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

No. 2534

Sir: Referring to my telegram No. 309 of July 13, 1926, 1 p.m.,98 with respect to the Rio Grande Boundary matter, I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy and translation of the note from the Foreign Office on which my telegram was based.

I have [etc.]

James R. Sheffield

The Mexican Minister for Foreign Affairs (Sáenz) to the American Ambassador (Sheffield)

No. 8959

Mr. Ambassador: I have noted Your Excellency’s courteous note No. 1319 of June 14, last,1 in which and in connection with my recent note of May 28, you state that an agreement between the two Governments for rectifying the entire channel of the Rio Grande and for determining in advance the sovereignty over lands to be segregated, would necessitate much preliminary work involving a delay prejudicial to the project approved by the International Boundary Commission [Page 710] for averting floods in the vicinity of El Paso and Juarez; but that the Government of the United States, being disposed to listen to any proposal tending to the settlement of the other issues involved, asks if my Government is willing to approve Minute No. 61, in which case instructions will be issued to the American Boundary Commissioner to proceed to dispose of the pending banco cases.

In reply, I beg leave to state to Your Excellency that I agree with you, that the completion of the rectification plan for the entire Rio Grande channel, determining in advance the location of the cut-offs and the sovereignty of the lands segregated, would delay the works, the urgent necessity of which I realize.

My Government, in note No. 11089 of August 18, 1925,2 desirous of avoiding the creation of new difficulties before the settlement of pending cases, decided, without rejecting them, to postpone the carrying out of the recommendations contained in Minute No. 61, but subsequently waived, in view of the urgency of the case, in note No. 6416 of May 28 of the present year, all the pending questions relating thereto. However, in the recommendations of said Minute, even in connection with cut-offs for a distance of eight miles below El Paso and Juarez and the stipulation that the jurisdiction over lands segregated should continue the same as prior to the segregation, it was not borne in mind that the proposed works would cut lands on which bancos have formed and that the carrying out of such works would completely obliterate traces of abandoned channels and the exact location of these presumptive bancos, which would justify a previous survey and delimitation thereof before obliterating these natural marks or traces.

However, since maps of the presumptive bancos of the valley of El Paso have been completed and presented to the International Boundary Commission, I take pleasure in stating that my Government is disposed to carry out the recommendations of said Minute No. 61, counting on the promise of Your Excellency’s Government contained in the note under acknowledgment, to discuss the elimination of the bancos mentioned, thus ending the delay which the Government of the United States has continued with regard to this matter since 1911.

I should add that the willingness of my Government to carry out the recommendations of Minute No. 61 is based on the understanding that efforts will be made to carry out, within the shortest time possible, the general plan for the rectification of the Rio Grande channel from El Paso to Fort Quitman, upon the basis, in general terms, of superficial compensation, stipulating in a special convention the exchange of nationality of these parcels according to a standard similar to that adopted for the elimination of bancos.

1 avail myself [etc.]

Aarón Sáenz
  1. Not printed.
  2. File translation revised.
  3. Note sent on basis of Department’s telegram No. 197, June 12, 4 p.m., p. 708.
  4. Foreign Relations, 1925, vol. ii, p. 579.