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Full text of "Proceedings relating to the diversion of Rio Grande by American Rio Grande Land and Irrigation Company near Horcon Ranch, Tamaulipas, Mexico"

to 



Pass /T/ ^ 
Book ^ 6<^ 



DEPARTMENT OF STATE 



PROCEEDINGS 

OF THE 



International 
Boundary Commission 

UNITED STATES AND 
MEXICO 



DIVERSION OF RIO GRANDE BY 
AMERICAN RIO GRANDE 
LAND AND IRRIGA- 
TION COMPANY 



United States of America et"" 

al., Complainants, 

versus 

American Rio Grande Land 
and Irrigation Company, 

Defendant. . 



Suit in 
Equity No. 4L 



DECREE AWARDING DAMAGES 
TO COMPLAINANTS 



(PUBLISHED BY AMERICAN SECTION) 



DEPARTMENT OF STATE 



PROCEEDINGS 



OF THE 



International Boundary Commission 



UNITED STATES AND 
MEXICO 



Relating to the 

Diversion of Rio Grande by American 

Rio Grande Land and Irrigation 

Company near Horcon 

Ranch, Tamaulipas, 

Mexico. 



Brig. Gen. Anson Mills, Fernando BeltrAn y Puga, 

U. S. Army (Retired), Comisionado Mexicano. 

American Commissioner. 

E. Zayas, 
\V. W. FOLLETT, , . „ ,, 

Ingeniero Consultor. 
Consulting Engineer. 

Wilbur Keblinger, M. N. Velarde, 

Secretary. Secretario. 



ft nv T>. 



Brownsville, Texas, October 24, 1906. 
The Honorable, The Secretary of State: 

Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith Joint Journal of this 
Commission, in Spanish and English, in the case presented by the 
Mexican Commissioner known as the "Horcon Ranch Case." 

This case was also brought to the attention of the Department by 
the Mexican Embassy and was referred to me in the Department's 
letter of October 12, 1906. 

Our investigation has disclosed the fact that the American Rio 
Grande Land and Irrigation Company some time last Spring became 
aware of a threatened banco cut-off in the Rio Grande on Mexican 
soil, which cut-off would take the channel of the river away from the 
site selected by them for a pumping station, and they made endeavors 
extending over a period of three months, assisted by the Mexican 
owners, to prevent this cut-off, but finally became convinced that it 
was impossible to stop the erosion of the soft soil, and knowing that 
their works would be removed from the channel of the river and a 
sufficient supply of water for their pumping plant they determined 
in the early part of June to resort to the opening of another cut-off, 
by artificial means, below their pumping works, being perfectly aware 
that this latter artificial cut-off would carry the erosive current away 
from the point where the natural cut-off would in a short time be fully 
accomplished if no action was taken. As soon as the Mexican authori- 
ties were apprised of this work they sought in several ways to prevent 
or restrain it, and the Mexican Consul in Brownsville on July 1, 
1906, addressed a communication to Mr. Silver, as President (he is 
really the General Manager) of the company, warning him that the 
work was in violation of the Treaty, a copy of which is submitted 
with the proceedings. Later on Mr. Mendiola, as engineer of the 
Department of Public Works of Mexico, visited the location and 
reported of what was being done to his Government, when the Secre- 
tary of Foreign Relations requested the Mexican Commissioner, Mr. 
Puga, to call a meeting of the Joint Commission to take up the case. 

The American Commissioner was notified on July 9th and he im- 



iiKdiatcl) srm lii^ (.nnMiltiii;; l-".n,:L;iiR'ci\ t(>i;iihcT with tlit- Mexican 
Coiisultiiii^ l-'.n^inc'iT. t<> tlu' place to inaki' an cNaniiiiation and rcpnit. 
The Joint l-'iii^iniiTs r<.-|i(>rtc<l that the work had so far i)r»)}^resse<I 
that it \\:is then heynnd coiitiol. espeiially a^^ the unprecedented hi.i;h 
water in the ri\er had entiivly siirn»nnded the wofks and no suitahle 
detailed examirati" mi could he niadi- nnti! the watei- ii-ceded. There- 
npon tlie C"onlnlis^ione^s posipctned the nieelini; until ( )ctoher 17th. 
when it a^>^eiuhled in this cit\'. 

'I'he ('I'UiiniNsi.iners \isite<l the locaht\. exaniineil it thoioui^ldx' and 
asidi- iri'Mi the o iilence in the record there was cnuchisixe prmit" <i|' all 
that had heen done. 

