The Mexican Embassy to the Department of State


At a meeting held on the 17th of March, 1920, at the Trinity Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, by the Chamber of Commerce of that city, and attended by representatives of the so-called League of the Southwest of the United States, Their Excellencies the Governors of the States of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and also some high representatives of banking, commerce, and politics, and the Honorable the President of the Senate of the United States, it was unanimously resolved to support five motions, one of which was that the Government of this country should come to an agreement with that of Mexico to have them both contribute equitably to the expenses that will be involved in the utilization of the waters of the Colorado River for irrigation purposes and motive power. The Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles communicated in advance to the Government of the Northern District of Lower California, the desire to have the interests of Mexico represented by Mexican delegates; and in compliance with that desire, in an informal manner—owing to the fact that, the question being one of international interest, the invitation should not have been extended through the Government of that district—the said meeting was attended by an agent of that district and the chief engineer of the Mexican Colorado River Irrigation Commission.

As soon as the Mexican authorities concerned heard of the foregoing, the Secretary of the Embassy of Mexico, in compliance with instructions which had been sent to that effect, applied in person on two different occasions (the 14th of November, 1920, and the 3rd of March, 1921), to the Chief of the Division of Mexican Affairs of [Page 517] the Department of State and communicated the foregoing to him orally with the request that with respect to the treaties in force, and considering that Mexico holds, in the distribution and the utilization of the waters of the Colorado River, rights in common with the United States, the rights of Mexico be given due consideration in any future conferences or agreements, in reply to which the Chief of the Division, also orally and in his personal capacity, said to the Secretary of the Embassy, first (on November 14), that the Department of State had no official knowledge of the meeting above referred to having been held, and later (on the 3rd of March), when the Secretary gave him further particulars about that meeting, that the Department would in due course acquaint the proper Mexican authorities with the steps that might be taken in the future and which might affect the rights held in common by Mexico and the United States over the waters of the Colorado River.

Later, the Embassy heard that in June 1921, on the initiative of one of the Honorable Representatives from the State of Wyoming, there was introduced in the House of Representatives of the United States a bill which affected the interests considered at the meeting held in Los Angeles, California, and ultimately, that the Congress of this country on August 19, 1921,38 passed an act “authorizing an agreement between the States of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, relative to the disposal of the waters of the Colorado River. …39

Inasmuch as the rights of Mexico were not taken into consideration therein, the Embassy of Mexico, confirming in this formal manner the representations heretofore made orally by its Secretary, has the honor to apply to the Department of State and to ask that Mexico be duly represented and given consideration as a party in the studies and projects that may be undertaken or the arrangements that may be made concerning the distribution and utilization of the waters of the Colorado River, in view of the fact that the questions relative to that river, apart from involving serious phases of a technical nature, are essentially of international policy, for as long as Mexico and the United States shall not have framed a final agreement definitely stating the rights and obligations with respect to the conservation of the stream of the river, the utilization of its waters as a way of communication, its use for irrigation purposes and motive power, and the manner of protecting the land of both countries from the danger of flood, neither party can particularly put into practice any project whatsoever, without a breach of the existing international treaties.

[Page 518]

On this occasion the Embassy of Mexico takes pleasure in renewing to the Department of State the assurances of its most distinguished consideration.

  1. File translation revised.
  2. Act approved by the President Aug. 19, 1921; for text, see 42 Stat. 171.
  3. Omission indicated in the Embassy’s note.