Now, all of this indicates a lack of knowledge of what your position has been. I am giving you the gist of these conversations because they represent a point of view so that if you desire you may meet such criticism.
You must remember, Mr. President, that the American people have not had for fifty years a President who was not at this period in a campaign bending all of his power to purely personal and political ends. Your ideality and unselfishness are so rare that things need to be made particularly clear to them. Faithfully yours,
FRANKLIN K. LANE
In the beginning of September Lane was appointed Chairman of the American-Mexican Joint Commission, the other Americans being Judge George Gray, of Delaware, and John R. Mott, secretary of the Young Men’s Christian Association. The Mexican members were Luis Cabrera, Minister of Finance, Alberto Pani, and Ignatio Bonillas, afterward Ambassador to Washington.
It was the hope of the Administration that this Commission would lay the foundation for a better understanding between America and Mexico. The Commission started its work in New London, but later as the hearings dragged on, they went to Atlantic City.
Just before this Commission was named, Lane wrote to his brother, “I have been turned all topsy turvy by the Mexican situation. I have suggested to the President the establishment of a commission to deal with this matter upon a fundamental basis, but Carranza is obsessed with the idea that he is a real god and not a tin god, that he holds thunderbolts in his hands instead of confetti, and he won’t let us help him.”
To Alexander Vogelsang
Acting Secretary of the Interior American-Mexican Joint Commission
September 29, 1916
My dear Aleck,—Don’t worry about yourself. Don’t worry about the office. You will be all right, and so will the office. I am not worrying about you because I haven’t got time to. I’ll take your job if you will take mine. The interpreting of a city charter is nothing to the interpreting of the Mexican mind. Dealing with Congress is not so difficult as dealing with Mexican statesmen. I have had some jobs in my life, but none in which I was put to it as I am in this. Now I have not only a question as to what to do in the making of a nation, the development of its opportunity, the education of its people, the establishment of its finances, and the opening of its industries in the establishment of its relations with other countries, but also the problem as to where the men can be found that can carry out the program, once it is made. If I were only Dictator I could handle the thing, I think, all right. The hardest part of all is to convince a proud and obstinate people that they really need any help.
... Remember me to the noble bunch of fellows who add loyalty to pluck, pluck to capacity. Cordially yours,