The Mexican Ambassador (Téllez) to the Secretary of State

No. 766

Mr. Secretary: I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that on December 28th last, Engineer Gustavo P. Serrano, a Mexican Boundary Commissioner, transmitted a copy of report No. 111 of the International Boundary Commission50 to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

After making a study of the report referred to, the Department of Foreign Affairs advised the Mexican Commission that it did not concur in certain ideas expressed in the report, although it approved the other conclusions and recommendations contained therein.

On instructions from my Government and for any appropriate purposes, I beg to indicate below to Your Excellency the reservations and exceptions with which the Department of Foreign Affairs of my country approved the report mentioned.

In paragraph I of report No. 111, entitled General Exposition, it is said that the sections of the Commission met in joint session to draw up a preliminary report regarding the “stabilization of the dividing line and the rectification of the Rio Bravo etc. etc.” Upon reviewing the antecedents of this matter it will be found that although the Government of the United States did, on one occasion, propose that the problem of the “stabilization of the dividing line” be studied together with the project for safeguards, this proposal has never been accepted by the Government of Mexico, which only agreed to study the problem from the technical point of view and to decide it by means of a convention concluded for that purpose; the Commission, accordingly, was to be limited to making a study of the engineering and construction problems pertinent to the protection against floods of the lands on [Page 474] either side of the river bank, without including problems of an international character.

In paragraph II of the Report, referring to the experience of both Governments respecting the preservation of the dividing line, it is said that “present conditions on the River create uncertainty in land titles and property rights.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs does not consider this statement correct, inasmuch as the Treaties and Conventions now in force and the labors of the International Boundary Commission exactly determine the conditions in which property rights and titles of lands separated by changes in the River must remain.

At the conclusion of paragraph IV, the desire of the Commission to succeed in “stabilizing the dividing line” is again mentioned, which was also objected to, for the reasons expressed above.

In requesting Your Excellency to be kind enough to order that note be taken of the conditions and reservations with which the Department of Foreign Affairs of Mexico approved Report No. Ill of the International Boundary Commission, I am [etc.]

Manuel C. Téllez
  1. Minute No. 111, International Boundary Commission, United States and Mexico, December 21, 1928: action recommending engineering feasibility of preliminary plan for stabilization of boundary and rectification Rio Grande, El Paso and Juarez valleys. A copy of Minute No. 111 is in the files of the Department of State, filed under 711.12155/334.