The Department of State to the Mexican Embassy

Memorandum Regarding the Proposed International Water Treaty, United States and Mexico

colorado river

On July 2, 1941 the Department of State gave to the Mexican Ambassador71 a memorandum72 setting forth a tentative outline of a plan for adjustment of various matters relating to the proposed Treaty on International Waters.

Subsequently, the Ambassador of Mexico presented a memorandum dated July 22, 1941 enclosing a memorandum and a draft of Water Treaty.72

Shortly thereafter the Department of State authorized the American Commissioner,73 International Boundary Commission, United States and Mexico, to join with the Mexican Commissioner74 in appropriate studies and investigations of flood control on the Lower Colorado River below Imperial Dam, which it is understood are now in progress.

The Department of State has given further consideration to these matters and offers the following observations.

In suggesting the assurance in perpetuity of 900,000 acre feet of stored water of the Colorado River to Mexico, delivered according to a monthly schedule most convenient to the requirements of Mexico consistent with releases and uses on the American side, the Department of State felt that it had more than met the requirements of Mexico based upon that country’s past claims since the quantity suggested of controlled water would be so much more valuable than a much greater quantity of uncontrolled water. It was noted with satisfaction that Mexico recognized this to a certain extent by its counter proposal that approximately 2,000,000 acre feet of water would be acceptable.

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While it will be difficult to make arrangements therefor, the Department of State, being desirous of obtaining the most satisfactory arrangements practicable from the point of view of the two countries, suggests for the consideration of the Mexican Government that, because of the great value of controlled water and the very heavy expenditures made by the United States in the erection of Boulder Dam and other storage facilities, provision for the assured delivery to Mexico in perpetuity according to a fixed monthly schedule of 1, 150,000 acre feet of regulated and controlled water from the Colorado River Basin would afford satisfactory adjustment of this aspect of the problem. It would be understood that this quantity would represent the total assured deliveries to Mexico from any source whatsoever of the Colorado River Basin and its tributaries in the United States. It would also be understood that any surplus waters that might reach Mexico over and above the guaranteed amount would not establish any additional rights on the part of Mexico.

The Department has been gratified to learn, from recent oral statements of the Ambassador of Mexico, that the Government of Mexico does not insist upon the establishment of a new commission to administer the contemplated water treaty, being prepared to entrust this function to the International Boundary Commission, United States and Mexico.

  1. Francisco Castillo Nájera.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.
  4. L. M. Lawson.
  5. Rafael Fernández MacGregor.