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

No. 2751

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my telegram number 208 of today, 4 p.m., and to transmit herewith a copy and translation of a draft, prepared by the Mexican Foreign Office, of a minute to be approved by the International Boundary Commission, United States and Mexico, in regard to the rectification of the Rio Grande between El Paso and Box Canyon.

[Page 555]

I am also sending by air mail a copy and translation of this draft to the American Boundary Commissioner in El Paso, for his information.

Respectfully yours,

For the Ambassador:
Arthur Bliss Lane

Counselor of Embassy


Minute No. . . . . .

The Commission met in the offices of the Mexican Section in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, on . . . . . . ., convoked by the Mexican Commissioner.—

The Mexican Commissioner informed the Commissioner of the United States that the Government of Mexico is in agreement with the recommendations contained in Minute number 129,65 and that, in order to give definite form to the arrangement which is the basis for the execution of the project for the rectification of the Rio Grande (Río Bravo) in the Juárez Valley, it desires that the points contained in the said recommendations be put into the form of a resolution, together with the points which the Commission may consider should be included in a Minute which, approved by both Governments according to the practice of each, shall legalize the execution of the (proposed) labors.

The Commissioner of the United States replied that he had similar instructions from his Government, and consequently the Commission proceeded to draw up the resolution in the following form:

–Immediately after both Governments communicate to each other their approval, in accordance with their respective constitutional practices, of the present Minute, they shall proceed to the execution of the labors proposed in the joint report of the Consulting Engineers of the International Boundary Commission, attached to Minute number 129 of July 31, 1930, for the project which said report contains.
–For the execution of these labors, the order and procedure followed should be derived from the technical study of the question, the work being begun at the lower end, while labors may be executed in the upper reaches of the Valley for reasons of emergency or immediate necessity, provided the normal work initiated in the lower section is not interrupted.
–Both Governments consider that the obligations which they mutually contract upon approving this Minute shall not be fully met until the work is entirely completed, a period of six years counting from the date of its initiation being fixed for this purpose, and each [Page 556] Government having the right to demand the continuation of the labors when these have been interrupted for reasons other than force majeure.
–The work should be executed in accordance with the general outlines of the project contained in the joint report of the Consulting Engineers of the International Boundary Commission attached to Minute number 129. Should a more thorough study of the location (el estudio … de la localizatión) call for any change in this project which is not fundamental, the respective work may not (sic) be carried on without the previous consent of the two Governments. The work shall be suspended at the petition of either Government, if it is proved that it is being executed under conditions not herein stipulated or not provided in the project which was approved.
–The cost of the work shall be met by both countries in the proportion of 88%—eighty-eight per cent—for the United States, and 12%—twelve per cent—for Mexico.
–In order duly to comply with the foregoing stipulation, Mexico shall make itself responsible for the total execution of the work along a section between Cordoba Cut and the town of Zaragoza, the length of which shall be computed from the data contained in the estimate presented so as to meet exactly 12% of the total stipulated. The United States shall be responsible for the total execution of the rest of the work.
–Each Government shall acquire the portions which both the right-of-way of the rectified channel and the lands segregated to one or the other side of this right-of-way may occupy in its own territory.
–The direction and inspection of the work shall be entrusted to the International Boundary Commission, each Government to employ for the execution of its share thereof the agency (dependencia) which, under its administrative organization, is to carry this work out.
–The International Boundary Commission shall prepare maps of the portions of land which the right-of-way of the rectified channel may occupy, as well as of the portions to be segregated on both sides of this channel, and within a period of thirty days from the consummation of each cut, it shall survey these portions of the terrain, preparing the respective maps, and shall declare them eliminated from the effects of Article II of the Convention of November 12, 1884, in a manner similar to that adopted by the Convention of March 20, 1905, for the elimination of Bancos. Thus, the center of the rectified channel shall be the international dividing line, and the sections which, as a result of these cuts, may fall on the Mexican side of the center of the rectified channel shall be considered as under Mexican sovereignty, and those on the opposite side shall be considered under American sovereignty, each Government reciprocally renouncing in favor of the [Page 557] other rights acquired to its share of said sections situated on the opposite side of the center of the rectified channel.

(N.B.—The Spanish text of the last clause is: “… renunciando recíprocamente cada Gobierno a favor del otro los derechos adquiridos sobre la parte de dichas porciones situada a cada lado del eje del cauce rectificado”—of which the literal translation is: “… each Government reciprocally renouncing in favor of the other the rights acquired over the part of said portions situated on each side of the center of the rectified channel.”)

–Should there be presented private or national claims arising from the construction or conservation of the rectified channel, or for reasons connected with the labors of rectification, each country grants to the other indemnification in this respect.
–The International Boundary Commission is charged with keeping the rectified channel intact (la conservatión de la integridad del cauce rectificado), submitting to this end for the approval of both Governments the regulations to be issued with a view to making this conservation effective.

  1. Ante, p. 545.