The Chargé in Mexico ( Bursley ) to the Adviser on Political Relations ( Duggan )

Dear Larry: I refer to our airgram 360 of February 17th25 reporting the receipt of a memorandum from the Foreign Office26 regarding the Colorado River matter. I have had a rough translation made of the memorandum and enclose it as a precaution against there being any discrepancy in the drafts delivered to the Department and presented to me, respectively.

I have found time to give several readings to the memorandum, but not to study it thoroughly. Therefore all I can say regarding it for the moment is what follows:

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There may be no disadvantage in the linking of the Colorado River and the Rio Grande problems in the memorandum, if the linking goes no further. But I should think that even one step more, if it were known, would cause misunderstanding in the Lower Basin of the Colorado. I get the very general impression that the memorandum of February 16th is none too strong technically but that morally it might carry considerable weight in the minds of arbitrators. The Foreign Office seems to have gotten away from the wholly unsound idea of transferring negotiations down here, but it has gone back to the proposal to have the Boundary Commissioner find a solution. Despite all that has been said in Mexico City, El Paso, and Washington, the Foreign Office still does not seem to realize, or be willing to understand, that although the problem has many technical aspects it has some complicated political aspects in the United States which simply cannot be resolved by engineers dealing with engineering data, however competent they may be and however great their good will.

I am greatly relieved by the general cordial tone of the Mexican memorandum.

Sincerely yours,

  1. Not printed.
  2. Memorandum of February 16, supra.