Mr. Romero to Mr. Bayard.
Washington, March 26, 1887. (Received March 26.)
Mr. Secretary: I have the honor to inform you that I have received instructions from my Government to apprise that of the United States that the governor of Sonora has reported to the Department of Foreign Relations of Mexico that the collector of the frontier custom-house at Sásabe has informed him that the authorities of Arizona claim, as being situated within the territory of the United States—so that they may collect taxes thereon—a ranch belonging to Don Fernando Ortiz, which lies in Mexican territory.
From a report made to the department by the federal district judge of Sonora, it appears that a person by the name of George P. Roskruge, claiming to be a surveyor, visited Ortiz’ ranch in December last, and raised a flag to the south of the Sásabe custom-house. Being asked what was the object of his mission, he replied that he was going to survey some land by order of the authorities of Arizona; whereupon Ortiz told him that his ranch was in Mexican territory, and near to a federal custom-house. Ortiz showed the surveyor a map of his land, which map also showed the situation of the custom-house, and referred to the monuments which mark the dividing line, which were pointed out to the surveyor by a guide who was furnished by the aforesaid custom-house.
The surveyor was informed that those lands had been surveyed according to the laws of Mexico, and had been declared to be wild lands belonging to that country, a title thereto having been issued in due form to Don Fernando Ortiz. The surveyor nevertheless stated that, in his opinion, the lands in question were in the territory of this country.
In another report of the district judge, bearing date of February 25, 1887, it is stated that, according to infrmation furnished by the collector of customs at Sásabe, the common council of Tucson, with the approval of the governor of Arizona Territory, and basing its action on the survey made by Mr. Roskruge, instructed Mariano Samaniego, the official assessor of that Territory, to call at Ortiz’s ranch for the purpose of assessing it for taxation.
Mr. Mariacal has instructed me, as this matter comes under the boundary question between the two countries, to communicate the foregoing facts to you, and to beg you, if there are no objections, to issue [Page 874] such orders as you may think proper to the authorities of Arizona to suspend proceedings relative to the ranch in question until the boundary line shall have been relocated on that portion of the frontier, for which purpose a treaty has already been signed by the two governments, although it has not yet gone into operation—since the documents in possession of the Government of Mexico, together with the situation of the monuments, and the fact that the Sásabe custom-house lies north of the spot where Surveyor Roskruge placed his first mark, show that the ranch of Fernando Ortiz is situated in Mexican territory, and that, consequently, Mr. Roskruge undertook to survey land belonging to Mexico.
Mr. Mariscal also directs me, Mr. Secretary, to call your attention to the fact that the authorities of Arizona appear to have decided, on their own responsibility, that that land belongs to the United States, notwithstanding the knowledge, which they certainly have, of the statements made to Mr. Roskruge by the owner of the land and the collector of customs at Sásabe.
Be pleased, etc.,