Mexico. I have 
tried to induce them to give life by their efforts to 
their own class, that they shake off the lethargy 
which characterizes them, that they enter vigorously 
the contest and assert tenaciously their claim to the 
position to which they are entitled, in the first file. 
I feel satisfied with the efforts which I have made, 
for the middle classes have responded to my call 
with enthusiasm, and I congratulate them. Their ac- 
tion will be prodigal with social benefits and of 
transcendental importance to the democracy of the 
future. I expect that they will surprise us with 
their activities, which will belie emphatically their 
traditional indifference, and aid us in the solution of 
all our social problems. 

It seems that in Mexico all men of advanced 
thought are called Bolsheviks. I, also, naturally. 
I have been called by my adversaries an extremist, 
only because I have not seen fit to oppose myself 
to the reform movements which at present are dis- 
placing the old and worm-eaten systems of govern- 
ment. Those who take this view of my work are 
mistaken. They possess little realization of what is 
going on in the world. Social renovation is a cur- 
rent which is today invading all the societies of the 
world. Like all impetuous currents, it must be 
properly guided. Methods of controlling and keep- 
ing it in its proper channels must be devised, by 
which it may be converted into an inoffensive and 
useful element, instead of an agent of destruction. 
Those who criticize me do not see it that way. So 
far as the Russian Soviet regime is concerned, it 
is too early to judge it. The recent changes of 
policy in Russia do not signify a failure of the 
experiment which they are making over there. The 

35 



ideals of the cause remain the same. However, in 
Mexico we are governing under the Constitution of 
1917, and we are interested in Sovietism as a system 
of government only in its philosophical and humani- 
tarian aspects. 

What is your opinion of the constructive work 
of the labor syndicates? 

These syndicates, in the form in which they are 
at present functioning, may be estimated as a socio- 
logical phenomenon characteristic of the present 
era. As in the Middle Ages, when the municipal 
authorities upon occasion served as the only brake 
upon the nobility by using their power to limit the 
feudal power, the labor syndicates today are charged 
with the responsibility of limiting the absorbing 
power of capitalism. Upon occasion they even pro- 
tect capitalism from attacks which might possibly 
destroy it. It is possible for a properly organized 
syndicate to serve as a school of discipline, of civil- 
ism, of solidarity, in which we are greatly lacking. 

What should be the attitude of the syndicates 
with respect to politics? Should they take part in 
politics ? 

The syndicate, as a moral personality, as a social 
organization, departs from its legitimate circle of 
action when it takes part in politics, because its net 
purposes are economic. The syndicate, when it in- 
vades fields foreign to its objects, loses its character 
and ceases to exercise its proper functions. This 
diversion from its purpose will lead to its dissolu- 
tion. But this is not to say that the individuals 
who compose the syndicate should renounce their 
right to engage in politics. Because they affiliate 
with an organization of this sort they do not divest 
themselves of the civic duties with which they must 
of necessity comply, nor can it logically be held that 
they should become indifferent to them. Politics 



should move upon a more elevated plane, and include 
in its ramifications every sector of social life* 

What is your opinion of small rural land-holdings? 

The efforts of any government which is truly 
nationalistic should, in the first place, be directed 
toward the creation of small land-holdings, and con- 
vert the field laborer into an owner of land upon 
which he may work for himself. This must be the 
most pressing fact which forces itself upon the at- 
tention of the future governments of Mexico, be- 
cause if the field workers become land proprietors 
future revolutions may be foreseen and avoided. 
Substantial interests will be created which will 
guarantee established order, provide opportunities 
for capital to invest in the formation of agricultural 
banks, insurance companies and other manifesta- 
tions of cooperation between capital and labor. Land 
division should be undertaken, not alone by the 
authorities, but by the landowners themselves. The 
possessors of large estates should give their work- 
men facilities for obtaining small farms. Collabora- 
tion with the government in this direction is a work 
of merit and patriotism. 

What is your opinion of ejidos (commons) being 
held by communities in common? 

Ejidos, as the common property of the inhabitants 
of small communities, to my mind signify the first 
step toward the creation of small rural land-hold- 
ings. Legislation is needed to guarantee against the 
impossibility of the monopolization of the commons 
by a few persons and that they shall remain in the 
control of the workers. I expect that later on 
legal authority will be. given to divide the commons 
into parcels of individual ownership. Community 
operation of the ejidos, in my opinion, will not 
stimulate industry. Oftener than not it is apt to 
give rise to disputes among the villagers. But this 
system, as I have said, is in my judgment merely a 

37 



transitory condition in preparation for the advent 
of the small proprietor in Mexico. 

What do you think should be Mexico's policy with 
regard to the immigration of European laborers? 

Before encouraging this on the scale which is in 
operation in the United States and the Argentine, 
we need to see to it that the Mexican laborer receives 
more wages than he does at present. This cannot 
be brought about by the government, but by the 
laborer himself, who should strive to increase his 
wages through the syndicates. When the Mexican 
laborer receives the same wage for the same class 
of work that the laborer in the United States is 
paid, it is possible that European labor will be at- 
tracted to Mexico. The truth is that until the 
present, industry, agriculture and mining in Mexico 
has been founded and carried on at the expense of 
the stomach of the worker, that is to say, on the 
basis of the lowest compensation which would enable 
the worker barely to ive. This is a fundamental 
error. Capital has had too many privileges and too 
few checks. At present the European laborer can- 
not compete with the Mexican on account of the 
small wages which the latter receives. With the 
economic elevation of our working classes Mexico 
will have in European labor immigration a great 
source of wealth, and within a comparatively short 
time the population of the country will be doubled. 
Our climate and our natural riches argue in favor 
of this. But we need agricultural colonists, either 
from the United States or Europe, more than for- 
eign labor for our industries. 

Is there any prospect of revolutions arising in 
Mexico to endanger the capitalistic regime? 

This is a matter so far in the future that it is 
difficult to say. As a matter of fact, our ideas and 
even our idiosyncracies argue against such a radical 
change. The limit between utopia and reality has 



not been fixed. There can be no approach between 
Utopian ideals and reality which is not preceded by 
a very serious study of causes and of the phenomena 
of an evolution, brought about by the decadence of 
a system by a medium which seeks to exclude it and 
to bring about its disappearance. Individual ambi- 
tions exist among us of such a formidable character 
that they can only be satisfied, or appeased, under 
the present social regime, which the laborites term 
capitalist. 

Should protection be given the foreign capitalist 
who desires to make investments in Mexico? 

The soil and the subsoil of Mexico contain and are 
capable of producing wealth which thus far has 
profited us nothing and which has not been ex- 
ploited. Those who desire to invest their money in 
the development of this natural wealth should be 
protected and they are protected under our laws. 
It is one thing to comply with the laws and another 
thing to try to evade them by demanding and obtain- 
ing privileges which nullify them, and all the more 
so if these privileges make Mexicans the slaves of 
capital, without yielding them more reward than 
they receive in the shape of their miserably small 
wages, and particularly, above all, if the country 
receives no material or spiritual benefit. The capi- 
talist who comes to Mexico should regard himself 
as a Mexican. He should plan and build in all of 
his activities with the idea of remaining here, of 
taking out citizenship papers. He should take a 
moral and spiritual interest in his surroundings. He 
should not regard Mexico as a temporary stopping 
place in which to remain for the shortest possible 
time in which he can make the greatest possible 
amount of money, to be taken to other countries and 
spent there. Unfortunately, this is what frequently 
occurs and it is a thing that we should prevent, with- 
out falling into the error of restricting anyone in 

39 



the exercise of those liberties of which we are legiti- 
mately proud. Our effort should be to bring about 
the naturalization of the majority of the foreigners 
who come to Mexico, as it is done in the United 
States. 

How can the problem of increasing the agricul- 
tural production of the country be solved? 

The establishment of small land-holdings will con- 
tribute greatly to the augmentation of this produc- 
tion. The construction of new lines of railroads 
in section which are now without rail transportation 
will be another helpful factor. The efforts of the 
various governments in this direction should be 
seconded by private enterprises, in the establishment 
of institutions of credit, the funds of which should 
be used for the exclusive purpose of increasing the 
volume of this principal source of our wealth. Great 
zones of the country, for example in Coahuila and 
Durango, need to be placed under the plow and 
brought under modern methods of cultivation, 
similar to those employed on the plains of the 
Argentine. Tree planting should be undertaken on 
extensive areas of the central plateau, especially of 
trees suitable for fuel, which yield profitable re- 
turns. Conditions of climate and rainfall are favor- 
able for this development, which at the same time 
would bring about the abandonment of the growing 
of plants which only produce liquors and alcohol 
with which to poison the people. 

What is your opinion of the policy of the United 
States in Latin America? 

The United States is eminently a constructive 
country and provides us with an example of the 
manner in which energy may be utilized to produce 
results with the rapidity demanded by the present 
century. Its absorbent political tendency is based 
upon its productive capacity. It is almost a natural 
phenomenon to observe the manner in which its 

40 



excess of power tends to extend all over the con- 
tinent. The people of the United States are not a 
nation of conquerors, but of producers. They need 
markets for their manufactures and raw materials 
for their industries. Its feared imperialism is al- 
most always resisted by the intellectuals of the coun- 
try and by the people themselves and in all cases 
is firmly opposed by the Latin peoples of the con- 
tinent. Whatever may be the end sought in the 
cases wherein the United States had intervened in 
Latin America, these acts can only result in the 
material and spiritual isolation of the United States 
from the Latin American countries, because of the 
fears and reasonable suspicions of the latter. 

What is your opinion of Pan- Americanism? 

I believe it to be a noble ideal to which we should 
not refuse our assistance and enthusiastic collabora- 
tion. 



41 



EDUCATION AND SCHOOL TEACHERS 

STATEMENTS TO THE CIVIC PROGRESSIVE 
EDUCATIONAL PARTY 



(From El Democrata, Mexico City, April 20, 1924-) 



To the first question asked him by the teachers, 
"What are your plans with respect to popular educa- 
tion?" General Calles answered that he would prefer 
to meditate deeply before answering, inasmuch as 
an entire programme by itself was comprehended 
in the interrogation and that only a charlatan would 
attempt to answer it off-hand. He then went on 
to say: 

"I am a school teacher. That was my career. 
My ideas are faithfully exemplified in my work as 
Governor of the State of Sonora, which was emi- 
nently practical and which gave effective results. I 
can say without hesitation that the school system 
of Sonora is the best in the country. This is proved 
by the fact that, during my term of office, the income 
of the state was 3,500,000 pesos of which 2,600,000 
pesos were expended in public instruction. A law 
was passed establishing a rural elementary school 
in every village where there were twenty children. 
In proportion to the population there is no doubt 
that Sonora leads in the number of schools and in 
the salaries which are paid to the teachers." 

General Calles continued to say that he had pro- 
vided all of the schools of Sonora with the best 
modern apparatus and the best qualified teachers 

42 



that could be found. There was but one professional 
school in the state, the Normal School, for the edu- 
cation of state teachers. This school was established 
when it became apparent that teachers were at- 
tracted to Sonora principally on account of the high 
salaries paid, but that eventually they returned to 
the localities from whence they came. He also estab- 
lished the first industrial school in the Republic, in 
which many of the teachers who initiated the organ- 
ization of the Educational Party received their 
training, including Professors Martinez and Villar- 
real. 

The conversation then turned on the subject of 
the throngs of teachers brought into Sonora by Gen- 
eral Calles. At that time teachers in other parts of 
the country were receiving 150 pesos a month in 
paper money (worth about 10 centavos gold a peso 
or less) , General Calles paid them 3,000 pesos, or 
its equivalent in gold or silver. He also established 
rewards of honor for the teachers. One veteran 
teacher was alloted a permanent seat in the State 
Legislature. 

Professor Braulio Rodriguez then asked : 

"After this conversation, General, it seems to me 
that your ideas on public education may be summed 
up in this : plenty of modern schools, taught by well 
paid teachers." 

"Exactly," replied General Calles. 

TEACHERS AND POLITICS 

The subject was then introduced of the political 
activities which up to this time had been engaged 
in by the school teachers, as individuals, but not as 
members of political groups. 

"We are here in representation of the normal and 
the rural school teachers as a group," said Professor 
Olivares. "In eight days we have enrolled 221 and 
we believe that all of the teachers will respond to 
our call." 

43 



General Calles replied: 

"What really has happened is that among the 
school teachers there is cowardice and many of them 
are reactionaries who have not abandoned their old 
habits." 

"In the schools, only those who play politics get 
to the top," said Professor Olivares, "they in turn, 
do what they can, under threat of dismissal, to pre- 
vent those beneath them from mixing into politics. 
The ones on top have flexible knee joints and pros- 
trate themselves before the heads of all the govern- 
ments." 

To this General Calles commented: 

"Yes, they compose a group without character, 
regardless of the fact that it is their duty to form 
characters. But the time has come when the work 
of the schoolmasters fails to satisfy the laboring 
classes, because they have been kept back by them 
so far as education is concerned ; because they have 
not complied with their duty. 

"Actually, all classes have awakened. Even the 
lethargic middle classes have adopted an energetic 
attitude which causes them to be reckoned with. 
Only the teachers, as a group, are lagging behind. 

"It is the duty of the school teachers to be men, 
to act in a manner which will force them to be taken 
into account in public matters. The important role 
which they should play has disappeared, through 
lack of character. It was on that account that I 
abandoned the career. I found myself surrounded 
by those who were in opposition to progress and 
evolution, I rejoice that for the first time in Mexico 
the school teachers are organized, as you have done." 

In a material way General Calles had no cause 
to complain of his career as a schoolmaster, for at 
the age of twenty-one he had arrived at the pinnacle 
of his profession and was an inspector of a schol- 
astic zone, at a salary of 150 pesos a month, which 

44 



in those days was the equivalent of moderate wealth. 
Later General Calles said that the school teachers 
need have no fear of engaging in political activities. 
"The orders prohibiting you from mixing in poli- 
tics," he explained, "should be interpreted as a 
warning against making use of your position to 
bring political pressure to bear upon those under 
you, but in no other way. The masters teach their 
pupils that they should exercise their political rights 
as citizens, and they are the first to fail to do so. 
This is the way to economic liberty for the teachers, 
who should not fear because of what the morrow 
may bring forth, and the way by which they make 
themselves heard and respected as the teachers in 
Sonora are. Go to political meetings. Vote and be 
voted for. Those who carry on the ordained and 
logical work of education should rise from the least 
place to the greatest even to the extreme limit of 
their resources." 



45 



PROGRAMME IS ESSENTIALLY 
CONSTRUCTIVE 



GUARANTEES TO FOREIGN CAPITAL AND BETTER- 
MENT OP THE CONDITIONS OP THE 
MEXICAN WORKER 



(Statement to the press of Tampico, from El Democrata, 
Mexico City, April 22, 1924-) 



"Endeavors are being made to cause me to appear 
as the representative of Bolshevism, as a represent- 
ative of the destruction and ruin which makes com- 
munism hated. All this is untrue. My only aspira- 
tion is that the principles of the Revolution designed 
for the benefit of the working classes be placed into 
practice, for these people have suffered for many 
years. The middle class has already roused itself 
from its lethargy and has endorsed my candidacy." 

Later General Calles said that Mexico required 
foreign capital for the development of its natural 
resources and that in order to attract this it was 
necessary to provide for it protection and full guar- 
antees ; that until the condition of the Mexican lab- 
orer was improved it was useless to try to encourage 
any considerable flow of foreign labor immigration 
to come to Mexico and that in order to attract agri- 
cultural colonists from abroad, better wages must 
first be paid to the native farm laborers. 



46 



AN ENEMY OP ANARCHY 



DESIROUS OF THE BETTERMENT OF THE CONDI- 
TION OF THE WORKING CLASSES THROUGH 
LEGAL METHODS PROUD OF BEING 
SUPPORTED BY RURAL AND 
INDUSTRIAL LABORERS 



(Address to the people of Tampico, from El Democrata, 
Mexico City, April 22, 1924.) 

Later General Calles addressed the people of Tam- 
pico in general. He spoke concisely, emphatically 
and judicially. He requested that his audience re- 
main silent for half a minute in memory of Governor 
Felipe Carrillo Puerto, of Yucatan, the victim of the 
reaction and of the criminal work of the former 
Minister of Hacienda. 

General Calles then ratified his revolutionary con- 
victions, as expressed in his manifesto to the people 
issued from the city of General Teran, with especial 
emphasis upon the phrases: "I also applaud with 
all my heart the fundamental principles of Articles 
27 and 123 of the Constitution, and the agrarian 
policy of the Revolution, executed in a strictly legal 
manner, and especially the distribution or restitu- 
tion of commons to the villages and hamlets which 
lack land or water for their service and their 
necessities." 

He realized, he said, the great aspirations of the 
Mexican proletariat and their fervent desires for 
economic and social betterment, and which, despite 
the efforts of the reaction to cause it to appear so, 

47 



did not signify anarchy. He was quite content to 
be the leader of the Mexican workers and to be con- 
sidered by them as the enemy of the reaction and 
of capital. In his campaign he bore only one banner, 
the red and black flag of labor. As always, the 
friends and partisans who were with him today 
were the same as those who have accompanied him 
since he resigned from the government to campaign 
for the Presidency. By sincere conviction, he was 
the friend of the worker. 



48 



PLEADING FOR THE EXTERMINATION OF 

THE TYRANNY SUFFERED BY 

THE PEOPLE 



(Speech in Victoria, Tamaulipas, from El Democrata, Mexico 
City, April 29, 1924-) 



I feel profoundly grateful for the evidence of 
sympathy which I have received from the people 
of this state. Since my arrival at Tampico it has 
been proved to me that the working people, the' 
laboring classes of Tamaulipas, comprise the true 
vital nerve of the state, as they do of the entire 
nation. I have come here to reaffirm my desire, 
which I sincerely expressed at the beginning of my 
campaign, of fighting with the national proletariat, 
and this desire has been attained, for I have realized 
that they have responded to my call. I take pleasure 
in observing that the issue has been sharply defined, 
as I say now and as I have said all over the Republic, 
between the historically antagonistic groups on one 
side the workers and the middle class, the producers 
of the country, headed by me, and on the other side 
the reaction. 

Hence, as I say, my desires have been satisfied 
and with the enthusiastic aid of the laboring ele- 
ments of the Republic I have succeeded in gaining 
my object in this contest, guided only by our prin- 
ciples, without reckoning whether this course has 
won or lost votes for me. 

I do not wish to allow this opportunity to pass 
without justly congratulating the people of this state 
for their civic valor and for their manhood, for their 
refusal to tolerate tyranny. They have done well. 
The time has come for tyrants to disappear from 

49 



the face of the earth and for their names to exist 
only in the records of the past. The time has come, 
not only for the people of Mexico, but for the people 
of the world, to impose their powerful will and to 
conquer definitely their political liberties. 

It worries the reaction to see that we are defend- 
ing the interests of all the working people of Mexico, 
interests which have always been strangled by the 
selfishness of a parasitical minority. It worries 
the reaction because we demand a little happiness 
for these people who for centuries have been ex- 
ploited under the lash of the powerful. The reac- 
tion worries because, guided by a sentiment of 
human equity, we ask a bit of ground for the rural 
workers to till in order to support life, when this 
land for which we ask was stolen from the fore- 
fathers of these field workers by the brutal force 
of conquest. It worries the reaction to see us fight- 
ing to obtain more human treatment for the workers 
and that, in their relations with capital, they be 
treated like men and not like beasts. 

This is the epoch of the revindication of all human 
rights, and Mexico cannot remain indifferent to this 
progressive movement. For this reason I feel hon- 
ored at being in this campaign, in raising this ban- 
ner and placing myself at the front of the hosts of 
the workers and of the middle classes, flying the 
standard of a new civilization, the dawn of which 
we are witnessing. 

In conclusion, I only wish to repeat here, as I 
have everywhere said, that I am absolutely certain 
that all the working people in the Republic, the pro- 
ducers, all who are exerting themselves to bring 
about the betterment of the majority, the industrial 
workers, the field workers, the middle class, the in- 
tellectual workers, whatever may be their circum- 
stances, the time or the place that they are with 
me, and I am with them. 

50 



PROGRAMME OP GOVERNMENT 



(From El Democrat^ Mexico City, May 2, 1914.) 



The following are principal points of General 
Calles' programme of government: 

1. To stimulate and encourage by all possible 
means the organization of the Mexican people so 
that they may direct their efforts, not alone toward 
political ends, but toward well defined objects of 
social betterment. 

2. To comply strictly with, and to compel the 
rigid compliance with, Article 27 of the Constitu- 
tion, to bring about the solution of the agrarian 
problem, considering it as an integral problem by 
itself, in which the principle of small land holdings 
is merely one of the indispensable factors of success ; 
to organize the necessary systems of agricultural 
credit, to distribute water rights and establish rural 
cooperative organizations. 

3. To bring about the immediate and just regula- 
tion of Article 123 of the Constitution and thereby 
provide for the workers the legal protection which 
they enjoy in the most progressive industrial coun- 
tries, in order that they may play in the social and 
political life of the country the role to which they 
are entitled as an integral, and as the principal, 
factor in the production and in the wealth of 
Mexico. 

4. To continue the cultural and educational pro- 
gramme for the benefit of the masses, preferably 
of the Indians, with the object of making all of the 
units in the population of Mexico useful to them- 

51 



selves, to their families and to the country and creat- 
ing in them an exact comprehension of their duties. 

5. To bring about the collective development of 
the middle and the sub-middle classes, placing them 
in touch with the proletariat, with whom they should 
share their struggles and the ambitions. 

6. To bring about, through an ample and well 
planned system of communications, closer contact 
between all parts of the country and a more exten- 
sive commercial interchange of their products, as a 
necessary moral and material basis for the develop- 
ment of a nationalistic spirit. 

7. To establish a purely nationalistic govern- 
ment, uncontrolled by small private cliques and 
without a spirit of sectarianism, guided in all cases 
by the ideals and the sentiments of the country as 
represented by the necessities of the majority and 
not by the interests of political parties. 

8. To establish relations with all the countries 
of the world on a basis of mutual respect, equity 
and justice, without admitting that strong nations 
may impose their will upon the weak, in matters of 
domestic concern. 



52 



PROGRAMME HAS BEEN ADJUSTED TO THE 
NEEDS OF THE PEOPLE 



(Speech in Morelia, from El Democrata, Mexico City, 
May 12, 1924.) 



Before everything else, I desire to offer my sin- 
cere gratitude to the people of Michoacan for these 
manifestations of sympathy with which I have been 
greeted since I placed my foot on the soil of the 
state manifestations of popular sentiment freely 
manifested, which demonstrates to me that I was 
not mistaken when, in commencing my political cam- 
paign, I launched my defiance to the reaction and, 
supported by the workers of Mexico, challenged the 
resentment of those who seek to continue to exploit 
them. The enthusiastic manner in which I have been 
greeted all over the country indicates to me that 
the programme raised by me as a banner when I 
began my political campaign is not merely the pro- 
gramme of Plutarco Elias Calles, but that it repre- 
sents the aspirations of the people of my country. 

What is offered in this programme? The revin- 
dication of the rights of the rural worker, of the 
Indian, of the element which has been exploited 
for so many centuries, the enslaved element which 
with its blood has attained its title to liberty and 
to which no rights had been before conceded, least 
of all the most sacred and inviolable of human 
possessions, the right to live. The Mexican field 
workers, who have watered the land with the sweat 
of their brow and who by their labor have produced 
food for all, now have the absolute assurance that 

53 



all of the revolutionists, with all of our energies, 
will utilize all of our strength, and, if necessary, 
sacrifice our ives, to comply with the agrarian pro- 
gramme which we have promulgated. The field 
workers may be absolutely certain that all of the 
villages in the Republic shall have their commons, 
by the cultivation of which they may gain their live- 
lihood and their economic liberty. They may be 
absolutely certain that the group of revolutionists 
who began this crusade are complying with their 
duty and employing all of the necessary force and 
intelligence to liberate them from ignorance and 
fanaticism, the two yokes which their owners and 
masters would seek to keep upon their shoulders for 
the purpose of maintaining their inferiority in order 
the more easily to exploit them. The soul, the vital 
nerve of this country, is formed by the laboring 
classes, and the revolutionists have the imperative 
duty of raising the material and intellectual level 
of these classes, in order that a great, strong and 
respected country may be created. I am confident 
that the city workers, in the shops and factories 
will also fight to the end to compel the industrials 
who exploit them to recognize their rights. I am 
confident that the middle classes, who also are pro- 
ducers, will exert themselves to do away with the 
handicap placed upon them by the contempt of the 
upper classes and the lack of confidence of the lower 
classes, that they will take their place in the ranks, 
that they will organize and, rallying their forces, 
will conquer the social position which belongs to 
them and obtain the advantages which come with 
a reformed and properly organized social system. 
All workers, regardless of their condition or of the 
circumstances under which they appeal to us, may 
be confident that we are with them. 



54 



NOT A DISTURBER; FAVORS ORDER AND 
SOCIAL DISCIPLINE 



(Speech in the Theatre Ocampo, Morelia) 



I do not intend to make a formal speech. I am 
merely going to make a clear and simple exposition 
of my political principles, which I firmly believe to 
be those of the people of my country. 

My political enemies, who are the capitalistic and 
conservative elements of my country, say that I am 
a disturbing element. That is not true. The speaker 
who preceeded me painted for us the true picture of 
the situation in which the Mexican proletariat at 
present finds itself. He spoke to us of the neces- 
sity of the working people of Mexico establishing 
their own factories and industries and the thousand 
processes of exploiting the natural riches of the 
country, in order to augment the collective welfare. 
Thus there will be given work and opportunity to our 
citizens, who no longer will then be compelled to seek 
employment abroad, to be exploited and buffeted 
about, far from their own country, by foreigners 
and, after untold sufferings, return to Mexico as 
poor and miserable as when they started out, bring- 
ing with them nothing but a fresh disillusion and 
minus the energies which they exhausted in a 
strange land. 

It is true that we need foreign capital in Mexico, 
to revive our present industries and to found new 
ones. I am not an enemy of capital. To the con- 

55 



trary, I desire that it come here to exploit our 
natural resources, but we want humane capital, cap- 
ital that is conscious of its mission in the modern 
world and which understands that it has not the 
feudal privilege of converting itself into the lord 
and master of its employees, but which is aware 
that it has a function to perform which, in the end, 
will not only be to the greater profit of the capitalist, 
but of collective benefit to the capitalist and to the 
worker alike. 

DESIRABLE IMMIGRATION 

I desire to see capital come to Mexico which will 
join its interests with ours, wtyich will abide with 
us, which will share our fortunes, which will bring 
us advantages, be a partner in our successes and our 
failures. Not the capital which comes merely to 
exploit us, our riches and our manhood without a 
moral check, the capital which a laborer in Tampico 
aptly referred to as conquering capital. 

I wish to go on record here as saying that capital 
which comes to our country, inspired by the proper 
desires, may have an absolute assurance of finding 
the guarantees which it requires. But without ex- 
ception it must be humane and it must subject itself 
to our laws. 

My political enemies affirm that I am an enemy 
of foreigners and that my nationalism is of such a 
rabid nature that I do not want to see them in the 
country. This is another falsehood. I despise and 
detest the foreigner who comes here to meddle into 
our domestic affairs, to mix into our politics, to flout 
our laws and preserve the unfair advantages which 
have been conceded to him by reactionary govern- 
ments, who invariably presumes upon his position 
as a foreigner and the influence which he is able 
to bring to bear upon his own government. On the 

56 



other hand, to the foreigner who comes to live with 
us, to share in our pleasures and our sufferings, to 
establish his home here and to root in the country 
his affections and his interests, our arms are open 
and we are ready to adopt him into brotherhood. 

FALSE THAT HE INTENDS TO DESTROY PROPERTY 

RIGHTS 

The reaction rages and calls me a disturber be- 
cause it says that I intend to destroy property 
rights in Mexico. This is also a falsehood. 

What is it that I want? What are we fighting 
for? 

We are struggling to obtain a trifle of economic 
welfare for the field workers, that they may have 
the common lands which were bestowed upon them 
after the Conquest and later taken from them, for 
the political independence of the local governments, 
that the field workers may obtain their economic 
independence, based upon political independence, 
that they may be able to live on a better scale, de- 
mand new necessities which will require them to 
work harder in order to gain them. Thus will real 
progress come to Mexico, and the position of the 
masses be improved. We want the worker to be in 
a position to educate his sons, so that they may do 
honor to him, so that the succeeding generations, 
being improved materially, will also be truly up- 
lifted morally and intellectually. This is the only 
manner in which reality can be given to the supreme 
aspiration of the Mexican people and by which a 
happy and a prosperous country can be created. 

EXPLOITERS OP LANDS AND OF MEN 

But the great land-owners are indifferent to all 
this ; they do not choose to understand that we are 

57 



in reality fighting for them and for their interests. 
Nevertheless, I want to say that the Revolution is 
determined, if the landowners will not listen to rea- 
son, to develop its agrarian programme by means of 
force. I say to the great land owners that they 
will profit by distributing lands to all the villages 
in the Republic, because then they themselves will 
be compelled to cultivate all of the land which re- 
mains to them, thereby converting themselves into 
true farmers under the spur of necessity. Thus 
they will become exploiters of land, instead of ex- 
ploiters of men. 

When the small farmer, economically independent 
upon his own bit of ground, ceases to become the 
peon who yields himself to the hacendado under the 
stress of hunger, and wages rise and laborers be- 
come scarce, it will be impossible for primitive agri- 
cultural methods which exploit the laborer to con- 
tinue in use in Mexico, and the great land owner 
will be compelled to adopt modern technical meth- 
ods, employ modern machinery, modern methods of 
cultivation, selecting seeds, etc. Thus we shall ob- 
tain the harmony which has always been so impres- 
sively lacking in agriculture in Mexico, for the rela- 
tions between land owner and laborer will not be 
regulated by the traditional hatred of the owner for 
his slave, and the progressive farmer will find in the 
free worker a collaborator in the production of 
national wealth. 

RESPECT TO ALL RELIGIONS AND CREEDS 

My enemies say that I am an enemy of religion 
and of divine worship, and that I have no respect 
for religious creeds. The fact is that I am a liberal 
of such ample spirit that my intellect inclines me 
to accept all creeds and to grant them justice, for I 
consider them good because of the moral programme 

58 



contained in them. I am an enemy of the priest 
caste which regards its position as a privileged one 
and not as an evangelical mission. I am an enemy 
of the priest politician, of the priest intriguer, of the 
priest exploiter, of the priest who seeks to keep our 
people in ignorance, of the priest who is allied with 
the hacendado to prey upon the laborer, of the priest 
who joins with the industrial proprietor to exploit 
the worker, 

I declare that I respect all religions and all re- 
ligious persons and believers, so long as their min- 
isters do not flout our laws by meddling in our 
political contests, or serve as instruments to the 
powerful to exploit the weak. 

DESIRES THE PROSPERITY OF INDUSTRIES 
Bitter complaints have been made that General 
Calles intends to put the industrial establishments 
of our country out of business. This is another 
falsehood. I want to see the industries flourish 
and develop. I only ask that the relations between 
the industrials and the workers be placed upon a 
more humane basis. I ask that the industrials 
reckon the worker as something a little less than 
a machine and a little more than a beast, that they 
cease to squeeze him dry and then throw him out 
and leave him to his fate, like refuse from a sugar 
mill after the last drop of juice has been crushed 
from it, or that, when he dies, it merely signifies 
one less name on the payroll and the tossing of his 
body aside, as a deag dog is pitched upon a dunghill. 
And, how do we ask that this be brought about? 
Not through the anarchy of violent revindicatory 
movements, but according to law and social discip- 
line, on a basis of legality. And has legislation of 
this sort never been heard of by the industrials of 
Mexico? I doubt that it has not, for to deny that 
it has is to insult their intelligence, when we re- 
member that legislation of this nature already ex- 

59 



ists in other countries. What really happens is that 
they seek to ignore it. Foreigners coming to Mex- 
ico, from countries where these legal protections for 
the worker exist, after their arrival here find them- 
selves contaminated by contact with our reactionary 
industrials and sacrifice their civilized instincts to 
the easy profits which come through' exploitation 
of their fellow men. 

We revolutionists, who have begun these battles 
in the name of the rights of the proletariat, have 
the inexorabe obligation of defending them and 
unless we do so we strip the Revolution of all justi- 
fication and we become ourselves merely puppets. 

INTERNATIONAL POLICY 

My enemies say that if I come to power I will 
isolate Mexico from the rest of the world and bring 
down upon her head universal hatred abroad, be- 
cause of my disinclination or inability to establish 
friendly relations with other countries. This is an- 
other falsehood. We desire the most friendly and 
cordial relations with all the nations of the earth. 
What happens is that we belong to a political party 
which possesses sufficient manhood to declare that 
we desire these relations to be on a basis of justice, 
of honor. We do not desire to have foreign coun- 
tries meddle with our internal affairs or to impose 
their will upon us or their methods in a manner 
to suit their own interests. We are a sovereign 
people and we have the right to settle our internal 
problems free of all exterior influence. 

We desire that our relations with other countries 
be established on a basis of mutual respect, that 
strong nations do not impose their will upon the 
weak and that conflicts arising between peoples be 
decided exclusively according to principles of jus- 
tice. These are our ideas, what may be called our 
programme. And as I said in the meeting this 
morning, I believe firmly that they are not alone my 

60 



ideas, the ideas of one man, but the profound desires 
of the masses of our country. 

THE PEOPLE HAVE THEIR RIGHTS, BUT ALSO THEIR 

DUTIES 

The reactionaries know that in this campaign, 
perfectly conscious of our responsibilities, we are 
not seeking votes by flattery, and that when we 
preach to the people of their rights we also impress 
upon them what their duties are, the duties which 
the workers owe to themselves, their duties as pro- 
ducers, as men and as citizens. 

