711.1216M/2717: Telegram

The American Commissioner, International Boundary Commission (Lawson), to Mr. Charles A. Timm of the Division of Mexican Affairs

With reference to question which has arisen concerning jurisdiction over facilities in United States required in part for delivery of water to Mexico allocated under provisions of treaty signed in Washington on February 3, 1944, you will recall that in negotiations with Mexican representatives they were insistent that control over all facilities in both countries necessary for effectuation of treaty provisions be vested in International Boundary Commission subject to supervision of Department of State of the United States and Department of Foreign Relations of Mexico. This control, however, was only to the extent necessary to insure compliance with treaty provisions so as to afford a central agency with which both countries could deal in matters pertaining to boundary and international water matters and the scope of this provision was so limited in the terms of treaty. It is quite certain that Mexico would not recede from this position nor agree to any qualification thereof. The interpretation which I put on these provisions is contained in my memorandum dated March 8, 1944,89 which I believe to be the correct one. The jurisdiction of this section would apply only to facilities on or near the boundary used exclusively for the delivery of Mexico’s waters. On all facilities upstream on the Colorado River this section would exercise no control or jurisdiction and these would remain under the exclusive control and jurisdiction of the Bureau of Reclamation, which would so operate the structures as to assure the delivery of Mexico’s water at the boundary. These matters could be worked out in an agreement between the Department of State and the Department of the Interior along the lines of my memorandum of March 8 and I suggest the terms of such an interdepartmental agreement be worked out in discussion with officials [Page 1363] of the Bureau of Reclamation next week when I expect to be in Washington. Bureau of Reclamation jurisdiction over Project Number 590 in lower Rio Grande Valley would be unaffected. Sole purpose of all these provisions is to funnel through the commission matters relating to treaty provisions without interference with Interior arrangements.

  1. Transmitted to the Department in covering letter of March 10 to Mr. Timm; not printed.
  2. Federal Project No. 5.