MEXICAN COMMANDERS ESCORTED TO FORT BLISS BY GENERAL PERSHING AND CAVALRY GUARD OF HONOR
STREET THRONGS CHEER TORREON HERO
AMERICAN OFFICERS TO ACCOMPANY PARTY TO SONORA, WHERE EFFORT WILL BE MADE TO STRAIGHTEN OUT LATEST TANGLE.
Poor and unknown, with barely a half dozen ragged and unarmed followers when he left here less than eighteen months ago, the general returned yesterday the commander of an army estimated at 40,000 men and acknowledged as one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful man in his native land.
Villa’s mission is one of peace, and through his intercession with Governor Maytorena, Provisional President Carranza hopes that tranquility may be restored in Sonora, which remains the only portion of the republic, where armies are arrayed in hostile camps.
Met by General Pershing.
Accompanied by General Alvaro Obregon, commander of the Mexican division of the northwest and of the federal district, General Villa arrived at the Santa Fe bridge about 5 o’clock in the evening. There the Mexican officers were met by General John J. Pershing, commander of the eight brigade of the southern department of the United States army and ranking officer on this section of the border. The American general, who was accompanied by his aide, Lieutenant Collins, extended a cordial welcome to the Mexican officers. A company of the Twentieth infantry and a troop of the Thirteenth cavalry stood at attention as the visitors crossed the line.
Escorted by a guard of honor composed of Troop H, of the Thirteenth cavalry, the party were driven in automobiles to Fort Bliss where they were guest at an informal reception at the home of General Pershing. As the procession, which included some twenty automobiles, drove through the street, thousand who gathered to obtain a view of Mexico’s famous military leaders, cheered heartily and shouts of “Viva Villa” were frequent along the line of march. The Mexicans responded by lifting their hats and bowing and smiling to the assembled throngs.
Obregon Impressed With El Paso
Altogether the welcome was a hearty one, especially to General Villa, who is quite well known here on account of his many visits to the city before. Yesterday was the first time General Obregon had ever seen El Paso, and he was lavish in his praise of the appearance of the city, with its towering buildings and miles of handsome residences.
Villa in Mufti
General Villa and his staff officers were in mufti, while General Obregon and the members of his suite were brilliant in the gold lace and regalia of the full dress uniform of the Mexican army.
En route to Fort Bliss, the party stopped at the country club, where a welcome was extended to them by the directors and members of the club.
Reception at Fort Bliss
At Fort Bliss, General Pershing had arranged a reception in honor of the visitors and the officers of the local garrison were drawn up to receive them at General Pershing’s headquarters. Military band was present and played the Mexican national anthem as Generals Villa and Obregon arrived. Refreshments were served to the visitors at General Pershing’s home, and toasts to the United States and to Mexico, to the chief magistrates of the two countries, to the visiting military commanders and the General Pershing were drunk. The reception was entirely informal and for half an hour the officers remained conversing before they returned to the city. It had been planned to hold a view at the post, but as the party did not arrive until after dusk this feature was eliminated. At the close of the reception the military band played the “Star Spangled Banner,” and with the American officers, Generals Villa and Obregon and their staffs stood at attention.
Among the officers who welcomed General Villa and Obregon at Fort Bliss were, Colonel George H. Morgan, commander of the Fifteenth cavalry; Colonel John S. Parke, commander of the Twentieth infantry; Lieutenant Colonel William L. Kenly, commander Sixth Field artillery; Major E. A. Lewis, commander sixth infantry; Major Charles S. Farnsworth, commander Sixteenth infantry; Major M.M.. McNamme, Major W. Davidson, of the Medical corps; Major Lewis, Major John L. Hines, Captain Charles Lloyd, Captain A.P. Watts, Captain Robert W. Mearns, Lieutenant W.W. Gordon and Lieutenant James L. Collins.
General Pershing and his aide accompanied the commanders to the International bridge on their return to Juarez.
Gratification at the good feeling which exists between the United States government and the new constitutionalist government of Mexico was frequently expressed by the commanders of the armies of the two republics during the journey through El Paso.
Much Expected From Meeting
The meeting of General Obregon with General Villa will, it is hoped, help greatly in bringing about an agreeable settlement of all differences in Mexico. They have had many talks and conferences since they have met and, it is understood, have already reached a better understanding on matters hitherto in dispute.
It was noticeable yesterday that both Villa and Carranza officials fraternized and mingled together, both in Juarez and in El Paso, for the first time since the estrangement occurred last May. Constitutionalist Consul Rafael E. Muzquiz called on General Villa at his home at Juarez, and other Carranza officials paid their respects to the commander of the north. The meetings were cordial and there was not the least appearance of ill felling between the sympathizers of the two Mexican commanders.