This is a novel ca>>e and is withoiu precedent in the workings of the 
Commissi' Ml and has ]iresented many emharrassments to hoth Com- 
missioners, for while there was no (|uestion hut that tiie Irrijj^atioii 
Company had committed an act in direct violation of the Treaty there 
was a .^reat douht in the minds of hoth Commissioners as to what 
remedy could he applied under the treaties undei" which we are work- 
iuii". and hoth hesitated to enunciate any judmnient a.i^ainst the irrij^^a- 
tion c<Mnpan\' initil we were acKised as to our authority in the ])remises, 
kiiowin<4 that it would not oidy l)e futile to q;i\e a judii^mcnt that could 
not he executed, hut that such a judgment unexecuted would he air 
encoura.i;ement to other w roni^doers. 

The joint ComiuissiiMi had in s<Mue respects a parallel case in that 
known as the "rrolest of the Citizens of I'd I'aso. Texas, and ju.are/.. 
Chihuahua. .Mexico, a.nain.^t I'nduly Troiectini;" Jetties." opposite 
those cities. The case was a lonj; and perplexinj^ one and is treated 
of in our piiiUed report ( Proceeding's of the International (Water) 
l>oundar\' Commi->Nion. Cnite<l States and Mexico. pai;es 14'^ to 
W)7. inclusixe). In this case the Joint Commission j^ave judi^ment 
of the works in the ri\er opjiosite I'd !\'iso as iniduly projectini;^ in the 
river in violation of treaty and ordered their retuoxal. ( )ur deeisioiT 
was considered h\' hi>th ( "io\ erniuents and after a lenj.^thy corre- 
spondence the Mexican .Secretary of l'()rei;.^n Relations directed the 
removal of the c<indemned works. This appears to he a j)arallel ease, 
illustratini^ our autliorit\' to order restitution. sa\e that in this case the 
obstruction was ])laced hy an oft'cial of the .Mexican (lovernment : in 
fact it was a public work of Mexico. In the present case of the "Ilor- 
con Ranch" the wron<^- has been committed by a priwate corporation, 
chartered, we understand, bv the State of Texas, and we he>^itate to 



enter anv judgment against them, either for indemnity for the injury 
done to private individuals or the two Governments for causing a 
change in the river designated as the international boundary, fearing, 
as has been stated, that we would be unable to execute judgment, and 
Ave ha\e therefore submitted the matter for full information as to the 
scope of our authority and jurisdiction under present treaties between 
the two countries.* 

It may not l)e improper for me to state here that it will be difficult 
to determine what restitution or example should be made in this case. 
The Mexican Commissioner suggested that they be required to return 
the river to its old channel, and this, if practicable, would probably 
be the best course to pursue, but in mv judgment, and in the judgment 
of the Consulting Engineer, this would not be reasonably practicable, 
as depending on circumstances of the rise and fall of the river and the 
shifting character of the soil; and besides, it would cost se\'eral hun- 
dred thousands of dollars to restore the river to its former bed. if 
feasible. 

Several photographs of the locality will be forwarded in a few days 
to be attached to the proceedings. 

My address will be El Paso, Texas, until the 5th of November, after 
"which I will advise you. 

I have the honor to be, Sir, very respectfully. 

Your obedient servant. 

Anson Mills, 
Bric/adicr General, U. S. Army, retired, Coiiiiiiissioner. 



*See pages 21-22. 



(Trlc^Tair > ( 'I'r.in^l.ititMi. ) 

I-'.l. I'ASd. Ti XAS. July 9, 19<)(). 
BkICADIKR liKNKRAL A.NSON MlLLS, 

r. S. HoiMiARV Commission, 
W'ashtiijilon, D. C 
Secretary l-'orciKn Aftairs informs im- today in briif: I'rojjrictor of Ranch 
llorcon -44 kilometers above Matamoros com|)lains that Rio (Jrande Irrigation Com- 
pany is making; lar^c cut diverting river and meiiacinj^ ranch. Inspector Mendiola 
ofticialiy conlirms as making immediate case for boundary Commission, which 1 
present In means of this messajje. Please reply promptly. 

I'"kR\ANIiO BkLTR.\N Y PfCA, 

Mcx tea n Co m in issio ner. 



(Telegram.) 

\VAsniN(.T0N. U. C, July 10. 1906. 

U. S. Col.I-KCTOR CK ClSTOMS, 

lirmcnsiiUc, Texas. 
The Mexican Government complains through Captain Meiidiula and their Secre- 
tary of State that the Rio Grande Irrigation Company is making large cut in river 
oppo>ite llorcon Ranch, thirty miles above Brownsville, diverting river and menacing 
Mexican territory and requesting immediate action by commission. Can you secure 
reliable information a.= to nature of this work and whether it probably really menaces 
the Mexican bank and answer today; collect Government rate. 