This cannot be unknown to the reactionaries, for 
to all clases of workers we have preached of the 
obligations which rest upon them and with which 
they must comply in order to win the right to enjoy 
the benefits which the Revolution has brought to 
them. On the other hand, while the reactionaries 
believe that the indigenous races are a counterbal- 
ance between the whites and the mixed bloods, I am 
a lover of the Indian races and I have faith in them. 
They have been exploited and for 400 years have 
sought the economic liberty which comes with pos- 
session of the land. We will educate and elevate 
them to the dignity of full manhood, and then we 
shall see whether or not they are not the basis of 
a potent nationality. By this process, and by no 
other, it will be possible to form a nation, happy 
and respected by all the peoples of the earth. 



61 



HIS SOCIAL IDEALS 



(Speech in La Piedad, from El Democrata, Mexico City, 
May 18, 



Since I first stepped foot upon this glorious and 
blessed soil of Michoacan, blessed by its riches and 
glorified by its sons, I have been receiving demon- 
strations organized in my honor, demonstrations 
which have pleased me greatly, because they have 
come principally from the workers and from the 
middle classes, the forces which since the beginning 
I have said were supporting me in this political 
campaign. 

I judge it to be useless to make a new discourse 
upon this occasion, for I am sure that I covered all 
the points of my programme in my speech on Sun- 
day at Morelia and clearly outlined the path which 
I shall follow if the people are good enough to elect 
me to be their President. 

I desire that, in all the acts of life, the people take 
the role that rightfully belongs to them. I have 
requested General Alvarez to read the stenographic 
version of my Morelia speech and I desire that each 
of you who are here present considers the points of 
my programme and make such observations upon 
them as he may deem pertinent. If you find any 
point^ obscure, please say so and I will personally 
explain it. Also, if there happens to be present any 
of my political opponents, I shall be glad to debate 
the issues of the campaign with him. 



62 



EULOGY OP THE YOUTH OF THE 
REVOLUTION 



(Speech in Queretaro) 

It is a matter of pride, and one which encourages 
me to continue the fight with fresh energy, that my 
candidacy is supported by the working classes, the 
workers in the shops and factories, the agricultural 
workers and the workers of the middle classes, who 
have joined with the proletariat. I am especially 
glad of the support of the middle classes, not only 
because the elements which compose it are those 
whose spirit has been tempered by labor and by 
misery, but because the great majority of them have 
been preserved uncontaminated and are not yet cor- 
rupted politically. For this reason they are in a 
position to lend their great force to the work of 
social redemption which we are carrying on. 

I am never tired of repeating, as I have said in 
many meetings, that day by day I am more satis- 
fied with having, at the opening of my campaign, 
outlined the rival fields of action in this contest by 
declaring in Monterey that my great aim, my great 
desire, was that the reaction should be my irrecon- 
cilable enemy in this fight, for I desired only to be 
supported by the producing elements of my country, 
industrial workers, field laborers and the middle 
classes. It is only honorable for me to say now, 
since my campaign has developed into more of a 
social than a political movement, and with all frank- 
ness, that I do not wish to deceive those gentlemen 
who feel that their interests are not properly ap- 



predated and that they are being attacked by me. 
I wish them to know how I regard and welcome 
their opposition. 

I believe that the field workers of Queretaro, here 
present, wish to hear from my lips the ratification 
of my agrarian programme, which I have so many 
times outlined in other places. I am certain that 
those who are listening to me will bear to their 
absent comrades in the villages and ranches the 
assurance that if I triumph the agrarian problem 
will be solved and that the people shall have the land 
which they require to satisfy their requirements and 
to provide for the welfare of themselves and their 
families. 

THE REACTION JUDGED 

With respect to the factory workers, they are 
now sufficiently familiar with my programme and 
they know that, by reason of my defense of their 
interests, I have gained the reputation of being a 
disturber, which is the title with which the reac- 
tionaries have adorned my name. They also may be 
absolutely certain that I shall always contend for 
their economic betterment and the material and 
moral elevation of their homes and their families. 
It gives me great satisfaction to see here this com- 
pact group of women workers, who provide so many 
demonstrations of enthusiasm. They are right in 
throwing themselves into the campaign. They 
understand that we are fighting for their interests, 
to better the conditions of the heads of their house- 
holds and to impress upon the workmen, if it is 
necessary, that the benefits which we obtain for them 
they should in turn learn to conquer for their wives 
and for their children. 

It also affords me great satisfaction to see here 
this group of young students who understand that, 
because of their youth and the position they occupy, 
they are the beneficiaries of part of the work which 

64 



we are undertaking. Youth, always generous and 
noble, without the selfishness which mature years 
bring, without the prejudices of the elderly, must 
orient itself according to the new ideals, in order 
tomorrow to direct, with its talent and its force, 
the great labor movement. 

THE NERVE OF THE NATION 

I always have had, and still have, faith in the 
working classes, because I have always believed that 
they are the nerve of the nation and that only 
through them and their action it is possible for us 
to hope for the betterment of Mexico, inasmuch as 
it is they who are directly interested in bringing it 
about. For this reason, when I began my campaign 
and understood that the Revolution, through the 
fortunes of politics, had placed in my hands, not the 
standard of a presidential campaign with no other 
end to be sought than that of rising to power, but 
the sacred banner of a programme of social reforms, 
I desired no allies other than these working classes, 
who firmly understand that they are the units of 
action and solidity in this country and the units in 
whom we can rest our hopes of building a strong, 
a happy country. 



65 



PRINCIPLES OF HIS PROGRAMME ARE 
THOSE OF THE REVOLUTION 



(Speech at Cotima, from El Democrata, Mexico City, 
May 24, 



Personal vanity has not blinded me sufficiently to 
the point of believing in my programme merely be- 
cause it is mine, but I have faith in it because it is 
fully apparent that by this time the Mexican people 
have placed in my hands the banner of the revolu- 
tion which, aided by the enthusiasm and good will 
of the same people, I am triumphantly bearing 
throughout all the Republic. 

It is because of this programme that I am called 
a destroyer and efforts are being made to frighten 
the country by saying that my campaign is disturb- 
ing and will produce tragical results. But what 
better reply could be made to those who thus de- 
fame me than is supplied by the fact that in my 
campaign the great masses of the citizenry of the 
Republic, all elements of the middle and the working 
classes, both of the town and of the country, turn 
out to manifest their adhesion to this programme, 
precisely for the reason that it is their programme, 
because it is constructive, because it contains the 
sum of their desires for the just reform of an 
archaic society, because the programme is the pro- 
gramme of a new country ! What better reply could 
be provided to these critics who, because their aris- 
tocratic and subservient spirits recoil before demon- 
strations which are truly democratic, say that my 

66 



campaign is merely a series of mob gatherings, than 
by the presence here of numerous beautiful women 
of Colima, who form its chief ornament ! The women 
do well to interest themselves in public questions 
because they constitute half of the population of 
Mexico and because by the aid of the wives and 
mothers we shall be able more quickly to improve 
and transform the country. 



67 



TOAST AT A BANQUET TO SAMUEL GOM- 
PERS, PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN 
FEDERATION OF LABOR 



HIS ELECTION TO THE PRESIDENCY OF MEXICO 

DUE TO THE SUPPORT OF THE WORKING 

CLASSES FOR WHOSE INTERESTS 

HE HAD ALWAYS FOUGHT 



(From El Democrata, Mexico City, August 9, 1924*) 

General Calles declared that the opportunity of 
greeting the Executive Council of the Federation 
was one of the greatest satisfactions he had experi- 
enced in his life as a protagonist of labor. He added 
that he had been elected as a candidate of the Laboi 
Party, that he never would be a traitor to the cause, 
that his government would be eminently constructive 
and that he would endeavor to shape all of his offi- 
cial acts to the betterment of the condition of the 
oppressed. He said: 

"I have been elected President of Mexico by the 
free will of the workers. When I began my cam- 
paign I expressed clearly, without ambiguity, my 
desire to receive the support only of the laboring 
classes and that I invited the reactionaries to be 
against me. I pointed out that on one side we had 
the programme for the revindication of the workers 
and on the other the retrograde programme of the 
reactionaries. I triumphed because of the good will 
of the workers. I owe my government to them and 
I shall receive their support so long as I comply with 
my obligations. The working classes of Mexico ex- 
pect that their government will do this and they 



will give their aid to those who guard the interests 
of the Mexican people. 

"It is highly satisfactory to me to see that the 
working classes of Mexico and their leaders are in 
contact with the workers of the United States. The 
President of the American Federation of Labor 
occupies a warm spot in the hearts of the Mexican 
workers. This visit affords me the opportunity of 
embracing Mr. Gompers fraternally and of saluting 
his colleagues. It is a very agreeable visit. It fills 
me with satisfaction and I shall go away bearing 
in my soul great hope, because I know that with the 
workers of the United States united with those of 
Mexico it will be very difficult for the forces of 
capital, whether of this country or of any other, to 
enslave and oppress my people." 

When President Calles finished, Mr. Gompers said 
to him: 

"You are an excellent, honorable and a talented 
man. You are in every way a man/' 



69 



SPEECH TO THE BURGOMASTER AND SEN- 
ATE OF HAMBURG, GERMANY, CONFIRM- 
ING THE TRADITIONAL CORDIALITY 
WHICH UNITES GERMANY 
AND MEXICO 



(From El Democrata, August 21, 



In his speech to the Burgomaster and the Senate 
of Hamburg:, General Calles confirmed the tradi- 
tional friendship and cordiality -vyhich had existed, 
he said, between Germany and Mexico since the 
declaration of Mexican independence and as a con- 
sequence of the continuous commercial and cultural 
exchange between the two countries. He said that 
Mexico was disposed to offer the same cordiality to 
all nations so long as they respected Mexico's sover- 
eignty and independence. Commercial relations are 
based upon the principle of the most favored nation. 
The same principle extends to human and moral 
values. These values are very essential and they 
supply the pillars upon which depends the resolu- 
tion of all domestic and international problems. 
These values would always dictate Mexico's political 
and social orientation. It is to be hoped that they 
shall always be the basis of our international rela- 
tions, to the end that the principle of reciprocity 
between Germany and Mexico shall assume a live 
and effective form. 



70 



REPLIES TO QUERIES SUBMITTED BY THE 
MANCHESTER GUARDIAN 



(From El Democrata, Mexico City, September 22, 1924.) 

Unquestionably, I am anxious to see normal diplo- 
matic and other relations between Mexico and Great 
Britain restored* However, it has not been because 
of the desire of our government that these relations 
have not been normal. I do not know what my ac- 
tion in this connection shall be when I become Presi- 
dent, although I should like to see the matter ar- 
ranged before I take my seat. 

In general, the relations between labor and capital 
in Mexico are the same as those which exist in other 
countries. In the case of business or industrial en- 
terprises or capitalistic interests which are reluctant 
to accord labor and laborers the importance which 
they really represent, the relations between the two 
elements cannot be as cordial as is desirable. But 
it is becoming to be better understood in Mexico that 
the only road for capital to follow is to accept the 
legal conditions established for the protection of 
labor. These conditions are not more radical nor 
advanced than those which prevail in the United 
States, Germany, France or Belgium. 

Of course, strikes and other disturbances conse- 
quent upon economic life anywhere are liable to 
occur in Mexico. These are phenomena which, when 
it is necessary to create them, cannot be conjured 
by statements in the newspapers. The eight-hour 
day has been established by law in Mexico. Other 
laws for the protection of labor are now in force 

71 



and more of the same kind will be introduced in the 
Congress by the progressive political parties. 

Naturally, the resumption of diplomatic relations 
between Mexico and England will notably stimulate 
commercial exchange. I cannot tell you with any 
degree of accuracy what particular products of the 
United States or Europe are required in Mexico, but 
I am of the opinion that, as a result of the progres- 
sive natural development of the necessities of the 
Mexican people, this demand for foreign products 
will be greatly intensified within the next five years, 
and especially because of the expectation that the 
country is about to enter into a new era of pros- 
perity. I cannot tell you to what extent the Mexi- 
can market for Manchester cottons is liable to in- 
crease. There is no branch of commerce or in- 
dustry which is not capable of great development in 
Mexico, if it is pushed energetically and in accord- 
ance with our laws, for the competition from the 
United States may easily be met. 

Yes, it is our intention to encourage railroad 
building and other developments along engineering 
lines and in some parts of the country there is al- 
ready considerable activity in this direction. To 
cite only a single instance, the new branch of the 
Southern Pacific Railway along the west coast, 
which will unite the central states of the Republic 
with those to the north as far as Sonora, is now 
nearly completed. 

We had hoped to balance our budget this year and 
that was the understanding with the Congress. Un- 
fortunately the seditious movement of last December 
prevented, but President Obregon is earnestly and 
successfully striving to re-establish the financial 
equilibrium. All of the reforms necessary in the 
management of the finances of Mexico have already 
been provided for, but I believe that the important 
thing is not merely to pass laws and lay down regu- 

72 



lations to this end, but to see that these laws and 
the regulations are enforced. 

I am confident that Mexico has now entered into 
a period of political tranqujlity which will permit 
the peaceful development of its programme of social 
reforms. But whether or not we have political calm, 
it is an indisputable fact that the reaction, as repre- 
sented in the methods and tendencies of social re- 
trogression, played its last card in the rebellion 
headed by de la Huerta and that there remains no 
hope that it can even win a political triumph. 



73 



RESPONSE TO THE WELCOME EXTENDED 

GENERAL CALLES BY THE 

MAYOR OP PARIS 



(From El Democrata, Mexico City, October 12, 1924.) 



It is with profound appreciation that I acknowl- 
edge this delicate manifestation of sympathy and 
appreciation which the authorities of Paris have 
been good enough to render to Mexico, through my 
humble personality. It is a pleasure to comply with 
my duty of acknowledging with all warmth, both 
for the Mexican people as well as for myself, our 
most profound recognition of the noble and con- 
siderate manner in which your worthy Mayor has 
characterized the soul of my country and the strong 
ties of race and of mentality which unite our two 
countries. I am sure that these manifestations, as 
strong as they are spontaneous, indicate emphatic- 
ally one more evidence of the aspirations to world 
fraternity which have always been held in common 
by France and Mexico. 

Upon rendering homage a few days ago at the 
Arc de Triumph to all the virtues, to all the sorrows 
and to the glorious national hymns of our countries, 
my emotion was intensified when I remembered that 
there in Mexico the downtrodden and oppressed, 
those who are hungering and thirsting 2or justice, 
crystalize their hopes for redemption in the chanting 
of the Marseillaise. 

Mexico fully appreciates and responds with all its 
heart to the generous references made to our Presi 

74 



dent, General Obregon. For my part, and as an 
enemy of formulas, of prejudices and of euphem- 
isms, I say with pride that General Obregon is a 
heavy creditor upon the respect and gratitude of the 
people of Mexico and of all the working classes of 
that country, for no one so much as he has so sin- 
cerely and prodigally concentrated his forces, his 
intelligence and his life efforts to the economic, so- 
cial, moral and intellectual improvement of his 
people and to the formation of a real country in 
which peace and liberty are harmonized on a basis 
of humanitarianism and much-to-be-desired social 
reorganization. My philosophy is that of work, my 
standard that of justice and my ambition equality of 
opportunity in progress and human happiness. In 
this belief, I have always opposed and I always shall, 
all privileges, all oligarchies and all exploitations. 
My programme is the programme of your Jaures 
to make the Republic a political and social organiza- 
tion wherein the soveignty of the people shall be 
effective and practical, not alone in politics, but also, 
and fundamentally, in the economic order. 

I am very grateful, gentlemen, for the encourag- 
ing words with which you have favored me. They 
reflect the proverbial courtesy of the people of 
France, for I am the first to recognize that I possess 
no other merit than that I always have followed 
without doubts or vacillations the dictates of my 
own conscience, of honor and of morally. 

Agreeable reference has been made to our past 
differences. The nobility of this gesture compels my 
country, Mexico, to recognize on its part its com- 
plete conviction that it was not the people of France, 
but the imperialistic plutocracy of the epoch which 
made the war. For this reason in memory of the 
contest there has been reared in Puebla, over the 
ashes of combatants of both sides, a simple monu- 

75 



ment upon which appear the figures of a soldier of 
France and a soldier of Mexico clasping hands in 
a sincere and magnificent gesture of amity, under 
the aegis of the Angel of Peace. Let it be hoped 
that on all fields of battle and in the consciences of 
all peoples who have fought among themselves there 
may arise a similar monument, serene, majestic and 
eternal. 



76 



REMARKS TO THE MEMBERS OF THE DIPLO- 
MATIC CORPS AT HIS INAUGURATION 
AS PRESIDENT 



(From El Democrata, December 2, 1924*) 



Mexico being fundamentally a country of working 
people, slightly tinctured with a minimum of fort- 
unate citizens who are able to procure for them- 
selves the benefits of culture and of comfortable 
living, it is encumbent upon our governments to 
devote all of their spirit and energy to the better- 
ment of the condition of the unfortunate classes, to 
the bringing about of a solidarity among them, to 
elevate the mentality of the backward and to estab- 
lish the permanently improved welfare of the op- 
pressed. This work should not be a work of destruc- 
tion, nor should it subvert the tranquility or the 
interests of nationals or foreigners. Before every- 
thing else, we desire to revindicate the purest prin- 
ciples of the ethics of humanitarianism, to sustain 
the most clear postulates of the universal welfare, 
to dream of and fight for a possible state of well 
being in which education shall be a gift to the minds 
of all and wherein the national wealth and civic 
rights shall have a common participation. A pro- 
gramme of this nature can honestly meet with noth- 
ing but general commendation, for the reason that 
all men may participate in its benefits and because 
Mexico will be more esteemed and respected when 
all its population is composed of a more harmonious 

77 



and homogeneous unity than it is at present. In a 
word, we are seeking to make Mexico a better coun- 
try and this cannot be brought about unless a form- 
idable effort is made in favor of the great popular 
masses. 



78 



IDEAS UPON EDUCATION 



(From the Bulletin of the Department of Education^ 
January, 1925.) 



The fundamental supports for the improvement 
of the masses of my country, including Indians, con- 
sist in their economic liberation and in their educa- 
tional development to a point where their full in- 
corporaion into civilized life will be possible. The 
land problem, resolved in the form which I have 
before pointed out, which will augment agricultural 
production and bring about the economic emanci- 
pation of the rural worker; the education of the 
rural population and the consolidation of the rights 
and the legal protection of the workers in the cities 
and the industrial centers shall be the preferential 
objects of my administration, to be developed upon 
a basis of equity and justice for all classes of society. 

The problem of rural education will be the first 
to occupy my attention. Special systems in this 
respect are being considered and studied by the 
Minister of Public Education, but the general outline 
of this work may immediately be given. It will 
consist not alone in combating illiteracy, but in 
bringing about the development of a spirit of har- 
mony among our field workers and Indians through 
which, as I said before, this great section of the 
population may be completely incorporated into the 
ranks of civilization. In a word, it will be our mis- 
sion to extend the rural schools to the fullest degree 
possible according to our economic possibilities. 



79 



INTERVIEW IN THE NEW YORK TIMES, 
JUSTIFYING THE ACTS OF THE ADMIN- 
ISTRATION, ACCORDING TO THE 
REQUIREMENTS OF THE 
CONSTITUTION 



(From El Democrata, Mexico City, February 7, 1926.) 

The law regulating Fraction I of Article 27 of 
the Constitution, which has improperly been called 
the law relating to foreigners, and the law emanat- 
ing from the same article, referring to the petro- 
leum industry, are not yet completed, because there 
are still lacking the Presidential regulations of the 
laws to be enacted by Congress, to fix the scope and 
the methods of applying the principles or provisions 
contained in these laws. For this reason, it must be 
judged that the position assumed by the Govern- 
ment of the United States, in the sense that these 
laws are retroactive and confiscatpry, are based 
upon an incomplete legal comprehension of the situa- 
tion. It is believed, naturally, that the interests 
which can be considered as liable to be affected by 
these laws may have influenced the origin of the 
present diplomatic status quo between Mexico and 
the United States. 

With respect to the query as to whether it is the 
intention of the Mexican Government to enforce a 
strict compliance with these laws, it may be said 
that, according to every viewpoint, it would be un- 
just and immoral, in Mexico or any other country, 
to enact laws and not enforce them or to apply them 
unequally, according to the nationality of the per- 
sons or companies affected by them. 

80 



The diplomatic relations between Mexico and the 
United States, like those which exist or which may 
exist between Mexico and any other friendly coun- 
try, strongly preoccupy a government that is dis- 
posed to maintain the best harmony with the gov- 
ernments with which it cultivates amicable rela- 
tions. It is not possible to judge how true or serious 
are the rumors you mention that the enaction of 
laws disapproved by the United States will lead 
to a rupture of diplomatic relations but such 
rumors cannot affect Mexico's attitude of enacting 
laws in accordance with Constitutional require- 
ments, in the exercise of its undoubted sovereign 
right and within the practice, or even the limits, of 
international law. 

In my declarations while I was a candidate for 
President and also in New York, when I was a guest 
in that city, as President-elect, I stated clearly that 
the policies of my government would be for the 
benefit of the masses of my country, without ignor- 
ing the rights of the legitimate interests of any 
social class. To pretend that in Mexico we are fol- 
lowing exotic methods of government, or methods 
and doctrines which are not sanctioned by bur Con- 
stitution, is simply ridiculous. 

The Constitution of 1917 clearly establishes our 
system of government, and not a single instance 
can be pointed out wherein this government has de- 
parted from Constitutional lines I insist that 
through sentiments of elemental justice and because 
of the imperious social and economic necessities of 
our country, the fundamental tendency of this gov- 
ernment is to accomplish the liberation of the 
masses and the development and the prosperity of 
the people as a whole, without by this attitude im- 
plying any ignoring of the rights of the privileged 
classes or any attack upon them. 

Yes, various departments of the government 

81 



have been informed of the activities of so-called 
revolutionists in San Antonio. So far as the in- 
vestigations which have been made by the American 
authorities are concerned, that is a matter within 
their jurisdiction with which we have nothing to do. 

The petroleum companies have manifested to the 
Minister of Industry, Commerce and Labor their 
intention of cooperating with the department in the 
regulatoin of the petroleum law. This government 
expects good results from this cooperation, which 
was solicited by the President in the hope of finding 
the best form of harmonizing the legitimate inter- 
ests of the companies and those of the country. 

No, the Mexican Government has not had nor has 
it solicited the cooperation of the American Federa- 
tion of Labor in the formulation of any law. The 
friendly attitude of the Federation toward Mexico 
has been due to the tendencies and procedures of 
this government in furthering social reforms which 
are approved of by the Federation, but this attitude 
does not signify that the Federation has sought to 
exercise any legal or political influence in our 
country. 

If the laws which we are discussing are enacted 
and if they are not respected by those to whom they 
apply, the resulting proceedings will not differ from 
those which any country would adopt to cause its 
laws to be obeyed. 

So far as the attitude of the American press 
goes, one part of it is friendly and the other is 
antagonistic. I presume that the antagonism is due 
in great part to a lack of information as to what 
is the real situation here which creates the necessity 
for the laws which we are discussing in this inter- 
view. The Mexican government has adjusted all 
of its acts according to the provisions and require- 
ments of the Mexican laws. One supposes that 
the statements printed in some of the United States 

82 



newspapers, that persons have been executed here 
without due process of law, have been made for the 
purpose of augmenting the antagonism toward 
Mexico. 

On the subject of labor strikes, I will say that 
the laws of Mexico establish the right of striking, 
and define the conditions under which these labor 
movements may be described as legal or illegal. 
According as these laws provide, the government 
approves or disapproves of these strikes. The atti- 
tude of the government is based upon a study of 
each concrete case and is not dictated by any general 
or blanket policy. There is no substantial differ- 
ence in this respect between the procedure which 
is followed in Mexico and that which is generally 
adopted in other countries in order to settle similar 
problems. 

Naturally, the personal sentiments of the Presi- 
dent of Mexico are in favor of the people of the 
United States. I have nothing to say concerning the 
present attitude of the Department of State with 
respect to Mexico. That, I believe, is the sole con- 
cern of the American people or of their representa- 
tive organs. 

No, it is not true that, as you say has been stated 
in the United States, the Mexican press is controlled 
by the government. Our press enjoys as much lib- 
erty, I believe, as the press of the United States. 
Probably the editors of the Mexican newspapers 
can answer this question better than I can. 



83 



PROGRAMME OF RECONSTRUCTION 



(Speech before the people of Nuevo Leon, from El Demo- 
crata, Mexico City, Feruwry 18, 1926.) 



I took advantage of the New Year to emerge 
from my customary official silence and to send out 
a call to all the vital forces of the country to forget 
old grudges and unite to cement our national 
solidarity upon the basis of prosperity and the 
general welfare. It appears that this has been 
done here. I very sincerely congratulate the sons 
of Nuevo Leon, because I am certain that they 
have developed this work, not alone for the hap- 
piness of the state, but for the future benefit of 
the entire country. 

I had already formed a high opinion of this 
state and this judgment is now ratified. I am ab- 
solutely certain that if the other states should do 
as Nuevo Leon has done, and join together with 
the same energy and with the same idealism, we 
can make Mexico a great country. Monterrey 
was the first city in which I began my political 
campaign. At that time, the comments were vari- 
ous and perhaps the majority of the people con- 
sidered me an extreme radical, and I have desired 
in the conduct of my government to demonstrate 
effectively that I am a radical. I am a reformer, 
but upon a basis entirely just and reconstructive. 
I have desired that the actual system of govern- 
ment of our country suffer a complete transforma- 
tion for the general welfare, because it is not 

84 



possible to bring about the peace, happiness and 
prosperity of Mexico under the handicap of twelve 
millions of disinherited and disfranchised people. 
The government of Mexico has studied this prob- 
lem profoundly, it has laid down a firm pro- 
gramme and I have always believed that the first 
step in the direction of bringing about our welfare 
consists in establishing our economic independence 
upon the basis of our own resources, because it 
is impossible to conceive a free people, and es- 
pecially a politically emancipated people, when 
they are enslaved economically. 

For this reason, the government has constituted 
measures which will tend to make this liberty ef- 
fective. I am sure that we are inherently a rich 
people and that we have sufficient resources within 
ourselves to bring this about, but it is not possible 
for the central government to do this by itself. 
It must have the cooperation of the local govern- 
ments, through the medium of a labor of moraliza- 
tion, a labor in which will be found the funda- 
mentals of the happiness which we seek. The 
time has come for the disappearance of the ad- 
ministrations which are organized solely for the 
personal benefit of the men who compose them, 
and it is absolutely necessary to clean house, to 
place rascals where they belong and honorable 
men in their place. The old mixture of rascals 
and honest men in government is no longer pos- 
sible. This is one of the matters which has pre- 
occupied the central government to clean its own 
house, to do justice to honest men. 

Now is the time to choke off the rascals who 
are sucking the financial life blood of the people 
without resultant benefit to the country. I am 
not unaware of the obstacles and the difficulties 
which stand in the way of this accomplishment. 

85 



But as a resolute man and a man who is accus- 
tomed to fighting, I am trying to carry out this 
programme and day by day we are succeeding. 
I am figuring with every expectation that within 
a very few years we shall succeed in forcing the 
public administration in Mexico to comply with 
its duty and to be an administration of exemplary 
qualities. The results of this labor are already 
being felt. The economic elements of the Re- 
public are functioning with absolute security and 
efficiency. The Bank of Mexico represents not a 
single obligation contracted outside of Mexico, 
and there is not a single cent invested in the 
business of which we need be ashamed. All this 
is yours. It belongs to you Mexicans. This work 
of reform has placed the government in a posi- 
tion whereby, within a short time, it will be able 
to establish the Agricultural Bank, an indispens- 
able factor for the development of agriculture, 
which is the basis of our principal national wealth. 
In this Bank, as in the other, the entire capital 
belongs to the nation. Not a cent of it is foreign 
money. It belongs to you. The Agricultural Bank 
was established in 1926), 

It has always been the conviction of the gov- 
ernment, after a careful and minute investiga- 
tion, that at the present time commerce and in- 
dustry require its protection, for the development 
of both. But agriculture, as the principal source 
of the country's wealth, requires our attention 
first. We possess great quantities of land, but 
we cannot place them easily or profitably into 
production because of lack of irrigation works. 
I have dedicated myself to a personal study of 
this problem, with every enthusiasm and interest, 
for I am convinced that upon its solution depends 
the welfare of the country. The budget of this 

86 



year assigns from fifteen to twenty millions of 
pesos to irrigation works, without borrowing from 
the Bank of Mexico and leaving intact the funds 
appropriated for the Agricultural Bank, and with- 
out failing to meet our foreign and domestic debt 
service. 

It pleases me to be able to state that this is not 
my work, but the work of the entire nation, by 
virtue of which we shall succeed in obtaining the 
happiness which we desire. 

But permit me to go back a little. It is neces- 
sary not to lose sight of the fact that there is in 
our country a class which deserves our attention 
and which is worthy of being elevated morally 
and socially, and that is the Indian. H'ow is it 
possible for us, if we are good Mexicans, to 
abandon the Indian to his misery, to his ignor- 
ance? The government has been deeply con- 
cerned by this problem and has instituted ener- 
getic efforts for its solution.. There are now in 
operation three thousand rural schools, supported 
by the government. These are the founts to which 
the Indian resorts to quench his thirst with that 
which is necessary in order to bring about his' 
incorporation into civilization education. But 
we must not fix our attention on this point alone. 
Before we educate him we must provide for his 
physical necessities, procure for him the means of 
living. 

The handling of the agrarian problem has been 
more bitterly criticized and fought than that of 
any other, and I will not say that there have not 
been in some cases just motives for these criti- 
cisms, because at times the functionaries charged 
with putting this reform into effect have, through 
excess of zeal, exceeded their authority, while 

87 



others have been prostituted by outside influences 
and have disregarded the laws in other ways* 

Without losing its faith in the benefits for which 
it hopes, the government has sought to correct 
and is correcting the defects implanted by this 
law. This is not so much of a problem in the 
state of Nuevo Leon and in other border states as 
it is in the central and southern states, where 
the indigenous class is enormous, where they con- 
stitute a grave problem which, if it is not settled 
once for all, will perpetually disturb the country. 
For the necessities of these people cannot be si- 
lenced by force, but only by satisfying them prop- 
erly. If we leave the field laborers to their fate 
they are lost, for the paucity of their individual 
resources do not permit them to accumulate sav- 
ings or to help themselves. It is, then, the duty 
of the country, represented by the government, 
to extend to this class the aid of which they are so 
sorely in need, and you may depend upon it that 
this is being done by the government to the ex- 
tent that its financial resources permit. 

The government, conscious of this situation and 
of the responsibility which rests upon it, has di- 
vided the problem into two parts: One of edu- 
cation and of preparation, to check excesses and 
inordinate demands, impossible of being complied 
with; and the other economical, which the gov- 
ernment is not in a position to develop simultane- 
ously throughout the country, because of lack of 
money. Consequently, this year the field workers 
in four states will receive the benefit of this work, 
and also in this year four Mortgage and Loan 
Banks will commence to function to relieve the 
most needy of the rural classes. 

To provide an exposition of each and all of the 
problems which confront the government would 

88 



be very long and very tiresome. I merely want 
you to know that the government is exerting itself 
with all of its power to cement solidly our na- 
tionalism. I am positive that if the government 
could count, as it does in Nuevo Leon, with the 
cooperation of all the citizens it would require 
only a very short time for us to accomplish every- 
thing for which we are aiming, and for Mexico 
to take the place which it should among the na- 
tions of this continent. 



89 



CALLING UPON ALL PATRIOTIC MEXICANS 

TO WOEK FOR THE PROSPERITY OF 

THE COUNTRY 



(Speech before the Chamber of Deputies of Nuevo Leon, 
from El Excelsior, Mexico City, February 26, 1924,.) 



It is a signal and very great honor for me to 
receive from this body the title of Son of Nuevo 
Leon. This designation compels me to assume 
new obligations and. new responsibilities in order 
that I may do credit to it, for I consider that it 
is encumbent upon me to exert myself to comply 
with the sacred duties which it imposes upon me. 

The work which I have thus far accomplished 
is weak and does not correspond to my greatest 
desires, for the country is in a formative state, 
and there are in it those who would reshape and 
modify everything and who yet dream of the hour 
of commencing this arduous task to which we are 
already day by day dedicating ourselves. The 
work to which I refer is complicated and ex- 
tremely varied. It concerns all of our social or- 
ders, from the state of our economic problems to 
the transformation of the popular classes in the 
effort to elevate them. 

This is a labor in which we are all obligated to 
serve and to cooperate, even these classes which 
consider themselves superior and which live apart 
from the proletariat but who should, on the con- 
trary, work with them. There are in the Mexi- 

90 



can family divisions composed of hybrids. It is 
desirable that these should disappear, for one of 
my constant endeavors is to devise every measure 
of forming a union of all the Mexicans. 

Unfortunately, there is much selfishness to over- 
come. There are interests which oppose this work 
of unification because they fear that they will 
lose by it. Nevertheless, I am convinced that the 
bringing of a little happiness into the lives of the 
lowly will not detract from the happiness of those 
who are on top. One of the conditions necessary 
for sweeping away the differences of which we 
speak is that our people be educated, that they 
be placed in a position to stand on their own feet. 
In this work the effective cooperation of the State 
governments is necessary. 

It is the desire of this government to raise to 
this distinction even the lowest of our classes and 
I repeat that in order to effect this the state gov- 
ernments must cooperate. But unfortunately there 
are in some states governors who not only do not 
aid in the national reconstruction or in the in- 
struction of these classes, but who have actively 
opposed everything that the central government 
was doing, to the extent, for example, that in one 
state, where the federal government opened a 
hundred and fifty rural schools, the local govern- 
ment closed as many as the central government 
was sustaining. 

In Nuevo Leon this situation is disappearing. 
It has been very agreeable to me to visit a state 
and find an honorable government. I hope that 
the state powers, for the welfare of the community 
which they govern, will not depart from the har- 
mony which should exist between them, without 
personal ambitions, without perverse egotism, for 
it is only thereby that they can comply with their 

91 



duty to the state, which it so well deserves, for a 
state wherein all of its sons are working and 
where there is so much spontaneous enterprise, 
should not have a bad government inflicted upon 
it. 

