The Mexican Ambassador (Castillo Nájera) to the Under Secretary of State (Welles)


Dear Mr. Under Secretary: Confirming what I had the honor of expressing to you in my note of December 28, 1939,74 in relation to your communication of the 27th of the same month, I have the pleasure of advising you that my Government, after studying, with due attention, the points of view expressed by you respecting the suitability of our Commissioners on the International Boundary Commission between Mexico and the United States reporting on the area which is being irrigated and the quantity of water used by each country, coming from sources in the other country, with the purpose of being able to conclude an agreement, recognizing and confirming the present beneficial uses of the water in the said regions, has seen fit to give me instructions to make the following statement to you:

The Government of Mexico is pleased to express, through me, its satisfaction that the problem of the international rivers which has been of such concern, and for so long years, to the Governments of the two countries, is at last on the way toward its definitive solution.

My Government has been informed of the authorization which the United States Government proposes to give its Boundary and Water [Page 1031] Commissioner and, accordingly, at once authorized its International Water Commissioner, as this matter is included, in a preponderant measure, within his specific sphere of action, and, separately, its Boundary Commissioner, in so far as he is concerned, to prepare and present, together with the American Boundary and Water Commissioner, the respective reports on the points upon which both countries definitively agree.

In regard to these points, the Government of Mexico suggests that there be taken into consideration the inevitable and beneficial development of those regions of both countries which are capable of being irrigated by the waters of the international rivers, which development may in the future give rise to more important uses than at present and, accordingly, suggests also that the reports of the Commissioners not be limited to the present uses but that, in addition, they embrace the projects and prospects for possible future uses, including the works of an international character which would permit a greater use of the international waters. In this way the said reports may serve as a basis for an agreement or treaty to settle in full and definitively the just distribution and the uses of the waters of the international rivers, the service and utilization of their channels, defense works, the adequate operation of the systems and of the solutions which may be adopted, etc.

This proposal of my Government coincides, fundamentally, with the one which your Department of State made to this Embassy in its note of November 12, 1931,75 and with the authorization given to the American Section of the International Water Commission, by a law (Decreto) of the American Congress approved March 3, 1927.76 In the said note the United States Government proposed, further, that instructions should be issued to the two Commissioners to submit recommendations relative to the organization, functions and adequate powers of a Permanent International Water Commission which could intervene in all the administrative and defensive aspects concerning the international water between Mexico and the United States of America. In making this last proposal your Department thought that it was in accord with the recommendations submitted, previously, by the Mexican Section of the International Water Commission at the meeting of the latter held January 18, 1930.

My Government considers that in the time which has elapsed since then the Mexican and American Sections of the International Water Commission have collected a sufficient amount of technical data which will, without doubt, facilitate their prompt rendering of a joint report covering not only the specific points which the American Government now proposes, but also broader and more general points, [Page 1032] so as to render possible the solution, in an integral manner, of the important problem before us.

To sum up what is set forth above, the concrete proposal of my Government is the following:

To authorize the Commissioners of International Waters of the two countries and the Boundary Commissioners, in their respective spheres, to prepare and to present the appropriate reports on the following points:

Areas of ground which are now under irrigation and the quantity of water used by each country proceeding from the other country in the lower regions of the Colorado and Bravo (Grande) Rivers;
Prospects and projects of possible future uses;
Works of international character permitting greater utilization of international waters;
Bases which could serve for the concerting of a Treaty between Mexico and the United States which, in a general and total manner, would govern use and distribution of the international fluvial waters, the control of floods, the production of electric energy, as well as any other use of the said waters. The Treaty should create an International Water Commission between Mexico and the United States of a permanent character which would have in its exclusive charge the carrying out of the basic points of the said Treaty.

I avail myself [etc.]

F. Castillo Nájera
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. 44 Stat. (pt. 2) 1403.