Anson Mills, 
Commissioner. 



(Telegram.) 

I'lKouNsviLLi:, Tkxas. July 10, 190(). 
BoiNHARY Commission, 

Washington, D. C. 
.Manager* Rio (irande Irrigation Company slates they are not diverting 
river and menacing Mexican Territory but arc building a levee to keep high water 
olT tluir properly. 

In.iv W. \'ann. Colli'itor. 



(Telegram, i 

W\siilN(,ToN. D. C, /i</.v 10, 1906. 
Mr. I-KRNANtlO Br.LTRAN Y PlCA, 

\fcxican Boundary C(<mmissioncr, 
V.\ Paso, Texas. 
As a precautionary measure I suggest that Consulting Mngineers l"oIIett and 
Zayas proceed at once to the location and examine work and telegraph joint opinion 

*Mr. S. P. Silver. 



to each of us as to the seriousness of complaint and emergency for immediate action 
by Commission. If they report meeting urgent I will proceed to meet you on the 
ground immediately on receipt of their report. Two somewhat similar complaints 
heretofore made : One by citizens of Reynosa, opposite Hidalgo, which was not sus- 
tained, and another at Columbia, near Laredo, opposite coal mine, which was found 
to be quite insignificant. If this is at all similar, as we have very little money this 
year, and as we are obliged to proceed to the lower river within a few months, post- 
ponement seems desirable unless great interests would be compromised. If you 
concur in above recommendaiion telegraph me and I will direct Mr. Follett to 
proceed at once. 

Anson Mills, 
Commissioner. 



(Telegram.) (Translation.) 



El Paso, Texas, July 10, 1906. 



Brigadier General Anson Mills, 

U. S. Boundary Commissioner, 
Washington, D. C. 
I accept provisionally your idea. I am deliberating now about it since article 
four of the convention is very concise in this. I request you to order Mr. Follett to 
see me before going. I am ignorant of his residence. Zayas was changing to 
San Antonio and I telegraphed him of our decision. 

Fernando Beltran y Puga, 

Mexican Commissioner. 



(Telegram.) 

Brownsville, Texas, July 15, 1906. 
Brigadier General Anson Mills, 
U. S. Commissioner, 

International Boundary Commission. 
Washington, D. C. 
We make the following report to the Joint Commissioners: 

Owing to the river being at high water mark, we had difficulty in reaching the 
work of the American Rio Grande Land and Irrigation Company located on Sheets 
twenty-four and twenty-five of Commission maps and complained of by owners of 
Horcon Ranch. After making as complete an examination of the work as the high 
water permitted we are of the opinion that although said work is of considerable 
importance, the situation is not sufficiently threatening and urgent as to demand 
immediate action by the Commission, but that the interests affected by said work 
will not suffer by delaying action until the condition of the river in October or later, 
during low water, will permit complete examination. The cut-off which caused the 
complaint is already made and nothing can now be done to stop the water. 

W. W. Follett, 
E. Zayas, 
ConsuUina, Engineers. 



Oit>'lu-r IJ, 19116. 
Bkigadikk (jknkrai. Anson Mills. 
('. ^'. L'oiiiiiiiisioiirr. 

United Stales mid Mexican {Water) Houudary Commission, 
WasliiiiKtoii. 1). C. 
Sir: Rcfcrriiij^ to Mnir litur of tlu' i4tli ultimo ;mtl to prcvitms corrcspoiuk-ncc 
relative to a eaual cm liy the Rio (iramle Irrigation Company ami the overflow of 
the llorcoii Kamh, 1 have the honor to enclose herewith, for the Commission's 
consideration of the ca^e, wiun it shall meet on October 15th, copies of tlie jtapers 
listed lel«>w. 
1 am, sir, 

\'oiir oliidient servant, 

i-.iiiif Root. 
Knclosures : 

l""rom Mexican I'lmhassy, Septenilier 1(1. 19()(i. 
i-rom Interior Department. October 9, 19()6.* 



( Translation. ) 

Mmkassv ok Mi..\k<i to iiii Cnitiid Statis oi- Amikk a. 

Washincton. Sef'lemher 10, 19(X3. 

IloNoRAHLi: Sir: By s|)ecial direction of my Ciovernment I have the honor to 
inform you that, as shown in the memorial appeiuled to this note, the residents of 
the Horcon Ranch are ct)mplaining of the damage done to their corn and cotton 
fields by the o\erllow of the Rio (Jrande caused by tlie canal works canied on by 
the "Rio Grande Irrigation Co." 

