WILSON, Woodrow (1856-1924). President. Typescript signed (''Woodrow Wilson'') as President, with four manuscript corrections, A STATEMENT REGARDING PERSHING'S RAID ON MEXICO, Washington, D.C., [March 1916]. 2½ pages, 8vo (8 x 5¼ in.), first sheet White House stationery, almost imperceptible matburn, otherwise fine.
WILSON, Woodrow (1856-1924). President. Typescript signed ("Woodrow Wilson") as President, with four manuscript corrections, A STATEMENT REGARDING PERSHING'S RAID ON MEXICO, Washington, D.C., [March 1916]. 2½ pages, 8vo (8 x 5¼ in.), first sheet White House stationery, almost imperceptible matburn, otherwise fine.
IN THE WAKE OF PERSHING'S PURSUIT OF PANCHO VILLA, WILSON TRIES TO MANAGE THE PRESS
In March 1916, at the height of the instability of the Mexican Revolution, mounted revolutionaries under Pancho Villa crossed the border and raided the town of Columbus, New Mexico, killing 17 U.S. citizens. Wilson dispatched a force of 6,000 troops under Gen. John Pershing to capture Villa and his men, but Pershing only managed to inflame relations with President Venustiano Carranza by invading Mexican soil.
Wilson reviews the incident and urges the press to cover the story in a responsible fashion: "... In order to avoid the creation of erroneous and dangerous impressions... I have called upon the several news agencies to use the utmost care not to give news stories regarding this expedition the colour of war, to withhold stories of troop movements and military preparations which might be given that interpretation, and to refrain from publishing unverified rumours of unrest in Mexico. I feel that it is most desirable to impress upon both our own people and the people of Mexico the fact that the expedition is simply a necessary punitive measure, aimed solely at the elimination of the marauders who raided Columbus and who infest an unprotected district near the border which they use as a base in making attacks upon the lives and property of our citizens within our own territory... The people of the United States should know the sinister and uncrupulous [sic] influences that are afoot and should be on their guard against crediting any story coming from the border; and those who disseminate the news should make it a matter of patriotism and of conscience to test the source and authenticity of every report they receive from that quarter." The mission was finally called off in February 1917.