On another occasion I refer to the banquet 
with which I was honored by the citizens of Mon- 
terey I gave ample expression to the admin- 
istrative and financial reforms which the govern- 
ment has been putting into practice, and stated 
that the government had no interest other than 
to assist the country in depending upon itself, and 
not upon outside help. It is a reproach to us to 
expect everything to come to us from abroad. We 
have always been thinking too much of what and 
how foreign companies could be organized for 
the purpose of coming here to exploit our riches. 
What I am trying to do is to demonstrate that the 
country possesses the necessary resources to sus- 
tain itself and to develop itself, and I hope that 
I shall be able to realize this, but it is necessary 
that the responsibility for this great work shall 
not be left entirely to the federal government. 
We must have confidence that from now on we 
shall have honorable governments and I believe, 
gentlemen, that remarkable talent is not required 
for this, but merely good faith, good will and 
honesty. I believe that we need nothing more to 
bring about the accomplishment of our desires, 
and I have full confidence, a fanatical faith, that 
Mexico is a country sufficiently rich to make all of 
its sons happy, and not alone them, but to enable 
the Mexicans to open their arms in welcome to 
their brothers in other countries. 

Ample opportunities are offered here for for- 
eigners. They may come with the absolute as- 
surance that they will find here every facility to 

92 



develop among us constructive works, providing 
they do not come merely to exploit us, to take 
away our wealth without leaving anything in re- 
turn for it, but with the intention of abiding by 
our laws and respecting them and our institutions ; 
in a word, to live among us and become one of 
us. 

Unfortunately, to the present this has not hap- 
pened, for the foreign capitalist has not come to 
Mexico to develop it, but to exploit it, to take 
everything, but to give nothing, not even their 
culture. The Mexicans should realize that this is 
their land and that it is the duty of the govern- 
ment and all of the sons of the country to safe- 
guard their possessions. It is vital that everyone 
should realize that peoples who lose control of 
their resources and of their territory also lose 
their nationality. Unfortunately, I say, we have 
always waited for foreigners to come and do what 
we should do for ourselves, but the time has ar- 
rived for us to realize that this is a mistake and that 
from now on we must hang on to what is ours. I 
omit further reference to this point, for I am cer- 
tain that you will understand my meaning and I 
believe that in the future the people of Mexico 
will guard their own with much more zeal than 
they have in the past. 



93 



REPLYING TO AN ADDRESS OF THE 
MINISTER OF GUATEMALA 



(From El Excelsior, Mexico City, March 1S> 1926.) 

I have listened with great interest, Mr. Min- 
ister, to your discourse, so replete with ideas which 
betoken new developments in the lives of the 
peoples. I appreciate sincerely the pleasant ref- 
erences you have made to the people of my coun- 
try and the just eulogies directed to my colleagues, 
as well as the encouraging comments uttered upon 
my humble personality which, if they are merited, 
is for no other reason than that I have sought to 
comply with my duty as a good Mexican. 

Speaking of the relations between peoples, you 
have expressed a most lively desire that the past 
shall be liquidated, and I can assure you that this 
ambition burns in the minds and the souls of the 
new generation of Mexicans, and also of the heads 
of the government of this country, coupled with 
an aspiration that there shall be brought about in 
Mexico a profound social transformation, a social 
transformation which will tend to the general 
betterment, which will bring new orientations to 
the life of the nation, which will make the people 
happier, which will annihilate the old system of 
privileges in order to construct a new country 
along proper lines, to the end of raising up a 
citizenry with strong, virile souls, who will ap- 
preciate the role which they should play in the 
affairs of this continent. 

94 



It cannot have escaped the penetration of such 
a keen observer as yourself, that to carry on the 
struggles undertaken by the new generation of 
Mexicans it has been necessary to combat all of 
the insidious forces working from without the 
country as well as the opposition proceeding from 
within Mexico. But this is logical. These are 
the pains, the sufferings, the misfortunes which 
must be coped with by all peoples who seek to 
uplift themselves, and we shall gladly support 
these trials if, through bearing them, we shall be 
able to spare our brothers their weight. 

While there have been peoples in the world who 
have fought for the supremacy of material inter- 
ests, ignoring the spiritual and moral values, the 
fact remains that the relations which should exist 
between peoples must not be allowed to become 
a pretense. Mexico is fighting to obtain its eco- 
nomic independence, to constitute an economical 
organism which will not alone permit her to be 
happy, but which, if possible, shall add to the 
happiness of the other countries upon this con- 
tinent. Mexico is fighting against being enslaved 
by those who do not share these liberal ideas, to 
form a free people who may enjoy their sover- 
eignty to the fullest extent and who will know how 
to defend it. 

You may be sure, Mr. Minister, that these ideas 
provide inspiration for the friendly relations, bet- 
ter said, the brotherhood, between Guatemala and 
Mexico. It is necessary to realize that the vital 
hour in the destinies of the peoples has now 
sounded, that these ideas do not consist merely 
of beautiful words, but that they are realities. 
Mexico is inclined to bring these ideas to the aid 
of her sister nations of the continent, but in a 
spirit of sincere cooperation, not with the object 

96 



of exploiting them for her selfish purposes, for 
that would be paltry and shameful, not only for 
those peoples, but for Mexico herself. 

You "may present, Mr. Minister, to the first 
Magistrate of your country, the assurance that 
Guatemala will always find in Mexico a brother 
of the heart and that, even if there be an imag- 
inary line separating the two countries, regardless 
of this we find ourselves united by ties of race and 
by common ideals. I offer my best wishes for 
the personal happiness of President Orellana and 
for the prosperity and aggrandizement of the 
people of Guatemala. 



96 



ADDRESS UPON RECEIVING THE CREDEN- 
TIAL^ OF THE FIRST AMBASSADOR 
FROM GUATEMALA TO MEXICO 



(From El Excelsior, Mexico City, April 25, 



This reception of you as the first Ambassador 
from Guatemala to Mexico is one of the most 
grateful acts of the international transactions of 
my government, of the acts which most vitally 
and intimately touch the hearts of the people, for 
it proceeds from the people themselves, being, as 
it is, a spontaneous demonstration of fraternity 
from the Mexican nation and because it disdains 
the intricate maneouvres of interests which ar- 
bitrarily and with furtive arts manipulate the re- 
lations of states and, in a frank and resolute ges- 
ture with outstretched hand, advances to meet 
those whose blood is our blood, whose thought is 
common with our ideals, who rejoice at our tri- 
umphs and mourn over our sorrows, who encour- 
age us in our struggles, who with us constitute a 
friendly household among those who comprise the 
great original family of America. 

In Mexico we thoroughly understand, Mr. Am- 
bassador, that among the traditions which sus- 
tained the old diplomacy now so far removed 
from the true sentiments of the peoples and 
which today is happily a thing of the past, was 
the abyss of carefully cultivated mutual distrust 
and prejudice. But the new humanity, disgusted 

97 



and weary of the feudal systems of thought, seeks 
for and demands affirmation in positive acts of the 
attainment of its desires and, amid the crash of 
the falling ruins of the old order, will firmly press 
for the fulfillment of its desires, its clearly de- 
fined programme of fraternity, which cannot be 
sustained upon any other basis than that provided 
by an equality of rights for all the countries of the 
world, for all the men of the earth. 

The clear and simple principle which governs 
the international policy of Mexico is apparent to 
all to respect the rights and the liberties of 
every nation, to insist zealously that every nation 
respects the rights and liberties of Mexico. In 
a word, equality is the only road which will lead 
the peoples to the yet inaccessable ideal of uni- 
versal love. 

For all these reasons, the elevation of our re- 
spective diplomatic missions to the highest rank 
affords us great satisfaction. Far from merely 
signifying a simple ceremonial act, a trifling mani- 
festation of pomp and vanity, it is a categorical 
affirmation of a cordial rapprochement which, 
through bad fortune, has been needlessly re- 
tarded. Your Excellency is right in affirming that 
the revolutionary achievements of this new Mexico 
which has arisen from its convulsions purified and 
confident, impress now upon its diplomatic activi- 
ties an aspect more consonant with the times. 
Necessarily, this method must be far removed from 
the useless and wordy policy of the past, in order 
to transform human acts to accord with current 
ideas. 

Your Excellency will find that my government 
will cooperate with you loyally and decidedly in 
the work which has been confided to your clear 
intelligence and prolific energy, without any sel- 

98 



fish thoughts of obtaining advantages, repete 
with a sincere desire to establish in Mexico and 
Guatemala and even in those other territories 
which, with your country, supply a radiant hope 
for a Central America, one and indivisable a 
definite order which will lead our peoples along 
paths of imperishable greatness and prosperity. 

Oblige us, Mr. Ambassador, by being the mes- 
senger of these good tidings and accept the ex- 
pression of my warmest sentiments for the hap- 
piness of Guatemala and for the personal welfare 
of President Orellana and his worthy representa- 
tive in Mexico. 



99 



THE REGENERATION OF THE PEOPLE 
THROUGH EDUCATION 

(From El Universal Ittustrado, Mexico City, May 28, 1926.) 

Peoples who in the future generations increase 
and develop in accordance with the caprices of 
their will and without thought, whose children 
roam the streets ragged and hungry or, even ele- 
gantly clad; who are left by the civil and parental 
authorities to their own inclinations, without re- 
gard to the fatal ends to which their inclinations 
and evil habits may lead them peoples, in a 
word, who permit the coming generations to be 
swayed by their passions and according to the 
close-in limitations of their intellects, will be dis- 
graced. They will ignore the responsibility which 
rests upon them and the terrible verdict which will 
be pronounced upon them by history, which will 
throw in their faces the criminality of which they 
will be guilty. 4 

The happiness, the glory, the greatness of a 
country rests upon the groundwork which is pro- 
vided for the new generations which, smiling and 
full of activity, appear in the ranks of the various 
classes, and like butterflies spread their wings 
over the fields of social life, fluttering in the gar- 
dens of science to drink the honey of education, 
for the strengthening of their bodies and of their 
spirits. The present generation should not over- 
look the fact that their own interests and those^ of 
the country in general lie in the manner in which 



100 



the new generation is formed. The children of 
today will be the men of tomorrow who will be 
our successors in all the functions of public life. 

If one searches through all the Latin nations, 
from the greatest to the least, he will everywhere 
find evidences of the great indifference of govern- 
ments and the heads of families to the future well- 
being of their children. Why is this? It is a 
matter of race and character. 

What attention is paid to this problem, either 
in the press or in the platform? One hears much 
in windy and resounding phrases of the hypotheti- 
cal intellectual progress of society. But in reality, 
the fact is different and the actual truth of con- 
ditions shows us to what an appaling extent we 
are deceived. Travel through all parts of the 
country and visit the schools, and see what a gulf 
there is between what is being done and what is to 
be desired. Not half the children attend school 
who should. The teachers are left to their own 
devices and public opinion on the subject of edu- 
cation is languid. There are many places in this 
country where the schools are in the same sad and 
miserable state in which they were when they 
were attended by those whose bodies now rest in 
the tomb. But despite all this, wherever one goes 
one hears the necessity urged for the intellectual 
progress of the people. How many thousands of 
unfortunate beings are developed in the breast of 
modern society, among the shades of ignorance 
and of error! 

The intricate questions of politics, economic 
problems and many topics similar to these dis- 
tract the attention of the governments from the 
most important of all, which is the preparation of 
the new generations by the medium of the light 
of knowledge to succeed in the fight for life and 
to take our places. 

101 



The proper education of the masses will not be 
placed upon a firm basis until the people them- 
selves are instructed, so long as nothing is done 
to make men conscious of their powers and of their 
own value, until there is placed in their hands the 
weapons of progress and civilization, which give 
life instead of destroying it. It is time, then, that 
the present society takes some account of the in- 
terest of the children, which constitute the general 
interest of the nation, and that the authorities de- 
vote their attention to safeguarding these inter- 
ests. The only remedy for curing the great number 
of ills which afflict society, for repressing crime 
and extirpating so many cancers which prey upon 
the heart of society is through the complete edu- 
cation of the people. Therein lies the future of 
the nation. 

The end which should be steadfastly pursued 
by the governments, the slogan of all modern so- 
ciety should be : Instruct the child, provide him 
with all the facilities he requires for education and 
overcome all obstacles in the way of this accom- 
plishment. In this way a brilliant future for the 
nation is assured. 



102 



THE CHURCH QUESTION 



(Statement to the New York Herald-Tribune, 
February 2, 1926.) 



The eighth paragraph of Article 130 of the 
Mexican Constitution says textually: 

"In order to exercise in the United States of 
Mexico the functions of a minister of any form of 
worship, the minister must be a Mexican citizen 
by birth." 

Priests of foreign nationality whose presence 
in Mexico may no longer be tolerated have, with 
a full consciousness of the fact, been evading this 
Constitutional provision. They have been repeat- 
edly warned by the government to cease these in- 
fractions of the fundamental law of the country, 
abandon the ministry and take up other occupa- 
tions if they desired to remain in the country. 
Without paying attention to these notices/ the 
priests to whom I refer have continued to exer- 
cise their ministerial functions in violation of the 
Constitution. With a few exceptions they also 
have violated Article 3, the second paragraph of 
which provides: "No religious organization or 
minister of any denomination may establish or di- 
rect schools of primary education." 

For these reasons, and without these measures 
implying any persecution of any church and with- 
out sentiments of antagonism to any foreigner, a 
government intent upon complying with its Con- 

103 



stitutional obligations could do nothing else than 
require those who were constantly violating the 
law to leave the country. In contrast with the 
attitude of the priests who have been expelled, 
there have been ministers of other faiths who, in 
obedience to the law, have ceased to exercise their 
religious functions and who have devoted them- 
selves to other legal activities, such as teaching 
in the secondary educational institutions or ad- 
justing the services of their churches in accord- 
ance with the law, without officiating as priests, 
and leaving the proper confessional work of their 
church to Mexican priests. These ministers have 
not been nor shall they be molested. 

As always happens, when matters relating to 
Mexican affairs are in question, it has been sought 
to distort to the people of the United States the 
actual facts, which merely involve the simple ques- 
tion of obedience to the Constitution and to the 
laws of our country, and which do not constitute 
a campaign of religious persecution of a nature 
which naturally would be repugnant and even in- 
explicable to the public of a country wherein, 
fortunately, it is seldom necessary to regulate by 
legislation matters of a religious or an ecclesiasti- 
cal nature, for the reason that in the United States 
religion keeps peacefully within the limit of its 
moral activities, without seeking to mingle spir- 
itual with temporal matters and does not depart 
from its legitimate sphere for the purpose of med- 
dling in political affairs. 

Another distortion of the facts consists in the 
statement that the government has closed numer- 
ous schools in Mexico when, in reality, what has 
happened has been that in closing various con- 
vents, the existence of which is not permitted un- 
der the law, schools have been found operating 

104 



in connection with these convents, in opposition 
to Article 3 of the Constitution. These schools 
have not been closed, but those who conduct them 
have been compelled to adjust them to legal re- 
quirements. 

Even had the recent public manifestation of 
disobedience and opposition to the laws of Mex- 
ico, given by the heads of the Catholic church in 
this country not taken place, the government, in 
pursuance of its duty to sustain the Constitution, 
would have proceeded as it has done, upon ascer- 
taining that there were concrete cases of violation 
of the law. 

But it is easily understood, when one considers 
the history of our country and the painful experi- 
ences which have resulted from the interference 
of the Catholic clergy with the pacific develop- 
ment of national institutions, to which the Catho- 
lic church has traditionally been antagonistic, that 
the exclusion from the country of all foreign 
priests who are not permitted to function here 
was necessary, especially in view of the possibility 
of a fresh intrusion of the Catholic clergy in tem- 
poral and political matters. The fact that they 
were foreigners provided the situation with even 
a more serious and difficult aspect. 

So far as concerns the future attitude of the 
Mexican government toward Catholic priests or 
ministers of any other denomination, American 
citizens must be treated the same as citizens of 
any other country. But it must be said that the 
infractions of the law committed by American cit- 
izens are less numerous than those of which citi- 
zens of other countries have been guilty, for al- 
most without exception American ministers of 
the Protestant denominations while in Mexico 

105 



conform to the laws and consequently are not 
molested. They develop the prosperity of their 
churches through the work of Mexican clergymen 
and live among us tranquilly and respected, so 
long as they do not preach. 



106 



THE CHURCH CONTROVERSY 



(Statement to the Hearst Newspapers) 

I am asked, first, if the manifesto of the so- 
called National League for the Defense of Re- 
ligious Liberty and its boycott project for bringing 
about the "paralysis of the economic and social 
life of the country" is seditious: second, if this 
project will be effective and, third, if this govern- 
ment intends to lessen the severity of the applica- 
tion of the amendment and additions to the Penal 
Code which are complained of by the members of 
the League. 

In reply, I would say that it is the duty of the 
judicial authorities to decide whether or not this 
manifesto and the programme of action adopted 
by the League legally possesses a seditious char- 
acter. However, I may say that both are designed 
to disturb the public order, inasmuch as the docu- 
ments express the intention of "paralyzing the 
economic and social life of the country," a project 
which, if carried out, will necessarily produce in 
Mexico, as it would in any other country, serious 
disturbances of the public peace, considering that 
nothing is more calculated to excite the people to 
disorder than interference with the proper func- 
tioning of the economic order. 

But it is my opinion, which I am certain will 
be borne out very quickly by the developments, 
that this scheme of the Catholic agitators to which 
I refer will have no effect upon the economic or 

107 



social life of the country, and will constitute a 
definite proof of the weakness of these people. 
The only result of the manifesto will be to cause 
the wealthy classes to absent themselves from pub- 
lic amusement places, their presence in which 
would cause a certain amount of critical comment, 
without causing them to cease to attend other re- 
sorts of recreation where their presence will not 
attract so much attention. 

Fortunately the economic life of Mexico does 
not depend upon a few dozen agitators who utilize 
the Catholic religion as a pretext for venting their 
spleen upon the men and the governments of the 
revolution. Neither industry, commerce nor any 
clearly productive activity depends, or ever has 
depended, upon the group of Catholic agitators 
who are back of this ridiculous movement. The 
vital forces of the country have always been ani- 
mated and developed without the guidance of 
those who utilize religion to obtain publicity or 
profit for themselves, and these forces cannot be 
interfered with, either by Catholics or Protestants 
or atheists or groups of misguided individuals. 

For the better understanding of this new aspect 
of our social struggle in Mexico, which this time 
bears the guise of an alleged crusade against Cath- 
olicism, it is worth while to set down briefly the 
history of this matter and to make definite psy- 
chological analysis of the elements that are aiming 
to bring about, through the medium of their hand- 
bills, a "paralysis of the economic life of Mexico." 

The Federal government, because of its atten- 
tion being wholly absorbed by urgent problems of 
administration and the resolution of the grave 
problems which affect the development of Mexico 
and its compliance with its internal and exterior 
obligations, paid no attention to the eternal ene- 

108 



mies of the country, the foreign or native Catholic 
priests of evil intention and the politicians and 
agitators who have always been found working 
in connection with them, when the head of the 
church in this country, on the last anniversary of 
the adoption of the present Constitution, printed 
or permitted to be printed in El Universal an old 
document in which the heads of the Mexican 
clergy discountenanced and repudiated the Con- 
stitution. 

My government, as I say, ignored this docu- 
ment, which was born a number of years ago in 
times of revolutionary agitation, for to have done 
anything else would have stirred up anew politi- 
cal passions and strife. But several days after 
the first publication, El Universal repeated it. 
My government still tried to think that this did 
not indicate a new and a real intention on the part 
of the Mexican clergy to defy the fundamental 
laws of our country and that the publications were 
due to the misdirected journalistic enterprise of 
some stupid newspaper editor or to the antag- 
onism of El Universal to the revolutionary govern- 
ment, but for the third time there appeared, in 
this instance over the signature of the Archbishop 
of Mexico himself, a fresh repudiation by the 
clergy of the Constitution and a notice of their 
refusal to recognize it. 

Under these conditions, to continue to ignore 
seditious work of this nature if it can be defined 
as seditious which was being carried on in one 
of the principal newspapers of the country, con- 
sidering that it constituted a clear repudiation of 
the Constitution and the reiterated announcement 
of the intention of the church to oppose it which, 
even though the measures by which it was to be 
combatted were not stated was, nevertheless, 

109 



when one considers the well known historical an- 
tecedents of our country, a clear and open incita- 
tion to armed rebellion under these conditions, 
I say, to continue to ignore this action, and not 
to allow our attention to be distracted from the 
work which until then had engrossed it the 
problem of administration and reconstruction 
would have been not only a manifestation of a 
weakness with which the government is not af- 
flicted, but also would have afforded encourage- 
ment to a dangerous rebellion. 

Very well, then. What could, or should have 
been done in a case like this by the government of 
a country in which a group of any character, re- 
ligious or otherwise, publicly repudiated the Con- 
stitution, announced its intention of combatting 
it, without stating whether or not it intended to 
oppose it by the only legal method, an appeal to 
the Congress for its modification, or through the 
votes of the people, and incited the citizens also 
to refuse to recognize it what could or should 
have been done by my government in this case, 
except to proceed under the provisions of the Con- 
stitution to which the clergy referred in their pro- 
test and which they were disobeying, by their own 
confession and through the very fact of the protest 
itself, and demand a strictest compliance with the 
fundamental law? 

This is the manner in which the famous so- 
called religious conflict in Mexico was born. 

There is no necessity of amending the new regu- 
lations and we have no intentions of doing so. We 
shall limit ourselves to enforcing a compliance 
with the existing laws, some of which have ex- 
isted since the days of the Reform, more than 
fifty years ago, and others since 1917, when the 
present Constitution was promulgated. If the 

110 



Penal Code has been modified in accordance with 
Constitutional requirements, and in a legal man- 
ner, in such a way as to cause those who oppose 
the Constitution to believe that they are justified 
in organizing their curious campaign to "paralyze 
the economic and social life of Mexico/' it is also 
perfectly logical to believe that the clergy who, 
according to their own confession, have violated 
these laws, will be unable to do with impunity, 
considering that penalties have been established 
by Congressional authority for such violations. 
These penalties are not excessive, nor are they 
different from those which are imposed by the 
governments of any civilized country upon persons 
who violate the Constitution. 

I desire to make it plain that, from the begin- 
ning, the conduct of the government, regardless 
of what may be our sentiments or our philosophi- 
cal or religious ideas, has not been, nor will it be, 
animated by rancor or ill-will or any desire to 
persecute the Archbishops or the Bishops who 
signed the manifesto against the Constitution and 
who sought fb excite the people to rebellion, for 
in reality that was the effect of the documents 
which were printed in El Universal. 

The best proof of the truth of this is that, when 
we proceeded to apply the Constitution, we re- 
alized that the first results of this step would be 
favorable to the native Mexican clergy, through 
the automatic elimination of priests of foreign na- 
tionality who, while it is true that they refrained 
from signing the manifesto referred to, have in 
many cases joined with undesirable members of 
the Mexican clergy in political machinations 
against the government. These foreign priests 
were expelled because of the requirements of the 
Constitution, which provides that clergymen who 

ill 



officiate in the country must be Mexicans by birth, 
although, as I have said, their expulsion will be 
beneficial morally and materially to some of the 
most apparent and notorious enemies of the gov- 
ernment, who were and are various Mexican 
Archbishops and Bishops. 

To speak with all sincerity, I believe that, 
rather than elements directly connected with the 
church, it is certain laymen who in this matter 
are using the church as a cloak, who have con- 
stantly and by every means sought to interfere 
with the administrative work of the government, 
and who are hiding themselves, as I have said, 
behind the mask of religion to disguise their old 
reactionary tendencies and persistent rancor and 
enemity toward the governments and the men of 
the Mexican Revolution. 

If one carefully analyzes the personality of the 
so-called Catholic leaders and followers of these 
National Leagues for the Defense of Religious Lib- 
erty or Leagues of Catholic Women, organizers 
of demonstrations of servants (taking care them- 
selves to remain out of sight in their houses, or 
being kept there by their husbands) or of more or 
less well defined groups which for several months 
in all parts of Mexico have been opposing the gov- 
ernment, I believe that we shall find these ele- 
ments : 

Lawyers who need to make "very apparent" 
their real or pretended religious zeal in order to 
be recognized by Catholic opinion as "strong cler- 
gical elements," as men of law who "rally to the 
defense of the church," who are ambitious of be- 
ing considered worthy to be entrusted with the 
power of managing the funds or properties of 
clandestine religious institutions, as representa- 
tives or defenders of the property of the clergy 

112 



lawyers who by these means seek profitable busi- 
ness connections with those few wealthy Catholics 
who are still sufficiently ingenuous to believe that 
anyone who makes a parade of his religious en- 
thusiasm thereby guarantees his honesty and his 
competence. 

Another very interesting group of actors in this 
"religious conflict" are the professional political 
agitators who, under the mantle of Catholicism, 
years ago organized the National Catholic Party, 
which pretended to support Madero and which, 
on the day following his assassination, allied itself 
with Huerta; who later created the National 
Union of Agriculturists formed by a theoretical 
majority of hacendados of the country who suc- 
ceeded in 1923 in corrupting various revolutionary 
leaders, but only through promises of reward, be- 
cause they are, and were, incapable of getting 
together enough money to pay the bribes they 
agree to pay, and who during my political cam- 
paign dreamed of defeating the will of the people 
of Mexico. It is this same outfit who are today in- 
triguing with so-called "National Leagues Against 
the Destruction of the Wealth and Economic 
Power" of the country and who received from the 
Archbishop of Mexico a tepid and carefully con- 
sidered written endorsement, in which he was 
cautious enough to insert two lines, to the effect 
that he approved "the movement of the League 
to paralyze the economic life of the country, be- 
cause it is an orderly and a pacific movement," 
thereby providing, or trying to provide, the mem- 
bers of the clergy with a clean bill of health in 
case, which he knew would happen, this economic 
paralysis should give rise to disorderly manifesta- 
tions and tumults. 

The Archbishop and the Bishops did not dare 
113 



take the risk of appearing to be responsible for 
the disorders which are going on today and, as 
they said, "counselled orderly and pacific action/' 
At the same time they do not dare to discounte- 
nance these disorders for fear that this would be 
interpreted by groups of ignorant Catholics of 
good faith as a cowardly weakening in face of 
the "gallant and generous" attitude of the politi- 
cal agitators who are defenders of bad Cathol- 
icism. 

I can well understand that it is difficult for the 
people of the United States to comprehend that 
there are in Mexico trouble-makers who seek to 
cover their political maneouvres .with the cloak 
of religion. I know very well, and I envy this ad- 
vantage possessed by the United States, that not 
a single article referring to religion is contained in 
the American Constitution, simply because your 
people are sufficiently fortunate not to be under 
the necessity of including anything of the sort in 
their fundamental law. There the churches dis- 
tinguish between their religious and their politi- 
cal attitude and conduct, while in Mexico from 
the Independence to the present direct interfer- 
ence of the Catholic church in various manners in 
temporal and political matters has been a constant 
historical problem. It is not understood in the 
United States that this meddling is the only reason 
for the constant weakening of the spiritual influ- 
ence of the Catholic church in Mexico, until today, 
with the exceptions which I have named and of 
a certain small percentage of Catholics of good 
faith, but who are not capable of seeing clearly 
to the bottom of things or into the entanglements 
of the Church intrigues, all of the Catholics of 
Mexico who are good Mexicans, make a definite 
and perfect distinction between their religious du- 

114 



ties and the obligation which is urged upon them 
to approve of, and participate in, the temporal or 
political activities of their unworthy shepherds. 

Naturally my government cannot think of soft- 
ening the application of the amendments and ad- 
ditions to the penal code which have been seized 
upon by the Catholic political leaders and bad 
priests in our country as a pretext for opposing 
the reconstructive and revolutionary social work 
which we have underway. Every new manifesta- 
tion of animosity or opposition or interference with 
the administrative tasks of my government will 
perforce be followed by fresh measures of repres- 
sion toward those who do not comply with, or who 
ignore, the laws of Mexico. Actions like this 
menace to "paralyze the economic life of Mexico" 
merely serve to demonstrate with irrefutable facts, 
the lack of force of those who contemplate this 
criminal proceeding which, even if it succeeds, 
can hurt the government very little and, on the 
other hand, will cause great and irreparable harm 
to the large majority of our people. The final 
satisfactory result to the Revolution will be that, 
assuming that this criminal proposition succeeds, 
it will bring upon the heads of the promoters 
the hatred and contempt of most of the members 
of the Mexican family who will appreciate their 
perverse selfishness in being willing to drag the 
citizens down to poverty, and perhaps death, in 
order, under the banner of Catholicism^ to satisfy 
old grudges and bastard political ambitions. 



115 



THE LAW AND THE CHURCH 



(Statements to The New York Times) 

The New York Times has requested an exposi- 
tion of the religious situation provoked by the atti- 
tude of the heads of the Catholic Church in seek- 
ing to repudiate, and in violating, self -confessedly, 
the Mexican Constitution. Although the American 
public perfectly understands the origin of this ques- 
tion, through the careful analysis made by me in 
previous statements to the press of that country, I 
judge it to be not inconvenient to consider now 
some other aspects of the rebellious attitude which 
I have already mentioned. I refer to the document 
entitled "A Pastoral Letter of the Collective Epis- 
copate of Mexico/* which the Catholic Archbishops 
and Bishops published on the twenty-fifth of this 
month, because the statements and the falsehoods 
contained in this document provide the most per- 
fect justification for what has been done by the 
government. 

tl is pretended by the signers of the pastoral that 
the orders of the government "render impossible 
preaching, administration of the sacraments and 
worship in general" and that on this account they 
"find it impossible to continue exercising their 
ministerial functions." 

It is absolutely untrue that any order of the 
Federal Government makes it impossible, within 
certain proper limits, to worship within the churches 
or other places designated for that purpose. So 
far as concerns the sacraments no orders of the 

116 



government exist to impede or to render difficult 
their administration, in or out of the churches. 

Dispositions of this nature, which would be the 
only ones which could invade the sacredness of con- 
science and wound the religious sentiments which 
have been, and are, perfectly respected by us, so 
long as they do not assume the form of illicit acts 
without the spiritual terrain of conscience, have 
never been taken by the government and will not 
be taken. And if, advantaging themselves of false 
premises, the Archbishops and Bishops who signed 
the pastoral letter say "that they cannot tolerate 
oppressions to the principles relating to the con- 
stitution of the church," it would not be strange if 
we should find ourselves in the same position, logic- 
ally, assuming that we find it impossible to tolerate 
oppressions relative to the Constitution of the Re- 
public, with the added circumstance that these op- 
pressions of, attacks upon and disobedience to the 
Constitution are constant and indisputable on the 
part of the Catholics, with this difference : We pro- 
ceed merely as we are obliged to do under the law 
while they, abandoning their proper sphere, which 
is purely religious, seek to invade, and have invaded, 
the spheres of the government and of politics and 
provoke disorderly movements and, overtly or cov- 
ertly, rebellion. 

It was to be expected that in this pastoral, 
through which the members of the hierarchy seek 
to justify their conduct, they would state concretely 
and definitely "the acts which render it impossible 
for them to exercise their functions" and the lav/s 
which, as they say, "prohibit preaching, the ad- 
ministration of the sacraments and worship in gen- 
eral." Not only do they not do this, but a careful 
reading of this document shows clearly that there 
are only three motives for the action of the clergy, 
aside from their general proposition of repudiating 

117 



the Constitution of 1857 and even the Laws of 
Reform. 

Concretely these motives are: first, the fear of 
losing what are called sacred properties and which, 
since the enaction of the Laws of Reform, sealed 
by years of cruel welfare, every Mexican knows and 
feels are the property of the nation ; second, opposi- 
tion to the insistence of the government that the 
priests in charge of churches should provide the 
government with the information required by the 
law, that is to say, that the priests shall register 
themselves with the government; and third, their 
alleged belief that the intention of the government 
is to disestablish the Catholic Church in the country 
for the benefit, they think, of some other religious 
creed. 

The first fear led them to conclude the pastoral 
by threatening and excommunicating, as traitors, all 
Catholics who reveal the existence of church prop- 
erty, which demonstrates that the church actually 
is holding property in contravention of laws not 
made by us, but which were enacted sixty years ago. 
They might have spared this admonition and threat 
to the Catholics of Mexico of whom, it appears, we 
hold a better opinion than the Mexican Bishops, be- 
cause an intensified moral sense in the people as a 
result of the Revolution causes it to be expected 
that fewer denunciations of properties held by the 
priests will be made by Catholics than in the days 
of the Reform, when in a majority of cases they 
were uttered in the expectation of the denouncers 
that they would be enriched by the rewards of these 
denunciations. Incidentally, the church makes no 
bones about receiving to its bosom those who in 
former times made themselves wealthy by this 
means, and also their children, who in ceasing to be 
"traitors to the church/* nevertheless continue to be 
traitors to the interests and ideals of the Mexican 
people. 

118 



In order to put a stop to these selfish practices, 
to elevate the motives of the government and to 
aid in the moralization of the people, we propose 
to modify the laws to the end that the property of 
the clergy shall be taken over in its entirety by the 
nation and that compliance with the requirements 
of the Constitution shall redound to the personal 
profit of no one, but only to the enrichment of the 
country. 

So far as concerns the requirement of Paragraph 
XI of Article 30 of the Constitution, that priests 
shall register themselves, which causes the Mexican 
Episcopate so much alarm and indignation, this is 
not a new thing, but a reasonable Constitutional 
requirement that makes it obligatory upon the 
priests, together with ten members of their religious 
creed, to notify the municipal authorities who is 
the person in charge of the church, that they give 
notice of any changes which are made in the per- 
sonnel of the custodians of the church and that 
they obtain permission to open new churches, all 
of which is for the purpose of enabling the proper 
records and statistics to be kept, aside from the 
evident fact that it is impossible to conceive that 
the government, in representation of the nation, 
which is the owner of the churches, shall allow it- 
self to remain in ignorance of the identity of the 
persons who are in charge of these properties. With- 
out having made a special study of this question, I 
am not inclined to believe that there exists any 
other well organized country wherein, in some de- 
partment, cannot be found records of this nature, 
even though the listing of all sites destined for pub- 
lic use is required for no more, elemental reasons 
than those consequent upon the enforcement of 
police and health regulations. 