My Government further instructs me to call on your good offices to the end that 
action be taken i)y the proper authorities to cause the said company to close the 
intake of the canal, to prevent greater difficulties, umil the Mixed Commission can 
meet for the investigation and settlement of the (piestion of diversion of the river 
through the opening of tlu- said cmal. without prejudice to the ri^^hts of the i)arties 
aggrieved. 

I take pleasure in renewing to you. iloiiorable Sir. the assurances of my very 
high consideration. 

Halimno Davalos. 

♦Omitted. 



(JOINT JOURNAL.) 



Brownsville, Texas, 
October 18, 1906. 
Re — Diversion of Rio Grande by x\meri- 

can Rio Grande Land and Irrigation 

Company, near Horcon Ranch, Ta- 

maulipas, Mexico. 

The Joint Commission met at 12 m. 

The Alexican Commissioner presented 
the following comnumication from the 
Department of Foreign Relations of 
Mexico : 

"Mexico City, July 3, 1906. 

"The Department of Communications 
in a note. No. 5, of the 2d instant, ad- 
vises this Department as follows : 

" 'On the 30th ultimo Engineer Manuel 
Mendiola advises this Department by 
telegraph as follows : "I have the honor 
to advise that, complying with my in- 
stuctions, Mr. Perciviche went to in- 
spect the work of the American Com- 
pany opposite Horcon Ranch, situated 
forty-three kilometers above Matamoros, 
and informs me by telegraph that 'Oppo- 
site Horcon Ranch, going up river, the 
Rio Grande has a bend towards Mexico, 
followed by another towards Texas. In 
the tirst bend the Rio Grande Irrigation 
Co. has constructed on the American 
side a cut in order to change the course 
of the Rio Grande at this place and con- 
tinues deepening it, the cut being now 25 
metres wide, 5 metres deep and 570 
metres long. The cut connecting these 
bends, if the water continues to rise, will 
produce the change of the course of the 
Rio Grande at this place, leaving the 
bend cut off towards the Mexican side, 
and the current will destroy the right 
bank of the river on the Horcon land. 
In the other bend above mentioned there 
is only 35 metres of land left for the 
Rio Grande to cut it towards Texas by 
the natural avulsion of the current.' " 

"Which I have the honor to transmit 
to you for your information, to the end 
that proper action may be taken, advis- 
ing you that this Department has tele- 
graphed Engineer Mendiola instructing 
him to go at once personally to the place, 
make an inspection and report immedi- 
ately all the details, and at his conven- 
ience to meet with the Chief of the 
Boundary Commission in order to ar- 
range with him the necessary data to be 
taken at the place where the work has 
been done. 

"I advise you of this matter in order 
that there mav be an immediate meeting 



Brownsville, Texas, 
Octuhre 18 de 1906. 

La Comision Mixta se reunio a las 
12 M. 

El Comisionado Mexicano presento la 
siguiente comunicacion de la Secretaria 
de Relaciones Exteriores de Mexico : 
"Mexico, Julio 3 de 1906. 

"La Secretaria de Comunicaciones en 
oficio numero 5, de 2 del actual, me dice 
!o que sigue : 

" 'El Ingeniero Manuel Mendiola dice 
a esta Secretaria por telegrafo, con 
fecha 30 del pasado : 

" 'Tengo el honor de comunicar a 
usted que, cumpliendo con mis instruc- 
ciones, Perciviche paso a inspeccionar 
trabajos Compafiia Americana frente 
rancho Horcon, que esta a cuarenta y 
tres Kilomitros arriba de Matamoros 
y mc informa esta via lo siguiente : 
Frente rancho Horcon rio arriba tiene 
Bravo una vuelta saliente hacia Mexico 
y luego otra dirigida a Texas. En la 
primera esta ya construido lado ameri- 
cano por "Rio Grande Irrigation 
Company" para desiviar curso Bravo 
por este lugar y lo continua profundi- 
zando un tajo veinticinco metros ancho 
cinco hondo y quinientos setenta largo. 
Comunicando recodos dicha curva resul- 
tando que si sigue subiendo cambiara 
curso Bravo por ese lugar quedando 
cortada hacia Mexico esa curva y co- 
rrientes destruiran entonces margen de- 
recha terrenos Horcon. En la otra 
curva arriba mencionada faltan treinta 
y cinco metros para que Bravo la corte 
Texas por avulsion natural corriente.' " 

" 'Lo que tengo el honor de transcri- 
bir a usted para su conocimiento y fines 
a que haya lugar, manifestandole que ya 
se telegrafia al Senor Ingeniero Men- 
diola ordenandole pase personalmente 
desde luego a inspeccionar el lugar de 
que se trata e informe con todo detalle 
sobre el particular a la mayor brevedad 
y tal vez convendria que se pusiera de 
acuerdo con el Jefe de la Comision de 
Limites para que se precisaran los datos 
necesarios que deban tomarse en el lugar 
en que se hacen las obras. 

