711.12155/486: Telegram

The Ambassador in Mexico (Clark)68 to the Secretary of State


1. At the diplomatic dinner given by President Rubio last night I asked Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs Schiaffino whether he was now prepared to begin conferences looking to the conclusion of an arrangement covering river rectification in the Rio Grande Valley. He replied that he was ready to begin preliminary discussions, but that the conclusion of any arrangement must await the return of Minister for Foreign Affairs Estrada, probably about January 15.

The El Paso meeting between Señor Estrada and myself terminated with the understanding that the finding of a formula to cover the Chamizal situation was the next step in the negotiation. At our last interview before Señor Estrada left for New York early in December last, he told me that he was in entire accord with the engineers in their report on the rectification plan. At that interview Chamizal was not specifically mentioned.

I think there may be an advantage to us in negotiating if we present the first formula. We could do this either before Señor Estrada’s return or after his arrival, according as the preliminary discussions may shape themselves.

As you probably know, the people of El Paso are naturally becoming anxious to commence the work of rectification as soon as possible. I am informed that they wish to try for an appropriation at the present session of Congress. To precipitate a discussion in Congress before an agreement is reached with Mexico seems to me to be unwise.

In view of the foregoing, and if it meets with the wishes of the Department, I should like to have Commissioner Lawson instructed tocome to Mexico City immediately to assist in preparing for the discussions with the Mexican Foreign Office and in preparing a suggested formula for submission to the Department for its approval, so that we may begin actual negotiations as soon as possible.

  1. Mr. J. Reuben Clark, Jr., presented his letters of credence on November 28, 1930.