Mr. Romero to Mr. Gresham.
Washington, March 28, 1894. (Received March 28.)
Mr. Secretary: I have the honor to inform you that I have received from Señor Mariscal, secretary of foreign relations of the United Mexican States, instructions, dated at the City of Mexico the 15th of the current month, to state to you that the governor of the State of Tamaulipas has sent to the Mexican Government a report of the municipal president of Reynosa, in which he relates various acts done by residents of Hidalgo County, Tex., upon a Mexican “banco” (cut-off) of the Rio Bravo (Rio Grande) in front of Granjeno.
From the report it appears that, by reason of the change of the current of the Rio Bravo—which is frequently repeated—a piece of land situated in Mexican territory has become an object of dispute between citizens of the two nations.[Page 393]
The Mexican citizens Don Manuel Garza and Don Juan Garza Chavarría have been in possession of this piece of land on the banks of the Rio Bravo since it was adjudicated to them by the authorities of Reynosa in 1868, and have not ceased to cultivate it, having been recognized as the owners thereof by the citizens of Texas themselves; but, by reason of the deviation of the river, the latter are now endeavoring to deprive the owners of the land of their legitimate rights, and stimulated by the judge of Hidalgo, Honorable William P. Dougherty, several citizens of Texas have undertaken operations on the aforesaid “banco,” opening breaches, plowing, and doing other works within the walls of the said piece of land, and when the owners of the same attempted to close a gateway which had been opened in this wall, the judge of Hidalgo County opposed it, and threatened with imprisonment whomsoever should attempt to close that gateway.
From the report received in the department of foreign relations of the Mexican Government, it appears that both the owners of the aforesaid Mexican “banco” and the authorities of Reynosa have proceeded with the utmost prudence and circumspection, deferring the decision of this matter until the International Boundary Commission shall have determined the point relative to the ownership of the “banco” in question.
Under these circumstances and in conformity with the convention of March 1, 1889, it is incumbent to suspend all proceedings until the International Commission created by that convention, or the respective Governments, as the case may be, shall decide concerning the nationality of the piece of land in dispute.
To the complaints and protests of the Mexican authorities of Reynosa against the above-mentioned acts, the authority of Hidalgo County has replied, denying to the owners of the piece of land their right to the same, and stating that in the United States it is not the custom to prevent citizens from the exercise of their rights, both personal and as touching their property, which statements would be well grounded were the piece of land under consideration within the territory of the United States, but which are wholly out of place when, in conformity with what has been stipulated by the two Governments, all proceedings are to be suspended in any disputed piece of land until the nationality thereof shall be decided conformably with the basis agreed upon.
In view of this, the Mexican Government has given me instructions to ask the Government of the United States that it shall make the proper communication to the authorities of the State, to the end that they and the residents of Hidalgo County shall suspend all acts against the owners of the Mexican “banco” in the Rio Grande, in front of El Granjeno, until the question of the nationality shall be decided according to the stipulations of the first article of the convention of March 1, 1889.
Be pleased to accept, etc.,