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William H. Taft, Porfirio Diaz

On October 16, 1909, American President William Howard Taft and Mexican President Porfirio Diaz met in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez in what was to be the first meeting in history between a president of the United States and a President of Mexico. Taft suggested the meeting-his aim was to obtain an expression from the Diaz government of its continued support of American investments in Mexico.

Diaz accepted Taft’s invitation to meet in El Paso because he wanted to try to restore his lost popularity in the El Paso-Ciudad Juarez area, where the people were openly opposing the Diaz regime.

The meeting was carefully planned and created a great deal of attention nationally and locally. The Chamizal area, which was at the time in dispute, was declared neutral territory during the historic meetings. The first meeting was held in El Paso in the Chamber of Commerce building. After the meeting in El Paso, the two men went to Ciudad Juarez for another meeting in the Juarez customhouse. Nineteen months later Porfirio Diaz was overthrown when Ciudad Juarez was captured by revolutionary forces.

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Imagine that you are a newspaper reporter in El Paso in October, 1909. Write a story about the meeting of President Taft and President Diaz. Be sure to say who, what, where, why and when.

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From the Handbook of Texas Online

General Diaz, on the Meeting with President Taft

Read More, Learn More:

Callahan, James Morton. 1932. American Foreign Policy in Mexican Relations. New York: Macmillan. Sonnichsen, C. L. 1968.

Pass of the North: Four Centuries on the Rio Grande. Texas Western Press.