File No. 711.1215/455.

The Secretary of State to the American Ambassador.


69. Your 58, February 28, midnight, and your 64, March 1, midnight, Chamizal case.

The Department is at a loss to understand Minister de la Barra’s suggestion of a settlement of the Chamizal case through the cession by the United States of San Elizario and Beaver Islands, except upon the theory that Señor de la Barra has not had opportunity to become conversant with the recent course of the negotiations. For reasons explained to Señor de la Barra when he was Ambassador here and since then repeatedly pointed out to Ambassador Calero, the cession of San Elizario Island is absolutely impossible and can not even be discussed by this Government. You will so inform the Minister of Foreign Relations at once, adding that the Department is under the impression that Beaver Island, as such, no longer exists. His proposition is, moreover, entirely inconsistent with the whole course of the negotiations for the past year, culminating in a recent memorandum by the Mexican Embassy in this city, containing tentative bases which, in the opinion of this Department, afford a reasonable basis for discussion, although naturally the Department will desire to propose certain modifications.

You will point out these considerations to the Foreign Minister and say to him that if a settlement is to be reached it must be upon these bases, certainly not less favorable to the United States than those already proposed by his predecessor in office.

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The substantive modifications which the Department proposes to the Embassy’s recent propositions are, first, the inclusion of the Cordoba tract as well as the Chamizal tract in the United States, the boundary line being so drawn that the Horcón tract and the small tract near El Paso south of the river would fall to Mexico; second, a provision that the awards of the proposed commission should in no case exceed the appraised value of the lands in question as fixed by the tax assessors in El Paso at the date of the award without taking into account any improvements except those, if any, made by claimants under Mexican private title.

A prompt commitment of the settlement of this question along these lines is regarded by the Department as of the utmost importance.