SAN PEDRO, Coahuila, Mexico, Aug. 10, 1920 (UP) - Francisco Villa, after years of banditry and defiance of both the Mexican and United States governments, has today surrendered to Mexican federal authorities and drowned his sorrows in a bottle of cognac.
The formal surrender ceremonies will take place later, but Villa actually placed his person in the hands of his former enemies yesterday.
He met General Eugenio Martinez, the federal commander, under an old tree on a ranch five miles from San Pedro.
Villa traveled as far as San Pedro with his men. He left his troops in the town and with only a handful of retainers rode on to the rendezvous in accordance with the agreement reached with the government.
Half a dozen military representatives of President De La Huerta, with General Martinez among them, were waiting for Villa under the tree. He galloped up with a dash, then swung from his horse and waved his hand to the little group of officers.
There was a general handshaking and then a bottle of cognac was produced.
After Villa had taken several swallows - without a chaser - he passed the flagon around the circle. After everybody had had a drink, the bottle was passed back to Villa.
He took a second drink and then said:
"I'm ready now to embrace my worst enemies."
Then, turning to the writer, he said:
"And I don't want any more enemies - only friends."
Later he made this more formal statement:
"Mexico and the Mexicans, including myself, are tired of fighting. It is best now to settle down and go to work.
"I'm eager to show I can work as well as fight.
"I'm a soldier and I'm ready to obey orders."
General Martinez later in the week will have charge of the demobilization of the Villista troops.
Each man is to be given a small ranch.
Villa will receive a large ranch and a personal bodyguard of 50 of his own men, who will be on the government payroll.
Villa received an ovation when he rode back to San Pedro. A crowd estimated at 3,000 persons came rushing into the plaza where they welcomed the former bandit with a chorus of lusty "Vivas."
After forcing his way through the throng, bowing right and left, Villa finally made an eloquent speech, which was wildly cheered.
"I will settle down on a ranch at Canutillo, Durango, where I'll raise cattle and crops," Villa said. "That's a considerable change from my life of the last 10 years, but I believe I'll do more for my country if I keep out of politics altogether.
"I have not desired to hold public office of any kind. I hope to be able to help make better conditions in Mexico, including education"
Describing his trip from Chihuahua, he said he traveled 600 miles in 12 days. He said he knew the government was looking for him, so he decided to tell where he was but sought safe territory first. Thus, he said, he had to capture a town and then reveal his presence.
One of the most dramatic episodes of the day was the meeting between Villa and General Escobar, one of the Carranza leaders responsible for the execution of Felipe Angeles, Villa's old aide and close friend.
Villa had sworn to kill those responsible for Angeles' death.
Today he met Escobar face to face while he was standing with a group of officers while talking about Mexican military men.
"Angeles," said Villa, "was Mexico's greatest general. It was a crime to kill him."
As he spoke, he fixed his eyes on Escobar and glared, gun on hip.
Escobar kept his hand on his gun.
The atmosphere was tense for a moment. Nobody spoke.
Then General Martinez tactfully changed the subject and the crisis passed.