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INVESTIGATION OF ALLEGED PAYMENTS BY THE MEX

ICAN GOVERNMENT TO UNITED STATES SENATORS

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16, 1927

UNITED STATES SENATE,
SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE PROPAGANDA

OR MONEY ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN USED BY FOREIGN
GOVERNMENTS TO INFLUENCE UNITED STATES SENATORS,

Washington, D.C. The special committee met, pursuant to adjournment on yesterday, at 11 a. m., in the minority caucus room, Senate Office Building, Senator David A. Reed of Pennsylvania presiding.

Present: Senators Reed of Pennsylvania (chairman), Jones of Washington, Johnson, Robinson, and Bruce.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. Mr. Victor Watson. (After a pause.) He does not seem to be here. Mr. Hinman.

TESTIMONY OF GEORGE WHEELER HINMAN, UNIVERSAL

SERVICE, NEW YORK CITY

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(The witness was duly sworn by the chairman.)
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Hinman, where do you live?
Mr. HINMAN. Peekskill, N. Ý.
The CHAIRMAN. By whom are you employed ?
Mr. HINMAN. Universal Service.
The CHAIRMAN. Where is your office ?
Mr. HINMAN. In New York City, the principal office.
The CHAIRMAN. How long have you been in New York?
Mr. HINMAN. You mean my present office, where I have been?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. HINMAN. Since September.
The CHAIRMAN. Before that where was it?
Mr. HINMAN. In Mexico City.
The CHAIRMAN. How long were you located in Mexico City?
Mr. HINMAN. Approximately a year, a little more than a year.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee has been advised that during the time you were in Mexico City you were at the head of the Hearst offices in that city, is that correct!

Mr. HINMAN. Not quite. I was the correspondent of Universal Service, which is the news feature service for the Hearst morning papers, and Mr. Page was the correspondent of International News Service, which is a press association controlled by Mr. Hearst.

The CHAIRMAN. We have also been advised that you were familiar with the work that Mr. Page was doing in regard to these documents that have been introduced to-day. Mr. HINMAN. I was not.

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The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Page testified that you were not, and your testimony agrees with his.

Mr. HINMAN. Yes, sir; I had nothing to do with it.
The CHAIRMAN. When did you know anything about them?

Mr. HINMAN. Nothing at all. I had never seen the documents until produced here.

The CHAIRMAN. Had you heard of them in Mexico City?

Mr. HINMAN. No, sir; not these documents. I had heard that papers were in existence of this sort, but whether they were these documents that were referred to I did not know.

Senator BRUCE. When was that?

The CHAIRMAN. How long had you heard that? In other words, was that before or after Mr. Page left Mexico City ? Mr. Hinman. As I recall it was in the latter part o

the latter part of March, probably a day or two before April 1. I will explain later why that date sticks in my mind; that I heard there were papers in existence showing, or purporting to show, an order for payments to Americans, names mentioned, and no titles mentioned. Either that night or the following day or the following night I received a cablegram telling of my father's sudden death, and I left Mexico City on the first train and did not return for the entire month—well, I got back probably

the latter part of April or the 1st of May. I was gone during that time. So far as I can judge from the testimony here apparently this other matter got under way while I was absent in the United States.

The CHAIRMAN. Had Mr. Pagę left for the States before you got back from that trip?

Mr. HINMAN. No, sir,
The CHAIRMAN. He was still there?
Mr. HINMAN. He was still there.

The CHAIRMAN. Now, I wish you would tell the committee just what you did here about the existence of these documents before you were suddenly recalled to the States.

Mr. Hinman. Before I was recalled to the States, nothing, but soon thereafter.

The CHAIRMAN. You said you had heard of their existence.

Mr. HINMAN. Oh, I thought you meant these documents here. After my return to Mexico I gathered the impression from—well, really I can't tell where it was, but I got the impression that Mr. Page and this gentleman, whose name has been given to the committee, were working on something of this sort. As the matter had not been mentioned to me in any way I dropped my side of the thing and

The CHAIRMAN. I must have misunderstood you. I gathered that you said there were papers in existence showing the payment of money to Americans.

Mr. HINMAN. Oh, yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. And that you had heard that before you were suddenly summoned to the United States.

Mr. HINMAN. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. It is that which I want to ask you about.
Mr. HINMAN. I did nothing more about that.
The CHAIRMAN. I want to find out in detail what you heard.

Mr. HINMAN. That was all that I heard; that these papers could be obtained.

let it go.

The CHAIRMAN. Did you hear that from Mexican sources or from American sources ?

Mr. HINMAN. Well, I should say it would be Mexican-American.
The CHAIRMAN. Méxican-American?
Mr. HINMAN. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. You did not follow the matter up at all?
Mr. HINMAN. I did not.

The CHAIRMAN. You simply heard that there were papers in existence ?

Mr. HINMAN. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Were the kind of papers specified !

Mr. HINMAN. I believe that it had something to do with hacienda, the department of the treasury.

The CHAIRMAN. That they were in the treasury department of Mexico?

Mr. HINMAN. Or that the records of the treasury department would show the making of certain payments.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you know whether that information that reached you came from the same source as that which reached Mr. Page ?

Mr. HINMAN. I did not know.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you know anything about the genuineness of these papers?

Mr. HINMAN. Nothing, sir. I had never seen the papers until they were produced here yesterday.

The CHAIRMAN. I have no other questions. Gentlemen of the committee, any questions?

Senator ROBINSON. Who told you what you heard before you came back to New York ?

Mr. HINMAN. Before I returned to New York?

