Calvin Coolidge Writes Congress, Seeking Funds to Pay Claims After President WilsonÕs 1914 Invasion of Veracruz, Mexico

Calvin Coolidge

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Claimants included European governmentsBy 1910, U.S. owners held about 45 percent of the land in Mexico, and American corporations had correspondingly great interests in Mexico. This led Presidents Taft and Wilson to intervene in Mexican affairs. During the revolutionary upheavals in Mexico, in February 1913, U.S. ambassador to Mexico Henry Lane helped to plot the coup d'Žtat that overthrew Mexican President Francisco Madero and installed Gen. Victoriano Huerta. However, he did this without the approval of President-elect Wilson, who was horrified at the murder of Madero and made it a priority to destabilize the Huerta regime. In 1914, using the arrest of nine American sailors by the Mexican government as a pretext, Wilson determined to move forward by seizing the port of Veracruz, through which flowed most of the armaments and supplies imported for the Mexican army. Wilson articulated his rationale as twofold: first, Huerta "could not maintain order and protect U.S. private and public interests" in Mexico; and second, Huerta was "a dictator who imposed himself on the Mexican republic after murdering his democratically elected predecessor." American warships arrived on the scene in April 1914, shelled the city. American forces then occupied Veracruz until November. During that time, U.S. troops did help oversee the removal of Huerta from office, mainly by supplying the revolutionary forces of Venustiano Carranza with arms and other critical materials. The Americans had successfully helped change the regime of another country in its hemisphere. They would not now be content simply with keeping Europeans out, as the Monroe Doctrine had stipulated. They had the right to intervene themselves in the affairs of Latin America.An additional result of the action in April 1914 was collateral damage to the civilian population of Veracruz, which submitted claims to the Commander of the Atlantic Squadron of the US Navy. These included not only claims by individuals, but by by other sovereign governments on behalf of their citizens who had lost property. This President Harding submitted as a report to Congress in 1922, asking that the claims be honored and paid. Congress took no action.Seeking to improve relations with Latin America, President Coolidge wrote to Congress asking for an appropriation to satisfy the claims. Document signed, Washington, February 7, 1924, to the ÒCongress of the United States.Ó "I transmit herewith a report by the Secretary of State requesting the submission anew to the present of the matter of the claims arising out of the occupation of Vera Cruz, Mexico, by American forces in 1914, which formed the subject of a report made by the Acting Secretary of State to the President in September 1922, and a message of President Harding to Congress dated September 154, 1922, which comprise Senate Document No. 252, 67th Congress, Second Session, copies of which are furnished for the convenient information of Congress.ÒConcurring in the recommendation made by President Harding that in order to effect a settlement of these claims, the Congress as an act of grace and without reference to legal liability of the United States in the premises, authorize an appropriation of $45,518.69. I bring the matter anew to the attention of Congress, in the hope that the action recommended may be receive favorable consideration.ÓCongress refused to authorize the expenditure, and AmericaÕs thorny relationship with Latin Americacontinued. N° de ref. de la librería

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Título: Calvin Coolidge Writes Congress, Seeking ...

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