Villista attacks on ‘Carrancista’ issues

At the end of February 1915 the Villista government in Chihuahua, cut off from the Conventionists in Central Mexico, began making their own pronouncements. On 28 February a Durango newspaper reported that Villa’s government had declared that only the notes with three signatures, one of which had to be Pastor Rouaix, were of forced circulation. However the newspaper believed that the circular would be corrected and amplified as there was no reason for excluding some other issues, such as the Asociación Durangueña notes, guaranteed by particular interests; the Estado de Durango notes from the 12 December 1913 decree, which had as collateral the property seized from deliquents; and the lithographed issues of Rouaix and Arrieta, which were part of Carranza’s national issues, acknowledged by all Constitutionalists. There were also the lithographed notes printed with just del Real Alfaro’s signature, but nevertheless legitimateLa Voz de la Revolución, Tomo 1, Núm. 48, 28 February 1915. The Durango government resolved that while they lobbied the Secretaría de Hacienda in Chihuahua the issues would still be legal tender. By March businesses were refusing to accept the fractional single signatures notes, so on 18 March Saravia, in a circular, warned the public that they were of forced circulation, as they formed part of the issue authorized by Carranza and recognized by Villa, who has expressly acknowledged the issue made by Rouaix, of which these formed partLa Voz de la Revolución, Tomo 1, Núm. 57, 21 March 1915. Finally, on 23 March Villa’s finance minister, Francisco Escudero, said that legitimate issues included those signed by M. del R. Alfaro and those of three signatures.

In March, as part of their ongoing dispute, Villa decided to invalidate all Carranza’s issues (though he excepted fractional notes of 5c, 10c and 20c) so on 30 March Saravia declared all Carrancista issues of paper money null and void within the territory under his commandPeriódico Oficial, Durango, Tomo XL, Núm. 15, 8 April 1915. Such a blanket ban obviously needed clarification, for example the government of Coahuila asked whether Durango notes with Carranza’s authorisation on the back were included. Saravia replied that Estado de Durango notes were not included, with the exception of the Arrieta notes, and this message was repeated in Nuevo León. As for the Arrieta notes, in early March Antonio Gaxiola, Durango’s Secretario General, had gone to Torreón to discuss these with Villa. These had been declared worthless by the incoming Villista government, a declaration that had caused great distress because most people had a large number of them. Gaxiola obtained Villa’a authorisation to exchange these notes in the Dirección General. At the end of April the government in Durango decreed that the Arrieta issues would be legal tender but only for payment of local taxes and not for business transactions. This was applauded as going some way to resolving the problem caused by the fact that when the Arrieta brothers were in Durango the people were forced to accept their money and stood to lose when the Villistas captured the city.

In early April the Jefe de Armas of Torreón declared all Durango issues of forced circulation except for those that had not been approved by the government, namely the Series A and E issued, without authorization, by Domingo ArrietaLa Voz de la Revolución, Tomo 1, Núm. 64, 7 April 1915. The actual disposition is more restrictive.. However, on 21 June 1915 Saravia announced that until 26 June the branch of the Banco del Estado de Chihuahua would change at par the $5 Series E and $50 Series A notes signed by Arrieta, Juan B. Fuentes and José ClarkLa Voz de la Revolución, Tomo 1, Núm. 100, 25 June 1915.

The question remains, however, whether in these pronouncements the Villistas were including the Arrieta notes dated December 1914. Overall it seems that the Durango government tried to mitigate the consequences of disowning the Carrancista issues, to the extent of redeeming all but perhaps Arrieta’s rudimentary issues.

In early May businesses were refusing to accept Rouaix notes. As they had reached the total of $3,000,000 the government of Durango asked Villa for a resolution.