"Lo que translado a usted a fin de que 
a la ma>ur brevedad promueva la reu- 
nion de la Comision Mixta, para que 
se e.'-tudie el presente caso y se dicte su 
resolucion." 

"Reitero a usted mi consideracion." 
(Firmado) "Mariscal." 



'<i tlu- Joint (."ominissidii for iiivcstiga- St- lia ntardado liasta csta fccha la 

tioii and report on this case. accion de la Coniision Mixta respecto a 

"Reiteratinjj ajjaiii niy consideration, esta nota, <klii<io a (|ue las altas a^uas 

etc., etc. del Rio ISravo lialiian hecho antes im- 

'"M-VRiscAl.." |)ractieal)le el exanun del terreno. 

Action l>y the Joint Connni>sion npon l.os C'oniisionados convinieron en |)ar- 

this conununication has i)een delayed nn- tir desdc lueno al Kanclio del llorcon 

til this tiate owiiiv,' to the iinpracticahil- para hacer un exanien i)ersonal de las 

ity of exaniinin).j the Rronnd hy reason condiciones actualcs, con lo cnal se 

of the hi}.jh water in the Rio (Irande. levanti) la sesion. 

The Connnissioners ajjreed to proceed 

at once to tiie site of the llorcon Ranch 

and make a personal examination of the 
existing? conditions. 

Tile Connnission tlien adjonrned. Hkownsvii.lk. Tkx.\.s, 

Oituhrc 20 de 1906. 

La Comisii'tii Mixta se reunio en cl 

ICdillci.i Inderal a las 10 A. M. 

liRow.NsviLLK, Tkx,\.s. La Comisii'in Mixta, inclnycndo .i los 

Octithcr 20. 1906. Ingenieros Consultores y a Jos Secreta- 

Tiie Joint Commission met at the I-'ed- rios y acompanada por el Senor Manuel 

eral Hnildinj.,' at 10 o'clock a. m. .M. Mendioja, liiKeniero del Miiiisterio 

The Joint Connnission, includinij the de Comunicaciones y Ohras Pi'il)licas de 

Consnltinj^ I'jiKinccrs and Secretaries, Mexico, paso ayer el dia visitando y 

and accompanied hy Mr. Manuel M. examinando las ohras sohre (|ue versa 

Mendiola, luiKineer in the Department esta (pieja y el terreno adyacente a 

of Connnunications and Public Works of ellas. 

Mexico, spent yesterday visitinij and ex- La ohservacion hizo evidente que las 

amining the works complained of and ohras dennnciadas en la presentacion del 

the river adjacent. caso hccha por el Comisionado Mexi- 

I'rom ohservation it was evident that cano. se>j;^un instrucciones del Ministeria 
the works ciimplained of in tiic statement de Relaciones ICxteriores de su pais, 
of the case from the Department of I'or- han determinado por comi)leto un corte 
ei).;ii Relations of Mexico and presented que caml)ia el curso del Rio. 1^1 cambio 
to the Conmiission hy the Mexican Com- lia sido tan complete ([ue ya no corre 
missioner had comi)lelely accomplished a ni una gota de agua por cl caucc anti- 
cut-off — chaiiRiiiR the course of the river. gno, pues su extremo superior se ha 

The cut-ofF was so absolute that no llenado con el azolve hasta varios pies 

l)article of water was runninsj through sohre el actual nivel del agua en el 

the old river hed, its upper end being en- rio. 

tirely tilled with silt for many feet above Se pidio a los Ingenieros Consultores 

the then level of the river. (|ue lo mas pronto posible hicieran un 

The Consulting luiginecrs were re- cnxpiis aproximado de la localidad, ba- 

(piested to make as soon as convenient .-ado en los i)rimitivos mapas de la 

an approximate sketch map of the local- Coniision y destinado ha usarsc en el 

ity, based upon former surveys of the suresivo desarrollo de esta caso. 

Connnission. for use in the further pro- J-ji seguida el Comisionado Mcxicana 

ceedings of this case. jjresento al Capitan Mendiola quien 

The Mexican Commissioner then pre- despnes de prestar la necesaria protesta 

sented Mr, Manuel M. Mendiola. who, rindio su testimonio en la forma 

being duly sworn, testified as follows: siguiente : 

I-!xamination by the Mexican Com- Kxamen por el Comisionado Mexi- 

missioner. cano. 

y. What is your name, where do you F*. ,; Conio se llama usted, doiule 

reside, and what is your occupation? reside y cual es su ocupacion ? 

