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


My Dear Mr. Secretary: Reference is made to your letter of July 17 requesting the Bureau of Reclamation to use, for this season only, the All-American Canal for supplying a reasonable quantity of water for Mexico’s use in view of the emergency then existing in the Mexicali Valley.…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The Department acceded to your request of July 17 with the informal understanding that appropriate conditions would be requested by this Department to be incorporated in the agreement to be made by your Department with Mexico to protect adequately the rights and interests of the United States and of its citizens. It is suggested that such provisions incorporate the substance of the following conditions:

That the use of the All-American Canal by the Bureau of Reclamation to deliver water through Pilot Knob Wasteway for irrigation in the Mexicali Valley is an emergency use, temporary in nature and limited to the year 1944;
That such use of the All-American Canal shall be regarded by both governments as neither increasing nor decreasing whatever rights Mexico may now have to the waters or to the use of the waters of the Colorado River, and that the question of the quantum of such water rights shall be entirely unaffected by this use of the All-American Canal;
That such use of the All-American Canal by the United States shall not be considered as establishing a precedent or recognizing any right in Mexico in or to the All-American Canal or other works utilized by the United States in making deliveries, and that such deliveries are made by the United States as a matter of comity between nations and not in recognition of any duty on the part of the United States to make deliveries of water to Mexico by means of the All-American Canal or other works constructed, operated or maintained by the United States;
That the United States shall utilize the All-American Canal to make delivery of water for the Mexican use only when and to such extent as such deliveries do not interfere with the use of said canal for any and all other purposes as may be required by law of the United States or contract now or hereafter in existence, as conclusively determined by the Secretary of the Interior;
That such use of the All-American Canal shall not require the storage or release of waters stored by Boulder Dam, Imperial Dam or other conservation works on the Colorado River constructed, operated or maintained by the United States;
That failure to make any delivery as and when requested by Mexico shall not give rise to any claim for damages against the United [Page 1387] States, its officers or agents, and should any such failure occur, any claim for damages shall be waived.

As soon as possible this Department will submit to you its specific recommendations concerning the amount to be paid by Mexico as its proper share of the construction, operation and maintenance charge for the use of the works involved. It is understood, of course, that the “works involved” are confined to the works at Imperial Dam, the All-American Canal and Pilot Knob Wasteway and do not include facilities owned or operated by the Imperial Irrigation District needed to convey the water from Rockwood Heading to the border. It is not likely, however, that it will be possible to submit a definite figure until after the time that deliveries through the All-American Canal have ceased. Present indications are that this will be some time after the middle of September.31

Sincerely yours,

Harold L. Ickes
  1. The Secretary of State answered this letter on August 28, 1944, assuring Secretary Ickes that careful consideration would be given to the conditions of the agreement itemized above (711.1216 M/8–1444).