Professor Hart attempted to provide proof of a cover-up, writing that “Among the otherwise immaculate records of the U.S. Military Government of Veracruz…inventories of arms…have not been found among the ‘screened’ records available in the U.S. National Archives.” (Hart, Revolutionary Mexico, p. 300; see also p. 293 and mention of the “censor’s eye”) The implication here is that the originating authority purged potentially embarrassing information about the U.S. government’s sealift to supply the Constitutionalists.
Presenting documents that do not exist as evidence not only constitutes a most obvious logical fallacy, but in this case also demonstrates a woeful ignorance of the administration of government records.
First of all, not only would culling or destroying records without leaving a paper trail create a bureaucratic nightmare, in most cases it is also illegal. That is why, when a department wishes to keep a particular document classified that is in a file among others being declassified, the organization withholding the document will insert a placeholder, identifying the withholding agency and the reason for maintaining the classified status of the document. See, for instance, the two placeholders below, one from the NSA and the other provided by the FBI in File 9700, including the reasons for the extraction.
The point here is that the U.S. government does not simply purge, scrub, or “screen” files.
What makes Hart’s assertion even more ludicrous is the fact that the file he was referencing—File 2149991—was never even classified! That’s right. The records for the alleged largest cover-up in the Mexican Revolution pertained to an unclassified file.
Moreover, Hart did not even bother to review the U.S. Army’s actual declassified Military Intelligence file (#5761) for the period in question, 1910 to 1915. If he had, he would have found plenty of evidence to debunk his so-called “Veracruz thesis,” and NOTHING pertaining to any imagined sealift to the Constitutionalists.
Taken together, we can categorically conclude that any covert United States government operation designed to help the Constitutionalists defeat the Conventionists took place only in Professor Hart’s imagination.