.\. Manuel M. Mendiola; Civil V.n- R. NTanuel M. Mendiola; Ingeiiiero 

gineer in the Department of Conmiuni- Civil del Miiiisterio de Comunicaciones 

cations and Public Works of Mexico, y ( )bras Publicas de Mexico, ocupacion 

which occujiation necessitates my travel- (me re(|uiere que viaje a lo largo de la 

ing along the northern border of Mex- frontera norte de Mexico, sin residencia 

ico. having no |)ermanent residence. permanentc. 

10 



Q. What was your first knowledge of 
the work complained of by the owners 
of the Horcon Ranch? 

A. My first information was a tele- 
gram from the Department of Public 
Works ordering me to proceed to the 
Horcon Ranch and inspect the work- 
done by an American Company on the 
Texas side, just opposite this ranch. I 
did not then know the location of the 
Horcon Ranch and telegraphed my Sec- 
retary who informed me of its location 
and stated that the work complained of 
was a canal being opened up by Rio 
Grande Land and Irrigation Company 
and making a cut-ofif in the river. I 
was then ordered to proceed at once to 
the site of the work and report by tele- 
graph. 

Q. About what was the date of your 
instructions from your Department? 

A. They were dated the 2d of July, 
and I left El Paso, Texas, on July 4. 
1906, and reached Horcon Ranch on the 
'8th of the same month. 

Q. According to the information you 
were able to gather at the Horcon Ranch 
what was claimed to be the object of 
this work? 

A. The people at the Horcon Ranch 
informed me that they were told by the 
men employed on the work that they 
were only building a levee to protect 
their own land from overflow. 

Q. What was the state of the work 
when you arrived there ? 

A. The canal was already cut from 
one bend in the river to the other and 
was about 700 metres long, 10 metres 
wide and 5 metres deep. The water was 
running through it to the depth of one 
metre although the river was low. 

Q. Did you go there in an official ca- 
pacity and with instruments? 

A. Yes. I had a steel tape and a small 
hand level. 

Q. Did the employees of the American 
Company notice your presence there? 

A. Only the foreman on the work; I 
did not talk with any of the officials of 
the Company. 

Q. Did you say anything to the fore- 
man regarding the work? 
A. No. 

Q. Do you believe that the cut-off has 
caused a change in the condition of 
the river? 
A. Yes. 

Q. Do you believe that such a change 
could have been accomplished in so 
short a period of time if the Company 
had stopped the work in July? 

11 



P. iCual fue la primcra noticia que 
tuvo usted de la obra de que se que j an 
los propietarios del Rancho del Hor- 
con? 

R. Mi primera noticia fue un tele- 
grama del Ministerio de Obras Publicas 
ordenandome me dirigiera al Rancho del 
Horcon e inspeccionara la obra hecha 
por una compahia Americana en el lado 
de Texas y enfrente de ese Rancho. No 
sabia yo entonces donde se hallaba el 
Rancho del Horcon y telegrafie a mi 
Secretario quien me informo de su ubi- 
cacion y me dijo que la obra a que se 
referia la queja era un canal que estaba 
abriendo la "Rio Grande Land and Irri- 
gation Company" haciendo un corte en 
el rio. Despues se me ordeno marchara 
desde luego al sitio de la obra y que 
informara por telegrafo. 

P. i Hacia que fecha recibio usted esas 
instrucciones de su Ministerio? 

R. Estaban fechadas el 2 de Julio y 
sail de El Paso, Texas, el dia 4 de 
Julio de 1906, llegando al Rancho del 
Horcon el dia 8 del mismo mes. 

P. i Segun los informes que pudo 
usted recoger en el Rancho del Hor- 
con, cual se pretendia ser el objeto de 
esta obra ? 

R. La gente del Horcon me informo 
que les habian dicho los hombres em- 
pleados en ella que solamente estaban 
haciendo un bordo para proteger sus 
terrenos contra las inundaciones. 

P. i Cual era el estado de los trabajos 
cuando usted llego alii? 

R. El canal estaba ya excavado de 
una vuelta del rio a la otra y tenia cerca 
de 700 metros de largo, 10 de ancho y 5 
de profundidad. El agua estaba co- 
rriendo por el con una profundidad de 
un metro, aunque el rio estaba bajo. 

