711.12155/443: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Mexico (Morrow)

219. Reference your despatch number 2670 of August 5, 1930 transmitting minutes numbers 128 and 129 of July 29 [28] and July 31, 1930, respectively, of the International Boundary Commission United States and Mexico, regarding an engineering plan for the rectification of the Rio Grande between El Paso and the Box Canyon below Fort Quitman, Texas, together with the Engineers’ report on which the recommendation of the Commission was based. Copies of all these documents are stated by the American Boundary Commissioner to be in the files of your Embassy.

The President has approved the plan for river rectification as outlined in the engineering report including the construction of a flood retention dam at Caballo, the general straightening of the present river location and the establishment of a flood channel which generally will follow and straighten the present river from International Dam to the Box Canyon. You are instructed to initiate negotiations with the Mexican Government at the earliest practicable moment with a view to arriving at an agreement which should take the form of a Treaty between the two countries that will carry into effect the engineering and construction features as outlined in the report referred to.

It is desired that the Agreement with the Mexican Government provide that the two Governments shall authorize their respective Sections of the International Boundary Commission to prepare detailed plans and to direct and supervise the construction and all other engineering operations in connection with the proposed undertaking, utilizing therefor such established Governmental agencies as each Government may deem proper.
It is further desired the Agreement shall provide that each Section of the International Boundary Commission be authorized to acquire for its country title to the necessary rights of way and detached areas located within its territorial limits through the proper Governmental agencies and that provision be made for the two Governments to effect mutual exchange of jurisdiction and title of one-half of the area required for such rights of way in the rectified channel and the total area of detached tracts of each country.
It should be further provided that the total proratable cost of $4,932,300 be divided between the United States and Mexico on the basis of eighty-eight percent and twelve percent, respectively; and that each Government should provide annually such required appropriations as will complete the work within five years from the effective date of the Treaty.
Provision should be made in the Agreement for the jurisdiction of the International Boundary Commission, under instructions from the respective Governments, over all matters concerning the rectified channel; and that the Commission be authorized to adopt such rules and regulations as it may deem necessary for the preservation and perpetuation of the rectified channel.
The Agreement should provide that the thalweg of the rectified channel shall be the Boundary between the two countries.62

[Paraphrase.] Refer to Department’s 176, July 11, 1 p.m. It is strongly desired that if possible the agreement may include a final settlement of El Chamizal and other territorial differences existing between the United States and Mexico in the region covered by the rectification project but which are not included therein. [End paraphrase.]

  1. The Department in telegram No. 220, August 22, 3 p.m., instructed the Ambassador to eliminate this paragraph from the message.