File No. 711.1216M/139.

The Secretary of State to the American Ambassador.


The Government of the United States gladly accepts the suggestion that a joint commission be appointed to examine the Colorado River levee project, and you will request the Mexican Government to appoint at once its engineers and to instruct them to meet the American engineers at the site of the proposed works. The matter is extremely urgent, as in order to accomplish the desired purpose the work must be completed before the flood waters of the coming spring, and to accomplish this the work must be started no later than January 1. The entire scheme will be fully explained to the appropriate department of the Mexican Government by a representative of the Department of the Interior who will proceed at once to Mexico City for that purpose. The project appears as beneficial to Mexico as to the United States. This Government does not want to secure for itself any rights on Mexican territory, and only desires that American [Page 546] settlers be protected from the enormous losses which would follow the failure to erect the levee. This Government is entirely willing that the money should be expended by the Mexican company which owns the land where the levee is to be built. If such an arrangement is adopted, it will probably not be necessary to negotiate a treaty, because the United States will have no legal interest in the levee. In connection with the above it may be pointed out that the Cordova cut-off near El Paso, Tex., and Juarez, Mexico, was constructed on Mexican territory, and most of the money was furnished by the city of El Paso, and the two Governments did not negotiate a treaty, but merely indicated their consent. Make urgent representations to the Mexican Government, because the matter is urgent.