Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Joint Mexican American Committee Concludes

 Wealthy Mexican in flight

The Joint Committee between the US and Mexico concluded its business.  With the agreement of December 24, 1916 having been made, with Carranza having refused to sign it, and with events overcoming the United States that would give Carranza the result he wanted anyway, there was no more work to be done.

Porfirio Diaz 
Porfirio Diaz in full military costume.  The collapse of his rule lead to the long civil war in Mexico.

Some have stated that the mere existence of the Joint Committee was a success in and of itself, and there is some truth to that.  The committee worked for months on an agreement and came to one, and even if Carranza would not execute it as it didn't guaranty the withdraw of American forces, the fact that the country was now hurtling towards war with Germany made it necessary for that to occur without American formal assent to Carranza's demand.  By not agreeing to it, the US was not bound not to intervene again, which was one of the points that it had sought in the first place. Events essentially gave both nations what they had been demanding.

 Gen. Carransa [i.e., Carranza]

Even if that was the case this step, the first in the beginning of the end of the event we have been tracking since March, has to be seen as a Mexican Constitutionalist victory in the midst of the Mexican Revolution.  At the time the Commission came to the United States it represented only one side in a three way (sometimes more) Mexican civil war that was still raging.  Even as Carranza demanded that the United States withdraw his forces were not uniformly doing well against either Villa or Zapata.  Disdaining the United States in general, in spite of the fact that Wilson treated his government as the de facto government, he also knew that he could not be seen to be achieving victory over Villa through the intervention of the United States, nor could he be seen to be allowing a violation of Mexican sovereignty.  His refusal to acquiesce to allowing American troops to cross the border in pursuit of raiders, something that the Mexican and American governments had allowed for both nations since the mid 19th Century, allowed him to be seen as a legitimate defender of Mexican sovereignty and as the legitimate head of a Mexican government.

 Gen. Pancho Villa
Emiliano Zapata, 1879-1919

As will be seen, even though the war in Mexico raged on, events were overtaking the US and Mexico very quickly.  The Constitutionalist government was legitimizing itself as a radical Mexican de jure government and would quickly become just that.  Revolutions against it would go on for years, but it was very quickly moving towards full legitimacy.  And the United States, having failed to capture Villa or even defeat the Villistas, and having accepted an effective passive role in Mexico after nearly getting into a full war with the Constitutionalist, now very much had its eye on Europe and could not strategically afford to be bogged down in Mexico.  A silent desire to get out of Mexico had become fully open.  The rough terms of the agreement arrived upon by the Committee, while never ratified by Carranza, would effectively operate anyway and the United States now very quickly turned to withdrawing from Mexico.

 Gen. Alfaro Obregon & staff of Yaquis

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