The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Mexico ( Sheffield )

No. 23

Sir: The Department refers to previous correspondence concerning the desired settlement of the longstanding Chamizal case and particularly to its instruction No. 68 of May 9, 1924, in which the Embassy was directed to endeavor to bring about an adjustment of this matter either through an unconditional relinquishment by Mexico of her claims on the tract, or if this could not be brought about, by the conclusion of a convention providing for an adjustment of this difficulty, as well as for bringing the so-called Cordova tract into the jurisdiction of the United States. The Department also refers to its instruction No. 136 of June 28, 1924,72 wherein the Embassy was requested to express an opinion as to the advisability of taking up at the same time with the general negotiations regarding the Chamizal case the questions of the construction of a controlling river channel in the Rio Grande and the fixing of the international boundary line in the center of that channel, and to the Embassy’s reply, No. 8708, of July 29, 1924,72 in which the opinion was expressed that so far from hindering the satisfactory development of the negotiations in the Chamizal case, the suggestions regarding the construction of a controlling river channel and the fixing of the international boundary line in the center of that channel would facilitate a settlement of the Chamizal controversy by reason of the additional guarantee such channel works would offer of the permanency of the boundary.

The Department believes that the time is now opportune to endeavor to arrange with the Mexican Government for the conclusion of a convention dealing with all of the questions mentioned and therefore encloses copies of draft articles to be inserted in the draft convention enclosed with the Department’s instruction of May 9, 1924. The articles now enclosed would precede the final article VI as set forth in that draft convention and be numbered, respectively, VI, VII and VIII, leaving the final article in the convention as set forth in the draft mentioned to be numbered Article IX.

The Department desires that the Embassy shall use its best efforts to bring the negotiations for the conclusion of this convention to a successful termination at the earliest possible date and considers that [Page 567] it is highly desirable that this be brought about prior to the sessions of the General Claims Commission to which claims will be presented for the determination of the Commission. It is the Department’s understanding that these sessions will be held beginning March 23, 1925.

The map referred to in draft Articles VI and VII is enclosed, and a duplicate of this map will be sent you at a later date.

I am [etc.]

Charles E. Hughes

Additional Articles for the Draft Convention

Article VI

Whereas, the International Boundary Commission has recommended to the Governments of the United States and Mexico that the artificial cut-offs marked A–B, C–D, and E–F, on a map hereto annexed (Map Number 3)73 be made for the protection of both banks of the El Paso Valley against floods, and the two Governments have respectively approved this recommendation, the High Contracting Parties agree that after said cut-offs have been made, the International Boundary Line shall follow the center of the normal channel of the Rio Grande as it runs through said artificial cut-offs as shown on said map. This boundary line is understood to be arcefinious and is substantially as shown by the broken red lines on Map Number 3 hereto annexed and signed in duplicate by the two plenipotentiaries.

Article VII

The principle involved in the foregoing Article may be applied by the International Boundary Commission in authorizing artificial cut-offs and eliminating the small tracts of land thereby separated from the country having sovereignty thereover, to the remaining portion of the Rio Grande where it forms the International Boundary Line between the point marked F on Map Number 3 and Fort Quitman, subject to the approval of the respective Governments in each case as provided in Article 8 of the Convention of 1889 creating the International Boundary Commission, and provided in accordance with the principle laid down in Article 2 of the Convention for the Elimination of the Bancos in the Rio Grande that no tract artificially separated and eliminated shall exceed 250 hectares in area or have a population of over 200 souls.

[Page 568]

Article VIII

The provisions of Article 4 of the Convention of 1905 for the Elimination of the Bancos shall apply for the protection of the personal and property rights of all persons residing on or owning property in the small tracts cut off and eliminated under the provisions of Articles VI and VII hereof.

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