Senator ROBINSON. Yes, sir; I understood you to say that about the latter part of March or the first of April you received information or heard that there were papers that could be procured, that showed payment by the Mexican treasury to Americans. Now, who told you about that?

Mr. HINMAN. Miguel Avila.
Senator ROBINSON. Avila!
Mr. HINMAN. Yes, sir.
Senator ROBINSON. That is the witness who has testified here?
Mr. HINMAN. Yes, sir.

Senator ROBINSON. Do you remember where you were when he told you about that?

Mr. HINMAN. As I recall I encountered him on the street, about a block from the cable office.

Senator Robinson. Can you fix with approximate accuracy the date on which you learned that from Avila?

Mr. HINMAN. As I say, it was within a few days of April 1. It may have been that day, or it may have been March 31, or March 30, or March 29, but it was within that very brief period.

Senator ROBINSON. What did he tell you?

Mr. HINMAN. The substance of what I repeated here; that he believed that there was, or that there could be obtained from the treasury, records to show payments to Americans.

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· Senator ROBINSON. Did you ask him why he believed that?

Mr. HINMAN. No, sir.
Senator ROBINSON. Did you discuss the subject with him at all!

Mr. HINMAN. I did not. I told him that we should be very much interested in this material if it could be obtained.

Senator ROBINSON. Did he approach you about it or did you approach him?

Mr. HINMAN. As I recall he mentioned it to me in the course of the conversation.

Senator Robinson. Do you know how he came to you about it?

Mr. HINMAN. I had known him, had seen him in Mexico ever since I had been there.

Senator ROBINSON. How long had you known him? Mr. HINMAN. I probably met him within three or four days after I entered Mexico in 1926.

Senator ROBINSON. Mr. Avila knew, or claimed to know, sometime before the 1st of April that there were certain papers of the kind you have described, in existence?!'

Mr. HINMAN. Yes, sir. Those were general papers. No names were mentioned in the conversation, and no titles. Merely that he believed this evidence could be obtained.

Senator ROBINSON. Did you make any suggestion to him about what should be done about it?

Mr. HINMAN. I told him that naturally we were interested in any papers of this sort.

Senator ROBINSON. That is all.

Senator BRUCE. Was there any intimation as to the existence of these papers that came to you from anybody else except Mr. Avila?

Mr. HINMAN. At that time; no, sir.

Senator BRUCE. Well, when did such additional information come to you?

Mr. HINMAN. Oh, later, probably in July or August of this year, after apparently this inquiry had gotten considerably under way, there was gossip around Mexico that these papers were in existence and that they had—well, I don't remember whether they said they had come into the possession of the Hearst papers, but I mean there was gossip around generally that you would hear on the streets or in hotel lobbies.

Senator Bruce. But there was no gossip at the time you got the information from Mr. Avila in the first instance?

Mr. HINMAN. There is always gossip in Mexico of payments to Americans.

Senator BRUCE. That is all.
The CHAIRMAN. That is all; we thank you, Mr. Hinman.
(The witness was excused.)

The CHAIRMAN. Is Mr. Watson here? (A pause without response.) Mr. Hinman, are you in a position to tell us where Mr. Watson is?

Mr. HINMAN. No, sir. I believe he is stopping at the Willard Hotel, but I do not know.

The CHAIRMAN. Be so kind as to try to find him and let him know the committee is waiting for him.

Senator Robinson. Will you put Mr. Avila on the stand?
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Avila, take the stand again.

FURTHER TESTIMONY OF MIGUEL R. AVILA

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(The witness was sworn when he took the stand on yesterday.)

Ìhe CHAIRMAN. Mr. Avila, Senator Robinson wants to ask you some more questions.

Mr. AVILA. All right.

Senator ROBINSON. When did you first receive information that there were papers in existence purporting to show payments by the Mexican treasury to Americans?

Mr. AVILA. I told Mr. Page.
Senator ROBINSON. When was that?
Mr. AVILA. In the last part of May.
Senator ROBINSON. When?
Mr. AVILA. In the last part of May.
Senator ROBINSON. Now, are you certain about that, Mr. Avila?
Mr. AVILA. Yes, sir.
Senator ROBINSON. You never had heard about it before?
Mr. Avila. No, sir.

Senator ROBINSON. As a matter of fact, did not you tell Mr. Hinman the latter part of March or the 1st of April that these papers were in existence ?

Mr. AVILA. No, sir.
Senator ROBINSON. And that you believed they could be gotten?

Mr. Avila. No, sir. I will explain what I told him: I was talking with Mr. Hinman, and we were talking about the mission of Protestants that went to Mexico, and we were talking about these people having been paid for it. He said he would like to get it. He said, “If you have proof of the giving of money it will be good.”

Senator ROBINSON. You did not discuss with Mr. Hinman the latter part of March or the 1st of April anything about papers of the nature of these?

Mr. AVILA. No, sir.

Senator ROBINSON. What you talked about was some Protestant mission that had gone down there?

Mr. AVILA. Yes, sir.
Senator ROBINSON. That is all.

Senator JOHNSON. Your conversation with Mr. Hinman, did it relate to payments that were made to Americans who had gone down to Mexico?

Mr. AVILA. To a Protestant mission that went there.
Senator JOHNSON. That is all.
The CHAIRMAN. American Protestants?
Mr. Avila. Yes, sir; American Protestants.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well, that is all.
(The witness left the stand.)
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Watson.

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TESTIMONY OF VICTOR WATSON, EDITOR OF THE NEW YORK

DAILY MIRROR

(The witness was duly sworn by the chairman.)
The CHAIRMAN. What is your full name?
Mr. WATSON. Victor Watson.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Watson, what is your occupation ?
Mr. Watson. Newspaper man.

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