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

My Dear Mr. Ambassador: I have received your letter of January 19, 1940, in which you refer to my letter of December 27, 1939, proposing that an agreement be entered into between our Governments confirming the present uses of Lower Colorado River waters on Mexican lands and similar uses of Lower Rio Grande waters on American lands in the State of Texas.

I am gratified to note that your Government accepts the proposal and has authorized its International Water Commissioner and its Boundary Commissioner to join the American Boundary Commissioner in the preparation and submission of a joint report on this matter. Accordingly, Commissioner Lawson is being instructed to cooperate with the Mexican Boundary Commissioner, as well as with the Mexican Water Commissioner, in the preparation of a joint report on the area of land now being irrigated and the amount of water used by each country from the other country’s source.

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Concerning the suggestion of your Government that the activities of the Commissioners be extended so as to include possible future uses of the waters of the international rivers in question, I may state that it is my understanding that such uses are already being investigated by interior agencies in both countries; and since these investigations will not be completed for some time to come, this Government prefers not to consider the suggestion at this time.

Concerning the organization of an International Water Commission, as suggested by your Government, I may state that the American Section of the former International Water Commission, United States and Mexico, was abolished by an Act of Congress approved June 30, 1932,77 and that its powers, duties and functions were transferred to the American Section of the International Boundary Commission. It is therefore not considered likely that the Congress of the United States would be willing to enact legislation at this time to revive the American Section of the former Water Commission.

In the circumstances, it is my understanding that the two Governments will proceed immediately toward the preparation of the necessary joint report looking to a prompt agreement upon the confirmation of present beneficial uses of the waters of the Lower Rio Grande and the Lower Colorado River.

Believe me,

Very sincerely yours,

Sumner Welles
  1. 47 Stat. 481.