P. ^; Pue usted alii con caracter oficial 
y llevando sus instrumentos? 

R. Si. Llevaba una cinta metalica y 
un nivelito de mano. 

P. I Notaron la presencia de usted los 

empleados de la Compania Americana? 

R. Solo el capataz del trabajo; no 

hable con ninguno de los empleados 

superiores de la Compania. 

P. ^;Dijo usted algo respecto a la obra 
al capataz? 
R. No. 

P. Cree usted que el corte ha causado- 
un cambio en la condicion del Rio? 
R. Si. 

P. I Cree usted que hubiera podido 
verificarse semejante cambio en tan cor- 
to periodo de tiempo si hubiera suspen- 
(Hdo sus obras en Julio la Compaiiia? 



A I iliink ihc action of the river K. \a cn-o (luc la accion del Rio lia- 

woiiM have accom|)lishc(l the change hria pnulucido el cainhio sin iiiii^una 

witliout further work. ohra jKisterior. 

Q. Ditl you notice any destruction in V. ^ Note usted en su ultimo viaje. 

tlie hanks of the river on your !:i>t trip. el 19 de (Jctuhre. alj^'una destruccion en 

the l^tii of Octoher? las inarKcnes del Rio? 

A. Yes: to a certain extent, in tin R. Si; hasta cierto j)unto. en donde 

regular chainiel of the river connected el antij{Uo cauce tlel rio se une con cl 

by the cut-o(T. corte. 

Q. Can you i)oinl out on the sketch P. ,; Puede usted senalar en el cro(|uis 

where such destruction has taken i)iace ? <'n donde sc ha veriticado csa deslruc- 

( The Mexican Connnissioner then in- cion ? 

troduced the sketch niaj), aijproxiniately ( [•'.] Coniisionado Mexicano prcsento 

showiui; the Rio (Irande in the vicinity arpii un cro(|uis (pie inuestra aproxiina- 

of the liorcon Ranch, as ])rei)ared liy tiie daniente al Rio (irande en la proximidad 

(."onsultinu h".n);ineers. and marked "I^x- del Rancho del ilorcon y que sc ha mar- 

hiliit A.")* cado Anexo "A.") 

A. ^'es; the destruction is in the hank R. Si; la destruccion esta en la mar- 

of the river on the Mexican side at a jifen del Rio del lado Mexicano en un 

l)oint o|)|)osite the lower i iid of tlie cut- ])unto opuesto a la extremidad inferior 

ofT and down the river. del corte y rioahajo de ella. 

Examination by the Anurican Com- I'.xamen i)or el Coniisionado Ameri- 

niissioner. cano. 

Q. Did you at any time durini; your P. ,;Tuvo usted alyuna vez, durante 

first two visits to the works have any sus dos primeras visitas a las ol)ras. 

conversation with Mr. Davis who is in alyuna convcrsacion con Mr. Davis, en- 

charjie of the work of the Rio Cirande carjj;ado de los traliajos de la "Rio 

Land and !rri).jation Company? (Irande Land and Irrii^ation Company"? 

A. Xo. sir; 1 was not acquainted with R. N'<>. .Senor; no lo conocia entonccs. 

him at that time. Otra pre^unta del Coniisionado Mexi- 

ICxaniination l>y the Mexican Com- cano. 

niissioner. P. ,; Csted o su Inpeniero .^yudantc. 

Q. Did you f)r your assistant engineer tuvieron alguna convcrsacion con cl 

liavc any corresjiondence with the fore- capataz de los homhres (pie cstahan ha- 

niaii of the men makiii^^ the cut-off? ciendo el corte? 

A. The f<irenian asked my assistant R. VA cajiataz preyunto a mi .Ayu- 

if his eniploynient as foreman of such dante si -su empleo como sohrestantc 

work would ent.iil u\^(>u him any respon- de esa ohra le tracria alguna responsa- 

sihility, as if such was the case he would l)ilidad. jiues si tal era cl caso alian- 

give up his position. I told him that as donaria su emiileo. Lc dije que no crcia 

he was a subordinate of the Company 1 cpie ))udiera hacerscle a el responsabic 

did not believe he could l)e held respon- supuesto (pie era S(')lo uin enipleado de 

siblc. la compania. 

The Commission tlieii .idjourned. La Comision Mixta kvanto eiiseguida 

su sc.sion. 



BR()WN.SVII,LF.. Tk.xa.s, 

October 22, 1906. Hkownsvillk. Tkx.\.s. 

