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INVESTIGATION OF ALLEGED PAYMENTS BY THE MEX
ICAN GOVERNMENT TO UNITED STATES SENATORS
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 15, 1927
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C. The special committee met, pursuant to call, at 10 o'clock 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 of Arkansas, and Bruce.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. Senate Resolution 7, under which we are acting, will be made a part of the record:
Whereas the Washington Herald, a newspaper published in Washington, D. C., in its issue of December 9, 1927, publishes a photographic copy of a letter purporting to evidence the payment of large sums of money to three Senators of the United States by the Government of the Republic of Mexico for the purpose of influencing their official action, and publishes a purported translation of said letter, as follows:
" To the chief clerk of the controller's department :
“By direction of the Citizen President of the Republic you will please order the passage of expediente No. 14396, corresponding to authorization No. 3481, issued by the presidency of the Republic in favor of the Citizen Arturo M. Elias, financial agent of Mexico in New York, for the sum of $1,200,000 (one million two hundred thousand dollars), to be charged to secret expenditures for pro-Mexican propaganda, to be paid in the following form : To Mr.
$350,000. “ To Mr.
$500,000. “ To Mr.
$350,000. “ The total of which our said financial agent has duly delivered (or will deliver) without exacting the corresponding receipts, given the honorability and high personality of the recipients.
“ It is, therefore, ordered by superior authority that this expediente pass the auditing department without the corresponding requisites of law.
“ Effective suffrage no reelection, Mexico, D. F., July 15, 1926, the Controller General, L. Montes De Oca DR-LMdeo.
“(Editor's note: The names deleted from the foregoing text are those of United States Senators.)”.
Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That a special committee of five Senators shall be forthwith appointed by the President of the Senate, and the said committee is hereby authorized and instructed immediately to investigate what moneys, rewards, or things of value have been given, promised, or offered to any Senator or Senators of the United States by any government or official of any foreign power for the purpose of propaganda or the purpose of influencing the official act of such Senator or Senators.
Said committee is hereby empowered to sit and act at such time or times and at such place or places as it may deem necessary; to require by subpoena or otherwise the attendance of witnesses, the production of books, papers, and documents, and to do such other acts as may be necessary in the matter of said investigation.
The chairman of the committee or any member thereof may administer oaths to witnesses. Every person who having been summoned as a witness by authority of said committee, willfully makes default, or who, having appeared, refuses to answer any question pertinent to the investigation heretofore authorized, shall be held to the penalties provided by section 102 of the Revised Statutes of the United States.
Said committee shall promptly report to the Senate the facts by it ascertained. The CHAIRMAN. Is Commander Cusachs in the room? Mr. CUSACHS. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. Will you come forward, please. Mr. CUSACHS. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. Just take a seat there at the table provided for the witness and the official reporter.
(Thereupon Mr. Carlos V. Cusachs, late lieutenant commander, United States Navy, and naval attaché to Spain during the World War, took a seat at the table.)
The CHAIRMAN. Will Mr. William R. Hearst please come around. Mr. HEARST. Certainly.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you hold up your right hand and be sworn: You do solemnly swear that the evidence you are now about to give in the matter under investigation by this special committee, will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. HEARST. I do.
TESTIMONY OF WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST, NEWSPAPER
PUBLISHER, NEW YORK CITY
(The witness was duly sworn by the chairman.)
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Hearst, this is a room in which it is somewhat difficult to hear, and I will ask you to keep your voice up.
Mr. HEARST. I will try to do so.
The CHAIRMAN. You are the owner of a number of newspapers, are you not?
Mr. HEARST. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Was it one of the papers that you owned during November and December of this year?
Mr. HEARST. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. That paper published certain articles relating to Mexican affairs and American Senators. Was it the only one of your papers that published such articles ?
Mr. HEARST. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Did the whole chain of newspapers publish similar articles at the same time?
Mr. HEARST. I think they all published similar articles at the same time.
The CHAIRMAN. Those publications appear to have begun, in so far as they relate to American Senators, about December 6 of this year and to have continued down to about December 9. Have you with you the original papers which were published during those dates, either in facsimile or in translation?
Mr. Hearst. I think I have the originals.
Mr. HEARST. Certainly. [Handing to the chairman of the committee an envelope.]
The CHAIRMAN. I notice that these papers are numbered, Mr. Hearst. Do the numbers correspond with the order in which they were published, or do they correspond with the items of this list that is furnished here?
Mr. HEARST. I do not know.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, I notice also that some of these papers appear to be telegrams in code. Will you tell us what method, if any, you adopted for the decodling of these telegrams?
Mr. HEARST. I can not tell you the details, but there are witnesses here who will do so.
The CHAIRMAN. Who can tell us the method adopted for decoding them?
Mr. HEARST. I think Mr. Coblentz, the editor of the New York American, who handed me that package a moment ago when you called for it.
The CHAIRMAN. He is here in the room?
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will want to call you later, Mr. Coblentz, and although you are not subpænaed we will ask you to stay, if you please.
Mr. COBLENTZ. All right.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Hearst, when did these papers come into your possession?
Mr. HEARST. They came into our possession at different times, some of them along, I think, in May and some of them, I think, a month later
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). Do you mean May, 1927?
Mr. HEARST. Yes. And some of them comparatively recently; I should say about a month before the series of articles began to appear.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you tell us how you first heard of the existence of these papers?
Mr. HEARST. Yes; and in doing so I should like to refer to a certain man without mentioning his name.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, the committee will consider your request if you will tell us your reasons.
Mr. HEARST. Well, the reasons are that he has business in Mexico which takes him there for the greater part of his time, and I am afraid it would not be healthful for him.
The CHAIRMAN. It would not be healthful for him? What do you mean?
Mr. HEARST. That it would not be safe for him.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you willing to give the committee his name privately. Mr. HEARST. Certainly; I will do that.
; The CHAIRMAN. Will you write it on a piece of paper and hand it over to us, if you please?
Mr. HEARST. Yes. "[The witness writes on a piece of paper and it is handed to the chairman, who shows it to each member of the committee and then destroys it.]
The CHAIRMAN. Very good. Now, Mr. Hearst, will you tell us just how this matter came to your attention?
Senator JOHNSON. Mr. Chairman, you are referring to all documents, or to all papers, not alone those relating to the Senators?
The CHAIRMAN. I am referring to the file of papers which Mr. Hearst has handed us this morning.
Senator JOHNSON. And those represent, do they not, the sum of all of the articles that have appeared upon this particular question, or upon the question of the disclosures as to Mexico? Mr. HEARST. Yes; they do.
The CHAIRMAN. Do these papers include also those disclosures which you have previously made regarding Japanese and Nicaraguan affairs?
Mr. HEARST. Yes, sir.
Senator ROBINSON. Have all articles that you contemplate publishing on the subject been published, or are there others to follow?
Mr. HEARST. There are some that have not been published, but I think they are all included in the batch of documents handed the chairman. Senator Robinson. Do you intend to publish further articles !
? Mr. HEARST. I do not think so, now that the committee has taken up this matter.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Hearst, tell us how you first learned of the existence of any of these papers, and what steps you took to get them. .
Mr. HEARST. Yes, sir. This gentleman whose name I gave you on the slip of paper was in Mexico on certain business, and he was informed that there were documents in the archives of the Mexican Government which indicated unwarranted interference on the part of that Government with the affairs of the United States; and he communicated his information to Mr. Edward Clark.
The CHAIRMAN. It was communicated by what method; by letter?
Mr. HEARST. Mr. Clark was the manager of my mother's estate, executor under her will, and he is the manager of the Cerro de Pasco and Homestake mines, and he is a director in several banks