File No. 711.1215/365.

The Department of State to the Mexican Embassy.


The Department of State has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the memorandum of the Embassy of Mexico, of the 12th ultimo, in regard to the Chamizal case, and begs to say in reply that, as is pointed out in the beginning of the aide mémoire handed to the ambassador of Mexico by the Acting Secretary of State on August 25 [24], last, the United States, for the weighty reasons set forth by the American commissioner in his dissenting opinion and by the American agent in his suggestion of protest, is unable to perceive how the award can be considered valid or binding.

By reference to the opinion of the American commissioner and the protest of the American agent, it will be observed that the objections to the award stated by them go to the validity of the award itself, and not merely to the practicability of carrying it out.

It was however furthermore pointed out in the Department’s aide mémoire that, even on the assumption that the award rendered by the presiding commissioner is valid and binding, it is in the opinion of this Government impossible to carry it into effect at the Chamizal tract, and impracticable successfully to apply certain principles upon which it is based elsewhere along the fluvial boundary.

Under these circumstances the Department remarked, in its aide mémoire, that—

since it seems evident that in any event further diplomatic negotiations and a further convention are inevitable, it appears to the Government of the United States that it would be for the interest of both parties for the two Governments, without discussing the question of the validity of the award or the possibility of scientifically relocating the channel of 1864, to endeavor to settle their difference through a new convention which should avoid as far as possible all contentious matters and look toward a settlement upon a basis of mutual accommodation and convenience.

To this suggestion the embassy’s memorandum of September 12 makes reply:

That the Government of Mexico is of opinion that inasmuch as the matter is finally adjudicated by award, nothing remains but to carry out duly the said decision by means of such arrangement as may be made to run the dividing line in accordance with the sentence; but if in the practical application of the points determined by the umpire truly insuperable difficulties should be met, the Government of Mexico will not object to entering upon new arrangements to overcome such difficulties in friendly accord with the Government of the United States.

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It appears to the Department that in making this proposal, which in the first instance is concerned solely with the ascertainment of the possibility of relocating the channel of 1864, the Mexican Government has not only omitted to state its views as to the practicability of applying the test of the so-called “rapid and violent erosion” to other cases arising along the Rio Grande, but has failed to take into account the fundamental difficulty which confronts the United States in limine, namely the consideration that it does not recognize the validity of the award and that the acceptance of the Mexican proposition, even if subject to no other observation, might be deemed to amount to a tacit recognition of its validity.

The Government of the United States in its aide memoire of August 24 did not ask the Government of Mexico to admit the invalidity of the recent award or the impossibility of relocating the channel of 1864. It only proposed that these contentious matters be held in abeyance while the two Governments worked out through friendly negotiations a practical solution of their practical difficulties.

In the opinion of the Government of the United States the present Mexican proposal is unacceptable in that it asks the United States, as a preliminary to negotiations, to yield upon one of the fundamental questions in dispute.

This Department can not but hope that the Mexican foreign office will reexamine the questions under discussion in the light of the considerations suggested in this memorandum, to the end that the two Governments, without prejudice to the position of either with respect to the validity of the award, may reach a practical solution alike satisfactory and honorable to both countries.

Note.—Owing to the disturbed conditions existing in Mexico no definite action was taken for the settlement of the Chamizal dispute, and the case remains in statu quo.