With reference to the affirmation of the Mexican 
Episcopate that the government is seeking to bring 

119 



about, not liberty of worship, as demanded by the 
Constitution, but the putting down of the Catholic 
Church in Mexico, it may only be said that this can- 
not be taken as a legal act or disposition intended 
to apply only to priests of the Catholic Church, but 
that it treats in every case of a general disposition 
to make effective the separation of church and state, 
the term "church" implying not alone the Catholics, 
as the Bishops assert, but every religious creed 
which manifests itself by forms of visible worship 
and which, therefore, because of its relationship 
with the community, requires to be regulated in 
order that liberty of worship may effectively exist. 

To exhaust this subject once for all and because 
since August first the government has not trans- 
lated its judgment into words, but into deeds, I will 
mention briefly everything that is required and pro- 
hibited by the recent reforms in the Penal Code 
and the sanctions which have been established for 
the punishment of infractions of the Constitution. 
I call attention to the fact that this is the law which, 
according to the expression of the Mexican Episco- 
pate, prevents religious worship because "it makes 
absolutely impossible preaching, administration of 
the sacraments and worship in general." 

The decree to which I refer, which complies with 
the requirements of the Constitution, prohibits for- 
eign priests from functioning in Mexico. This as- 
pect of the question has been solved by the departure 
from the country of almost all of the foreign priests 
and by the acceptance by other foreign ministers 
of the requirement that they confine their activities 
within the limits laid down by the law. This 
measure which the law compelled us to take has 
benefitted the Mexican clergy through elemental rea- 
sons based upon professional competition. 

The decree regulates education in private schools 
in which primary branches are taught, giving com- 

120 



plete liberty to secondary, technical, commercial and 
superior schools, universities, etc., to impart re- 
ligious training. 

The Episcopate in its pastoral letter counsels 
heads of families to comply in their homes "with the 
grave mission of becoming educators, which God 
has confided to us," which is exactly the thesis sus- 
tained by the Government of Mexico upon initiating 
the discussion of the educational aspect of the 
church question. 

The establishment or functioning of monastic 
orders is not permitted, because this is prohibited 
by the present Constitution, as it was by the Con- 
stitution of 1857 and by the Laws of Reform. We 
know that monastic orders do not constitute an es- 
sential or an indispensable condition for religious 
worship. Neither do prohibitions aganst them con- 
stitute attacks upon, or disturb, the confessional 
aspect of the Catholic religion. The most pro- 
Catholic countries and governments of the world in 
the course of history have expelled or suppressed 
various monastic orders, without any of their gov- 
ernors having lost their characters as "beloved sons 
of the Catholic Church." 

It is forbidden for any person acting in the cap- 
acity of a minister or any priest of any religious 
denomination to encourage publicly repudiation of 
the political institutions of the country or disobedi- 
ence to the laws or the authorities or to their orders 
by the medium of written declarations, preachings 
or sermons. 

Probably this is the article which, in the opinion 
of the Mexican Episcopate, renders it "impossible 
to preach," for its curbs those who untilize,,,or desire 
to utilize, the pulpit, not exclusively for religious 
preaching, but to incite opposition to the laws or to 
make propaganda against the government, or in 

121 



general, for non-religious ends of a political char- 
acter. 

I am curious to know what government in any 
country would adopt a suicidal policy of permitting 
attacks upon its Constitution, its laws or its heads 
to be made in the churches, although we frequently 
tolerate, and will continue to do so, all manner of 
public attacks from non-religious sources, that is to 
say, in the newspapers, in political meetings or in 
places where advantage is not taken of religious 
consciences, which always implies obedience to the 
priests of an almost passive and a servile character, 
or where the ideas expressed by the priest are im- 
potent to excite controversy. 

The organization is prohibited of political groups 
bearing titles tending to indicate a connection with 
some religious faith. That is to say, there cannot 
exist in Mexico any organization called the Catholic 
Party or the Protestant Party, although Protestants 
or Catholics have a perfect right, which they con- 
stantly exercise, to affiliate with political bodies. 
What we seek to prevent is that political contests 
shall assume the aspect of religious contests through 
the exploitation of the name of a religious organiza- 
tion, which tends to give rise to public disorders. In 
the United States there are undoubtedly millions of 
Catholics in the Republican Party and as many Pro- 
testants in the Democratic Party, and it never occurs 
to anyone, and the effort would fail if it were tried, 
to form a Catholic Party with the object of uniting 
under one political banner all Catholics who are 
Democrats or Eepublicans. 

The celebration of religious acts of public owner- 
ship outside of the churches is prohibited. When 
Mexico attains a state of collective consciousness, 
as a result of the education of the masses, which 
translates itself into respect for all creeds and also 
for the laws, it surely then will not be inconvenient 

122 



to permit public worship outside of the churches. 
But so long as intolerance prevails, especially among 
the Catholic clergy, as it does at present, lo permit 
public worship outside of the churches would be 
equivalent to inviting constant turmoil among the 
people. 

In proof of this intolerance of the Catholic clergy 
it is necessary only to mention the frequent attacks 
which are made in small towns upon Protestant 
clergymen or laymen and which are always incited 
by the local priest, and the threats made recently 
by the priests of the church of Guadalupe, near the 
capital, against a group of American tourists who 
planned to visit this edifice. This attack was frust- 
rated by the government, which notified the priests 
that they would be fired upon by the mounted police 
if the visitors were molested. These tourists were 
threatened merely because they were Protestants 
and members of the Masonic fraternity. 

Because of the same spirt of intolerance priests 
are not permitted to appear in public wearing their 
vestments, although it is not true, as has been stated, 
that men or women are forbidden to wear medals 
or other religious objects. This erroneous interpre- 
tation has been given to the article which forbids 
laymen from wearing clerical garb or, as the law 
says, "characteristic" clothing. This does not apply 
to medals or crosses or rosaries, for these are not 
"characteristic" objects. They may be worn merely 
because of their artistic value or their beauty as 
jewels by anyone, Catholics or Mohammedans. 

Thus I have explained the law, as it actually is and 
as it is judged to be in Mexico by Catholics of con- 
science and of good faith, who do not ^ see that it 
renders impossible worship, the administration of 
the sacraments or preaching, and who also discern 
in the attitude of the Mexican Episcopate no other 
motive than that of bringing about the worst pos- 

123 



sible conditions for the interests of the Catholic, 
similar to those which existed in 1860, through the 
proposed abolishing of the Laws of Reform, the Con- 
stitution of 1917 and even that of 1857 which in 
the matter of its religious characteristics was as far 
advanced as the present Constitution. For an at- 
tempt of this sort would naturally result in a com- 
plete defeat for the unworthy priests who have for- 
gotten that their functions are purely spiritual and 
dream of dominating politically according to a long- 
disused order. 



124 



RESPONSE TO A MEMORIAL PROM THE 
MEXICAN FEDERATION OP LABOR, AP- 
PROVING OF THE GOVERNMENT'S 
ATTITUDE IN THE CHURCH 
CONTROVERSY 



The members of the Mexican Federation of Labor 
cannot imagine how much I am encouraged by the 
attitude assumed in this historical moment by the 
organized labor of the country. I believe that the 
terrain upon which the opposing social forces in 
Mexico are each making their battle is about to be 
definitely defined once for all, that the hour is ap- 
proaching in which a decisive test of strength is 
to be made and in which we shall see if the Revolu- 
tion is to conquer the reaction or if the triumphs 
of the Revolution have been ephemeral. 

As I have said in previous declarations my gov- 
ernment is deeply preoccupied with the resolution 
of the great national problems, with economies in 
the administration, the balancing of the budget, the 
reorganization of the army, the encouragement of 
public education, the industrial and agricultural de- 
velopment of the country and the contemporaneous 
social movement busied, I say, with these enor- 
mous tasks, to which the clergical element is in- 
different. In the most difficult moments of my 
government, in which we are concerned with grave 
international questions, upon the solution of which 
depends the fate of Mexico as a sovereign country, 
the clergy, with all bad faith, with all perfidy, chal- 

125 



lenges the government by making declarations in 
the reactionary press of the capital in which it says 
that it refuses to recognize the Constitution and 
orders all members of the Catholic Church to dis- 
obey and oppose its provisions. They also declare 
that Articles 27 and 123 of the Constitution^ are 
drawbacks to the country, that they constitute 
abuses to liberty and that they should not be obeyed. 

In face of this defiance the government has been 
compelled to oppose the high-handed action of the 
clergy legally, justly and properly. The result is 
this contest, of the facts of which you are aware. 

I have absolute faith that the political evolution 
of the country which is in progress has worked for 
the welfare of Mexico and especially for that of the 
laboring classes. We shall triumph definitely. I 
have always expected the working people to be in 
the vanguard of this fight, because of their lack of 
selfishness and the broad vision taken by them upon 
the future of Mexico. 



126 



REPLY OF THE PRESIDENT TO THE 

MEMORIAL OF THE MEXICAN 

EPISCOPATE* 



(*See Appendix for text of the Memorial of the Episcopate.) 

I refer to your communication of August 16 in 
which, exercising the right of petition contained in 
Article 8 of the Constitution, you request me as 
President of Mexico to use my influence "in order 
to amend in the most efficacious manner" the articles 
of the Constitution which you consider to be con- 
trary to your interests, as well as the penal pres- 
criptions sanctioned by them, and that, "until these 
reforms are made," the decree providing the penal- 
ties above mentioned and the operation of the Con- 
stitutional provisions in question be suspended, in 
a manner which, to quote you, will create a "situa- 
tion of tolerance," in contravention of the law. 

As the power to originate proper laws and de- 
crees, according to Article 71 of the Constitution, 
rests with the President, the Federal Congress and 
the State Legislatures, you have properly exercised 
your right of petition by directing your memorial 
to one of the above. But I must say to you, in all 
sincerity, that I am less likely than possibly the 
other branches of the government to accede to this 
petition and to initiate the reforms and the suspen- 
sions asked for, because my convictions are in com- 
plete philosophical and political accord with the Con- 
stitutional laws to which you object, which renders 
it impossbile for me to approve before the Federal 
Congress any such measures as those advocated by 

you. 

127 



These same convictions will explain ^my refusal 
to suspend or to ignore the modifications of the 
Penal Code, issued by a decree of the President 
through the exercise of extraordinary powers con- 
ferred upon him by the Congress, and which pro- 
vide penalties for infractions of the articles of the 
Constitution which are under discussion; and also 
my refusal to fail to comply with my duties as ex- 
ecutive and to break the oath to which I subscribed 
before the people of Mexico when I took office, to 
respect the Constitution and to cause it to be 
respected. 

If, in view of my refusal to disregard the laws 
or to bring about their amendment or their suspen- 
sion, you desire to exhaust the legal methods which 
are at your disposal in your efforts to obtain the 
accomplishments of your desires, you may have re- 
course to a petition sent directly to the Congress or 
to the Legislatures of the states. So far as concerns 
the Presidential decree which establishes the penal- 
ties to which you object, the same course as above 
suggested is open to you, or if you judge that this 
decree is unconstitutional, you have the option of 
appealing to the federal courts. 

Referring now to what may be considered to be 
an exposition of the motives of your petition and 
to provide a clean conception of the point of view 
of the executive, I desire to say to you the following: 

It is not true, as you affirm, that in "having sus- 
pended public worship in the churches" you have 
caused the government to charge you with rebellion, 
or even to think of bringing that accusation against 
you. I agree with you that the fact of suspending 
the exercise of any profession, because those who 
practice it or those who direct the practitioners, 
refuse to recognize the laws governing its practices, 
is not an act of rebellion, and that the suspension 
of worship in the Catholic churches, no matter for 

128 



what duration of time, is a problem absolutely di- 
vorced from the government. 

However, the acts which we consider, and have 
considered, as rebellious are those which consist in 
taking a stand of public and open hostility to the 
law by working for the abolition or amendment 
of the Constitution of the Republic by proceedings 
which are unconstitutional, as well as those acts 
which involve resistance by illegal means to com- 
pliance with the law and those which conduce to 
crimes against the public order, in which cases it is 
obligatory upon the government to punish the 
offenders to the fullest extent of the law, and not 
alone those who may be considered as merely pas- 
sive or irresponsibly offending elements, but, as a 
matter of strict justice, those who by their acts or 
their preachings provoke the acts of rebellion. 

You also state in your preliminary exposition that 
your principal reason for not having attempted to 
bring about the amendment of the Constitutional 
articles whereby in 1873 the Laws of Reform were 
incorporated in the Constitution and for failing to 
take appropriate measures for the annulment or 
the amendment of the Constitution of 1917, was of 
the fact that the heads of government "for gome 
reasons or other did not see the urgency of comply- 
ing with these articles/' and that "thereby a situa- 
tion of tolerance was created." This is an illegal 
situation which you ask to be continued. You es- 
pecially refer to the proposals sent to the Congress 
by President Carranza during his administration, 
in order that some of the reforms which you now 
desire might then be made. 

It seems natural, then, in view of the last con- 
sideration, that you should appeal to the Congress 
at its next session in the coming September to pro- 
ceed with the speedy and definite resolution of the 
law presented by President Carranza. I take this 

129 



opportunity to manifest my intention to you, in 
pursuance of my duty as executive, not to place any 
obstacles in the way of any legal efforts you may 
make to bring about the modification of the laws 
which you are opposing, but at the same time giv- 
ing you notice that I shall not refuse to debate the 
question before the Congress, although, if I chose 
to do so, it is within my power to withdraw from 
the Congress the law which was sent to it by Presi- 
dent Carranza when he occupied the position now 
filled by me. 

Whatever may have been the motives of past ex- 
ecutives of Mexico in complying with the Consti- 
tution in all of its parts, or failing to cause it to 
complied with, I am only interested in seeing that 
the successor of President Carranza, to whom you 
have referred, fulfills his duty properly. I say to 
you that this government will tolerate no situation 
which may be brought into existence by paltering 
with any philosophical, political or revolutionary 
standard least of all standards which are as firm 
and definite as mine but that President Carranza's 
successor, urged by imperative consideration of 
a political nature and by the necessity of resolving 
inate national problems of a vital character, some of 
which have already been settled, will once for all 
establish and affirm the legal situations created by 
the Constitution. 

You also state in your note that the reforms which 
you advocate will tend to affect "the most complete 
independence of Church from State in a manner 
whereby the Constitution and the organic laws and 
regulations will provide for a faithful interpreta- 
tion of this supreme postulate," to the end "that 
the State shall not alone not dictate laws for or 
against any religion, but that it shall not legislate 
in religious matters," despite which assertions you 

130 



approve in your petition of the recognition by the 
State of the personality of the Church. 

In respect to this I must say that if it is true 
that Article 1 of the law of September 25, 1873, 
recognizes the personality of the churches in estab- 
lishing that "the State and the Church are inde- 
pendent of each other," this postulation, which was 
merely an inspiration of the law quoted, has been 
transformed from an inspiration to a contrary 
reality by Article 130 of the present Constitution, 
which says in Paragraph V: 'The law does not 
recognize the personality of any religious corpora- 
tion controlling churches." Hence, if it is sought 
in Mexico to bring about the restoration of an out- 
worn tradition and to reestablish, within our pres- 
ent Constitutional regime, the old problem of 
Church and State, or otherwise a State within a 
State, it must be observed that the existing Consti- 
tution goes much deeper and more explicity into 
the matter than did the law of 1873 by eliminating 
completely the problem by the process of not grant- 
ing any personality to the churches and establishing 
that members of the clergy shall be considered 
merely as persons who are exercising a profession 
and making them strictly subject to the laws relat- 
ing to that matter. 

In conclusion, and referring to liberty of con- 
science, thought, worship, education, association 
and of the press, for which you ask in your com- 
munication, I must say to you that these liberties, 
in the terms and limits conceded to them under the 
Constitution, are concretely defined in Articles 3, 6, 
7, 9 and 24 of the Constitution, the strict and honor- 
able compliance with which I propose to enforce, in 
accordance with Constitutional requirements^ and 
through the necessary legal decrees and regulations, 
until the Federal Congress or the state Legislatures 

131 



modify the Constitution or the Supreme Court di- 
rects the limitations or the modification of the en- 
forcement of the regulatory laws. 

Effective Suffrage. No Reelection. 

Mexico, August 19, 1926, 
(Signed) P. ELIAS CALLES, President 



132 



TEXT OF THE DECREE REFORMING THE 
PENAL CODE OF THE FEDERAL DIS- 
TRICT AND TERRITORIES, RELATING 
TO CRIMES AGAINST THE COMMON 
ORDER AND APPLYING TO THE 
ENTIRE NATION IN CASES OF 
OFFENSES COMMITTED 
AGAINST THE FEDER- 
ATION. IN EFFECT 
AUGUST 1, 1926 



Plutarco Elias Calles, Constitutional President of 
the United States of Mexico, to the inhabitants 
thereof. Be it known: 

That in pursuance of the facilities entrusted to 
the executive of the Union by decree dated January 
7 of the current year, I hereby issue the following : 

Law reforming the Penal Code of the Federal 
District and Territories, relating to crimes against 
the common order, and applying to the entire nation 
in crimes against the Federation, which relates to 
religious worship and to civil discipline of church 
matters. 

Article 1. Only clergymen of Mexican birth may 
exercise their functions within the territory of the 
Republic, under penalty of a fine of not more than 
500 pesos or imprisonment for not more than 15 
days. At his discretion the federal executive may 
summarily expel from the country foreign priests 
or ministers who infract this provision, in accord- 

133 



ance with the authority given him by Article 33 of 
the Constitution. 

Article 2. For the penal effect of this law, it is 
applicable to persons acting as ministers of a re- 
ligious faith when they execute religious acts or ad- 
minister sacraments connected with the creed with 
which they are affiliated, or publicly pronounce doc- 
trinal preachings or in the same form carry on the 
work of religious proselyting. 

Article 3. Instruction given in the official estab- 
lishments of education shall be of a lay nature, and 
also in the elementary and superior primary classes 
in private schools, under penalty of a fine of not 
more than 500 pesos or imprisonment for not more 
than 15 days. For second off enses the offender shall 
be punished with other penalties fixed by the law 
and the school shall be closed. 

Article 4. No religious corporation or minister 
of any creed shall establish or conduct primary 
schools, under penalty of a fine of not more than 
500 pesos or imprisonment for not more than 15 
days, and the school may be closed immediately. 

Article 5. Primary schools shall be subject to 
official inspection, under penalty in case of a refusal 
to submit to such inspection, of a fine of not more 
than 500 pesos or imprisonment for not more than 
15 days. 

Article 6. The state shall not permit the con- 
summation of any contract, pact or convention 
which shall have for its object the lessening, loss or 
irreparable sacrificing of the liberty of man, in mat- 
ters of labor, education or religion. Consequently 
the law forbids the establishment of monastic 
orders, regardless of their denomination or their ob- 
jects. For the effects of this article monastic orders 
are religious societies the members of which live 
under certain rules peculiar to said orders, through 
the medium of promises or temporary or perpetual 

134 



vows and in subjection to one or more superiors, 
even when all of the members of the order each 
live in separate places. 

Existing monastic or conventual orders shall be 
dissolved by the authorities, and the exclaustrated 
persons shall be identified and registered. 

Upon proof that exclaustrated persons have re- 
turned to religious community life, after the disso- 
lution of the community with which they are affili- 
ated, they shall be imprisoned for from one to two 
years. In such cases the superiors, priors, prelates, 
directors or persons who occupy official positions in 
the organization or direction of the community in 
question shall be imprisoned for six years. Women 
shall suffer two-thirds of the above penalties, in each 
case. 

Article 7. Persons who shall induce or incline 
minors to renounce their religious liberty, even 
though they be related to said minors, shall be pun- 
ished according to the provisions of the law. Per- 
sons who induce or incline those of legal age, in the 
above sense, shall also be punished in accordance 
with the law. 

Article 8. Persons functioning as ministers of 
any religious sect who shall publicly and by means of 
writings, preachings or sermons incite their readers 
or hearers to a repudiation of the political institu- 
tions or to disobedience of the laws or orders of the 
authorities shall be punished by imprisonment for 
six years and by a fine of the second class. 

Article 9. If as the direct and immediate result 
of the incitement referred to in the preceding sec- 
tion less than ten persons employ force, threats, 
menaces or physical or moral violence against the 
public authority or its agents or shall make use of 
arms, each shall suffer imprisonment for more than 
one year and a fine of the second class. Priests or 
ministers who are responsible for such incitements 

135 



to violence shall be imprisoned for six years, unless 
the disorders result in a crime which merits a 
greater punishment, in which case the latter shall 
be applied. If the persons concerned ^ in these dis- 
orders number ten or more, proceedings shall be 
taken in accordance with Articles 1123 and 1125 
of the Penal Code. 

Article 10. Ministers are forbidden under any 
circumstances from criticizing the fundamental 
laws of the country, the authorities in general or 
the government in particular, under penalty of five 
years imprisonment. 

Article 11. Ministers are forbidden to take part 
in political meetings, under penalties provided by 
law, and the meeting shall immediately be dissolved 
by the authorites. Second offenses shall be punished 
as provided for by the law. 

Article 12. Under no circumstances shall there 
be permitted to be taught in the public schools 
courses designed for the professional instruction of 
ministers of any form of worship. Persons respon- 
sible for the infraction of this article shall be dis- 
missed and prohibited from obtaining employment 
in any other capacity in the same department for 
a period of from one to three years. Any orders 
tending to create a situation of the nature of that 
described in the first part of this paragraph shall 
be annulled and the professional titles which may 
have been obtained through a violation of this article 
shall be cancelled. 

Article 13. Religious publications or those the 
policy of which favors any special religious creed, 
as indicated by its programme or its title, shall not 
comment upon political matters or print informa- 
tion concerning the acts of the authorities or of in- 
dividuals who are connected directly with the func- 
tioning of public institutions. Directors of such 

136 



publications who shall violate this article shall be 
punished according to the law. 

Article 14, Should the offending publication 
have no director, the penal responsibility shall fall 
upon the author of the political comment or of the 
news referred to in the preceeding article, and if 
it is not possible to identify the author, the man- 
ager, agent, editor or owner of the publication shall 
be held responsible. Second offenders under Articles 
13 and 14 of this law shall be punished by the sup- 
pression of the publication. 

Article 15. The formation of all classes of poli- 
tical organizations, the titles of which include any 
word or description to indicate that they are con- 
nected with any religious faith is strictly prohibited. 
In cases of violations of this article the Board of 
Directors or those who head the groups shall be 
punished according to law, and the authorities shall 
proceed to disband the organizations. 

Article 16. Political meetings shall not be held 
in churches, or other places destined for public wor- 
ship. If the persons in charge of the church shall 
directly organize the meeting, invite persons to it or 
take part in it, they shall be punished in accordance 
with the law. If the persons in charge of the church 
merely permit the meeting to be held or conceal the 
fact of the meeting, without taking part in it, they 
shall be punished according to the law. In both 
cases the federal executive may also order the tem- 
porary or permanent closing of the church. 

Article 17. All religious acts of public worship 
shall be celebrated only within the churches, which 
shall always be under the vigilance of the authori- 
ties. Those who organize such religious acts out- 
side of the churches and the ministers who take 
part in them shall be punished according to the law. 

Article 18, Ministers or individuals of either 
sex who are members of any religious faith shall not 

137 



use outside the churches religious vestments of any 
description, under penalty of a fine of not more than 
500 pesos or imprisonment for not more than 15 
days Second offenses shall be punished according 
to the law. 

Article 19. Persons in charge of churches shall 
within one month after the date of this law, or with- 
in the month following the day upon which they 
assume such charge, give the notices provided for in 
Paragraph 11 of Article 130 of the Constitution, 
under penalty of a fine of 500 pesos or imprisonment 
for 15 days. Until the provisions of the Constitu- 
tion are complied with the Department of Gober- 
nacion shall order the church closed. 

Article 20. The offenses referred to in the law 
may be denounced publicly. 

Article 21. Religious associations exercising 
control over churches, regardless of their creed, shall 
not in any case possess the right to own, acquire or 
to administer real estate or mortgages placed upon 
real estate. Such goods as they now hold by them- 
selves or through the intervention of any other per- 
sons shall revert to the nation, and the right is given 
publicly to denounce such properties as may fall 
within the meaning of this paragraph. Persons 
who conceal the existence of properties or mort- 
gages mentioned herein shall be punished by im- 
prisonment for from one to two years and the same 
penalty shall be imposed upon persons who hold 
church property in their own names. 

Article 22. Churches designated for public wor- 
ship are the property of the nation, represented by 
the Federal Government, which shall determine 
whether they shall continue to be used for this pur- 
pose. Episcopal residences, country houses, con- 
vents or any other edifices constructed or intended 
for the administration, carrying on or teaching of 
any form of religion shall immediately pass to the 

138 



full ownership of the nation, to be destined exclu- 
sively for the public service of the federation or the 
states in their respective jurisdictions. Persons who 
destroy, damage or imperil these structures shall be 
punished by imprisonment for from one to two 
years and shall be held civilly responsible. 

Article 23. The federal authorities principally 
are charged with the enforcement of this law. The 
state and municipal authorities shall aid the federal 
authorities and, with them, become equally respon- 
sible when for any reason any of the provisions of 
this law fail to be complied with. 

Article 24. Municipal authorities who permit or 
tolerate the violation of any of Articles 1, 3, 4, 5, 
and 6 of this law shall be punished by a fine of not 
more than 100 pesos or by suspension for one month. 
Second offenses shall be punishable by dismissal and 
by disbarment from the privilege of holding any 
public office for five years. 

Article 25. Municipal authorities who have 
knowledge of cases covered by Articles 8, 9, 10, 15 
and 16 of this law and who fail immediately to take 
proper action shall be considered as being accom- 
plices or concealers of the crime, according to the 
circumstances of the case. 

Article 26. Municipal authorities who fail im- 
mediately to proceed to dissolve associations for 
political purposes formed by ministers shall be fined 
not more than 100 pesos or suspended from office 
for not more than one month. For second offenses, 
they shall be dismissed and debarred from holding 
public office for not more than five years. 

Article 27. The proper law offices of the federa- 
tion shall take the necessary steps in cases of in- 
fraction of Article 13 of this law. If they fail to 
do so they shall be punished by a fine of not more 
than 100 pesos, by suspension for not more than 
one month or by dismissal. 

139 



Article 28. Municipal authorities who permit or 
tolerate the celebration of any religious act outside 
of the churches shall be fined not more than 100 
pesos or suspended for not more than one month. 
For second offenses they shall be dismissed. 

Article 29. Municipal authorities are charged 
with the enforcement of Article 18 of this law, 
under penalty of being fined not more than 100 pesos 
or of suspension for not more than one month. For 
second offenses they shall be dismissed. 

Article 30. The same authorities shall enforce 
Article 19 of this law, under penalty of being fined 
not more than 1,000 pesos and of being dismissed. 

Article 31. The municipal authorities shall make 
lists of the churches and of those who are in charge 
of them and shall send copies of both lists to the 
Department of Gobernacion within a month after 
the date of this law, or of the date upon which such 
lists are subsequently made, under penalty of being 
dismissed and fined not more than 500 pesos. If 
copies of such lists are not sent to the Department 
of Gobernacion until the expiration of a month after 
the date above mentioned, the municipal authorities 
shall be fined not more than 100 pesos, suspended 
for not more than one month or dismissed. 

Article 32. Municipal authorities who permit a 
new church to be opened without previously and 
through the Governor of the state or territory, giv- 
ing notice to the Department of Gobernacion, shall 
be suspended for not more than six months or dis- 
missed, and the church shall immediately be closed. 

Article 33. Municipal authorities who within 
the space of one month fail to notify the Department 
of Gobernacion, through the proper channels, of the 
removal of a church shall be fined not more than 
100 pesos and suspended for not more than one 
month. For a second offense the offender shall be 
dismissed. 

140 



TRANSITORY ARTICLES 

Article 1. This law shall take effect July 31 of 
the present year. 

Article 2. From the date of its effect this law 
shall supersede all laws and regulations which are 
contrary to its provisions. 

Article 3. A copy of this law, in legible char- 
acters, shall be posted at the main doors of the 
churches or of the places wherein acts of religious 
worships and habitually celebrated. 

It is ordered that this law be printed, published, 
circulated and properly complied with. 

Given in the Palace of the federal executive power 
in the City of Mexico, this fourteenth day of July 
in the year Nineteen Hundred and Twenty-six. 

(Signed) P. ELIAS CALLES, 

President 

(Signed) A. TEJEDA, 
The Minister of State and Gobernacion. 



141 



WHAT WE AEE DOING IN MEXICO AND FOR 
WHOM WE ARE DOING IT 



(From Foreign Business, New York City) 



Upon commencing this article solicited by your 
publication, concerning the programme which we 
are carrying out in Mexico and the domestic and 
international problems with which my government 
is compelled to cope, I desire to quote a paragraph 
from a proclamation made in March last by Lord 
Reading, Viceroy of India, to the legislature of that 
country, in which he says: 

"The essential basic principle of British institu- 
tions rests upon a fundamental unity of sentiment 
and a general desire to bring about results of capital 
importance, rejecting for the benefit of the common 
welfare the petitions for individuals or sectional ad- 
vantages." 

This is nothing more or less than we are trying 
to do in Mexico, to "Reject the petitions for indi- 
vidual or sectional advantages, for the benefit of the 
common welfare." 

Naturally, it is not easy nor agreeable to develop 
with energy and success a policy of this nature in 
a country wherein the privileges belonging to every 
class, which have been regarded sa rights, although 
frequently consisting of immoral or unjust conces- 
sions, have always been in the hands of an insignifi- 
cant minority, native or foreign. At the bottom of 
each and every one of the problems which the revo- 
lutionary government in Mexico has in recent years 

142 



sought to solve, has always been found a conflict 
between the common interests, the true necessities 
of the Mexicans as a whole, and individual interests, 
small in origin, utility and purpose but great when 
measured by the standard of dollars. 

So, for example, we find the agrarian problem 
in Mexico, the petroleum problem, the educational 
problem and, finally, referring to the present, that 
which is today regarded as the religious problem, 
although this, as we shall indicate later on, is merely 
a conflict between the heads of the Catholic Church 
and the Constitutional laws of Mexico which the 
former are trying to ignore. 

If one considers that the Mexicans possess less 
than a third of the total riches of the country, and 
that of this third, which amounts to approximately 
$1,500,000,000 U. S., not less than sixty percent 
has been and continues to be in the hands of 
the Catholic clergy, one may easily comprehend 
why, in the resolution of the problems of Mexico, 
which always possess a marked economic aspect, 
we have had difficulties and frictions with some for- 
eign governments who have defended the interests 
of their nationals, which they consider attacked by 
our Constitutional laws; or, on the contrary, with 
the large land-holders of Mexico.: One may also 
understand why we are constantly opposed by the 
Catholic clergy, who fear lest that at any moment 
they may lose their principal asset, the millions 
accumulated by the church in face of the express 
prohibition of the fundamental law of our country. 

But in spite of all this the executive power is 
continuing its task of solving satisfactorily the 
difficulties and complications of all descriptions 
which are faced by the government, of protecting 
for all time our national possessions in order that 
the country, now and in the future, may enjoy a firm 
and solid prosperity. Despite the fact that we ap- 

143 



predate that the present administrative labor of 
the government might be simplified and its complete 
success assured by contenting ourselves by solving 
merely the problems of the moment, relative to ad- 
vancing our interior economy to the financial 
stability enjoyed by that of some other countries 
and by cementing the military and political power 
of the administration, by which the dangers of the 
road upon which we are traveling might be elimin- 
ated, the executive has elected, with the cooperation 
of the other two branches of the government, and 
the approval of the great popular masses, to formu- 
late and legally perfect, which in part he has suc- 
ceeded in doing, a system of progressive social re- 
form, but of a strong nationalistic tendency; reforms 
which will constitute the sources of future general 
organic peace, of collective progress, of public 
wealth, and which consist in the adoption of methods 
and systems of advantaging ourselves of our na- 
tional resources and of defending impartially the 
national rights. These are the same methods and 
systems which the most civilized nations have 
adopted and are following with benefit to their 
political and economic independence, and to their 
prosperity and their complete development. 

All that I have said before demonstrates clearly 
that in its nationalistic labor, the government has 
not been inspired by selfish motives, by chauvinism 
or dislike to foreigners. The government has never 
refused to accept, for the better development of the 
country, the benefits of international collaboration. 
Neither does one care to say that the plans of action 
stipulated by the Constitutional law for the free, 
but prudent, exercise of its sovereignty should not 
reckon with foreign collaboration, restrained only 
in the sense of obliging it to espect our aws and to 
prevent this collaboration from being converted into 

144 



absorption, to the great damage or ruination of our 
national interests. 

Happily, in all of the frictions which I have men- 
tioned, and which have been provoked by Mexico's 
national policy, the chancellries of foreign govern- 
ments have conscientiously studied our laws, com- 
prehend our ideas and our true line of conduct, with 
the result that they have arrived at the point where 
they agree with the reason, the truth, the justice 
of our position and have reached an understanding 
of it. 

Our desire has been to organize, once for all, the 
statutes proceeding from our Constitutional laws, 
to vitalize them justly and strictly, in order to 
render possible the development of our national 
riches and to prevent perpetual incomprehensions 
and erroneous interpretations of our legislation, in 
order that foreign capital may know to a scientific 
certainty what it may expect from Mexico. The 
Revolution has no belligerent intentions so far as 
international relations go, but its desire is to avert 
trouble by adopting for the benefit of foreigners in 
Mexico non-ambiguous legislation and to compel 
foreign capitalists to conform to Mexican laws. The 
internal policy of the government may be condensed 
into one phrase: We believe and we shall continue 
to believe that worth-while reforms in Mexico can 
be brought about only by exercising a tremendous 
effort in favor of the popular classes. 

