The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 68, July 1964 - April, 1965

Book Reviews

reveal the life of the time. Gay is truly the best description of the
book. KENNETH F. NEIGHBOURS
------- Midwestern University
The United States versus Porfirio Diaz. By Daniel Cosio Villegas.
Translated by Nettie Lee Benson. Preface by Stanley Robert
Ross. Lincoln (University of Nebraska Press), 1963- Pp.
xii+259. Notes, bibliography, index. $5.00.
Contrary to general impression, Mexico during the regime of
Porfirio Diaz did not at all times have a reputation for order,
financial stability, favored treatment of foreign nationals, and
friendly relations with the United States. As the distinguished
Mexican historian, Cosfo Villegas, points out in this monograph,
there was considerable friction between the two countries during
Diaz' first term, and there was a year and a half of tension border-
ing on armed conflict before the United States at length accorded
formal recognition of the Mexican government in May, 1878.
The two principal antagonists in this critical period were John
W. Foster, United States minister to Mexico, and Ignacio Luis
Villarta, Mexican secretary of foreign relations. The United
States conditioned its recognition of the Diaz government--which
had just come to power in 1876 as a result of the revolt of Tux-
tepec-on the satisfactory settlement of all existing problems in
United States-Mexican relations-claims, border raids including
many along the Rio Grande, the 'Tamaulipas Free Zone, and the
like. But Mexico rejected conditional recognition and Villarta,
employing legalistic arguments and dilatory tactics, eventually
won the match. One is reminded of an observation of the late
Walter Prescott Webb concerning the effectiveness of Mexican
diplomacy-"It is an axiom in Texas history that when a Texan
fights a Mexican he can win; but when he parleys he is doomed."
In his concluding chapter, "Relevance and Moral," Cosio
Villegas proudly notes that in the contest between Foster and
Villarta "Mexico was the conqueror and the United States was
the conquered." It made possible, however, the author points out,
the expansion of American economic interests and political in-
fluence in Mexico in subsequent years. Yet for this "preponder-
ance" the United States paid a tremendous price, he says, be-
cause Mexico's esteem and admiration for the United States was
transformed into distrust, suspicion, and hate.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 68, July 1964 - April, 1965. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101198/. Accessed September 18, 2014.