General Villa and Obregon arrived at Juarez about noon yesterday from Chihuahua. En route General Villa had the special train stopped at Tierra Blanca, twenty-five miles south of Juarez, and for an hour he and General Obregon walked over the historic battle ground where General Villa and his army inflicted one of the most telling defeats on the Mercado and Salazar and Orozco armies of Chihuahua.. General Villa grew enthusiastic in explaining how his army had overcome the federals and how they had driven them into disorder to Chihuahua, only to leave the state capital a short time later to disastrous flight to Ofinaga.
Generals Qualify and Marksmen
During the trip over the Tierra Blanca battle ground General Villa and General Obregon shot at a target made of bottles thrown away by Villa’s soldiers last December.
On the arrival of the special at Juarez the general were met at the station by Colonel Tonias Ornelas, military commander of the city, and Mayor Juan N. Medina and all other officials, both military and civil, of Juarez. General Villa went to his Lerdo avenue home, while General Obregon during his stay in Juarez made his headquarters in his private car.
Last night the two commanders were the guest of honor at a ball given by military and civil officials at the customs house.
Special Train Due to Leave at Dawn
The special train which will carry them to Sonora leaves El Paso at daybreak today for the Sonora border. The party will travel in the same train in which they left Mexico.
Yesterday at noon a long-distance call was received from Governor William G. McDonald of New Mexico, who stated that he had no objection to the Mexican officials passing through that state. Governor O.B. Colquitt of Texas and Governor G.W.P. Hunt of Arizona had previously given their consent. The permission of the war department and the department of state came immediately after the request had been made. Both departments of the United States government also ordered army and state department officials on the border to extend every courtesy to the Mexican commanders and to assist them in every way on their proposed peace commission.
General John J. Pershing designated Captain Robert W. Mearns, senior caption of the Twentieth infantry, to accompany the Mexican military party as an escort of honor on their journey through the United States. He will be accompanied by Lieutenant W. Weaver and a detachment from company H. Twentieth infantry.
Villa Reticent Concerning Sanora
General Villa was reticent yesterday in regard to the Sanora situation, but expressed himself to the extent that he believed a peaceful solution of the trouble between Maytorena and the Carranza forces could be arranged without the use of force. He said he was anxious to have the entire country pacified as soon as possible, and for this reason had volunteered his services in the Sonora situation. He made no complaint against the assumption of General Venustiano Carranza to the provisional presidency. It is his wish, however, that elections be held at the earliest possible moment.
General Villa was accompanied by members of his staff, among them Colonel Luis Aguirre Benavides, his private secretary; Colonel Medinavieta, chief of staff; Colonel Rodolfo Fierro, Major Joe Martinez and other. He brought only a small escort.
GENERAL OBREGON EXPLAINS OBJECTS OF PEACE COMMISSION
“Our commission, which has been appointed by General Carranza to offer its services in bringing about peace in the state of Sonora, intends to use every prudent and argumentative method possible in arranging the difficulties between Governor Maytorena and Colonel Calles.” Said General Alvaro Obregon yesterday. “We have come to see what benefit we can do the state in the regard and will avoid the use of force if possible.
State of Conference Not Decided Upon
“So far we do not know where the peace meeting will be held. This must be arranged later when we reach the Arizona border and can get into communication with the Sonora factions. We will probably proceed from El Paso to Agua Prieta and may late go to Nogales, Son.
“The taking of Nogales, Son., by Maytorena’s force will not alter the peace plans in any way, as both General Carranza and myself, as commander of the division of the northwest, ordered Colonel Calles to evacuate Nogales, and not to resist the Maytorena forces.
“What the plans of the commission in bringing about a peaceful settlement in Sonora will be I cannot say at this time. I also cannot say whether Governor Maytorena will be deposed if he does not agree to terms of peace.
Genera Villa Has Equal Power.
“General Villa will have an equal power with myself on the commission. Although he is not commander of any of the forces in the state of Sonora, he has been given full power by the provisional president to act in this case.
“I was greatly impressed with my reception at Chihuahua by General illa and the officers of his army of the north. They have restored perfect order in the state of Chihuahua, and have a finely conducted army.
“Throughout my entire journey from Mexico City I found perfect order existing in all parts. I felt no fear of attack from any marauders and the bringing of an escort of only twenty men shows that there was no need for any alarm. The entire northern country is completely pacified.
Tranquility Prevails In Sinaloa.
“The reports of a revolt on the part of Governor Jose Riveros of Sinaloa are absolutely without foundation. Perfect order exist in the state and General Iturbe, commander of the military forces in Sinaloa, reports to the me daily that there is nothing of consequence happening there.”
General Obregon is accompanied on the journey by General Julio Madero, a brother of the late president of Mexico and who has campaigned with him for the last year along the west coast of Mexico, and a number of staff officers together with the Jalisco military band.
After arranging the Sonora situation, General Obregon plans a trip through Sanora and down the west coast of Mexico as far as Manzanillo. Whether he will return to Mexico City by the way of Guadalajara or come back through El Paso has not been decided as yet.