To insure the success of this it was necessary and 
essential, in the first place, to establish a strict, ener- 
getic and honest administration in all of the admin- 
istrative departments, in order that the initial prob- 
lem might be solved the balancing of the budget. 
This was also necessary to enable us to take care of 
our foreign and domestic debt. It was necessary 
to provide a proper impetus to education, to agri- 
culture and to industry and to resolve the difficult 

145 



question of monetary circulation in Mexico, which 
latter has been accomplished by the founding of the 
national bank of issue, on a gold basis. The success 
of our administrative reorganization and of our fin- 
ancial rehabilitation has been so surprising that at 
the end of the first year of the Presidential term 
the government had saved 70,000,000 pesos, with 
which capital it established the Bank of Mexico and 
later the Agricultural Credit Bank. In step with 
the financial reorganization the government pro- 
ceeded to establish the bases of a wise, just and 
secure agricultural prosperity for the country, with 
especial attention to the question of irrigation and 
the construction of a system of automobile and cart 
roads, by this means facilitating the intensification 
of agricultural production. At the same time it was 
necessary to consolidate the situation created by the 
restitution of lands, in the form of commons, and 
by the division of the great, and hitherto compara- 
tively unproductive, estates. To the end that the 
production of these lands under their new owners 
might be encouraged and to develop in the latter a 
sense of responsibility, the Mexican Congress ap- 
proved the proposal of the executive to divide these 
commons among the individuals to whom they be- 
longed, and to make the responsibility for cultivat- 
ing these lands individual instead of collective. 

Agricultural enterprise can only lead to disas- 
terous results when it is carried on in an irregular 
and a disorganized manner and without a scientific 
basis, without the benefits of irrigation, when it is 
needed, and adequate means of communication with 
markets or shipping points. It frequently occurs 
that when a certain region produces abundant crops 
there are not means to realize on them profitably, 
through lack of transportation, capital or credit. 
In other regions, where the crops have failed, it is 
necessary to import foodstuffs from the interior, all 



146 



of which results in extreme poverty in the farming 
communities and an exaggerated disorder of the 
country's economic planes. In the future in Mexico 
the Bank of Mexico and the Agricultural Credit 
Bank, through their numerous branches, will con- 
tribute to the definite betterment of these conditions. 

In the matter of public education, Mexico is pro- 
ceeding according to the recommendation of the 
United States Bureau of Education and intensify- 
ing education among the farming classes, thereby 
notably improving the rural problem. Eventually, 
we are assured, not less than eighty percent of what 
the country produces will remain in Mexico and be 
used by the people. 

In conclusion I would say that in reality Mexico 
has no religious problem. It is not true that the 
government is persecuting any religious body, or 
that it is opposed to the dogmas or practices of any 
religion. What is happening is that the Constitu- 
tion of Mexico contains articles which the Catholic 
hierarchy considers to be incompatable with their 
constant and illegal intervention in politics and ques- 
tions of state and in the economic powers of the 
state, exerted through their spiritual influence, 
which is the prime and most important factor of 
their domination in temporal matters. Until the 
clergy, by legal and Constitutional methods, obtains 
from the Congress and succeeds in having ratified 
by the state legislatures, a law repealing or amend- 
ing the laws which are designed to break the poli- 
tical power of the clergy by transferring their huge 
properties to the nation, the government will com- 
ply with its elemental duty of preventing the church 
from imposing itself upon the immense liberal 
majority of the people of my country. The church 
cannot succeed in its aspirations so long as it forgets 
its high functions and continues to utilize the 
methods which it systematically has employed to 

147 



the present to obtain advantages of a material and 
political nature, which are incompatable with its 
purely religious functions. I firmly believe, how- 
ever, that the articles of the Constitution to which 
the clergy objects will not be abolished or amended 
in many years. 



148 



MEXICO WOULD ACCEPT MEDIATION BY 
THE HAGUE 



STATEMENTS MADE BY PRESIDENT CALLES IN 
JANUARY, 1926, TO A GROUP OF REPRESENTA- 
TIVE AMERICAN VISITORS WHO WENT TO 
MEXICO ON A GOOD WILL MISSION 



During the audience with the Good Will Mission 
the President spoke textually as follows: 

It is rare, indeed, for us to hear words of such 
a spiritual nature as those which have been uttered 
here today by the spokesman of your party. As a 
rule we are accustomed to hearing material interests 
discussed and in a more brusque form and to being 
threatened at every step. When we hear such ex- 
pressions of justice and fraternity we are impelled 
to hope that it is possible to establish relations of 
true friendship between the American and Mexican 
peoples, 

I am firmly of the conviction that so long as the 
relations betwen peoples are based exclusively upon 
material conquests, in complete f orgetf ulness of the 
spiritual values of humanity, the peace of the world 
will be nothing more than a fiction. For these rea- 
sons I feel comforted when I hear what has been 
said here, for it impels me to believe that there 
are still in the world some good men who are work- 
ing for the establishment of harmony between all 
peoples of the earth upon a basis of justice and 
morality. 

It also pleases me to know that this group has 

149 



been well received in the different parts of the 
country visited by them. It could hardly be other- 
wise, considering that your errand here is not a 
selfish one and that you have no material interests 
to serve. Both these circumstances provide me with 
absolute assurance that you have formed a clear 
appreciation of our situation and that you will do 
us justice in these moments which are so critical 
for Mexico. 

You will always be received here as cordially as 
you have been, because our arms are always open 
to men of good will. If you desire to exchange im- 
pressions with me upon the condition of my coun- 
try and upon the problems which we are solving, I 
am at your orders. You may be sure that I shall 
tell you the truth. 

Undoubtedly, as you suggest, the cause of the 
rebels who are seeking to overthrow my govern- 
ment will be strengthened should the United States 
withdraw its recognition from Mexico. The enemies 
of my government may be classified in three groups : 
the Roman Catholic clergy, various political groups 
and the reactionary forces which see, in a rupture 
of relations with the United States, an opportunity 
to gain their own ends and who would pretend to 
regard the withdrawal of recognition in the light 
of an approval by the United States of their activi- 
ties against this government and its institutions. 
What has already happened is that the Catholic 
clergy has incited various groups of fanatics to re- 
bellion. Outbreaks have taken place in some parts 
of the country, which the government is energetic- 
ally punishing. 

The regrettable feature of this situation is that 
these persons who are being urged to rebellion are, 
as a rule, ignorant men. They are the ones who 
will suffer the consequences, as the really respon- 
sible trouble-makers carefully keep themselves under 
cover. 

150 



The Mexican politicians who are at present 
refuged in the United States are also active and 
are trying to obtain elements of war to ship into 
Mexico. But you may be absolutely certain that 
the government is in a position to maintain itself, 
regardless of whatever opposition may be brought 
against it. 

So far as Nicaragua is concerned, the Govern- 
ment of Mexico differs from that of the United 
States on the Nicaraguan question for reasons of 
a moral nature. After an existence there of many 
years of tyranny personified by the Chamorra and 
the Adolfo Diaz families, a constitutional govern- 
ment was established, as the result of a popular 
election. This government, represented by Presi- 
dent Solorzano and Vice-president Sacasa, was 
legally constituted. It was a government which 
possessed all of the characteristics of legality. It 
was developing its activities in complete tranquility 
and exerting itself to better the condition of the 
people of the country. This was the situation when 
one of the old dictators of the country, who was dis- 
satisfied with the situation, rebelled. This led to a 
conflict between the interests headed by the reac- 
tionaries and by Vice-President Sacasa, who repre- 
sented the legal government. Two governments 
have been established there, one of violence and one 
of legality. Mexico has recognized the legal govern- 
ment. This indicates our judgment upon the Nica- 
raguan situation. 

One of you gentlemen has asked me what appli- 
cation of the arbitration article in the Treaty of 
Guadalupe Hidalgo might be made in face of the 
danger of war between Mexico and the United 
States. I cannot answer that question without 
studying the treaty, but I suggest that the inquiry * 
be made to the Minister of Foreign Relations. 

Yes, if necessary we shall gladly accept the media- 

151 



tion of The Hague or of any other tribunal of inter- 
national arbitration in the matters which are in dis- 
pute between Mexico and the United States, al- 
though in this procedure there lies a potential 
danger to the sovereignty of nations. Proceedings 
of this nature always offer fatal menaces to the lib- 
erty and sovereignty of nations. It is always dan- 
gerous for a country to allow outside nations to in- 
tervene in cases where a nation in the rightful exer- 
cise of its sovereignty, enacts laws which it regards 
as necessary and convenient for its security or wel- 
fare. It is also dangerous to submit such matters 
to arbitration, considering that sad experience has 
shown and we know that history has demonstrated 
with complete clarity, that in these international 
courts the strong nations always dominate. But, if 
it is necessary to make the sacrifice to avert more 
serious trouble for both countries, despite the risks 
which I have mentioned, we have no objection to 
submitting our case before a tribunal of arbitration. 
Between two evils, it is always best to choose the 
lesser. 

Mexico wishes the people of the United States 
to know that it is clear as noonday that Mexico in 
the present crisis has justice with her; that the 
trouble is not between the people of the United 
States and the people of Mexico, but between the 
people of Mexico and a small group of American 
capitalists who are trying to induce the Department 
of State to aid them by force. These difficulties are 
not of a moral character, nor of a nature which 
fundamentally affects the honor of either of the two 
countries. Neither has given offense to the other. 
The true difficulty lies in oil. It is an abstract diffi- 
culty created by the laws of Mexico which the oil 
companies insist upon ignoring and which do not 
injure the oil industry or the interests of the oil 
companies in the slightest degree, I say that the 

152 



difficulty is abstract, because the point upon which 
the oil companies base their refusal to abide by our 
laws is based upon the old conception of the Roman 
law of the absolute ownership of property. Our 
legislation confirms and recognizes subsoil rights 
acquired before the promulgation of the Constitution 
of 1917 for a term of fifty years. If, at the expira- 
tion of this time, oil is being produced from any 
of the properties involved, an extension of thirty 
years more is provided for. That is to say, sub- 
soil rights are recognized for a total period of eighty 
years. 

I ask any of you gentlemen present if you know 
of any oil well that has been in production for eighty 
years, in the history of the oil industry? The oil 
companies insist that we are restricting the term 
of ownership of their property, when we recognize 
their ownership rights for eighty years. Who knows 
what will happen in eighty years ? Probably by that 
time the actual organization of society and humanity 
will have changed altogether. Possibly property 
rights will be organized upon altogether a different 
basis. I believe that the term fixed provides ample 
protection for the oil interests. This is the basis of 
the oil controversy. The oil people are unable to 
sustain their contention on the points which we are 
discussing on any ground, either legal or moral or 
from the standpoint of their own interests. 

The oil industrial, I understand, is interested in 
knowing whether, leaving to one side abstract pre- 
cepts, under certain legislation it is possible for him 
to make money, whether the law places him in a 
position to work without encountering unsurmount- 
able obstacles and to enjoy the fruits of his labor 
for a period, within which it has been scientifically 
demonstrated it is possible for him to exploit the 
petroleum which his property may contain. 

The only right, apparently, which now exists in 

153 



the world is the right of force, and this right does 
not regard the rights of the people. For the de- 
fense of all interests, whether they be national or 
foreign, the laws of a country set down the pro- 
cedures to be followed to make this defense effective. 
Only in cases of denial of justice have foreign gov- 
ernments the actual right of making representations 
before our government and I believe that this is the 
universal procedure. Our courts are ready to inter- 
vene to protect the interests of such foreigners who 
consider themselves aggrieved by the operation of 
our laws. 



154 



NEW YEAR MESSAGE TO THE MEXICAN 
PEOPLE, JANUARY 1, 1927 

In pursuance with the practice established a year 
ago, I take advantage of the New Year to send a 
cordial greeting to the people of Mexico and to in- 
form them directly concerning the general situation 
of the country, the work of the government and the 
objects which have been sought by the executive. 

In following the example of the most highly civil- 
ized countries of the world in seeking successfully 
their economic and political independence and their 
prosperity and full development, by the adoption of 
methods and systems for the utilization of our 
natural resources and the defense of our just na- 
tional rights, the government has encountered the 
lack of confidence and the resistance which the im- 
planation of all innovations naturally provokes, and 
been compelled to cope with internal and external 
difficulties. The policy of strict compliance with the 
application of, our laws has also necessarily invited 
the opposition of strong antagonistic forces. But 
fortunately the points of controversy with other 
governments has been dealt with by methods and 
according to procedures appropriate to a serene tech- 
nical discussion. Foreign objections and opposition 
have not fundamentally altered the peaceful rela- 
tions of Mexico with her neighbors, and the govern- 
ment has been able to comply strictly with all of its 
domestic and foreign obligations without interfer- 
ence with the reconstructive activities which have 
been carried on by me since I took charge of the 
government, 

155 



Hence, despite serious economic obstacles created 
by complementary and intricate causes, all of a 
social and political nature, it is possible for me to 
affirm that during the past year financial stability 
has been brought about by drastic economical and 
administrative measures. The extensive educational 
programme mapped out for 1926 has been carried 
on. The central agricultural schools have been con- 
structed as they were projected. Some of the irri- 
gation works have been completed and placed in 
operation and plans have been laid for constructing 
others during the present year. The reorganization 
and reequipment of the army has been continued 
and the work of reorganizing the administrative de- 
partments of the government has not been halted. 
All these, working together, have enabled the execu- 
tive to accomplish important progress toward the 
economic betterment of the community and the 
moral and social uplifting of the people, which con- 
stitutes the object most vehemently striven for by 
the present government. 

Unfortunately, these projects for the redemption 
and the economic and social betterment of the 
masses of Mexico, without detriment to the just 
rights and prosperity of the privileged classes, either 
through bad faith or the malice of selfish interests 
or lack of a proper understanding of the situation, 
have continued to be interpreted as manifestations 
of a destructive tendency in the government. By 
a rancorous press campaign it has been sought to 
present Mexico as emulating or sustaining exotic 
systems of government and as conducting both at 
home and abroad a propaganda in favor of political 
and social systems which are absolutely foreign to 
our methods and our tendencies. 

Firm in my conviction that eventually the truth 
would prevail, I have continued my work serenely, 
without preoccupying myself with calumnies or with 

156 



rumors. I have limited myself to stating, when 
occasion served, that our problems, which essentially 
are the same as those of any people who are in a 
state of evolution, presented phases peculiar to Mex- 
ico and that for this reason it would be illogical for 
us to adopt the exotic methods of which we are ac- 
cused. As to the usefulness of these methods, in an 
ambient outside of Mexico, it is impossible for us 
to judge, but I am very certain that they do not 
meet the conditions which exist in our country nor 
correspond to our Constitutional political organiza- 
tions or to my consistent acts as executive. 

It is natural, when one considers the resistance 
logically to be expected from the antagonistic forces 
and interests to which I have previously alluded, 
that an unjust lack of confidence has been produced 
abroad, notwithstanding the fact that the policy 
adopted by my government has not damaged any 
foreign interest and despite my reiterated intention 
of not construing the laws of my country in a man- 
ner to harm such foreign interests as had estab- 
lished themselves in Mexico prior to the enaction of 
the laws in question and which obey the interpreta- 
tion which might be placed upon these laws by the 
Federal Supreme Court. I have insisted that only 
the inspired press campaign of our enemies and the 
natural timidity of capital could restrain or delay 
the benefits proceeding from a collaboration be- 
tween Mexico and other countries, the moral energy 
and capital of which would always be welcomed in 
Mexico, restricted only by the necessity of respect- 
ing our laws and limited only by proper measures 
to prevent collaboration from being translated into 
absorption, to the prejudice of our national interests. 

I take this opportunity to repeat, ten months after 
the initiation by the Catholic hierarchy in Mexico 
of their defiance of the laws of Mexico, as I have 
expressed from the beginning and which opinion 

157 



has not been modified by the sometimes rebellious 
or seditious attitude of the clergy, that the present 
government has not sought, nor will it seek, to com- 
bat the exercise or the development of any religious 
activity; that questions of faith or creed or dogma 
are absolutely without the jurisdiction and the aims 
of the government; that I have the same sincere 
respect for all manifestations of conscience or of 
religious creed and that it is a foolish fable, im- 
agined by the Catholic clergy, that the government 
has at any time sought to combat in any manner or 
to destroy any religious faith. 

In this matter, as in all others which have for 
their object, or which have originated in, resistance 
to the law, or the offering of difficulties to the re- 
constructive action of the government, I have 
sought, and succeeded in seeing to it, that our course 
of strictly applying the law to the activities of our 
enemies should rigidly be adhered to. I have main- 
tained our position on a plane of perfect serenity 
and have not permitted the conduct of doctrine or 
of law, which has been followed and ordained by the 
government, to be obscured by passion, by a spirit of 
reprisal or by political rancor. 

The cooperation of the other powers of the gov- 
ernment and the valuable aid to order and respect 
to the law rendered by the national army have en- 
abled and surely will continue to enable the country 
to^ emerge triumphantly from this true epoch of 
trial. Despite the criminal efforts which have been 
made to throw the country into civil turmoil and to 
seduce from their duty isolated members of the 
army, which is the support of safety and national 
rights, all of those who compose the army organiza- 
tion have to the present maintained themselves in 
perfect discipline and have confined themselves to 
their legitimate sphere of action as prescribed by 
the law. The government does not doubt that the 

158 



army will continue by its attitude to increase its 
own prestige and that of the country. But should 
personal interests and rancors, intent upon reopen- 
ing a cycle of civil war, endeavor to cause fresh 
treasons to blot the fame of what should be the 
highest and most noble institution of Mexico, the 
government is absolutely certain that those who are 
culpable of such acts will be promptly and justly 
punished. 

In my last New Year's message, in the interest 
of the ample moral and material development of the 
country and the collective welfare of the people, I 
appealed in behalf of the government for the frank 
cooperation of all of the citizens and exhorted them 
to stand by the government and forget grudges and 
personal ambitions, with their thoughts fixed upon 
the well-being and prosperity of the country. 

The passions and ancient hatreds, stirred up dur- 
ing the past year by evil-doers, by men without con- 
sciences, or by those who make play in behalf of 
their own or foreign interests, causes it to appear 
Utopian, perhaps, for me to make a similar call at 
this time. But placing the welfare of Mexico above 
all else, I insist upon doing so, in order that those 
who can may redeem themselves from evil influences 
and that those who are capable, through generosity 
or patriotic impulse, of liberating themselves from 
the weight of their prejudices, of their own selfish 
interests or from their rancors, may unite with us 
and accept as legitimate our aspirations for the just 
uplifting of the masses of our country for whom we 
have fought and for whom we are disposed to con- 
tinue to fight, under the conviction that only through 
the improvement of the Mexican masses can the 
basis be laid of a definite organic peace and the 
prosperity and development of the whole Mexican 
family be established. 



159 



THE MISSION OF THE MEXICAN ARMY 



(Address at the re-opening of the new Military College) 



As the Secretary of War has said in his state- 
ment of reasons for the creation of the new Military 
College, in order to make good soldiers, but better 
citizens, it was necessary to reform not only the 
plant of the college but the courses of study, to bring 
this institution in consonance with prevailing revo- 
lutionary educational, military and social ideas. 

The physical changes which have been accom- 
plished are apparent to all and most of us are equally 
familiar with the new pedagogical, social and ad- 
ministrative order which has been adopted. But 
we cannot congratulate ourselves upon having im- 
proved the physical condition of the college, or feel 
satisfied that we have complied with our duty as 
governors and revolutionists by constructing all 
these modern appliances, or rest content at having 
laid down a well considered plan of study and in- 
terior regulation which embody our ideas, if we 
have not also taken into account the human element 
which forms the soul and body of this institution, 
which are conditions necessary to insure the suc- 
cess of this work; unless we see to it that those who 
graduate from here as experts in the art of war 
preserve all their characteristics as men, without 
departing in the slightest degree from the life and 
the sentiment of the nation; that while they are 
versed in military tactics and technique and pre- 
pared to follow the hazardous career of arms they 

160 



shall above and before all remain servants of the na- 
tion, conscious that it is their duty as armed citi- 
zens, as sons of the people, to fight against those 
who seek to oppress or to strangle the true aspira- 
tions of the people; never to think of allowing them- 
selves to constitute a privileged oligarchy to frus- 
trate the will of the great majority and to contribute 
by their support to the defense of governments 
really representative of the cause of the people, to 
the formation of a greater, happier and more re- 
spected Mexico. 

Discipline is needed, it is true; and iron discip- 
line, because only he who knows how to obey is 
qualified to command, but not a discipline which 
seeks to annihilate the spirit and to create auto- 
matons, but a discipline which tends to produce men 
who have learned what is their duty and who possess 
a complete consciousness of it. Because the men 
whom they command are their brothers in thought 
and in sentiment, and because through the discipline 
by which they learn the necessity of directing pre- 
cise technical movements in any condition of war- 
fare they will also learn when occasion requires how 
for the moment to abdicate their personality and 
their individual will, when this individual abdica- 
tion is demanded by the welfare of the collective will 
and conscience. 

This Military College is not, in essence, an estab- 
lishment which differs in any way from the other 
institutions in which the government is trying to 
educate the new generation of the country. The 
only difference between the Military College and the 
rural schools, the agricultural schools, the industrial 
schools or the universities lies in the varying courses 
of study. But in all these schools, from the Military 
College to the smallest rural school, hidden away in 
a corner of the mountains, we are seeking to turn 
out men who shall learn, from their childhood, that 

161 



they have a social mission with which later on in 
their mature years they must comply to serve 
others. This is to say, not to expend their forces 
entirely for their own economic, cultural or social 
betterment, but to abdicate a good share of their 
powers to their fellows, some to augmenting the pro- 
duction of the country, others to imparting the 
knowledge which they possess, others to elevating 
the moral condition of the people, according to their 
lights, and the graduates of the military schools to 
lending the force of their arms and, if necessary, 
giving their lives to insure the social uplifting of the 
majority which, in the last extreme, is the aim and 
the justification of the revolutionary movement in 
Mexico. 

In order to succeed in this, all of you, chiefs, offi- 
cials and students of the new Military College, must 
work with every enthusiasm and in full conscious- 
ness of the duties of the day which are imposed upon 
you, to labor for the social, not the political, wel- 
fare of our country. 

The tradition of duty, of prestige or of glory of 
an institution does not depend upon where it is 
situated, its name or the times. If, like the cadets 
of '47, you comply with your duty and respond to 
the present social necessities of the life of our Mex- 
ico, the young eagles of Chapultepec will nest here 
also, in Popotla. (This refers to the military cadets 
who in 1847 fell in defending the rock of Chapul- 
tepec, where formerly the Military College was situ- 
ated, against the American forces) . 



162 



ADDRESS IN NEW YORK 



(Delivered at the banquet given in honor of General Calles, 

as President-Elect of Mexico, at the Waldorf-Astoria 

Hotel, on October 28, 1924, by The American 

Exporters and Manufacturers 

Association) 



Unquestionably the world has now attained to an 
understanding of social and political problems far 
beyond the former rigid and selfish conception of 
them which generally prevailed, especially among 
business men. Ample proof of this is supplied by 
the addresses which have been made at this enter- 
tainment which you have been good enough to offer 
me and which have been marked by a noble senti- 
ment of humanitarianism and an intelligent com- 
prehension of the significance of the investment of 
capital in a foreign country, when it is made honor- 
ably, with good will and in a spirit of mutual re- 
spect, both for the rights of capital and the rights 
and laws of the countries into which it flows. 

Scarcely two weeks ago in the capital of Mexico, 
Ambassador Sheffield, the new representative of the 
White House to my country, in presenting his cre- 
dentials dispensed to a certain extent with the empty 
set forms of diplomatic expression and in outlining 
what the United States desired of Mexico and what 
Mexico might expect from the United States, said 
in effect : "We seek no rights, privileges, nor powers 
which we are not disposed to grant freely." To 
which President Obregon fittingly replied that this 
phrase of Ambassador Sheffield "amply satisfied the 

163 



spirit of those countries which, like Mexico, strong 
only in the power of their ideals, seek to live peace- 
fully with their neighbors, jealous of their sover- 
eign rights and respecting the rights of the peoples 
of the earth." 

This is sufficient to express the warm welcome, 
legal protection and friendly cooperation which 
Mexico is prepared to extend all men of good will 
who wish to bring to our country their always ac- 
ceptable contingent of capital or energy. Providing 
they are prepared to do this and respect our sover- 
eignty and our laws on a basis of not demanding 
one-sided rights, privileges or powers, they will be 
received as brothers, as Mexico traditionally has 
always received and always will receive them. 

In view of the fact that Mr. Nichols, in a spirit 
of ample generosity (which is especially laudable 
when displayed by capitalists) , has expressed a de- 
sire for the people of the United States to cooperate 
with Mexico "in other ways than by merely invest- 
ing capital/' and also considering that in his re- 
marks and in those of Ambassador Gerard and Mr. 
Gary were included sentiments of real humanitar- 
ianism and international amity, I also shall digress 
a trifle from the previously mentioned limits of set 
diplomatic forms to present to this gathering of 
business men and capitalists who, to their own 
credit and that of the country which they represent, 
think of something more than the dollar, one of the 
aspects of our social problem in Mexico, the solu- 
tion of which has provoked so much hostility and 
erected such mountains of opposition and calumny 
against the revolutionary governments of the 
country. 

We have in our country, gentlemen, no less than 
12,000,000 men who are living on the fringe of 
civilization, who not only do not know nor enjoy the 
material gifts and the spiritual advantages which 

164 



are the patrimony of all of the American people, 
but who before our fight for social liberation saw 
no possibility of their lot being bettered in the 
future because of the state of existence to which 
they had been condemned by political oppression 
and by the selfishness of a small privileged social 
caste. 

And as these are men like ourselves; men who, 
clad in rags and under the old order doomed to per- 
petual misery, have constructed our nationality, who 
have made our history and forged our glories and 
conquered our liberties with their blood, with their 
sacrifices, with their miseries and with their per- 
petual disillusionments ; and as we must not let them 
perish and as we have no intention of doing so, ele- 
mental justice and patriotism and even selfish in- 
terests and the fair name of humanity demand that 
we take the road to bring about their social and 
economic elevation. In order to accomplish this it 
is necessary for us to apply honestly and energetic- 
ally the few reform laws which we have been en- 
abled to enact through so many years of social and 
political turmoil and to utilize the methods of gov- 
ernment inspired by those laws, not for the exclu- 
sive benefit of the few, but for the well-being of all 
of our people. 

Although it is not necessary for me to employ 
the argument which I am about to use in order to 
obtain the cooperation of generous-minded men, like 
yourselves, in this humanitarian work, it is worth 
while to point out here the enormous material ad- 
vantages, translated into profits of hundreds of mil- 
lions of dollars for your commerce and industries, 
which will follow in the train of the economic de- 
liverance of these 12,000,000 submerged Mexicans, 
an economic well-being which will create a thousand 
new items of consumption and production. If to- 
day the American Exporters and Manufacturers 



Association of this marvelous country considers 
Mexico in its present state as a magnificent market, 
what will it be when we succeed in making Mexico 
a country wherein, on a basis of equity and justice 
for all classes, the rural and the industrial workers 
who today purchase nothing because they have noth- 
ing and have scarcely enough to eat, attain to a 
social and economic position similar to that enjoyed 
by the American people? 

With these expression, which I have uttered with 
the sincerity with which I am accustomed to invest 
all my acts, I believe that I have told you with suffi- 
cient clearness that my government will not omit 
any sacrifice or any force to bring about the better- 
ment of the condition of the working classes. I 
invite capitalists and industrials of good will not 
aggressive and piratical capital to assist me in the 
reconstructive development of a people. 

With a sentiment which touched me, Mr. Nichols, 
in his mention of the homage paid by some Ameri- 
can visitors to Mexico to the monument which stands 
today to the boy heroes of Chapultepec, referred to 
the inscription thereon which conveys the pious hope 
that the mountains of America may fall before the 
termination of the friendship which exists between 
the sister republics of this hemisphere. 

We thoroughly understand the spirit of fraternity 
which inspired this noble impulse to honor those 
whom we in Mexico are proud to term "The Young 
Eagles of '47" and we understand it well, for we 
also have always implanted in the hearts of the 
youth of Mexico respect and veneration for all men 
who have given expression to altruistic impulses 
and elevated thoughts or who have strictly complied 
with their duty. Thus you will find in Mexico, 
graven by the sides of the names of Hidalgo and 
Morelos, the names of Washington and Lincoln, 
figures high-placed in history, whose fame is not the 

166 



possession of one people alone, but who belong to 
and honor Humanity. Hence, sweeping aside the 
wave of prejudices, born of incomprehension or of 
ignorance, we have sowed and we always shall sow 
in our country the seeds of love and of respect for 
all peoples. We believe that in this manner we 
contribute our grain of sand to the great work of 
universal confraternity and union and we hope that 
some day we shall see crumble to dust, not the moun- 
tains of our America, but the more formidable and 
craggy mountains which selfishness rears in the 
consciences of so many of us. 



167 



EXTRACTS FROM PRESIDENT CALLES' MES- 
SAGE TO THE MEXICAN CONGRESS 



OPENING OF THE SECOND PERIOD OF THE XXXII 
SESSION, SEPTEMBER 1, 1927 

Senators and Deputies: The requirements of 
Article 69 of the Constitution bring me again be- 
fore you for the purpose of rendering an account 
of the administrative work of the Federal Execu- 
tive during the period from September 1st, 1926, 
to August 31st of the current year. In the exact- 
ing labor of the executive office under my charge 
during the third year of my administration there 
have not been lacking grave difficulties and seri- 
ous obstacles which have been created or sus- 
tained with the object of impeding or destroying 
the political programme which, when I was a can- 
didate for President, I caused to be made a matter 
of general public knowledge. But I am able to 
state with satisfaction that in the battle which 
we are fighting for the realization of the national 
aspirations it has been possible for me to maintain 
firmly my obligation to serve the great and sacred 
interests of the country and to count with the ap- 
proval of a public opinion fully imbued with the 
anxiety for reform which stirs the consciences of 
the Mexican people and which controls the ac- 
tions and dispositions of a government which is 
inspired and elevated by the praiseworthy inten- 
tion of procuring the general betterment of the 
country. 

168 



In the Diario Oficial of January 18th of the pres- 
ent year there was published the law regulating 
Article 130 of the Constitution, relating to acts of 
religious worship. This law, which was enacted 
by the present Congress upon the initiative of the 
Executive, went no further than to confirm and 
regulate the precepts of the said Article 130. 

Strict compliance with the law has been enforced 
by the Minister of Gobernacion. It may be said 
that the religious conflict, caused by the rebellion 
of the clergy, has now practically ended, inasmuch 
as all the laws, orders and regulations of the Min- 
istry of Gobernacion have been made effective, not- 
withstanding the vain resistance of the Catholic 
clergy, which merely served the purpose of provid- 
ing a patent demonstration that the Mexican people, 
indifferent to the suspension of worship by the 
church authorities, have pronounced their verdict 
in condemnation of the conduct of those who rebelled 
against the institutions of the Republic. 

According as such applications were made by 
Federal, state and local officials for the use of build- 
ings held by the clergy, various of these edifices 
have been utilized for public purposes, in accordance 
with Article 27 of the Constitution. 

Permission to exercise their profession has been 
given to all clergymen and members of religious 
bodies who have subjected themselves to the laws. 

In general, it may be said that the church situa- 
tion as it existed at the end of last year and the 
commencement of the present year has almost ceased 
to prevail. This does not signify that the govern- 
ment is not still disposed at any moment to suffo- 
cate any rebellous movement against, or public re- 
pudiation of, the laws relating to religious affairs. 
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION 

The campaign for the election of the next Presi- 
dent has begun earlier than usual, and since last 

169 



July three distinct candidates have been conducting 
their canvasses. Until the present the campaign 
has been conducted in an orderly manner without 
serious incidents. The federal government expects 
that this condition will prevail for the remainder of 
the campaign and provide a demonstration of the 
progress made by the Mexican people in the develop- 
ment of civic consciousness and the ability to con- 
duct their elections peacefully. On this subject the 
federal government can only say that it is firmly 
resolved to impede any attempts which may be made 
to create disorders because of the election, at the 
same time declaring its intention of maintaining 
complete neutrality and impartiality in the contest 
and causing to be respected absolutely the popular 
will. 

FOREIGN RELATIONS 

Contrary aspects in recent months have marked 
the international relations of Mexico. Some of them 
provide most flattering evidence of the fruits of 
our carefully cultivated friendship with various na- 
tions while others reveal the existence of menacing 
crises created by "the jealous defense of our great 
national interests, consonant with the social evolu- 
tion of the country. 

Thus, for example, the traditional pure and noble 
family ties which unite us with the Latin American 
nations have not for an instant relaxed, because of 
the fact that these countries more and more com- 
prehend the analogy which exists between their 
mutual problems and by experience have grown to 
appreciate the importance of their own necessities. 
United by the constant battle to reaffirm the sover- 
eign rights which are theirs as free peoples, each 
day and with more firmness they realize the desir- 
ability of creating a cordial understanding which 
should bind us together in prosperity and in adver- 
sity. Mexico, whose international personality on 

170 



this continent serves the purpose of a faithful bar- 
ometer for the observation of social problems, sus- 
tains this difficult and dangerous role with steadfast 
firmness, and without the basis of military and fi- 
nancial power to supply it with material force, 
employing only its own spirit, encouraged by the 
inherent right possessed by sovereign nations and 
strengthened by the national demand for democracy, 
liberty and justice. 

