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cryptically: "It is too bad, isn't it, but we could not allow that cargo to land. The Mexicans intend using those guns upon our own boys.... There is no alternative. "35 Does one dare read anything into these remarks? Certainly Huerta was planning no invasion of the United States. Had Woodrow Wilson already determined that American troops would shortly be sent to Mexican soil to remove him? Was this simply the non sequitur of a sleepy president? Or did Tumulty's memory of the conversation fail him when he noted the incident? When the Ypiranga sailed into Veracruz shortly after noon on April 21, the United States marines and bluejackets had already taken possession of the customshouse, the telegraph office, the post office, and the railroad terminal. The ship was met in the outer harbor by Lieutenant Lamar R. Leahy of the Utah who, on instructions from Admiral Fletcher, informed Captain Bonath that the customshouse had been seized to prevent his cargo from reaching Huerta's hands. Leahy informed the German captain that he might enter the inner harbor if he wished, but under the circumstances Bonath preferred to remain in the outer harbor. He promised not to depart precipitately and, in fact, agreed to remain within gun range of the Utah. Finally, and most important, Lieutenant Leahy told Bonath that he would not be permitted to leave the harbor until his cargo was unloaded at the American-controlled customshouse. In this the admiral exceeded his authority and, indeed, contravened basic principles of maritime law. Upon receipt of the news from Veracruz. Johann von Bernstorff, the German ambassador in Washington called at the State Department immediately to protest that since a state of war did not exist, the United States navy had no right to detain a German ship or control the disposition of its cargo. The international jurists of the department quickly confirmed that Bernstorff was correct and Secretary Bryan released the following memorandum :36 The Secretary of State called on His Excellency the German Ambassador at 7:15, April 21, 1914, to say that Admiral Fletcher had, today, through a, misunderstnnding exceeded his instructions and notified the captain of a German merchant ship not to leave the harbor of Vera Cruz with munitions of war consigned to or for General Huerta. Admiral Fletcher has been instructed to call upon the captain of the ship and present an apology and explanation. While the United States hopes that the munitions of war intended for General Huerta will be landed at the Vera Cruz customhouse so that after landing the United States Government may detain them, still this Government does not claim the right-as a state of war does not exist-to interfere with the ship's departure 8 Joseph P. Tumulty, Woodrow Wilson as I Know Him (New York, 1921), 152; Ray Stannard Baker, "El Arribo del Ypiranga Precipit6 el Desembarco de Marineros en Veracruz," Exedlsior (December 6, 1931), 3, 10. 88 Quoted in Josephus Daniels, The Wilson Era, Years of Peace 1910-1917 (Chapel Hill, 1944), 201.

The arms of the ypiranga  

mexican history

The arms of the ypiranga  

mexican history

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