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

My Dear Mr. Secretary: In your letter of June 23, 194427 you stated that you were denying the request of Imperial Irrigation District28 to use the All-American Canal for making deliveries of water to the Mexicali Valley, that you had no objection to the construction by Mexico of a temporary weir at Rockwood Heading, that you were reluctant to have the Bureau of Reclamation utilize the All-American Canal for making deliveries of water to Mexico, but that you were prepared to cooperate with this Department should the situation require emergency action. In my reply of July 5, 194427 I stated that I had decided to authorize the American Boundary Commissioner to inform the Mexican Boundary Commissioner that these two Departments had no objection to the construction by Mexico of the temporary weir, provided that the construction plans were submitted to and approved by the Bureau of Reclamation and that the necessary arrangements were made with the Imperial Irrigation District.

I am now informed that, the appropriate Mexican authorities having approached the Imperial Irrigation District with the view of making the necessary arrangements for the construction of the temporary weir; this District, speaking through Mr. Evan T. Hewes, President, definitely refused to consider an arrangement of this kind. I am also informed through reports from the American Boundary Commissioner, the American Consul at Mexicali, and Mexican sources that the water supply situation in the Mexicali Valley has grown steadily worse and that the Mexican water users are now receiving no more than fifty per cent of their water requirements. Failure to secure an adequate water supply by other means may cause the Mexican Government to feel justified in attempting to cut a canal immediately below the boundary to connect the Colorado River with the Alamo Canal.

It is thus clear that an emergency has developed, and it would be appreciated if you would give further and immediate consideration to the matter. Should irrigation requirements, power production, conservation [Page 1384] measures, and other uses in the United States make it inadvisable so to increase the flow of the Colorado River at Rockwood Heading as to make it possible to divert an adequate flow into the Alamo Canal at this Heading, it would seem that the only alternative if irreparable damage to Mexican crops is to be averted, is for the Bureau of Reclamation to use, during this season only, the All-American Canal for supplying a reasonable quantity of water for Mexico’s use. It is understood, of course, that this delivery would be made through the All-American Canal by the Bureau of Reclamation and not by the Imperial Irrigation District, and that this Department would make the necessary financial arrangements whereby Mexico, for this temporary use, would pay its proper share of the construction, operation, and maintenance costs of the works involved, as determined by the Governments of the two countries, although the delivery of water through this Canal need not await the completion of these negotiations.

This Department and the United States Section of the International Boundary Commission desire to cooperate in every feasible way in making the necessary arrangements to meet the present emergency in the Mexicali Valley.

Sincerely yours,

Cordell Hull
  1. Not printed.
  2. Letter dated May 4, 1944, addressed to the Secretary of the Interior from a public corporation of Southern California which operated facilities involved in carrying water from the Colorado River to the Imperial Valley (711.1216 M/2779).
  3. Not printed.