Memorandum by Mr. Charles A. Timm of the Division of the American Republics to the Adviser on Political Relations (Duggan)
Letter of July 14, 1943 From Commissioner Lawson57
Mr. Duggan: This letter indicates clearly that Commissioner Lawson has opened the discussions with Fernández MacGregor in abroad [Page 617] but cautious manner, and it suggests that certain problems may soon have to be faced:
- If the Mexican figure of 1,700,000 acre feet is an irreducible minimum, the prospects of an agreement may be poor. On the other hand, if it is a bargaining figure, it may not be too difficult to bridge the gap between that figure and Mr. Lawson’s tentative suggestion of 1,250,000; that is, the average of the two approximates the ultimate minimum of the Department’s Santa Fe formula.
- Commissioner Lawson has, of course, not yet exhausted the possibilities of “sweetening up” the offers of water. If the Mexican figure can not be reduced otherwise, it may be advisable to give still more attractive financial inducements rather than go back to the Committee and ask for a new and higher limit on the quantity of water. There is, for example, the possibility of assistance in the development of Mexico’s entire irrigation program, thus not limiting the assistance to Baja California. It should be borne in mind that the Basin States would, in all probability, rather see the United States pay a large amount of money than allot to Mexico a quantity of water that would almost certainly have a markedly injurious effect upon the future development of the Basin. Senator Downey59 on July 9 suggested something along the same line.60
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Mr. Lawson’s report regarding diversion into the Alamo Canal is quite encouraging in view of the fears heretofore expressed that it might be impossible to get enough water through Rockwood Heading to supply the peak Mexican demand. Recent conversations with officials of the Bureau of Reclamation indicate that unless power production at Boulder is deliberately curtailed, in view of the water supply situation, the releases for power production will hardly fall below 16,000 c.f.s.,61 thus insuring a relatively high river flow this summer below Yuma. Apparently, therefore, the Department need not fear that Mexican peak demands can not, for the most part, be met during this growing season. Power releases are now running from 19,000 to 20,000 c.f.s.