Fortified in its own convictions of right, Mexico 
has rejected, does reject and I have faith that she 
always will reject any attempt at employing aggres- 
sive measures for the maintenance of good relations 
with her neighbors. But at the same time I will not 
admit that, for the sake of maintaining these good 
relations, she will submit herself to improper stand- 
ards, subversive of the national dignity, or grant 
privileges which are opposed to the interests of the 
Republic. We accept, and even desire, the coopera- 
ation of all foreigners, but this cooperation must be 
extended in harmony with the citizens of Mexico, 
who are the indisputable owners of their own coun- 
try. We will deliver to friends and foreigners the 
hospitality of the nation, but without granting them 
privileges beyond those which our own nationals 
enjoy. We accept in good faith foreign capital and 
effort, but under the inflexible condition that the 
laws which Mexico imposes upon herself are obeyed 
and respected. These conceptions of justice, of law, 
of equity, which serve Mexico as constant standards 
in her relations with other countries, will be sus- 
tained by the executive office under^my charge as 
irreproachable precepts which establish and control 
our international negotiations. If, as unfortunately 
it has in the past frequently occurred, obstacles are 
offered to the operation of these principles by 
material forces with which it is difficult for our 
country to contend, the national government will 

171 



continue to deal with them with a serene spirit, with 
rectitude and with patriotic determination and in 
the conviction that the future of the country depends 
upon the outcome of this battle for national rights 
and that the slightest weakening will defeat the 
attainment of those most noble ideals which have 
cost the fatherland so many painful sacrifices. 

Despite the above declarations, it is nevertheless 
not the desire of the Executive to terminate this 
part of his address without adding that, to speak 
plainly, the relations with the United States, which 
are fundamentally important in our national life 
for obvious reasons based upon proximity and the 
extensive commercial relations of the two countries, 
have unfortunately assumed an indeterminate char- 
acter, which frequently has manifested itself in dis- 
agreement and even culminated in controversy. 
Acts have taken place which are regarded by the 
Mexican Government as deplorable, inasmuch as 
they are in opposition to the national sentiment 
which desires a constant and cordial friendship with 
that great country, work injury to our commerce 
and impede our peaceful development. The funda- 
mental difficulties with the Government of the 
United States, as is well known, are rooted in the 
application of the laws derived from Article 27 of 
the Constitution. Although, as to the present the 
disagreement with the Washington authorities has 
to do principally with the general aspect of the 
laws in question, no complaints have been presented 
to the Mexican Government based upon concrete 
acts which provide evidence of any aggressions or 
damages to foreign capital invested in the petroleum 
industry, the directors of which have been engaged 
in acts of rebellion against, and disobedience to, the 
law which it would be impossible for any independ- 
ent country to tolerate. With respect to the appli- 
cation of the agrarian laws, which also have served 

172 



the United States Government as grounds of com- 
plaint, the situation has at times been difficult, for 
reasons similar to those mentioned above. This 
government has offered to consider concrete cases, 
if presented, equitably and justly and hopes to re- 
solve them according to these principles, at the same 
time maintaining one of the most valued social con- 
quests which the Mexican nation has attained. I 
am confident that at the proper time a spirit of 
good will and a cordial comprehension of our prob- 
lems will soften the acerbities of this controversy 
between the two countries, which is still latent, and 
that this highly important matter will be finally 
arranged. 

FINANCE AND PUBLIC CREDIT 

My previous message to the Congress was con- 
siderably elaborated, in the part relating to the 
Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, and included 
the financial data of 1925 and the first months of 
1926. In that message I explained the application 
which was made of the surplus of 1924 and 1925, 
which reflected a healthy situation which induced 
the government to establish a policy of immediately 
utilizing the excess of receipts over expenses. This 
policy was continued during 1926, in which heavy- 
disbursements and the disturbed economic condi- 
tion of the country during the final months of the 
year created a deficit in the budget. During the 
fiscal period, as well as the current one, large sums 
were devoted to the construction of highways, im- 
portant irrigation works, rural schools, etc., etc., 
without counting the appropriations made for the 
establishment of the Bank of Agricultural Credit 
and the banks for the assistance of the tillers of 
common lands, or the foreign and the interior debt 
service. Thus we abandoned the custom of regard- 
ing the federal income as an element destined merely 
to cover the routine public services and adopted a 

173 



system of profitably investing a part of our revenue 
in works of economic development, considering them 
as of fundamental and immediate importance for 
the well-being of the country. 

Although we began the previous fiscal year with 
a balanced budget with probably receipts estimated 
at 315,700,000 pesos and expenses at 304,400,000 
pesos, of which 63,200,000 pesos were devoted to the 
service of the public debt, nevertheless during the 
course of the same year, 1926, the estimates of ex- 
penses were increased by 51,400,000 pesos, not all 
of which was expended. The existence of a deficit 
is immediately apparent, therefore, which, although 
it was covered in part by extraordinary receipts 
which began to come in in July, created obligations 
amounting to 9,500,000 pesos. As the extraordinary 
revenues were less than the deficit, the treasury 
was obliged to delay the payment of various obliga- 
tions due in order to take care of others which 
were provided for by the budget. These unpaid 
obligations accumulated until on December 31 last 
they amounted to 23,800,000 pesos. On the same 
date the treasury applied upon this sum 10,000,000 
pesos which it had at its command and 2,500,000 
pesos, the latter represented by securities pledged 
with the Bank of Mexico for a loan contracted in 
1926. All of the details of this transaction may be 
found in the report to the Congress by the Minister 
of Finance. 

In its budget for 1927 the Ministry of Finance 
estimated the probable revenues at 308,000,000 
pesos with disbursements at 216,900,000 pesos, plus 
70,000,000 pesos for the public debt service. As 
these estimates did not include sums for works con- 
nected with the government's plans for the economic 
development of the country and as the tentative bud- 
gets submitted by various departments were later 
amplified, the final figure of the budget showed esti- 

174 



mated expenses of 326,900,000 pesos, of which 228,- 
800,000 pesos were devoted to the administrative 
departments of the government, 30,000,000 pesos 
for irrigation works and roads and 68,100,000 for 
the public debt service. Under these conditions 
and in order theoretically to balance the budget, 
the Finance Minister prepared a supplementary 
estimate of receipts totalling 334,300,000 pesos, an 
increase of 26,300,000 pesos. 

However, owing to the perturbed economic con- 
dition of the country during the last months of 1926 
and considering that my administration was enter- 
ing upon its second two-year period in which there 
was reason to apprehend difficulties of all natures 
the government calculated upon a possible reduction 
in the normal revenues, principally in the supple- 
mentary estimates of receipts, inasmuch as this was 
based upon the creation of new taxes and increases 
in those already existing. Fears were entertained 
that the budget plans might be frustrated. Conse- 
quently, as a matter of precaution, the Finance 
Minister placed in operation a system whereby it 
was rendered possible for him to know in advance 
the approximate situation of the treasury at the end 
of each month and on December 31 of this year. 

As these figures indicated a probable deficit, ow- 
ing to the decrease in the anticipated revenues and 
the necessity of liquidating obligations remaining 
over from from 1926 and covering the heavy charges 
of the public debt service, the Executive summoned 
a meeting of the Cabinet at which it was agreed to 
reduce the personnel and expenses of almost all of 
the federal departments and postpone the payment 
of certain items included in the interior and floating 
debts, with the object of reducing the large deficit 
which was foreshadowed and which it was impos- 
sible to avoid altogether without serious interfer- 
ence with the public services. Through these econ- 



175 



omies and notwithstanding a decrease of 20,800,000 
pesos in the normal receipts and of 5,000,000 pesos 
in the schedule of supplementary receipts during 
the first six months of the year, the deficit has been 
held down to 6,000,000 pesos, without including the 
unpaid obligations of 1826. Despite the seriousness 
of the financial situation the government has carried 
on the necessary military operations, has paid the 
army regularly and on time, has continued its pro- 
gramme of public improvements, has covered the 
foreign debt service and punctually paid the salaries 
of the government employes. 

Aside from the above, the Finance Minister cal- 
culates that the deficit for the second half of the 
year will reach 19,000,000 pesos. He reckons that 
the decrease in the normal revenues for that period 
will be 10 percent less than originally estimated 
and that the decrease in the estimated supple- 
mentary revenues will be more than ten percent. 

It will be seen that the revenues have suffered 
a very marked reduction, especially those proceed- 
ing from taxes and imports, exports and the ex- 
ploitation of natural resources. On the other hand, 
it may be said that that, as was predicted by the 
treasury officials, the income tax has become firmly 
implanted in our fiscal system. The falling off in 
imports is unquestionably due to the sluggishness 
of the activities connected with national production, 
but it also may be charged to a psychological de- 
pression in business. The decrease in the exporta- 
tion and exploitation of natural resources may be 
attributed directly to the fact that the petroleum 
companies have lessened their operations, as com- 
pared with 1925. The prospect that the revenues 
from oil will increase are not encouraging. While 
in 1922 the receipts from the oil industry represent 
30 percent of the federal revenues, 19 per cent in 
1924 and 11 percent in 1926, in the current year they 

176 



will not reach 8 percent. Possibly this decrease will 
continue during the next year. 

In view of the fact that the collection of the in- 
come tax will be better administered, in that the 
process of handling it will be perfected without 
decreasing its productivity, and also in the expecta- 
tion that the business depression may be overcome 
in response to timely measures to be taken by the 
government, the Executive will prepare, with proper 
care, the budget for 1928, to which the administra- 
tive activities of the federal departments will be 
subjected. The budget figures will be set at a mini- 
mum, which is fitting in a country of sparse re- 
sources, but without abandoning the government's 
programme of economic development. The govern- 
ment believes it to be sound fiscal policy to omit 
from these calculations the estimated revenues from 
the petroleum industry, owing to the uncertainty 
of their character and considering that the future 
activities of the industry depend upon circumstances 
foreign to the action of the government. 

It is the intention of the government to cover 
scrupuously the public debt service so long as the 
economic capacity of the country does not necessi- 
tate that another road be taken. While it is true 
that the critical state of the treasury has compelled 
a delay in the payments upon the interior debt, the 
agreement with the International Bankers Commit- 
tee has been lived up to. At the beginning of the 
current year |5,346,422 U. S. was paid in interest 
upon the foreign debt for the second half of 1926 
and $2,674,097 U. S. on the debt of the National 
Railways for the same period. On account of the 
interest upon the foreign debt from January to 
June, 1927, the Committee was paid $5,513,955 
U. S., while the corresponding payment upon the 
railroad debt was postponed in the expectation that 
the company would be able to cover it directly. It 

177 



is important to state that, because of the diminution 
of the petroleum revenues, it was necessary in Jan- 
uary last to solicit from the Bankers Committee a 
loan of $718,811.89 U. S., guaranteed by the Bank 
of Mexico, to cover the deficiency on interest on the 
railroad debt for the last half of 1926. In July last 
another loan was obtained from the Committee, 
amounting to $2,000,000 TJ. S., to make up the pay- 
ment due upon the foreign debt for the first sx 
months of the present year. Inasmuch as this last 
loan was negotiated at 6 percent and with no security 
other than the good faith of the government and 
the credit of the nation, the Executive considers the 
fact to reflect favorably upon the credit standing 
of the country abroad. 

Certificates without interest have been issued by 
the federal treasury, to the payment of which $950,- 
000 U. S. has been applied, which represents the 
concellation of 4*/| percent bonds of the Caja de 
Prestamos amounting to $2,500,000 U. S. 

It has been necessary for the government to 
postpone payment upon a majority of the obligations 
comprised in the interior debt, especially those ow- 
ing to the banks. In principle, the banks have 
agreed that their credits be spread over the budgets 
from 1928 to 1934 inclusive, which relieves the bud- 
get for the present year and enables it to be bal- 
anced in 1928. Under ths arrangement the heaviest 
payments are to be made in future years. 



AGRICULTUEE 

The work which has been developed by the Execu- 
tive, through the Ministry of Agriculture and 
Fomento, has been inspired by the elevated concep- 
tions of the precepts of our Constitution, according 
to which we are obliged to make a just distribution 
of the natural resources of the country, in order 

178 



that the best advantage possible may be taken of 
them to the greatest benefit of the nation. 

The initiation of the concrete resolution of the 
problems which affect the general interests of the 
nation, according to the principles outlined above, 
is in accordance with a perfectly defined plan, the 
fundamental points of which include a new distribu- 
tion of the land by dividing it among, and restoring 
it to, the villages ; breaking up the large haciendas, 
colonization, the organization of agricultural pro- 
duction and exportation, rural sanitation, irriga- 
tion, rural credits, agricultural education, etc., etc. 
all points upon the realization of which is founded 
the hope, in which I firmly confide, of a glorious 
future for our country. 



AGRICULTURAL BANKS 

These institutions which were inaugurated in 
May, 1926, in the States of Hidalgo, Guanajuato, 
Michoacan and Durango have made loans to holders 
of common property amounting to 552,680 pesos. 
In connection with these banks there are in opera- 
tion 253 cooperative societies with 18,700 members 
who have subscribed to shares of the value of 221,- 
490 pesos. The operations of these banks have been 
completely successful, to the satisfaction of those 
who have benefited by the distribution of profits, 
especially in Mixquiahula, Hidalgo, where the share- 
holders of the local institution have received 40,000 
pesos from the profits of one season's cultivation of 
crops. 

These institutions have freed their subscribers 
from the iniquitous exploitation of middle-men, to 
whom formerly they were compelled to resort for 
loans in anticipation of their crops, which were only 
ganted upon usurious terms. These banks make 
crop loans to the small farmer at a low rate of 
interest and provide him with money, implements 

179 



and seeds, upon the sole condition that they be ap- 
plied exclusively to the cultivation and croppng of 
his farm. It should be noted that in almost every 
case, the farmers in their operations with these 
banks have completed their transactions with bal- 
ances in their favor which have been applied to their 
acounts. 

CENTRAL AGRICULTURAL SCHOOLS 

Only one of these institutions was in operation 
a year ago, in the State of Guanajuato. Since then 
three additional schools have been established, one 
in Hidalgo, the second in Michoacan and the third 
|in Durango. No effort has been omitted to provide 
these schools with everything necessary for their or- 
ganization and purposes. They are equipped with 
competent teaching forces, modern machinery and 
implements, live stock and selected seeds. Con- 
nected with each are experimental farms of 500 
hectareas of irrigated land. Every school has a lib- 
rary, suitable living accommodations for the stud- 
ents, baths, sport fields, etc. Three additional 
schools will be opened this year in the States of 
Chihuahua, Mexico and Puebla. 

NATIONAL AGRARIAN COMMISSION 

This department has been organized and regu- 
lated in the best possible manner. Its personnel 
has been .selected with the object of ridding the de- 
partment of politics, which seriously interferes with 
the proper solution of the agrarian problem. The 
resume of its work follows : It has dealt with 380 
court appeals against its decisions and asked for 
revisions of court judgments in 249 cases. In ag- 
rarian matters the State Governors have made de- 
cisions in 435 cases and the Federal Executive in 
489 cases. Provisional possession of lands has been 
given to 37,808 families and permanent possession 
to 80,123 families, the latter involving 1,153,218 

ISO 



hectareas. Sixty-two applications have been made 
for water rights. To the persons interested in these 
applications, distribution of water has been made 
to 22, the use of water has been granted to 54, 
provisional ownership of water has been allowed to 
17 and definite ownership to 42. The total volume 
of water distributed provisionally was 92,211 square 
meters, definitely 70,102 square meters and by con- 
sent 67,306 square meters. 

I consider it of interest to inform the Congress 
that the difficulties caused by the application and 
regulation of Article 27 of the Constitution, relat- 
ing to the distribution and restitution of lands and 
waters, whic.h regulations were promulgated by the 
Executive on April 22 of this year by virtue of the 
extraordinary faculties conceded to him, have 
obliged me to consider the necessity of reforming the 
law in such a manner that it will not only meet the 
necessities of the villages, but also to establish and 
fix the objects and proceedings under the law as 
to avert the fatal results of prolonged, costly and 
unnecessary litigation to defeat the upright inten- 
tions of the Executive. The unanimous opinion of 
the field workers also demands legslation more in 
accordance with the principles established by the 
fundamental law of the Republic. In accordance, 
therefore, with the extraordinary facilities given 
by this Congress to the Executive, I shall proceed 
to a study of the indispensable reforms to the law 
of April 23, in conformity with the project which 
is now before the Agrarian Commission of the 
Congress. 



INDEMNITIES FOR LANDS EXPROPRIATED FOR 

AGRARIAN PURPOSES 

When this department was opened on September 
1, 1925, 70 applications for indemnity were pre- 
sented. The total number received up to July 31 

181 



last, was 699, of which 574 were filed by nationals 
and 125 by foreigners. Eighty of these demands, 
which covered 48,602 hectareas of expropriated 
property, have been liquidated by the payment of 7,- 
616,300 pesos in bonds of the Public Agrarian Debt. 
Various demands have been rejected and others are 
pending in the courts. Properties numbering 154 
have been valued and within a few days 74 addi- 
tional demands will be liquidated. The notable in- 
crease in the work of the department is owing to 
the fact that the land-owners affected have finally 
become convinced of the serious intention of the 
government to enforce the law and of its prompt- 
ness in handling their demands and affording them 
means of collecting their indemnities. 

NATIONAL IRRIGATION COMMISSION 
Emphasis must be laid upon the york of the Na- 
tional Irrigation Commission in view of the fact 
that it is evident that the economic future of pur 
country, upon which its social, moral and political 
progress depends, rests principally upon the effica- 
cious agricultural use of our land. This cannot 
be done without a complete and proper system of 
irrigation. This Commission has constructed the 
irrigation reservoirs of Santa Gertrudis, Tamauli- 
pas; Don Martin, upon the Salado River in Coahuila 
and Nuevo Leon; Rio Mante, Tamaulipas; Guati- 
mapS, Durango; Rio Santiago, Aguascalientes and 
Tepuxtepec, Michoacan. These works will provide 
irrigation for approximately 190,000 square hec- 
tareas (469,300 square acres.) Studies are in prog- 
ress for making use of the waters of the Yaqui and 
Mayo Rivers in Sonora, the Conchos and San Bena- 
yentura Rivers in Chisuahua and the Sauceda River 
in Durango. Zones are also being irrigated with 
waters from the Tepeji River in Hidalgo and from 
the drainage canal of the valley of Mexico in the 
valley and in the Mezquital region of Hidalgo. 

182 



To the present the commission has expended the 
sum of 11,511,581.84 pesos, divided as follows: con- 
struction, machinery and equipment, 7,727,918.94 
pesos; land and right, 2,495,582.69 pesos; studies 
and plans, 1,065,285.38 pesos; miscellaneous con- 
struction, 95,20.03 pesos; instruments, tools, etc., 
127,675 pesos. The government's irrigation pro- 
gramme is not limited to the projects outlined above. 
It will be amplified in accordance with the national 
necessities and the financial power of the treasury. 
This is an enormous work. My desire is to sustain 
and continue it with the greatest enthusiasm and 
not to abandon it, but on the contrary, to intensify 
it day by day. 

INDUSTRY, COMMERCE AND LABOR 
The diverse circumstances which compelled the 
Federal Executive to adopt a resolute attitude in 
defense of the legitimate interests of the Mexican 
people during the past year, and which appreciably 
affected the economic conditions of the country, pro- 
vide a severe test for this department. It emerged 
from it successfully. In each case it acted with firm 
judgment, but in a conciliatory manner, to reconcile 
the interests of the distinct social groups concerned 
without in the least degree sacrificing the national 
dignity and sovereignty. It is especially satisfac- 
tory to note that high significance attaches to the 
fact that, despite all the obstacles which were en- 
countered, the programme of the government has 
been faithfully complied with. I will add merely 
that the resolution of the difficult problems confided 
to its attention has always been preceded by a serene 
and careful investigation, in order that it might 
proceed in every case with all confidence, and that 
this is the standard to which this department of 
the government intends to adhere in the future* 

Difficulties having arisen as the result of the ex- 
piration of the existing contracts between the Mex- 

183 



lean Railway Company and its organized employes, 
the department was called in to mediate, which it 
did successfully. New contracts were made which 
explicitly set forth the mutual rights and obliga- 
tions of the parties to them and established the prin- 
ciple that, under the terms of Article 123 of the 
Constitution, employes who lost their positions as 
the result of necessary reductions in personnel, must 
be properly indemnified. 

The department has striven to obtain the maxi- 
mum of safety and hygienic working conditions for 
the workers, to the end of enabling them to preserve 
their health and to prevent so far as possible occu- 
pational accidents. As a result, labor difficulties 
during the year were appreciably reduced, only 334 
cases having been recorded. 

Important work was done by our labor repre- 
sentatives abroad in the direction of bringing the 
workers of Mexico and of other countries in close 
touch with each other and in creating a better under- 
standing outside of Mexico of our people and their 
just aspirations for moral and material improve- 
ment. 

More than 41,000 workers applied to the depart- 
ment during the year for financial redress against 
their employers. Compensation was awarded to 
them to the amount of 688,975.25 pesos. The de- 
partment also devoted much attention to the study 
of the prevailing rates of wages, in order to deter- 
mine the minimum wage which would enable its 
recipient to live decently and comfortably ; to pro- 
viding jobs for the idle and to controlling with 
efficiency the multiple aspects of the important social 
function constituted by labor. 



PETROLEUM DEPARTMENT 
Despite the debate over the petroleum law of 
December 81, 1926, there were registered in this 

184 



Department 973 applications for petroleum conces- 
cessions, of which 675 were confirmed and 308 were 
given preferential rights. The first provided pro- 
tection to the owners of a total of 10,877,446 hec- 
tareas of land and the second 3,784,372 hectareas. 
The latter figures include land claimed by all the 
companies which have not manifested the holdings 
which they assert they acquired prior to 1917, re- 
gardless of the names in which rights are claimed. 
The rights which may be regarded as not comply- 
ing with the law comprise only 527,027 hectareas, 
which are rights obtained prior to 1917, confirma- 
tion of which has not been applied for by the com- 
panies. Of the 147 companies operating in the coun- 
try in December last, 125 have submitted to the new 
legislation and only 22 have declined to do so. This 
fact demonstrates the unjustifiable attitude assumed 
by the recalcitrant companies. The study and draft- 
ing of the new regulations for the operations of the 
petroleum industry, which will soon be promulgated, 
has been another of the important functions of the 
department. Its object is to bring about the scien- 
tific conservation and proper use of the petroleum 
resources of the country. It should be noted that 
the standards established by Mexico for the regula- 
tion of the industry, proceeding from the laws which 
have been so bitterly opposed, have commenced to 
be adopted even in the United States, the country 
which is most vigorous in its opposition to our laws. 



PUBLIC EDUCATION 

Inasmuch as the Secretary of Education will to- 
morrow present a detailed report to the Congress, 
I shall limit myself to mentioning various consider- 
ations of a general nature and referring to the most 
interesting educational problems which we are en- 
deavoring to solve. 

185 



As I have frequently stated since I became Presi- 
dent, the constant philosophical thought which has 
guided the government in its educational work has 
tended toward placing the school in more intimate 
contact with the community, in order that the bene- 
fits of the former might not be alone confined to the 
student, but that they might be taken advantage of 
by the people and especially the industrial and rural 
masses. 

It has been our steadfast endeavor to awaken and 
develop the economic potentialities of our people 
for the benefit of the collective welfare by impart- 
ing through the schools knowledge capable of im- 
mediate practical application. Consequently we 
have tried in all grades of our scholastic establish- 
ment to create a nexus between the schools and the 
community. Naturally, it has been by means of the 
rural schools, which come most closely in touch with 
the agrarian masses who have been isolated from 
the benefits of civilization, that we have especially 
sought to bring about this contact. But it must be 
confessed sincerely, in order to counteract any im- 
pression which may prevail that we imagine that 
we have already attained this end and that no new 
forces must be brought to bear in the future in this 
direction, that what we have thus far done consists 
of little more than essays in realism and in the 
reconstruction of society. 

Although the principle of national education is 
now definitely established in Mexico in its various 
branches and activities, in accordance with its 
modern philosophical conception, so distinct from 
the merely instructive work which it formerly pur- 
sued, so long as we fail in perfecting a complete co- 
ordinated action and sustaining influence upon the 
rural masses, and especially upon the Indians, the 
efforts of the rural school, no matter how energetic 
and generous they may be, will continue to be weak 

186 



and insufficient, considering that in the work of 
civilization the scholastic element is only a minimum 

part. 

In addition to the traditionally distinct activities 
of the school, that is to say, the study of language, 
writing, arithmetic, geography, etc., which is al- 
ready an important feature of our rural schools, 
we are trying to teach the breeding, care and use 
of domestic animals, small industries, the making 
of clothing, objects of ornament, toys and furniture; 
the proper preparation of food, tanning, the weaving 
of cloth and serapes, the fabrication of pottery. We 
are trying, I repeat, to concentrate and reduce to 
practicability these non-traditional educational ac- 
tivities in accordance with the conditions and the 
means with which we have to cope, in order that 
they may exert a more intense and rapid influence 
upon the collective life of the people. 

Notwithstanding the economies enforced upon the 
treasury, the federal government is now sustaining 
3,433 rural school teachers and six agricultural mis- 
sions. These teachers are experienced in agricul- 
ture, small industries, physical education, hygiene 
and the imparting of information useful for social 
action. The missions are bearing to the various 
parts of the country the civilizing agencies to which 
I previously referred. Nine Rural Normal Schools 
for the training of rural school teachers and their 
education along the lines indicated by the new social 
tendencies of the country, are developing an inten- 
sive work in isolated communities in which, in com- 
mon with the rural schools, they are endeavoring 
to promote the collective cultural progress among 
adults by means of night, Saturday and Sunday 
classes. Their object is not merely to impart knowl- 
edge, but to stimulate new sources of production 
and improve the organization of existing ones. In 
a word, to elevate the standards of living among 
the Mexican people. 

187 



NATIONALIZATION OF CHURCH PROPERTY 

When the Attorney General created this depart- 
ment he had no doubt of its value. It affords me 
satisfaction to pay that his judgment was correct. 
Notwithstanding its scant personnel and appropria- 
tion, it has begun and concluded 158 proceedings 
affecting rural property, 749 affecting urban prop- 
erty and 47 relating to mortgages. As a result of 
these proceedings, which have been brought before 
the district and the Supreme Court judges, 225 rural 
and 1,443 urban properties, of an estimated value 
of 21,000,000 pesos, have been nationalized. This 
bureau also has obtained possession of credits and 
legacies in favor of the Catholic Church of a value 
of 1,000,000 pesos. 



PUBLIC HEALTH 

In view of the powers granted it under the new 
sanitary code, the department has extended the ac- 
tivities of the federal health service by installing in 
each state a sanitary delegation. Seventy-four offi- 
ces have been established throughout the country, 
including the representations in the states, at the 
ports, on the frontier, dispensaries, etc. A congress 
of local sanitary authorities will be held in Mexico 
City during the present month for the purpose of 
standardizing the functions of the authorities in 
connection with the federal health service, endors- 
ing the acts of the sanitary units and to plan an 
active campaign against venerial diseases. An in- 
dication of the enthusiastic manner in which in- 
vitations to this congress have been received by the 
state governments is indicated by the fact that some 
of the states have offered to permit the funds raised 
locally for sanitation to be administered by the 
federal health officials. In connection with these 
activities, this department has suggested to the 

188 



state governments the desirability of organizing 
sanitary units in each municipality. As a result ap- 
proximately 1,000 of these units have thus far been 
organized. To combat infant mortality, advantage 
has been taken of the disinterested sympathies of 
the women of Mexico to form a corps of Volunteer 
Visiting Nurses. The Executive takes this oppor- 
tunity to express his appreciation of the noble gen- 
erosity with which the women have engaged in this 
crusade for infant hygiene. While the amount is 
not so large as the Executive would like to see it, 
although possibly it may be increased next year, the 
appropriation for the federal health service this 
year is 8,388,947.50 pesos, an increase of 3,28,643.30 
pesos over the preceding year. 

CONCLUSION 

The characteristic which among public officials 
should be most highly estimated is that their actual 
deeds should be intimately related with the sincerity 
of their convictions. I have tried to mark all of 
my administrative acts with truth and sincerity. I 
have sought to comply strictly with the Constitu- 
tional law and to work with the other branches of 
the government and with the state governments in 
an atmosphere of mutual respect and in reciprocal 
observation of their orders and in harmony and in 
cordial understanding. While this has been his atti- 
tude with respect to domestic affairs, the President 
has likewise exerted especial efforts to strengthen 
the ties of friendship between the people of Mexico 
and those of other nations, according to the most 
elevated conceptions of decorum and dignity and al- 
ways upon a basis of common and unequivocal 
demonstrations of respect to our sovereignty and to 
that of our neighbors. 

Despite the intense economic crisis which per- 
vades the world and the sacrifices imposed upon the 
Republic in the painful and necessary struggle to 

189 



effect the rational development and the equitable 
distribution of the national wealth, the Executive 
while pursuing his programme of rigid and per- 
sistent economy, has still been able to meet the 
demands of the public service and has not alone com- 
plied with interior obligations, which naturally are 
given preference, but also with foreign commit- 
ments and has sought with tenacious earnestness 
to establish the country's credit abroad. 

Similar success has been accomplished in coping 
with the unexpected disbursements caused by the 
military campaigns against the Yaquis and in Jal- 
isco and Guanajuato. These were carried to suc- 
cessful conclusions with a decision and energy which 
provides eloquent testimony to the efficiency, discip- 
line and military capacity of our army and to its 
abilty to guarantee the inviolability of our demo- 
cratic institutions and to insure public peace and 
tranquility in the country. 

With firmness and vigor the Executive has con- 
tinued his agrarian policy, and has corrected the 
deficiencies in the agrarian law and incessantly re- 
paired errors which have been thrown into relief by 
experience. In the conviction that the true pros- 
perity of the country depends upon the cultivation 
of the land, he has commenced great irrigation 
works and founded agricultural schools in order that 
the rural masses may acquire profitable knowledge 
and obtain a more exact and perfect idea of the 
value and significance of a moral and social solid- 
arity among the workers. 

As a proper measure for encouraging and making 
productive agricultural activities the Executive, ac- 
cording to the financial ability of the government, 
has brought about the construction and the develop- 
ment of land, water and aerial communications and 
extended his full support to this interesting branch 
of the administration in the comprehension that ade- 

190 



quate means of communication are a fundamental 
basis for the progress of the people. 

In consonance with the development of communi- 
cations the Executive has sought equally to favor 
industry and national commerce by rendering it 
practically possible to transport products at low 
rates, with the object of diminishing imports and 
increasing exports as much as possible. The motive 
of the Executive in this respect has been, and will 
continue to be, to bring about the uplifting of the 
industrial workers, the rural masses and the toilers 
generally who constitute the proletariat, to offer 
them the means of comfortable living and to dignify 
to the extent that is permitted by our powers those 
who are the true builders of national greatness. The 
frank evidence of the support of this policy, sup- 
plied by the legislation recently initiated by the Ex- 
ecutive, is an open demonstration that neither in- 
terior nor exterior opposition nor the obstinate re- 
sistance of conservatism has succeeded in modify- 
ing the judgment or the purpose of the government, 
which is resolved steadfastly to maintain unim- 
paired the national sovereignty and the free right 
of Mexico to legislate in such debated questions as 
petroleum and in others of no less transcendental 
importance. 

In line with his general concern for the welfare 
of the workers, the Executive has the obligation of 
fighting illiteracy and ignorance among the masses, 
which is being done through the continuous and pro- 
gressive establishment of rural schools. Through 
self-denial and heroic force it has been possible to 
carry to the foremost corners of the country the 
benefits of these institutions. 

All of these efforts, which are inspired by im- 
pulses of tangible truth and an unbreakable sin- 
cerity of conviction, I have brought to your atten- 
tion in the summary of my work as Executive dur- 

191 



ing the past year. To conclude, I shall say once 
more before this Congress that the greatest reward 
to which I aspire in return for whatever efforts I 
have made for the welfare of the Mexican people 
is that they may believe that I have complied with 
my duty. 



192 



MEXICO AND BOLSHEVISM 



RUSSIAN SYSTEM IMPOSSIBLE THERE, FOR PRESI- 
DENT POINTS OUT THAT CAPITALISM 
IS FIRMLY IMPLANTED IN 
SOUTHERN REPUBLIC 



(From The New York Times, November 27, 1927) 

I am now quite used to being called a Bolshevik 
by those who are opposed to my political views. 
But then, here in Mexico, every one whose politics 
are progressive is termed a Bolshevik. The mere 
fact that I have placed myself at the head of that 
powerful section of my countrymen which seeks 
to remove all that is antiquated and out of date 
from pur present system of government does not in 
the slightest degree justify my opponents in desig- 
nating me as an extremist. It simply amounts to 
this: My enemies do not realize what is actually 
taking place in the world of today! The social 
changes going on before our very eyes are radical 
in the extreme ; they are to be noted in every corner 
of the globe. And herein lies my duty as I con- 
ceive it to do what is within my power to direct 
and hold this turbulent current of shifting opinion in 
check, so that instead of bringing destruction in 
its train it will bring prosperity. 

In any case, it is still too early to pronounce 
judgment on the Russian Soviet system. We in 
Mexico must govern in accordance with the Con- 
stitution of 1917. That is why the Soviet as a 

193 



system of government interests us only in so far 
as it represents a new philosophy and a new social 
standpoint in other words, we are interested in 
its theory, not in its practice. 

THE TREND TOWAED INDIVIDUALISM 

I have adopted this attitude of moderation not 
only because my personal inclinations lie that way 
but because I am convinced that any revolutionary 
movement here in Mexico which threatens the 
authority of capital is bound to fail, for the simple 
reason that such a radical change would be contrary 
to the Mexican viewpoint. There is in Mexico a 
pronounced trend in favor of individualism, and 
this can only be satisfied within the limits set up 
by the present so-called capitalist system. For this 
reason the Government will do everything in its 
power to safeguard the interests of foreign capi- 
talists who invest money in Mexico. 

Above and below the surface of the Mexican 
soil there lie untold treasures. These enormous 
sources of wealth, however, are of no use to us 
unless we are in a position to exploit them. Every 
enterprise bringing capital to exploit these hitherto 
untapped sources will enjoy the full protection of 
our laws. On the other hand, capitalists must abide 
by these laws, too. They must not treat them with 
contempt or expect to be granted special privileges 
which would set them above the law. And least 
of all must they expect to be allowed to make slaves 
of the Mexicans, rewarding the latter for their toil 
with nothing more than a miserly wage. If they 
derive profit from the land, they are expected to 
benefit the country in return. 

