England is nicer in lots of ways than Mexico, so much nicer that last week the civilian leader of the latest Mexican Revolution, Senor Don Gilberto Valenzuela, must have devoutly wished himself back at the Court of St. James's, strutting again in silk knee breeches with a cordon across his chest as Mexican Envoy Extraordinary & Minister Plenipotentiary. Instead he was desperately striving in the state of Sonora, first to bolster up civilian support for the army of his chief-of-staff, General Gonzalo Escobar, and second with the forlorn project of despatching to President Herbert Hoover a request that the ten most northerly states of Mexico be recognized as having seceded from the Mexican Union, and as constituting the Republica Mexicana de Obregon.
Thus by a gesture intended principally for local effect, Chief Rebel Valenzuela sought to identify himself with the magic name of his old heroic friend, General Alvaro Obregon, who was assassinated last year shortly after his re-election as President of Mexico (TIME, July 30). Last week indeed the murdered President's widow, Senora Maria Tapita Obregori, was understood to have added a letter of fervent supplication to the documents despatched by Señor Valenzuela to Washington.
Of course it was all in vain. President Herbert Hoover had long since cast his sympathies against the rebels and on the side of squarejawed, gnarled-fisted President of Mexico Senor Emilio Portes Gil. Just to make assurance doubly ironclad, Secretary of State Frank Billings Kellogg told correspondents that "under no circumstances" would the State Department recognize the soi-disant and really nonexistent Valenzuela government.
Undaunted the rebels opened at No. 66 Beaver St., Manhattan, an office which was called a' "consulate" by the. self-styled "Consul," Señor A. Jiminez. When reporters dropped in, the Consul assured them that merchandise shipped from the U.S. to Sonora and other states controlled by the rebels would be subject to a heavy fine unless registered with the consulate. Strolling back to their press rooms, and eying latest despatches from Mexico, the reporters could see at a glance how little founded were the pretensions of the Consul and his government to Power.
This perhaps was unfortunate, for Senor Don Gilberto Valenzuela, who was Mexican Minister in London until late December last, is a really brilliant lawyer, a keen chess-player, teetotaler, nonsmoker, and a civilian, whereas Mexican governments are traditionally composed of militarists, traditionally corrupt. The nickname which his enemies have fastened upon him, El Capitan de los Cristeros, correctly indicates his Catholic sympathies, but is cruelly unjust in its literal connotations, "The Captain of the Christers."
Calles after Escobar. "I give the revolution ten or 15 days more to live," said President Portes Gil in Mexico City. "Our troops will capture Torreon, and after that it will be just a chase."