711.1216M/2253: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Mexico ( Bursley )

160. From Duggan. I refer to your letter of January 19, 1943, in which you submitted a draft reply to the Mexican memorandum of December 31, 19426 relative to your recent informal conversations regarding the water problem.

[Page 593]

Because of, first, apparent tendency in Foreign Office to construe as formal negotiations your personal, informal talks; second, increasingly delicate situation in Basin created by recent upsurge of rumors and suspicions; third, probably disastrous effect upon present efforts if idea spreads that negotiations are being transferred to Mexico City; and, fourth, the necessity of making additional technical studies in the field, it is believed advisable to suggest that your next conversations await a more opportune moment. The further fact that intensive studies here and in El Paso are being conducted in closest possible collaboration with the Committee makes it impracticable to transfer the initiative to Mexico City. This suggests desirability of changing your third paragraph and also affords satisfactory explanation.

With reference to the fourth and fifth paragraphs of the Mexican memorandum it would appear desirable to suggest in your reply that when the two Governments begin formal negotiations an arrangement entirely satisfactory to the Mexican Government can no doubt be reached as to the seat of the “final conversations.” We understand that this quoted phrase refers only to the formalities of signature once the two Governments have agreed upon the text of the treaty.

Your proposed fifth paragraph is in conformity with suggestions already made to the Mexican Ambassador7 and to Fernández Mac-Gregor.8 Could it not be combined with your second paragraph in such way as to make it clear to the Mexican Government that the next move is not ours? [Duggan.]

  1. None printed. The Mexican memorandum of December 31, 1942, indicated the Mexican expectation that conversations on the water problem would proceed on a percentage of distribution basis, that new proposals would be forthcoming from the Department of State, and that the negotiations would be transferred to Mexico City (711.1216M/2242).
  2. Francisco Castillo Nájera.
  3. Mexican Commissioner, International Boundary Commission.