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Wednesday, 14th April, 1847.
After night Mr. Buchanan called and read me a letter which he had received this evening from Moses Beach of the New York Sun, written in the city of Mexico and dated on the 17th of March last. In his letter Mr. Beach describes the revolutionary condition of Mexico, but expresses the opinion that a treaty may be made which would be satisfactory to the United States, and leaves the inference that he make such a treaty. Mr. Beach was in Washington in November last and had several interviews with Mr. Buchanan and one with me. He was then on the eve of leaving for Mexico on private business, but from his intimacy with General Almonte expressed the opinion that he could exert a favorable influence on him and other leading men in Mexico, with a view to the restoration of peace. He induced Mr. Buchanan and myself to believe that he could do so. Mr. Buchanan informed him confidentially of the terms on which we would treat, and it was deemed advisable to constitute him a secret agent to Mexico. He was so constituted accordingly, but was not clothed with any diplomatic powers. The object of constituting him a secret agent was that he might collect and furnish useful information to his government. He may misconstrue his authority and it may be possible that he may induce the Mexican rulers, if they are reduced to great straits by the pressure of the war, upon the production to them of the letter of the Secretary of State making him an agent of the government, to make a treaty with him. It is clearly to be inferred from his letter that he will make a treaty with them if be can. Should he do so, and it is a good one, I will waive his authority to make it, and submit it to the Senate for ratification. It will be a good joke if he will assume the authority and take the whole country by surprise and make a treaty. Mr. Buchanan's strong impression is that he may do so. 6
- Polk: The Diary of a President, 1845-1849, Covering the Mexican War, the Acquisition of Oregon, and the Conquest of California and the Southwest-Book by Allan Nevins, James Polk; 1929