The Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Interior (Ickes)

My Dear Mr. Secretary: I have been informed by the Honorable L. M. Lawson, American Boundary Commissioner, International Boundary Commission, United States and Mexico, that he has received a letter from the Mexican Boundary Commissioner5 requesting, on behalf of the Mexican Government, permission to install at Mexico’s expense a temporary diversion weir in the Colorado River at the Rockwood Heading to assure diversion of sufficient water during this season to lands in the Mexicali Valley. The basis for this request appears to be that, although there is ample flow in the river, the height is not sufficient to effectuate adequate diversion through the heading.

In view of the fact that your Department, through the Bureau of Reclamation, administers the Yuma Irrigation Project, the Imperial Dam,6 the All-American Canal and certain other Colorado River works in that area, I should like to have the benefit of your advice regarding the best method for the solution of the difficulty facing the Mexicali Valley. Considering that the Bureau is in control of these works and that the proposed temporary diversion weir may not be [Page 1372] thought feasible, it may be that the solution could take the alternative form of the delivery of water by the Bureau of Reclamation through the All-American Canal to the lower end of the Pilot Knob Waste-way,7 in which case it would be necessary for this Department to negotiate an agreement, for this season only, with Mexico, which would include terms of payment by Mexico to the United States for the proportionate use by Mexico of Imperial Dam and of the All-American Canal and appurtenant works. Under this plan the water would flow into the Alamo Canal from the Pilot Knob Wasteway and thence through this canal to the boundary. In case the need of water in the Mexicali Valley became urgent, an arrangement of this kind would permit immediate delivery of water through the All-American Canal without awaiting the completion of negotiations between this Department and the Government of Mexico.

Since the water supply problem in the Mexicali Valley may become serious in the very near future, it is hoped that a prompt exchange of views between our two Departments can be had so that this Department can undertake without delay the necessary negotiations with Mexico.

Sincerely yours,

Cordell Hull
  1. Letter from Rafael Fernández MacGregor dated May 3; not printed.
  2. A dam located on the Colorado River approximately 18 miles north of Yuma, constructed to divert water into the Gila Project Canal on the Arizona side of the River for the eventual irrigation of a large area of land in Southwestern Arizona, and to divert water on the California side of the Colorado River into the All-American Canal.
  3. Located on the All-American Canal west of Yuma and about a half mile north of the Mexican border. This wasteway connected the All-American and Alamo Canals near Rockwood Heading. The Bureau’s control of Imperial Dam and the All-American Canal extended down to and included Pilot Knob Wasteway.