The Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Interior (Fall)

Sir: I have received your letter of June 27, 1921,36 with which you forward copies of Senate Bill 1853 and “H.R. 6877”, being bills relative to a proposed arrangement between the States of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming respecting the disposition and utilization of the waters of the Colorado River. You state that you thought it proper, in view of the international situation, to call my attention to these bills.

The Senate Bill provides for the creation of a Commission to be composed of Representatives of the States mentioned and a Representative of the United States, appointed by the President, and to be authorized and constituted for the purpose of negotiating and entering into an arrangement, compact or agreement “between the said States and the United States” on the subject mentioned.

The House Bill provides that the consent of Congress shall be given to the States mentioned “to negotiate and enter into a compact or agreement” to the end mentioned, provided that a person appointed by the President shall participate in the negotiations as a representative of and for the protection of the interests of the United States, who shall make a report to Congress of the proceedings had and of the agreement entered into.

Each bill provides that the compact or agreement entered into shall not be binding or obligatory upon any of the parties unless or until it shall have been approved by the Legislature of each of the said States and by Congress.

I observe that you state that you have advised the Chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary that you have no objection to the enactment of the House Bill and that you have informed the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Irrigation and Reclamation that the House Bill avoids objections which have been raised to certain features of the Senate Bill and that for this reason you recommended that the Senate Bill be amended to conform to the provisions of the House Bill.

While pointing out that no request has come from Congress for this Department’s views concerning either of these Bills, I may [Page 516] observe that since they seem merely to lay the foundation for negotiations with a view to the conclusion of an agreement which to be binding must be approved by Congress, and inasmuch as a representative of the United States is to be included among the negotiators, I see no reason at this time, from the standpoint of international relations, to object to the measures.

Thanking you for your courtesy in calling the matter to my attention,

I have [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Henry P. Fletcher

Under Secretary
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