WANTS ALL ALIENS NATURALIZED 

Every capitalist who comes here should feel him- 
self a Mexican,; he should take root here and build 

194 



up an estate with the idea of remaining here and 
becoming naturalized. We do not want persons to 
come over with the idea of making a fortune in the 
shortest possible time and then leave the country 
and spend that fortune elsewhere. We must put a 
stop to that sort of thing without, however, com- 
mitting the grave error of striking at the liberty 
of the subject for we pride ourselves on the free- 
dom which the individual citizen enjoys. 

We should make it our object to see that every 
foreigner who comes here takes out his naturaliza- 
tion papers. Thus we shall be following the ex- 
ample set by the United States. For in the States 
they are expert in assembling those forces neces- 
sary to build up the economic structure of the coun- 
try; these forces are concentrated; they are not 
allowed to disperse. Hence the rapid progress made 
by the United States in the last decade. The tend- 
ency today is for the States to widen the sphere 
of their political influence; this is a result of their 
productive capacity. It arises from surplus energy, 
and their object is to extend their influence over the 
whole continent. 

But the United States is not composed of a people 
of robbers, but of producers; they need markets 
for their manufactured goods and raw material for 
their industries. Their imperialism, of which the 
other States of America are afraid, is kept within 
bounds if it were not, then the hostility of the 
Latin States would be immediately aroused. If the 
United States intervenes in the affairs of Latin 
America, for any reason whatsoever, the conse- 
quence will be that the whole of Spanish-speaking 
America will be alienated. 

VALUE OP TRADES UNIONS 

Nothing is further from my mind than to inter- 
rupt the peaceful economic development of Mexico 

195 



or to interfere with the present economic system. 
But I must emphasize the fact that I consider the 
trade unions to be absolutely indispensable to this 
capitalist system. For the trade unions serve a two- 
fold purpose : They keep the growing might of capi- 
talism in check on the one hand; and in the event 
of an attack being launched on the capitalist ranks 
the unions serve as a barricade. The trade unions 
stand or fall by capitalism. But they should never 
intervene in political matters. Their sphere is 
purely economic, and once they meddle in politics 
they lose their character and their significance. 

But that does not mean that the individuals of 
which the trade unions are composed should not 
take part in politics if they so wish that is their 
right of citizenship, nay, more than their right, it 
is their duty. And in any case they will be doing 
no harm; for the leaders of the Mexican Labor 
Party have repeatedly shown that they are possessed 
of a strong sense of responsibility and that they 
attach more importance to what is likely to benefit 
the State than to the furtherance of their own 
ambitions. 

I have expressly added the clause "here in Mex- 
ico" to my remarks, for I cannot overemphasize 
the fact that our internal political conditions are 
in no wise to be compared with those obtaining in 
the States of Western Europe. And I am absolutely 
convinced that in carrying out my political plans 
I can count on the firm support of the middle classes. 
I have done everything I could to arouse them from 
their former apathy toward political and social 
questions, so that now they are ready to take a 
prominent part in the renaissance which is just be- 
ginning. They will in time accept with alacrity 
the civic responsibilities which they will be asked 
to assume and for which they are already well fitted. 

196 



ATTITUDE OP THE MIDDLE CLASS 

The middle classes have answered my call with 
enthusiasm, and I am certain they will take a de- 
cisive part in the further development of the Mexi- 
can democracy and in the eventual solution of our 
social problems. 

My friendly feeling for the middle class can in 
part be ascribed to the fact that I am doing every- 
thing in my power to create a class of small peasant 
proprietors. It is my ambition to see the peasants 
own the land on which they work. For to make 
every peasant a proprietor is the best way of avoid- 
ing revolution and political unrest. Thus is created 
a substantial personal, and perhaps in a measure 
selfish, interest in supporting the existing order of 
things. Capital can play its part too in the found- 
ing of land banks, insurance companies, and so 
forth. In this way the bonds between capital and 
labor are strengthened. 

But it is not the intention of the Government to 
split up large estates for this purpose. The volun- 
tary cooperation of the present landed proprietors 
is sought, so that the acquisition by the peasants 
of small portions of land will be rendered possible. 
Under these circumstances, too, common land that 
is to say land held in common by villages will also 
be divided up into small holdings. But special laws 
will have to be formulated in order to prevent big 
stretches of this common land being controlled by 
one person. 

It is my firm conviction that land held in common 
and worked in common offers no advantages to the 
peasants it only gives rise to unnecessary disputes 
between neighbors. And when this system of small 
holdings has become an accomplished fact the means 
of production will be considerably increased. New 
railways will be built in districts which have not 

197 



hitherto been opened up. Great tracts of country, 
as for instance the States of Coahuila and Durango, 
will come under the plough and cultivation will be 
carried out in accordance with the most modern 
methods. Our plateaus can be reforested in the 
manner of the Argentine pampas, with the result 
that our climatic conditions will be bettered. 

Once this system has been established we shall be 
able to encourage the immigration to Mexico of 
farm laborers from Europe. But if this is to be on 
the same scale as the immigration to the United 
States and the Argentine, then the farm laborers 
in Mexico must be better paid than they are at 
present. 

Up to now industry, agriculture and mining here 
have been carried on at the expense of the under- 
paid worker, so that laborers from Europe could 
never compete with Mexican labor unless wages 
were raised. But if we make it our business to 
better the conditions of the people in general, im- 
migration from Europe will be a sources of great 
wealth, so that in a few decades our population 
will have doubled. 



198 



APPENDIX 



MEMORIAL OF THE MEXICAN PRELATES TO THE 
PRESIDENT 



Points of view susta/ined by the Catholic clergy 

Mr. President : The Episcopal Committee, which 
is the proper representative of the Archbishops and 
Bishops in the Republic of Mexico, and in the name 
of all the priests and of the Catholics in Mexico, 
respectfully state: 

We make this petition under the natural right 
recognized by the Constitution of the Republic and 
which is cited by you in your statements published 
in the press on July 25 last. 

But before proceeding with our petition it appears 
to us to be opportune and proper to reply with all 
sincerity to two charges which have been made 
against us, those of being in rebellion against the 
laws of Mexico and of not having before employed 
the right of petition, which we are doing, with 
respect to the Constitution of 1857, in which in 1873 
were incorporated the Laws of Reform, and to the 
Constitution of 1917. 

We have been accused of rebellion because of hav- 
ing ordered the suspension of pubic worship in the 
churches, in protest against the penal dispositions 
of the government which were dictated in June 
last. Nothing could be more unjustified than this 
charge. It is not rebellion not to commit an act 
penalized by law. Neither can a citizen be accused 
of rebellion when he refuses to exercise his pro- 

199 



fession because he conscientiously believes it to be 
impossible for him to do so under conditions which 
are imposed upon him, for "he who exercises his 
rights injures no one," 

The conduct observed by the Catholic clergy of 
the Eepublic from the day upon which the law to 
which we object became of force, simply reduces 
itself to this. We believe that our conduct, so far 
as our consciences has permitted, has always demon- 
strated respect to the law. 

With respect to the other charge, among other 
very strong reasons the principal cause of our 
failure to petition for the amendment of the articles 
of the Constitution which are antagonistic to the 
Church and the rights of Catholic citizens, was that 
for some reason or other the authorities in the 
past did not see fit to enforce these requirements. 
Thereby a situation of mutual tolerance was created 
which did not disturb the public peace and which 
permitted the Church relative liberty to exist and 
function. 

We believed it less necessary to petition against 
the Constitution of 1917, upon seeing that President 
Carranza officially proposed to the Congress, with 
most convincing reasons the amendment of certain 
articles which are contrary to the liberties which 
we claim on behalf of the Catholic people of Mexico, 
which reforms were not accomplished by the Con- 
gress because of circumstances which are known 
to everyone. Neither did the successor to President 
Carranza urge the enforcements fo the said articles. 
Consequently we had no reason for changing our 
attitude. 

Now, animated by the most sincere patriotism 
and desiring that there shall be a real and stable 
peace in the country, we ask that you utilize your 
influence to bring about the amendment of the 
articles referred to, and consequently of the penal 

200 



prescriptions which are sanctioned by them. As 
this will require time and as the solution of the 
present difficulties is urgent, we believe ourselves 
justified in asking you that some manner be ar- 
ranged by which the application of the law may be 
suspended, in the interest of worship, education and 
charity. 

The principle which leads us to request that these 
reforms be made is that general postulate which has 
now been converted into an established institution 
of our Repubic, and which is: "The most complete 
independence of Church and State/' in order that 
the Constitution and all of the laws may not do less 
than faithfully interpret this supreme postulate. 
In this manner it will not be possible for the state 
to dictate laws favoring or opposing any religious 
or to legislate in religious matters, as, for example, 
determining the number of ministers who shall be 
allowed to officiate in the country or to impose con- 
ditions for the exercise of the ministry. This will 
correspond to the true conception of the civil law 
and indicate to the people that the independence of 
Church from State is faithfully respected. 

In consequence we ask the following liberties, to 
which we are entitled as Christians, as citizens of 
a civilized nation and even as men: Liberty of con- 
science, of thought, of worship, of instruction, of 
association, of the press, all in actuality without 
technical legal restrictions tending to destroy the 
Constitutional principle. In a word, without seek- 
ing privileges, we ask for the recognition of that 
personality which is necessary and indispensable 
to the Church in order that the liberties above men- 
tioned may be effective. 

We are thoroughly convinced, and this is the 
opinion of the Catholic people of Mexico, that only 
in this manner can the old religious conflict which 
has brought so many evils to our country, a recrud- 

201 



escence of which is now taking place, be terminated 
definitely. This is, without doubt, the desire of all 
good Mexicans who are concerned with the happi- 
ness of the country, and history will record with 
just veneration the name of the ruler who, in com- 
pliance with his duty, realizes this noble work. 

Mexico, August 16, 1926. 
(Signed) JOSE MORA y DEL RIO, 

Archbishop of Mexico, 
The President of the Episcopal Committee. 
PASCUAL DIAZ, Bishop of Tobasco, 

Secretary. 



202 



THE REAL CALLES 



HOW THE PRESIDENT LIVES AND WORKS TAKES 

PRIDE IN THE FACT THAT HE SPRANG FROM 

THE HUMBLE CLASSES SPENDS MUCH 

TIME IN STUDY OFFICIAL TASKS 

ARE IMMENSE 

(By Manuel Becerra Acosta, El Excelsior, Mexico City, 
September 16, 1925.) 

One of the numerous anecdotes attributed to 
Napoleon when he was Emperor narrates that, find- 
ing himself one day conversing with several repre- 
sentatives of the old French nobility, he referred 
to some incident of his obscure youth and prefaced 
the illusion with, "When I was a subordinate officer 
of artillery," greatly to the surprise of some of his 
hearers who indicated their astonishment that the 
man who was at the period the foremost personality 
in Europe should thus confess his humble origin. 
Whereupon the Emperor repeated his statement, 
and provided emphasis to it, with a variation: 
"When I had the honor to be a subordinate officer 
of artillery/' 

Something similar occurred when General Calles 
was last year in Paris. At one of the entertain- 
ments given in his honor he was approached by an 
elderly Marquis who saluted him and began to ask 
him questions concerning various members of aris- 
tocratic Mexican families whom he had known in 
this country a quarter of a century ago. General 
Calles replied courteously, and considerably to the 

203 



embarrassment of his interrogator : "I regret to say 
that I am not acquainted with any of these persons, 
for the simple reason that I am a man who 
descended from very humble people, and conse- 
quently I never had an opportunity of meeting 
them." 

Both in conversation and in his public address 
General Calles frequently makes references to the 
fact that he sprang from a poor family. For this 
reason he feels at home when surrounded by repre- 
sentatives of the working classes, while they, in turn, 
regard him as one of themselves. 

Having from his youth been under the necessity 
of struggling against heavy odds to maintain him- 
self and his family, General Calles is well schooled 
to cope with the varied and tremendously onerous 
duties which fall upon a President in a country 
like Mexico, where he is called upon to dispose of 
a multiplicity of comparatively insignificant matters 
which should, in fact, be handled by subordinates, 
and which could be settled as well by a reasonably 
intelligent policeman. Custom compels him to in- 
tervene in countless trivial affairs which consume 
an inordinate amount of time and effort which 
should in reality be devoted to concerns of vastly 
more vital moment to the country and to the ad- 
ministration. 

I found myself one Wednesday evening in the 
presence of General Calles. He had been in office 
only a few months. It was at the conclusion of a 
long conference between the President and the Min- 
ister of War. The President's weariness was ob- 
vious. He had thrown himself back in a comfort- 
able chair. His eyes were closed. Occasionally 
they opened to follow indifferently the smoke which 
twisted into the air from his cigarette. He had 
been through a busy and exhausting day, including 
conferences with various ministers, the reception of 

204 



numerous commissions from different parts of the 
country and the disposition of the normal volume 
of the day's work which was brought to his desk 
by his private secretary. I waited for the President 
to begin the conversation and thought how mis- 
takenly a majority of persons believed that being 
President of Mexico meant an easy life, replete with 
'pleasure, accompanied by honors and blind obedi- 
ence on the part of the officials to the will and the 
orders of the President and complete and selfish per- 
sonal satisfaction and happiness. But before me 
was evidence of the reality of the situation. Gen- 
eral Calles is a strong man physically, of rare 
energy, an indefatigable worker, surcharged with 
enthusiasm, always optimistic, always eager for the 
fight. Still, I saw him the prisoner of fatigue, for 
the reason that since the first day he took office he 
had been under the weight of enormous and crush- 
ing labor and responsibilities consequent upon the 
reconstruction of a country exhausted by war, the 
conflict of personal ambitions, by the moral re- 
laxation of the public officials, by the misery of the 
people and by the persistent spoliation of the many 
at the hands of the few. 

Finally the President broke the silence with some 
incidental observation which afforded me an op- 
portunity of asking him what he thought of the 
project which was then under discussion in the 
press and the Congress relative to lengthening the 
term of the President for from four to six years. 
He said that in his opinion the time was not oppor- 
tune for making this change. 
' "The work is very heavy," said he, "and not every 
man could stand it for such a long period, and 
much less so when the country has not returned 
to its normal life. While the situation is being regu- 
larized, four years is plenty for the Presidential 
term." 



Since his participation ceased in revolutionary 
activities in the field General Calles has lived a 
methodical life, physically, as the result of which 
he is now free of indispositions which would have 
incapacitated him from developing the labor which 
has been imposed upon him. He disposes of his 
time according to a rigid schedule, which enables 
him to get through a vast amount of work system- 
atically and effectively. During the first few months 
of his administration he arose each morning at 5 
o'clock and took physical exercise. He rode horse- 
back in Chapultepec Park, rowed on the lake and 
walked back to his residence, just below the Castle, 
for a 7 o'clock breakfast, which consisted of fruit, 
eggs and some favorite dish of frontier cuisine, such 
as baked kid's head. But later on by the direction 
of his physician and to enable him better to recruit 
his vitality after the exhausting grind of his days 
at the desk, he has been devoting more time to sleep. 
His hour for rising is now 7. He begins the day 
by reading the newspapers, and pays especial atten- 
tion to the editorials, the cables and the news from 
the interior. Occasionally he takes setting up exer- 
cise before breakfast. He is a good swimmer and 
enjoys horseback riding. 

Promptly at 10 o'clock he is in his office at the 
National Palace, unless he elects to work at home, 
and from then until 1 o'clock he remains at his 
desk. He first receives his private secretary, who 
has arranged letters, telegrams and documents for 
his examination. Each letter or document bears a 
brief memorandum of its contents and is usually 
disposed of immediately, unless the President re- 
quires further information on the subject. 

The President's Chief of Staff is next in turn, 
with his portfolio of matters relating to military 
affairs. He also lays before the President data con- 
nected with the movement of funds in all of the 

206 



offices of the federal government. One of the inno- 
vations introduced by the President in the admin- 
istrative work of his office consists in having daily 
reports made to his Chief of Staff, whereby they 
reach him directly and without delay, of the monies 
received and paid out by the governmental depart- 
ments. Thereby he is enabled to keep a close check 
upon expenditures and to scrutinize closely the 
destination of every peso paid out from the treasury 
and the reason and expediency of the expenditure. 
As a result in the first nine months of his admin- 
istration the expenses of the government were re- 
duced by more than 90,000,000 pesos. The Chief 
of Staff also keeps the President informed upon the 
movements and activities of the military forces in 
all parts of the Republic. As a rule the President 
is finished with his secretary and the Chief of Staff 
by noon. They give way to the Cabinet Ministers, 
at least one of whom is always waiting to confer 
with the President. 

Conferences with other officials of the govern- 
ment, with commissions who seek the President's 
assistance or advice, or with persons who have ap- 
pointments consume the afternoon hours. Applica- 
tions for appointments average more than 100 a 
day, but as few of these as possible are granted. 
Ninety per cent of them concern trivial matters 
which can be adjusted by subordinates as well as by 
the President pensions for widows, job hunters, 
seekers of favors, persons with grievances or with 
petitions. Efforts are made to limit the interviews 
which the President grants to ten minutes, but 
oftener than not they run to close to half an hour. 
With a brief interval for lunch and rest, the Presi- 
dent remains in his office from 10 o'clock until 
after 7. He then goes home to dinner and while 
waiting for the meal to be served looks over the 
evening papers, chats with the members of his f am- 

207 



ily or plays with his youngest child, Gustavo, a boy 
of about seven. Not infrequently he puts in several 
hours of work at night. 

Unless pressing reasons prevent, on Saturday the 
President leaves his office at noon and goes to his 
Quinta del Lago the house by the lake on the out- 
skirts of the city. Sometimes he is accompanied 
by a few friends with whom he spends the after- 
noon. It is to the Quinto del Lago that he retires 
when he wishes to be alone to study some especially 
abstruse or difficult problem. He does most of his 
reading there translations from the French, Ger- 
man or English of works or laws upon labor legis- 
lation, unionism, cooperativism seated in a big 
chair on the veranda of the villa, overlooking the 
lake. 

While thus engaged there he receives no callers 
and none are announced. It is necessary for him 
thus to seclude himself,' for these are the only hours 
which he has to himself, in which to concentrate his 
attention without being interrupted upon matters 
and topics which require careful consideration be- 
fore being acted upon. It is forbidden to break in 
upon him at the Quinta unless the cause is urgent. 

On the stroke of 7 o'clock on Saturday evening 
there invariably appears at the Quinta "Brother 
Cosme," as the President calls Don Cosme Hino- 
josa, Director General of Posts, who comes to ac- 
company General Calles to one of the theatres of 
the capital. He usually spends Sunday mornings at 
the Quinta with a group of his intimates, which is 
apt to include General Eugenio Martinez, Don Ern- 
esto Ocaranza Llano, General Miguel Pina and pos- 
sibly one or two of the Cabinet Ministers. The 
President is a very good story teller and a good 
listener. He relaxes completely and keenly enjoys 
these carefree hours on the terrace of the Quinta, 
which end with a cocktail or two and the dispersal 

208 



of the party. Occasionally he receives there early 
on Sunday callers by appointment, to discuss press- 
ing topics. During the season he is apt oftener 
than not on Sunday afternoon to attend the bullfight. 

The President finds his amusement principally at 
the theatre and the bullfights or in music. Dinners 
and other ceremonial social functions, even when 
they are given in his honor, interest him slightly. 
He does not like to have a fuss made over him. This 
accounts for his reluctance to accept the official hos- 
pitality which was proffered him in Germany dur- 
ing his trip to Europe, after his election as Presi- 
dent and before he took office. While he was aboard 
ship he received a message from the Mexican Min- 
ister in Germany, informing him that President 
Ebert was preparing an elaborate reception for him. 
General Calles replied, saying that it would not be 
possible for him to accept, owing to the fact that he 
was travelling entirely in a personal capacity and 
that he was taking the trip for the benefit of his 
health. A second message came from the Mexican 
Minister, to the effect that the German Foreign 
Office insisted upon entertaining him officially. 
Again he declined, but when he arrived at Ham- 
burg he found that the government, without con- 
sulting him further, had proceeded with the carry- 
ing out of its programme of entertainment. 

To this point we have related, with the brevity 
imposed by the limitations of a newspaper article, 
what we have seen of the personal side of the Presi- 
dent's life, but our account would not be complete 
without some reference to his early life and begin- 
nings. General Calles is a son of Don Plutarco 
.Elias Calles and Dona Maria de Jesus Calles. He 
is now forty-nine years old, having been born in 
Guaymas, Sonora, on September 25, 1877. His 
grandfather was Don Jose Juan Calles, who was a 
Colonel and second in command of the Liberal forces 

209 



which fought against the French intervention. Be- 
cause of the death of his mother, the boy was given 
into the care of his aunt, Dona Manuela Calles, who 
took her responsibilities so seriously that she re- 
mained a spinster in order that she might look after 
her charge properly and without being distracted 
by other domestic duties. As an expression of grati- 
tude for the care bestowed upon him by Dona Man- 
uela, her nephew added to his name that of the 
self-sacrificing woman who had been a second 
mother to him. 

When he was fifteen years of age he became a 
school teacher and to that profession he devoted ten 
years of his life, attaining to the position of In- 
spector in the school system of his native state. 
During this time he also engaged in journalism in 
his spare hours as a member of the staffs of period- 
icals in the city of Hermosillo. This is rather an 
important detail, taking into account the later ten- 
dencies of General Calles in defense of the interests 
of the working classes, for many of his newspaper 
writings were devoted to the subject of improving 
the condition of the producers and the laborers. In 
his articles he echoed the sufferings of the masses 
and demanded their emancipation. He also dipped 
into verse and printed many poems. 

When the reactionist rebellion of 1913, which re- 
sulted in the downfall of the Madero Government 
and the assassination of Madero and Vice-President 
Pino Surrez took place, General Calles was a mer- 
chant in Agua Prieta. He had previously for a time 
engaged in farming and also in the milling business 
at Pronteras, Sonora. He began his militant revo- 
lutionary career by distributing his stock among 
the men of the vicinity who had taken up arms 
against the Huerta dictatorship, closing his store 
and taking the field. 

210 



SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF PRESIDENT 
CALLES 



(By General Jose Monje Sanchez im, the Revista, Asturias, 
September 8, 1926.) 



President Calles is descended from a family of 
vigorous, active and industrious men who gave 
patriotic service to their country in war and in peace 
and among whom were included officials who com- 
batted the French intervention and filibustering on 
the Pacific slope of the country. His great grand- 
father was Don Manuel Elias Perez, a Spanish emi- 
grant, who was a native of Almazan, province of 
Soria, Castilla la Vieja. He was the founder of San 
Pedro dfc las Palominas, which lies in the valley 
of the same name in Sonora, 32 kilometers from 
Naco and the same distance from Cananea. This 
is today one of the most prosperous regions of the 
state and it stands as a monument to the industry 
and energy of the forebears of the President. 

San Pedro for many years was a port of entry, 
through which were cleared all of the imports and 
exports of the districts of Arizpe, Moctezuma and 
Sahuaripa. It now has 500 inhabitants and covers 
an area of 7,500 acres. 

Upon the death of Don Manuel his property de- 
scended to his sons, Jose Juan, Francisco, Manuel 
and Jose Maria. The first, who was the grand- 
father of the President, was Prefect of the district 
of Ures during the Governorship of Don Ignacio 
Pesqueira, under whose leadership he fought against 
the French intervention and rose to the rank of 

211 



Colonel of the forces. Later he was Governor of 
JSonora and administered the affairs of the state 
to the general satisfaction of the people. His 
brother, Francisco, also became governor. 

The father of President Calles was Don Plutarco 
Elias Lucero, who followed the career of a lawyer 
and who was known as an intelligent and competent 
man of affairs. Among the properties which he in- 
herited from his father, Don Jose Juan, were in- 
cluded the lands of El Leoncito and Santa Rosa in 
the municipality of Fronteras. He had numerous 
sons, who devoted themselves to various activities. 
The President and his brother Arturo, who is now 
Mexican Consul General in New York, were edu- 
cated in Guaymas. Plutarco established himself in 
Guaymas and later in Fronteras, where he resided 
until 1910, when he removed to Agua Prieta. He 
was there when Madero began his revolution against 
Diaz and enlisted in the ranks of the revolutionists.. 
Through successive promotions he rose to the highest 
rank in the federal army, that of a General of 
Division. He distinguished himself notably in the 
field during the campaign against the Huerta gov- 
ernment and afterwards, under the Presidency of 
Carranza, became Governor of Sonora, where his 
work as an administrator is still gratefully remem- 
bered by the people of the state. Among the prin- 
cipal accomplishments of his administration was the 
establishment of the famous Cruz Galvez Industrial 
School, which is one of the principal institutions 
of the Republic and which is a credit, not only to 
the state, but to the entire nation. 

Under the governments of Presidents Carranza 
and Obregon he was successively Minister of War, 
Minister of Gobernacion and Minister of Labor, 
Industry and Commerce. As a federal executive he 
has demonstrated extraordinary qualifications as a 
governor and as an administrator, as indicated by 

212 



the motor and cart roads which have been con- 
structed in all parts of the Republic, the public 
works which are completed or in process in creation 
and especially the founding of the Bank of Mexico 
and the Agricultural Credit Bank, and the amorti- 
zation of the public debt, by which the credit of the 
country has been rehabilitated. All this has been 
accomplished without resorting to foreign loans, 
despite his having found the federal treasury, upon 
his assumption of office, in complete bankruptcy. 
It may truly be said that he is the best administrator 
which the country has seen since the colonial era. 

The Elias family is connected with the Pesqueiras, 
Gabilondos, the larrozolos and others of the leading 
families of Sonora. With the exception of his great- 
grandfather, who was Spanish, all of the ancestors 
of President Calles have been industrious, active and 
patriotic Sonorans. 

Colonel Angel Elias and Captain Manuel Elias 
Pro were, officers under Colonel Francisco S. Elias, 
when in 1858 he defeated the Grabb filibustering 
expedition in Caborca. To the same family belonged 
Don Domingo Elias, who was district judge in Chi- 
hauhau, and Don Manuel Elias Gonzalez, Judge of 
the First Instance in Magdalena. As a proof of the 
estimation in which the family is held in Sonora, 
one of the streets of the city of Nogales has, since 
its foundation, bore the name. 



213 



AT SOLEDAD DE LA MOTA 



(By Esperanza Valezquez Bringas) 

When the fourth convention of the Mexican Labor 
Party met at Guadalajara on August 22, 1923, a 
committee was appointed to wait upon General 
Calles and inform him that he was the unanimous 
choice for President of all the organized labor 
groups of the country. This committee was com- 
posed of representatives from every state. It was 
a long trip from Guadalajara, through Monterey, to 
Teran, which is the station nearest to the Calles 
hacienda of Soledad de la Mota. 

When the committee reached the hacienda Gen- 
eral Calles was conversing at the door with a group 
of friends. He rose and advanced to meet us. We 
passed inside. The coolness, in contrast to the 
suffocating heat of the day in the open air, was 
refreshing. We saw General Calles in his home. 
He wore a purple silk shirt and trousers of Palm 
Beach cloth. He smiled pleasantly. We seated our- 
selves in the ample terrace which, with its tiles of 
black and white, its arches and delicate columns, 
was like an oasis in a land scorched by the mid-day 
sun. Further on was a garden of roses and beyond 
the fields the open country. 

Introductions were completed and then Morones, 
speaking in the name of the committee, delivered the 
letter in which the convention expressed its choice 
of Calles for President. Each delegate explained 
from what state he came and what group he repre- 
sented. 

214 



Calles expressed his appreciation, but said that it 
was impossible for him to accept the nomination 
so long as he was a member of the Cabinet of Presi- 
dent Obregon. He had come to La Mota, he said, 
on a leave of absence to recuperate his health. It 
was agreed that he should reply to the communica- 
tion from the convention as soon as his resignation 
from the Cabinet had been accepted. 

While Calles was saying all this I was afforded 
the opportunity of observing him attentively. Sim- 
plicity and sincerity are indicated by his appear- 
ance and his words. His complexion is healthy and 
the strong lines of his face reveal the energy and 
the organizing temperament which has always dis- 
tinguished him. His forehead is ample and his 
brown eyes are a trifle oblique. Their aliveness and 
intelligence are significant of the keenness of his 
intellect. As a result of the few phrases which I 
exchanged with him I formed the opinion that he 
is a man of character. In age he has that ripeness 
which enables the human consciousness to attain 
its best realizations and to consider all the prob- 
lems laid before it with the tranquility born of ex- 
perience. 

With the striking of the lunch hour we were in- 
vited to the dining room. Like the other apartments 
of the house, it was furnished in taste, but simply, 
almost humbly. The extreme cleanliness of every- 
thing, the abundance of fruit and the odor of fresh 
milk suggested to me one of Francis James' paint- 
ings, while the patriarchal atmosphere might well 
have inspired a poem by Lopez Velarde. 

Everything was informal and cordial. Between 
the dishes General Calles spoke of his son, who is 
preparing to raise cotton on the hacienda. Soledad 
de la Mota has always produced corn alone, but the 
yield of this crop is not sufficient to cover the ex- 
penses of the hacienda and the high wages which 

215 



are paid to the labor. To enable the payment to 
them of still better wages it is planned to increase 
the production of the place. The peons are en- 
thusiastic, for they appreciate that this is a matter 
in which they are vitally interested, and that it is 
sought to bring about complete harmony between 
the owners and the workers, which is the most cer- 
tain manner of developing any business and causing 
it to prosper. 

Old-time methods of cultivation on the hacienda 
have been supplanted by work done with modern 
machinery; the employes are running tractors, 
mowing machines, seeders. 

"When we came here," said the General, "no one 
on the place knew how to manage machinery. I 
sent for a mechanic to teach two of the men. He 
did so and they are now teaching the others." 

"Is it true that, within the brief time you have 
been here, you have established a rural school?" 

"Yes. When I realized that none of the people 
on the place or any of the children knew how to 
read and write I concluded that it was my duty to. 
give them a school. Until I could get a teacher here 
I taught the school myself. Even now, when we 
have a teacher, I go down and talk to the pupils 
and the teacher, my son and myself take turns in 
giving primary instruction." 

We returned to the terrace at the conclusion of 
the lunch. There was some talk of the meritorious 
work done by General Calles when he was Governor 
of Sonora and as a member of the President's Cab- 
inet. It was all interesting, but what was especially 
of concern to me was the foundation of the Cruz 
Galvez School, a model experimental, agricultural 
and industrial school established by him in Sonora, 
as a result of his belief that the way of progress 
in Mexico lies through education. I asked him to 
tell me something about the school. 

216 



"After the revolution," he explained, "it became 
our duty to look after the orphans left by the war. 
My first idea was to create a school home, which 
should at the same time be a workshop, exclusively 
for the orphan boys, but later I expanded the plans 
and the result was the Cruz Galvez school for both 
boys and girls. 

"The idea has always appealed to me of establish- 
ing a great school wherein there might be an equil- 
ibrium of education, which would not proportion 
purely intellectual instruction but which would bring 
about a balance between mental work and physical 
work, which would equip children to become men 
and women of action in practical life. 

"With great difficulty I succeeded in establishing 
the Cruz Galvez school, with school rooms as well 
as a tannery and shoemaking, carpenter, blacksmith, 
machine and other shops. There are also great gar- 
dens, gymnasiums, well ventilated dining rooms and 
hygienic dormitories. We also have experimental 
farms. For the girls we have provided suitable 
shops and small industries. There is even a fashion 
shop, a hairdressing shop, a fur shop and a soap and 
perfumery shop. The buildings and only part of the 
machinery cost us 800,000 pesos, but it is worth it. 
I will tell you how I got the money together, and 
how the pupils and I worked. I succeeded prin- 
cipally because everyone responded to my initiative. 
The school was founded upon a basis of popular 
will. There was no one who did not feel enthusiastic 
over the purpose and the magnitude of the work 
and who did not contribute his mite. There was 
not a town or a family which failed to give. As 
fast as the money came in, we began to build. 

"After we had built the school, the problem was 
to sustain it. My personal resources were not suffi- 
cient. At times I was afraid that we should have 
to close it down, despite the efforts which the teach- 

217 



ers and the pupils were making. To show the 
people what we were doing and to help us in raising 
money I sent for specialists who made motion pic- 
tures of the school, woven into an appropriate story. 
I became sort of theatrical manager. We loaded a 
railway car with the film, a few students and some 
singers and sent it around the country, and even 
across the border into the United States, to adver- 
tise the school and induce the people to open their 
pocketbooks. The trip was a success. Almost 
everyone who turned out to the theatres to see our 
show were not satisfied merely with looking at 
what the boys and girls were doing, but were 
anxious to help in giving them a chance in life and 
sent us money. So in this way we managed to get 
enough to keep the school going until it could pay its 
way, which it is now doing. The school now has 
no need of official assistance and has been converted 
into a true center of industry and commerce. Ac- 
cording to the reports sent me by the Director and 
the teachers, last year the saddlery and shoe shops 
alone made a profit of 50,000 pesos. 

"Many of the graduates of the school are now 
in business for themselves. Most of them who do 
not know who their parents were and who have 
been graduated have taken the name of Calles or 
Galvez. We have implanted a system of paying 
the pupils for their work and of saving for them 
half of their earnings. So when they get ready to 
leave and start out for themselves they are equipped 
with a bit of capital/' 

When he was telling me about the school the Gen- 
eral grew animated and his eyes twinkled as he 
referred to his "children." 

"We have some of them pursuing special courses 
of study in Europe," he added, "I have wanted them 
to do this, for later on they will be the ones who 
will direct the school. We want to turn out good 

218 



workmen. Some of the boys are studying tanning 
in Frankfort, Germany, and others are perfecting 
themselves in England, France and the United 
States. 

"We have girls in Mexico, taking normal courses, 
in preparation for teaching in the school later on. 
Other pupils are in various factories and in the 
School of Electrical Engineering. So gradually 
many of the pupils will become teachers themselves. 

