Heinrich von Eckardt
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Heinrich von Eckardt was the ambassador for the German Empire in Mexico, assuming office around 1915 and spending most of his time as ambassador during World War I. After the departure of the more German supported President Victoriano Huerta in 1914, German sentiment for successor Venustiano Carranza was significantly negative; von Eckardt believed Carranza's government bodies were "prototypes of vulgarity and depravity". His attitude towards the president remained bitter despite attempts by Carranza to suppress anti-German publications, which he described as "pedant mediocrity".
von Eckardt is known for being the recipient of the Zimmermann Telegram, a telegram sent by German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann on January 16, 1917. The message was first sent to the German ambassador to the United States, Johann von Bernstorff, to deter interception. He relayed it to von Eckardt on January 19. However, the telegram was intercepted by the United Kingdom en route from von Bernstorff to von Eckardt and decoded by Room 40. In the telegram, Zimmermann instructed von Eckardt to approach President Venustiano Carranza with a proposition to firstly, form an alliance with Germany, and secondly, should Germany drop its neutrality against the United States, attack the U.S. with it and help persuade Japan into aiding them with the attack. The telegram was left vague and von Eckardt was told to work out the details himself as he presented them to Carranza. He was also asked to call Carranza's attention to the Battle of the Atlantic and the possibility that it may further attempts to compel the UK into peace.
Despite the discovery of the telegram by the United States and Britain, von Eckardt approached Foreign Secretary Cándido Aguilar and gave him the proposal a month after the message was sent. Aguilar was sympathetic, but both he and Carranza eventually turned Germany down, mainly due to the premature release. Mexico feared American influence, though, and von Eckardt was somewhat able to sway Carranza, who ordered pro-Allied newspapers to reverse their stance. These German-centric reports initially led von Eckardt to believe the armistice was a propagandic myth. Further confusion resulted in a Guadalajaran newspaper overlapping pro-German sentiment with von Eckardt's instructions for pro-Carranza reports when Carranza's anticlericalism caused the newspaper to criticise the Catholic Church, leading to the church's boycott and von Eckardt's unsuccessful attempts to coax them out of it.
von Eckardt was previously the German ambassador to the Kingdom of Montenegro during the Balkan Wars. He was present on April 27, 1913 when Austria demanded to King Nicholas that Montenegro return Scutari to Albania.