The Department of State to the Mexican Embassy


The Secretary of State refers to the Mexican Embassy’s memorandum dated February 5, 1940, relative to the diversion of waters of the Lower Rio Grande in Willacy County, Texas, and the development of plans for the betterment of the water supply for lands on the Texas side of the Lower Rio Grande.

The Willacy County development project is being built with funds allotted by the Public Works Administration, with a provision established by the State Board of Water Engineers of Texas that it will obtain water at flood times and provide local storage of flood waters rather than compete with the other areas in distribution of available water at low water periods. Furthermore, this Government is at present conducting investigations below Fort Quitman, Texas, to determine the feasibility of storing flood waters both by international [Page 1036] dams and domestic works on the lower Rio Grande, pending the conclusion of a treaty with Mexico governing the use of the waters of that stream.

This Government understands that a large development is now under construction on the Mexican side of the river involving what is known as the Retamal Heading, a gravity intake on Mexican territory. This gravity diversion presents a very similar problem to that of developments on the American side of the river.

Referring to statements contained in the last paragraph of the Embassy’s memorandum, this Government would appreciate being informed of any general or concrete plan which the Mexican Government may suggest for solution of the lower Rio Grande situation, and which might be embodied in agreement between the two Governments. Meanwhile, the Embassy is informed that the American Boundary Commissioner is prepared at any time to discuss the Lower Rio Grande water problem with the Mexican Boundary Commissioner, as well as with the Mexican Water Commissioner.