"If you could see their satisfaction when they 
come to spend Sunday with me in Mexico I They are 
like members of my own family!" 

While General Calles was telling me all this I 
could not refrain from repeating to myself, men- 
tally: "One accomplishment like this is enough to 
justify a life!" While his merits as a Governor, a 
Cabinet Minister and a revolutionist may be many, 
his work as an educator, as the founder of a new 
society whose bases are formed in this school, finds 
its counterpart only in the accomplishments of Tol- 
stoi in Yasnaya Poliana and Tagore in India. 

To show their gratitude to their benefactor the 
pupils of the school frequently send to General Calles 
specimens of their work, in order that he may con- 
tinue to appreciate their labor. 

"Bring me my presents from Sonora," said he. 
He displayed them to us with pride. They included 
a handbag and a letter case of fine leather, bearing 
the General's initials. 

Before leaving we strolled through the garden. 
The conversation did not cease for a moment. The 
General asked various delegates for news of what 
was going on their parts of the country. There 
seemed to be no place, no matter how small or ob- 
scure, concerning which he was not familiar. He 
said that during his trips through Chiapas and 
Guerrero he had observed the urgency of something 
being done for the Indians of those sections, some 

219 



tribes of which existed in an almost primitive state. 

I must not overlook one detail which surprised 
me when General Calles was speaking of Nayarit 
and which displayed his realization of the social 
factors which create violent crises, disorders and 
economic disturbances. These factors, in his esti- 
mation, must be modified in order to bring about 
social and economic harmony between the integral 
elements of the people. 

"When General Carranza sent me to fight the 
rebels in Nayarit," said he, "after I had studied the 
situation of those men, I remember that I returned 
to Mexico and Carranza asked me : "But why aren't 
you fighting the rebels?" I said to him: 

"Mr. President, there are matters which cannot 
be arranged by arms. If you and I were in the 
same position that those poor people are, we our- 
selves would be up in arms inside of a week. But 
they have supported their misery and ignominy and 
stood for being exploited for many long years. 

"In my opinion what we must do is to see how 
we can arrange so that these people are able to make 
enough to live comfortably and to give them modest 
houses instead of wretched huts, schools and a bit 
of ground which they can cultivate for themselves 
and be independent. Where there is plenty of work 
and the people are happy, there are no rebels." 

This demonstrated to me that Calles is at heart 
a civilian statesman, despite the fact that he is a 
military man. He believes in human betterment 
through work and education, and he has faith in a 
future society which will not regard bayonets as an 
essential part of the happiness of the people. 



220 



THE BANK OF MEXICO 



In effect, the Bank of Mexico corresponds in 
its general functions and in its relationship to the 
financial and commercial fabric of the country, to 
the Federal Reserve system of the United States, 
the Bank of England and the Bank of France. 
It was established in accordance with Article 28 
of the Constitution and under the banking law 
signed by President Calles on August 25th, 1925. 
The Bank opened its doors for business on Sep- 
tember 1st of that year. The salient features of 
the law, which was drafted exclusively by finan- 
cial experts in Mexico, without the assistance of for- 
eign advisers, are so drawn as to insure, so far as it 
is humanly possible, rigid safety and extreme con- 
servatism in the operation of the Institution and 
the management of its resources. While it is true 
that the law governing the conduct of the Bank 
embodies various features of a nature peculiarly 
adapted to the Mexican banking field and which 
constitute a departure from the traditional limi- 
tations of old-line banking, the fact remains that 
foreign banking authorities who have examined 
the law and tested it rigidly, link by link, have 
in unqualified terms signified their approbation 
and admiration of it. The innovations referred to 
could hardly fail to receive the approval of these 
judges, for their calculated and practical effect 
is to carry the margin of safety and the principle 
of enforced conservatism further than is the praq: 
tice, even of the most successfully conservative 
banks, in countries outside of Mexico. The only 

221 



criticism of the law which governs the Bank is 
that it is, if anything, too conservative and that the 
checks placed upon the officers are so close and 
inflexible as to restrict the earning power of the 
Bank. 

As the Constitution provides, the Mexican gov- 
ernment owns and controls the majority of the 
shares of the Bank, but there the control of the 
government ceases, excepting in the following em- 
inently proper contingencies : 

The government, through the Finance Minister, 
has the power to veto a resolution of the Board 
of Directors only when, in his opinion, such reso- 
lution may adversely effect the economic equilibri- 
um of the country in these specific cases : 

First, when the resolution relates to investments 
in foreign securities or to deposits made abroad. 

Second, when it relates to fresh issues of bank 
notes, even though said issues may be within legal 
limits. 

Third, when it relates to transactions by the 
Bank in connection with the regulation of the 
currency, the latter being one of the functions of 
the Bank. 

Fourth, when it relates to operations connected 
with the public debt or the bonds thereof. 

Otherwise the government, under the law, is 
wholly restrained from interfering with the op- 
erations of the Bank in any manner. The Bank 
cannot loan its funds to the government in excess 
of ten per cent of the Bank's paid-in capital. In 
its general banking operations and policies the 
Institution is as free and untrammeled, from gov- 
ernmental dictation or influence, as a private 
bank. 

The capital of the Bank of Mexico is 100,000- 
000 pesos oro nacional, of which more than 62,- 



400,000 pesos has been paid in. While the gov- 
ernment only may purchase and own A shares 
of the Bank, both the government and the public 
may acquire B shares. 

The Bank performs the following functions, ac- 
cording to the Banking Law : 

(a) Issues Bank notes, under the exclusive 
right granted by the Constitution, secured by gold 
reserves. 

(b) Regulates, within the Republic, monetary 
circulation, foreign exchange and interest rates. 

(c) Re-discounts negotiable documents, in the 
capacity of a Central Bank of Re-discount. 

(d) Acts in the capacity of financial agents 
of the Mexican Federal Treasury. 

(e) Transacts a general business in its capac- 
ity as a Bank of Deposit and Discount. 

(f) Controls, supervises and regulates the 
minting of gold, silver and fractional currency. 

The Bank's profits for the year 1926 were 3,- 
223,381 pesos. 

Through the inherent qualities of the law and 
the personality of the men into whose hands the 
management of the Bank has been entrusted, the 
Institution has gained the full confidence not alone 
of the business community of Mexico, but of other 
countries as well. From the beginning President 
Calles insisted that the activities of the Bank 
should be wholly divorced from government in- 
fluence and control. The personnel of the man- 
agement is representative of the most substantial 
elements in Mexican business circles. No gov- 
ernment official nor politician is an officer or an 
employee. All the Directors are absolutely in- 
dependent in their business, professional and polit- 
ical connections and of unimpeachable charac- 
ter, reputation and standing. 

223 



LEGAL FEATURES OF THE OIL QUESTION 
INVOLVED IN MEXICAN-AMEEICAN 
DIPLOMACY 



By WALTER D. HAWK 
Member of The Chicago Bar 



(From The Illinois Law Review, June, 1917) 



There exists in the minds of laymen and lawyers 
alike a misapprehension of the legal features of 
the Mexican oil question. The misapprehension 
exists chiefly because of the difficulty in acquir- 
ing knowledge of the Constitution, laws and stat- 
utes of Mexico relating to oil, and because they 
are in a foreign language and a foreign juris- 
prudence. 

American courts uniformly treat oil, gas and 
subterranean water in a class by themselves, and 
as exceptions to the general laws relating to prop- 
erty. The reason for this is that these three things 
are "ferae naturae' 9 (wild by nature), having the 
peculiar characteristics of involuntary self -migra- 
tion. 

The courts further hold that as oil is a liquid 
mineral "ferae naturae" it is analogous to animals 
"ferae naturae" and the laws relating to the right 
of property in it are substantially the same as the 
laws relating to the right of property in things and 
animals "ferae naturae" 

The sovereign state alone has the right to grant 
authority or to withdraw authority for taking pos- 

224 



session of animals and things wild by nature, and 
the state itself cannot surrender or deprive itself 
of that right. Apply this principle to oil. A owns 
in fee simple 160 acres of land in Indiana; B 
owns the adjoining 160 acres across the line in 
Illinois; a thousand other fee simple title land 
owners, one-half in Indiana and one-half in Il- 
linois, own together with A and B most of the land 
under which there is an oil pool. Who owns the 
oil in the pool? Does A own today the oil that 
is under his 160 acres? He does not. For to- 
morrow the same oil is under B's land. Does B 
own the oil? He does not. For tomorrow the 
same oil has migrated to C's 160 acres; then to 
D's; then some day a fraction of that same oil 
migrates back to A's 160 acres or to B's. It is a 
physical impossibility to control, prevent or fol- 
low the migration of that oil. It is self -migratory. 
And this is the real reason why there can be no 
ownership of oil while it is in the ground. That 
reason is affirmed by three decisions of the United 
States Supreme Court. 

(Ohio Oil Co. v. Indiana, 1899; 177 U. S. 190. Lindsley 
v. Natural Carbonic Gas Co., 1911; 220 U. S. 61; Walls, 
Attorney General of the State of Wyoming, v. Midland 
Carbon Co., 1920; 254 U. S. 300.) 

Reference is herein made to the state or the 
sovereign state in the sense of the supreme state 
or commonwealth having all the powers of the 
state, irrespective of the subordinate distribution 
of those powers. The government of Mexico pos- 
sesses all these powers and it cannot be assumed, 
in the discussion of the oil problem, that the gov- 
ernment of the United States possesses fewer pow- 
ers than those possessed by the Mexican govern- 
ment. 

As the laws of Mexico are so difficult to find 
citations are here given, together with the orig- 

225 



inal Spanish, and the English transactions. They 
come in the following order: 

1. Codigo de Minera de la Republica Mexicana. Enacted 
by the Mexican Congress, November 22, 1884. Article 
10, Section IV. 

2. Constitution Politico, de las Estados Unidos Mexicanos. 
Edicion oficial, 1917, Article 27. 

3. Law Regulating Article 27 of the Constitution in 
the Matter of Petroleum; enacted December 26, 1925; 
effective January 1, 1927. 

Article 10, Section IV of the Mexican Mining 
Code, in Spanish, reads as follows: 

Art. 10. Son de la exclusiva propriedad del dueno del 
suelo, quien por lo mismo, sin necesidad de denuncio ni de 
adjudicacion especial, podra explotar y aprovechar 

IV, Las sales que existan en la superficie, las aguas 
puras y saladas, superficiales o subterraneas; el petroleo 
y los manantiales gaseosos o de aguas termales y medic- 
inales. 
The English translation of the above follows: 

The following are the exclusive property of the owner 
of the land, who, therefore, will be able to exploit and use 
them for his own advantage, without the necessity of 
making a denouncement or obtaining a special judication 
Surface salts, pure or salt water on the sur- 
face or in the subsoil; petroleum or gas springs or those 
of thermal or hot water. 

The Constitution of Mexico, adopted in 1917, 
so far as it relates to oil, reads in Spanish as fol- 
lows: 

Corresponde a la nacion el dominio directo de todos los 
minerales o substancias que en vetas, mantos, masas o 
yacimientos constituyan despositos cuya naturaliza sea 
distinta de los componentes de los terrenos, tales como los 
minerales de los que se extragan metales y metaloides 
utilizados en la industria; los yacimientos de piedras 
preciosas, de sal de gema y las salinas f ormados directa- 
mente por las aguas marinas; los productos derivados de 
la descomposicion de las rocas cuando su explotacion 
necesite trabajos subterraneous, los fosfatos susceptibles 
de ser utilizados como f ertilizantes ; los combustibles 
mnierales solidos; el petroleo y todos los carburos de hid- 
rogeno solidos, liquidos o gaseosos. 

226 



The American Academy of Political and Social 
Science, Philadelphia, has published an English 
translation of the Mexican Constitution of 1917, 
the translation having been made by Mr. H. N. 
Branch (then and now an employe of the Huasteca 
(Doheny) Petroleum Co.) The part referring to 
oil, and quoted above in Spanish, according to the 
Branch translation, reads : 

In the nation is vested direct ownership of all minerals 
or substances which in veins, layers, masses or beds 
constitute deposits whose nature is different from the 
components of the land. Such as minerals from which 
metals and metaloids used for industrial purposes are 
extracted; beds of precious stones, rock salt and salt lakes 
formed directly by marine waters, products derived from 
the decomposition of rocks when their exploitation re- 
quires underground work; phosphates used for fertilizers; 
solid mineral fuels; petroleum and all hydro-carbons 
solid, liquid or gaseous. 

Mr. Branch translates the Spanish "domino di- 
recto" in the original as "direct ownership." The 
usual and more accurate translation is "direct do- 
main" or "direct dominion." It is evident that 
Mr. Branch's translation is inaccurate. Moreover, 
the expression "direct ownership" is not in com- 
mon use in the United States. 

The Spanish words "exclusiva propriedad" in 
Article 10 of the Mexican Mining Code are trans- 
lated supra into English as "exclusive property," 
having annexed to them words giving the land 
owner the right to exploit and use the oil without 
the need of a denouncement or special adjust- 
ment. This is and always has been the law in the 
United States. There is in the United States no 
need for a denouncement, or for any kind of an 
adjudgment in favor of a land owner before he 
can drill and produce oil. Then where is the dif- 
ference between the laws of Mexico and the laws 
of the United States in this respect? 

227 



If Article 10 of the Mexican Mining Code pur- 
ports to give to the land owner the right to ex- 
ploit and use oil under his land, without the neces- 
sity of denouncement or adjudgment, is not that 
same right an element of fee simple title owner- 
ship in the United States? And yet that element 
of ownership of oil is not inconsistent with the 
state's "direct domain" or "direct dominion" over 
oil while in the ground, according to adjudications 
of the United States Supreme Court. 

It is apparent that the Congress of the United 
Mexican States had these features of the oil con- 
troversy in view when it enacted the law of De- 
cember 26th, 1925, effective January 1st, 1927, 
requiring that applications be made for conces- 
sions to exploit, drill and produce oil before such 
exploiting, drilling and producing would be per- 
mitted. The law applies to producing wells and 
to land owners, as well as to others. It is this law 
that has caused the Americans interested in oil 
production in Mexico to appeal to Washington. 
They seek to protect their rights in Mexico as 
oil "owners." It is a question as to whether they 
have any rights as "owners" of oil. They would 
not have any such rights as "owners" of oil in the 
United States. It is possible that they are asking 
the United States government to protect, in Mex- 
ico, "property" which under a similar state of 
facts in the United States would be no "property" 
at all. The law covers several pages and we give 
but a few excerpts. The English translation here 
given is accepted by the Mexican government 

LAW REGULATING ARTICLE 27 OF THE CONSTI- 
TUTION IN THE MATTER OP PETROLEUM 

Article 1. The direct domain on all natural mixtures 
of carbons of hydrogen which are found in their natural 
deposits, whatever may be the physical condition thereof, 

228 



is vested in the nation. In this law is understood by the 
word "petroleum" all the natural mixtures of hydro-car- 
bons of which it is composed, which are associated with 
it or are derived from it. 

Article 2. The direct domain of the nation, to which 
the preceding article refers, is inalienable and impres- 
criptible, and only with the express authorization of the 
Federal Executive, granted as provided in this present 
law and its regulations, may the works required by the 
petroleum industry be carried out. 

Article 4. Mexicans and corporations, whether civil 
or commercial, constituted in conformity with Mexican 
laws, may obtain petroleum concessions upon compliance 
with the provisions of this law. Foreigners, in addition 
to the foregoing obligations, must comply beforehand with 
the provisions of Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution. 

Article 6. All matters relating to the petroleum in- 
dustry are of exclusive federal jurisdiction. 

Article 12. Concessions granted by the executive of the 
nation, in accordance with previous laws, will be con- 
firmed without any cost whatever, subject to the provi- 
sions of this law. 

Article 14. The following rights will be confirmed 
without any cost whatever and by means of concessions 
granted in conformity with this law: 

1. Those arising from lands in which works of petrole- 
um exploitation were begun prior to May 1, 1917. 

2. Those arising from contracts made before May 1, 
1917, by the superficiary or his successors in title 
for express purposes of exploitation of petroleum. 
The confirmation of these rights may not be granted 
for more than 50 years, computed in the case of 
Fraction 1 from the time the exploitation works be- 
gan and in the case of Fraction 2 from the date 
upon which the contracts were made. 

The ultimate limitations of the rights of a sov- 
ereign state over persons and things are not to be 
found in its written constitutions and laws. Some 
are to be found there; some are not. The so- 
called "confirmatory concession" law effective 
January 1, 1927, is Mexico's expression of some 
of her ideas of the inherent right of the sovereign 
state. The American fee simple title owners of 
oil lands in Mexico object to the law on the ground 

229 



that the sovereign state of Mexico does not pos- 
sess these rights. They refuse to make applica- 
tion for such "confirmatory concessions" because 
such submission to the law would concede that 
Mexico has the same inherent rights over oil under 
the land in Mexico as the sovereign state of the 
United States has over oil under land of the owner 
in the United States. They see that such a compli- 
ance with the "confirmatory concession" law 
would put owners of oil lands in Mexico precisely 
in the same position into which the United States 
Supreme Court has put the fee simple title owner 
of oil lands in the United States. He is asking for 
a better title than a fee simple title. He seeks a 
higher standing in Mexico than he now occupies 
as to his oil lands in the United States. 

Both countries as sovereign states have the basic 
right to regulate or prohibit the extraction of oil 
from the ground. Mexico has exercised that right. 
The United States has not. 

Mexico drills her own national oil lands and 
gets one hundred per cent of the oil for national 
railway and governmental uses. The United 
States leases her national oil lands to private oil 
producers and gets a royalty of somewhere around 
six per cent. Mexico exercises her dominion over 
oil. The United States does not. And yet, Wash- 
ington demands that Mexico do as the United 
States does. If the United States government had 
exercised its inherent powers of dominion over 
oil as the Mexican government has done, there 
would have been no Teapot Dome or Elk Hill 
scandal. 

The "confirmatory concession" law of 1925 per- 
mits present owners of oil lands in Mexico to ex- 
ploit, drill for and produce oil for fifty years ab- 
solutely, with an extension of additional time un- 

230 



der certain conditions. It is asserted by Ameri- 
can owners of oil lands in Mexico that the law of 
1925 is inconsistent with the law of November 22, 
1884, and therefore it, as well as Article 27 of 
the 1917 Constitution is retroactive and confiscates 
the land owner's rights acquired under the law of 
1884, Article 10, Section IV. This is the point in 
the Constitution of 1917 over which the commis- 
sioners at the Mexican-American Conference in 
Mexico City in 1923 deliberated for three months. 
They deliberated, but they did not settle it. In 
fact, they did not, in either convention submitted 
to the Senates of the two governments as a result 
of that conference, say a word about oil. (See 
Congressional Record, January 23, 1924, page 
1363.) They merely signed minutes setting out 
the views of the two governments about oil, and 
those minutes were not submitted for approval 
to the Senate of either country. These minutes 
did not define "ownership/" "retroactive," or "di- 
rect domain" in relation to oil. It was well under- 
stood in Mexico that the conference did not settle 
the oil question. It was known that the Ameri- 
can Commissioners assumed the credit for settling 
a thing which was not settled. And so it turned 
out. The government of the United States de- 
liberately excluded international law where it 
would have been for the benefit and profit of the 
Mexican government in the matter of claims for 
losses of life and property suffered because of rev- 
olutionary acts. (See Special Claims Convention, 
Articles II, III, Congressional Record, January 23, 
1924, page 1365.) On the feature of excluding 
international law that convention reads : 

The Mexican Government desires that the claims shall 
be so decided because Mexico wishes that her responsibility 
shall not be fixed according to the generally accepted 
rules and principles of international law. * . - . 

231 



The claims which the Commission shall examine and 
decide are those which arose during the revolutions and 
disturbed conditions which existed in Mexico covering the 
period from November 20, 1910, to May 31, 1920, in- 
clusive, and were due to any any act by the following 
forces: 

1. By forces of a government de jure or de facto, 

2. By revolutionary forces as a result of the triumph 
of whose cause governments de facto or de jure 
have been established, or by revolutionary forces 
opposed to them. 

3. By forces arising from the disjunction of the forces 
mentioned in the next preceding paragraph up to 
the time when a government de jure established 
itself as a result of a particular revolution. 

4. By federal forces that were disbanded and 

5. By mutinies or mobs, or insurrectionary forces other 
than those referred to under sub-divisions 2, 3 and 
4 above, or by bandits, provided in any case it be 
established that the appropriate authorities omitted 
to take reasonable measures to suppress insurrec- 
tions, mobs or bandits, or treated them with leniency 
or were in fault in other particulars. 

Mexico is not liable for such damages under 
International law. Nor was the United States 
liable for such damages in the Revolutionary War 
or the Civil War. 

Mexico could not get recognition from the 
United States government without that surrender 
of her rights under international law. The Mexi- 
can government knew that under international 
law, as recognized by the United States and Great 
Britain, a government is not responsible to foreign- 
ers for damages for loss of life or property suf- 
fered on account of warfare, revolution, riots, 
mobs, or violation of public law. Surrender of 
that right belonging to Mexio was part of the 
purchase price paid to the United States by the 
Mexican government for recognition. 

232 



It may be asked : What has this to do with the 
law of oil ownership? It has this to do with it: 
The United States government in the international 
conference minutes reserved to its citizens their 
rights under international law as to oil. It has 
been demanding for her citizens rights under in- 
ternational law as against Article 27 of the 1917 
Mexican Constitution and the Mexican law of De- 
cember 26th, 1925. The Mexican government sees 
very clearly that when international law is to the 
profit of American citizens, the United States is for 
it. But when the enforcement of international 
law would be to the loss of American citizens, then 
the United States government is against it. Under 
international law Mexico is not liable to Ameri- 
cans for loss of life and property suffered on ac- 
count of warfare or revolution. The United States 
is trying to take oil out of Mexico according to 
international law. It is trying to take revolution- 
ary damages out of Mexico contrary to interna- 
tional law. 

On the question of the impossibility of "owner- 
ship" of oil while it is in the self-migratory state, 
let us compare the laws of the United States with 
the laws of Mexico. The state has a superior do- 
minion over oil in the ground. The Mexicans call 
it "dominio directo" and they translate it "direct 
domain," The opinions in the three leading 
United States Supreme Court cases affirm that the 
sovereign state is supreme over oil and gas while 
in the ground, and the state may, by virtue of its 
superior inherent power, control and prohibit the 
taking of oil and gas from the ground to the ex- 
tent that no right of property in them remains to 
the owner of the land. (See 1889, 177 U. S. 190, at 
202.) 



In Ohio Oil Co., v. Indiana, Chief Justice White 

says: 

True it is that oil and gas, like other minerals, are 
situated beneath the surface of the earth, but except for 
this one point of similarity, in many other respects they 
greatly differ. They have no fixed situs under a par- 
ticular portion of the earth's surface within the area 
where they obtain. They have the power, as it were, of 
self-transmission. No one owner of the surface of the 
earth within the area beneath which the gas and oil 
move can exercise his right to extract from the common 
reservoir, in which the supply is held, without, to an ex- 
tent, diminishing the source of supply as to which all 
other owners of the surface must exercise their rights. 
The waste by one owner, caused a reckless enjoyment 
of his right of striking the reservoir at once, therefore, 
operates upon the other surface owners. 

And at page 210 the court says : 

This necessarily implied legislative authority is borne 
out by the analogy suggested by things ferae naturae 
which it is unquestioned the legislature has the authority 
to forbid all from taking, in order to protect them from 
undue destruction, so that the right of the common own- 
ers, the public, to reduce to possession, may be ultimately 
efficaciously enjoyed 

In Lindsley vs. Natural Carbonic Gas Co. (See 
1911, 220 U. S. 61.) it was held that "the power 
of the state was exerted to prohibit the owner of 
the surface from pumping on his own land, water 
charged with gas." The power of the state so to 
prohibit was affirmed by the court. 

A late case defining the superior dominion of 
the state over gas as well as over oil is Walls, At- 
torney General of Wyoming, vs. Midland Carbon 
Co. (See 1920, 254 U. S. 300). In that case Mr. 
Justice McKenna defines the powers of the state 
over oil and gas while in the ground, beyond any- 
thing that had ever before been announced by the 
Supreme Court. The limitations mentioned in the 

234 



opinion are all limitations upon the property 
rights of the land owner and not limitations upon 
the powers of the state. The court says : 

The question in the case is, as we have said, whether 
the legislation of Wyoming is a valid exercise of the 
police power of the state and brings into comparison the 
limits of the power as against the asserted rights of 
property whether the legislation is a legal conservation 
of the natural resources of the state or an arbitrary inter- 
ference with private rights 

The basis of the contention of the offense of the statute 
against the Constitution of the United States explicitly 
was that the Company, being the owner of the land 
owned, had power and authority over all beneath the 
land's surface that it could reduce to possession. This 
was the same postulate, it will be observed, that was 
asserted in Ohio Oil Co. v. Indiana. It was rejected upon 
the authority of that case. We, however, said, "Were the 
question an open one we should still solve it in the same 
way 

The determining consideration is the power of the state 
over, and its regulation of, a property in which others 
beside the companies may have rights, and in which the 
state has an interest to adjust and preserve, natural gas 
being one of the resources of the state. 

Throughout the entire opinion of the court the 
right or dominion over gas and its production was 
based on "the policy of the state;" "the preserva- 
tion of the natural resources of the state;" "equal 
participation" "by the people of the state;" "dura- 
tion of this utility;" "the consideration of the 
state;" "the state" was not "to stand idly by" 
"while these resources were used in such way that 
tended to their depletion, having no power of in- 
terference," and such other expressions. "The 
state," "the people of the state," "the public" are 
the beneficiaries of the state's dominion over gas 
as a natural resource of the state. 

In the opinion of the three cases herein cited 
are found four propositions which we have reason 

235 



to believe are just as true in Mexico as they are 
in the United States. These four propositions are 
as follows : 

First. Oil is a thing ferae naturae (wild by 
nature), is migratory in its nature and by reason 
of its voluntary self-transmission is able to escape 
from under land owned in fee simple by the owner 
of the land. 

Second. The fee simple title owner of the 
land does not own absolutely the migratory oil in 
the earth beneath his land. 

Third. The right of the fee simple title owner 
of the land to reduce to possession the migratory 
oil beneath his land is subject to the right and 
power of the state to regulate, control and have 
dominion over the oil in the earth and its taking 
therefrom. 

Fourth. Such right and power of the state is 
not limited to the regulation, control and dominion 
over the oil and the taking of it from the earth for 
the protection of the owners of the land under- 
neath which the oil pool exists, but such right and 
power include the right and power to regulate, 
control, prohibit and have dominion over the oil 
in the earth and the taking of it therefrom for the 
benefit, protection, welfare and safety of the com- 
munity, the public and the state. 

And yet Washington denies these vital propo- 
sitions, and for years has been trying, in Mexico, 
to enforce the very opposite principles as to state 
dominion over oil. Mexico has been claiming "di- 
rect domain" in the nation. Washington claims 
absolute ownership in private American citizens. 
It is inconceivable that Washington is seeking to 

236 



annul, in Mexico, the principle of sovereign state 
dominion over oil in the subsoil. If that were to 
be done at home, for the benefit of foreign private 
owners of oil lands, and if the American people 
could get a good and clear conception of the sig- 
nificance of the surrender, they would compel a 
summary and permanent settlement of the oil 
trouble at home and abroad in harmony with the 
views of our Supreme Court. 

As the result of fifteen years of observation^ 
conditions in Mexico, the writer is of the opinion 
that underneath all the troubles between Mexico 
and the United States, all the rumors of wars, arms 
embargoes, recognitions and withdrawals of recog- 
nition, charges and counter-charges and all sorts 
of pretenses of religious and other issues, is OIL. 
It is the selfish demand of the few financially in- 
terested in oil in Mexico which has for all these 
years kept Mexico and the United States pretty 
close to the point where, outside of an interna- 
tional court of law, the only solution would be 
war. They have used the American government 
for the promotion of their own pecuniary profit 
without letting the people know the real facts in 
the matter. The American people are entitled to 
something better. They are entitled to have this 
troublesome and dangerous oil question settled, 
and without the ever recurring possibility and 
danger of war with Mexico. 

From the foregoing summary of the legal^ fea- 
tures of the oil question involved in the Mexican- 
American diplomacy it may fairly be said that 
both sides have some right, and both sides have 
some wrong. Possibly neither side is so right that 
it can ignore the claims of the other side. Here 
is presented a typical case for an international 

237 



court of law, rather than an international board 
of arbitration. The questions involved are ques- 
tions of law, and if the law questions hereinbefore 
mentioned were once adjudicated by an interna- 
tional court of law, there would not be anything 
left to the oil problem in Mexico. 

However, we may as well recognize that the 
Americans owning oil lands in Mexico do not want 
their alleged property rights in oil determined by 
law. They claim there is nothing to arbitrate. 
They claim still more vehemently that there is no 
question of law involved. And Washington backs 
them up. Under such conditions, where do the 
American people come in? The nature of the 
facts and the complexities of the law are such 
that it is practically impossible to put them clearly 
before the people. There ought to be some way 
to remove the whole oil controversy from the 
forum of private interests and put it into a forum 
where the people would get a chance. 

And yet when a government leases its naval 
reserves of oil to prevent adjacent private owners 
of oil lands from pumping the pool dry, as at Elk 
Hill and Teapot Dome, what can be expected? 
That was an opportune time for Washington to 
have wielded Mexico's big stick of "domino di- 
recto" and saved the nation's oil permanently in 
the ground safe from depletion by adjacent pri- 
vate owners of land who were not "owners" of 
the oil. Our Supreme Court holds that the gov- 
ernment could have stopped the depletion. But 
Washington was so busy protecting American 
"ownership" of oil in Mexico that it neglected to 
protect its own "ownership" in Wyoming and Cali- 
fornia. The naval reserves of oil happened to be 
in poor hands just then, and "domino directo" 

238 



could not be heard in the riot of "direct owner- 
ship" and "private ownership" created by the 
same Americans who for long years had employed 
the same ugly tactics in Mexico. 

It may be that the United States Senate, after 
voting unanimously for arbitration, may go further 
and discover a program that will permanently 
settle the oil problem with justice and honor to 
both Mexico and the United States. That can be 
accomplished. But it is not going to be accom- 
plished as long as American owners of oil lands 
in Mexico do the negotiating. Whenever jthe 
United States government acts with veritable in- 
dependence, ignoring all secret and improper in- 
fluences, then the permanent solution of the oil 
controversy is at hand; but not until then. 



INDEX 

PAGE 

Acceptance of Presidential nomination 1 

Administrative reforms, necessity of 85 

Agrarian banks 88 

Agrarian Commission 180 

Agrarian problem 7, 30, 37, 87, 190 

Agriculture 86, 146, 178 

Agricultural Credit Bank 86, 146, 179 

Agricultural schools 180 

American Exporters and Mfgr's Assn., address to 163 

American Federation of Labor 68, 82 

Anarchist, Calles not an 47, 55, 193 

Anarchy, an enemy of 47, 193 

Appeal to patriotic Mexicans 90 

Army 160 

Bank of Mexico 86, 146, 221 

Bolshevism 35, 156, 193 

Calles; at work 203 

sketch of 211 

on his hacienda 214 

not a disturber 55, 193 

Candidate and President 29 

Capital, not an enemy of 56 

Catholic Episcopate, reply to Memorial of 127 

Catholic Episcopate, Memorial to Calles 199 

Church question; controversy, problem 

103, 107, 116, 125, 168 

laws 133 

property 188 

Congress, message to 168 

241 



PAGE 

Constitution 3, 30, 80, 103, 110, 119, 153 

Cruz Galvez Industrial School 210 

Diplomatic corps, remarks to 77 

Education 3, 42, 79, 87, 91, 100, 185 

Exploitation of Mexican people 2, 21, 49, 53, 59 

Extermination of tyranny, plea for 49 

Finances, national 173 

Foreign capital 39, 46, 59, 92, 155 

Foreign relations 11, 15, 60, 77, 170 

Good Will Commission, American 149 

Gompers, Samuel 68 

Government, Calles' programme of 29, 51, 66, 84, 142 

Guatemala, reception of Minister and Ambassador 94, 97 

Hague, Mexico would accept mediation 149 

Hamburg, address in 70 

Hawk, Walter D., Mexican petroleum legislation 224 

Illinois Law Review, Mexican petroleum legislation 224 

Indemnity, for expropriated lands 181 

Immigration 38, 56 

Indians 61, 79, 87 

Industries 25, 59 

International relations 11, 15, 60, 77, 149, 155, 170 

Irrigation 182 

Labor 8, 14, 34, 53, 65, 68, 183 

Land laws 8 

Land monopolists 8, 17, 24, 57 

Latin America 40, 94, 97 

Law and the Church 116 

Manchester Guardian, statement to 71 

242 



PAGE 

Mexican army, its mission 160 

Mexican Federation of Labor, response to memorial of.... 125 

Mexico's national and social policy 23, 27, 30, 34, 77 

Mexico would accept Hague mediation 149 

to the Congress 168 

to the Mexican people 155 

National politics, field of action 32 

National policy, constructive 34 

New Year message to Mexican people 155 

New York, speech in 163 

New York Herald-Tribune, interview 103 

New York Times; interview 80 

statement on Church question 116 

statement on Mexican affairs, 

generally 193 

Nicaragua 151 

Paris, France, address in 75 

Petroleum laws 152, 184, 224 

People's enemies; clergy, vice, ignorance 21 

People's rights and duties 27, 32, 53, 61 

Programme adjusted to needs of people 53 

Programme that of Revolution 66 

Programme is constructive 46 

Programme of government 51 

Programme, political 1, 6 

Property rights, not a destroyer of 57 

Public health 188 

Radicalism 15 

Reconstruction, programme of 84 

Regeneration of people through education 100 

Religions, respect for all 58, 147 

Revolution, eulogy of youth of 63 

Rural schools 87, 91, 187 

243 



PAGE 

Social ideals 17, 55, 62 

United States 40, 83, 1^2, 172 

Violent measures, is against them 55 

What We Are Doing In Mexico 142 

Working classes, for the 14 



244