Mr. Charles A. Timm of the Division of the American Republics to the American Commissioner, International Boundary Commission (Lawson)
My Dear Mr. Lawson: On December 18, as I recall, I sent you by regular mail and without a covering letter a copy of the memorandum of conversation of December 10, 1943,78 between Mr. McGurk and Mr. Torres Bodet in regard to the desire of Mexico to bring about a “regularization” of the “illegal” Mexican diversions in the Juárez Valley. Under date of December 20, 1943, Mr. Duggan sent Ambassador Messersmith a letter78 approving the position that the Ambassador and Mr. McGurk had taken to the effect that the Juarez water problem cannot be discussed, either by exchange of notes or otherwise, until the water treaty has been ratified, but that thereafter, this problem might be explored by the two Boundary Commissioners.
In my own conversations regarding this matter, I have taken the position that the Mexicans should be given no reason to hope for a solution, favorable to them, of the problem they have created by their own illegal operations. In developing this subject, I have pointed out two or three reasons why it will be difficult to agree with the Mexican position. In the first place, no more water above El Paso can be made available. In the second place, the time may come when the water users of the El Paso Valley may consider it feasible and [Page 630] economically justifiable to construct such works as will take from the river virtually all the quantity of water now being illegally diverted by the Mexicans. In the third place, even if this water, legally the property of the United States, were not used in the El Paso Valley, it would, if left in the river, have the effect of relieving certain unfavorable conditions farther down the river, especially in the upper part of the Presidio Valley. In the fourth place, there is, of course, a very important political aspect of the matter, since any attempt to reopen the Treaty of 190679 would very likely raise a storm of protests in the El Paso Valley and in the valley above El Paso.
I have summarized these points in the hope of getting your comments on them. I should like also to know whether you believe that, in an effort to settle the matter, we could safely go so far as to offer terms by which the Mexican water users would be allowed to divert from this same reach if [of] the river roughly the amount of the estimated return flow and drainage from their treaty allocation of 60,000 acre-feet. Would this give them a total, including the 60,000 acre-feet, of 80,000–90,000 acre-feet? I am not advocating this concession, but I do want your opinion of it.