Sunday, March 20, 2011

Peace coming this week in Mexico as US troops head to border

The New York Tribune and Washington Herald both expect good results from an upcoming conference between Mexican President Porfirio Diaz and Finance Minister Jose Limantour this week.  It is hoped that cabinet changes and promises for more reforms from the Diaz government will appease the rebels.  At these meetings Limantour will present an explanation of the rebels demands.

These meetings coincide with a pair of developments on this side of the border:

The Washington Herald reports that most of the troops currently stationed at Fort Sam Houston are now headed to the US border with Mexico.  15,000 troops, under the command of Maj. General William Carter, will begin maneuvers along the border after leaving the fort tomorrow morning.  The first detachment, thought to be the 11th Calvary, are headed west via the Southern Pacific toward El Paso.  The other troops are headed to points unknown along the Rio Grande and as far west as Arizona.  The goals of this maneuver seem to be to cut the flow of arms and ammunition to the insurrectos in Mexico.  The troops will also be monitoring the border for incursions by rebels and federals after reports that some fighting along the border had leaked to the US side. 

Of particularly concern is a danger to a bridge along the Pecos River near Viaduct, Texas, less than 10 miles from the border.  The calvary detachment is thought to be moving to act as guards for the bridge which could take as much as a year to replace if damaged by fighting between the Mexican sides.  The military will also seek to cut off supplies to the rebel base at Presidio del Norte, just across the Rio Grande from El Oro, Texas.  El Oro, Del Rio, and Marfa, a Texas town 50 miles to the north, are thought to be supply conduits between the rebels and their supporters here in the United States.

President Taft returned to Washington this afternoon after spending some vacation time in Augusta, Georgia.  Immediately upon his return, he met with Mexican Ambassador de la Berra and War Secretary Jacob Dickinson as well as delivered a message to congress on his priorities for the special session that will start on April 4.  Taft made no suggestion that U.S. troops were poised to cross the border, and he and Secretary Dickinson referred to the new troops movements as mere "maneuvers" and that they were not ready to begin operations in Mexico.  The President said that he was meeting the Mexican ambassador this afternoon but provide no details on what was discussed.  Interior Secretary Fisher, Commerce and Labor Secretary Nagel, and Army Chief of Staff Leonard Wood also met with the president today to discuss the Mexican situation.

The president also delivered a list of his priorities for next month's special session of Congress.  He expects the Canadian reciprocity bill to be treated first with prompt approval followed by a new tariff commission.  Any other acts to reform the current tariff system will be met with prompt vetos unless they come via recommendations from the commission's reports.  Democrats have scoffed at this proviso, believing the president is merely stalling action on tariff reform as such committee recommendations could take months if not years to complete.  A report on wool tariffs is not expected until December and is the only report pending.

Link: Peace in Mexico May Come This Week [The New York Tribune]
Link: All U.S. Troops to be Rushed to Mexican Border [The Washington Herald]
Link: Confabs on Mexico Begin Immediately at the White House [The Washington Times]
Link: Democrats Gloat over President's Tariff Ultimatum [The Washington Times]

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