The Joint Commission met at the I"ed- Ocluhrc 22 dc 19()6. 

oral P.iiildinj; at 10 o'clock a. m. La Comision Mixta se reunio en cl 

The Mexican Commissioner jireseiited JMliticio bederal .t las 10 .X. M. 

the follnwiuK witnesses, all of whom LI (.Omisionado Mexicano j)resenti') 

were duly sworn : los sii;uientes testigos, a quines .sc Ics 

Testimony of Dr. M. P-arra^an. tonn) la deltida |)rotesta. 

Lxamination l)y liie Mexican Coin- Testimonia del Doctor M. Rarraijan. 
niissioner: b'xamen jior el C'oinisionado Mexi- 
co. What is your name, where do you cano. 
reside and what is your occupation? p. ,; Cuales son cl nombre. la residcn- 

.•\. M. HarraKan ; Brownsville. Texas. cia y la ocupacion de usted. 
and am Mexican Consul at Brownsville. k' M. Barracan. Brownsville. Texas, 
V sov el Consul Mexicano vii Bri>wns- 

♦Sce page 36. ville. 

12 



Q. When you first had knowledge of 
the work being done by the American 
Rio Grande Land and Irrigation Com- 
pany did you notify the officers of that 
company that there was a Boundary 
Commission, duly organized under 
treaty between the United States and 
Mexico, and that the work they were 
doing was contrary to said treaty ? 

A. 1 communicated with the president 
of the company at Lonsboro, Texas, and 
informed him that he must suspend op- 
erations until he received permission 
from the two governments, as the work 
he was doing was contrary to the Treaty 
between the two countries. 

Q. When did you write this commu- 
nication ? 

A. About the first part of July, 1906. 

Q. Did the company answer your com- 
munication ? 

A. No, sir. 

(The Mexican Commissioner pro- 
duced a copy of the communication re- 
ferred to, which is attached hereto and 
made a part of the record, and marked 
"Exhibit B.")* 

Testimony of Joaquin Argiielles. 

Examination by the Mexican Commis- 
sioner : 

Q. What is your name, where do you 
reside and what is your occupation? 

A. Joaciuin Argiielles ; Matamoros, 
Mexico, and am a municipal officer of 
Matamoros. 

Q. Do you own property in Mexico, 
on the Rio Grande, adjoining the Hor- 
con Ranch ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. What is the name of your prop- 
erty ? 

A. La Ll^nion Ranch. 

Q. Did the cut-off made by the Amer- 
ican Rio Grande Land and Irrigation 
Company cause you any damage? 

A. It deprived my property of the use 
of the water of the river. 

Q. It was not the water I referred to 
— did the cut-off cause the destruction 
of any of your land? 

A. It only took the water from the 
land, it did not destroy it. 

Q. When you saw that a cut-off was 
being made on the American side did 
you attempt a like cut-off on the Mexi- 
can side? 

A. Two or three days before the river 
changed its course some of the neigh- 
bors attempted to make a cut-off to pre- 

*See page 22. 



P. iCuando supo usted por primera, 
vez de la obra que estaba haciendo en el 
rio la "Rio Grande Land and Irrigation 
Company" notifico usted a los Directores 
de ella que existia una Comision de 
Limites, debidamente organizada por un 
Tratado entre Mexico y los Estados 
Qnidos, y de que la obra que estaban 
haciendo era contraria a los Tratados? 

R. Fuse una comunicacion a Lons- 
boro, Texas, al Presidente de la Com- 
paiiia y le adverti que debia suspender 
sus trabajos hasta que obtuviesen per- 
miso de los dos Gobiernos, porque la 
obra que hacian era contraria a los Tra- 
tados. 

P. ^:Cuando puso usted esa comunica- 
cion ? 

R. A principios de Julio de 1906. 

P. iContesto la comunicacion de 
usted la Compafila? 

R. No, Senor. 

(El Comisionado Mexicano present6 
aqui una copia de dicha comunicacion 
y se ad junto a esta acta, con la letra 
"B," para que forme parte de ella.) 

Testimonia de Joaquin Argiielles. 

Examen por el Comisionado Mexi- 
cano. 

P. ^;Cuales son su nombre, residencia 
V ocupaci6n ? 

R. Joaquin Argiielles; Matamoros,. 
Mexico; empleado municipal de Mata- 
moros. 

P. iTiene usted propiedades en Mex- 
ico, en el Rio Grande, cerca del Rancho 
del Horcon ? 

R. Si. Senor. 

P. iComo se llama su propiedad? 

R. Rancho de La Union. 

P. iLe causo a usted algiin perjuicio 
el tajo hecho por la "American Rio 
Grande and Irrigation Company"? 

R. Privo a mi propiedad del uso del 
agua del rio. 

P. No me referia al agua, sino a que 
si el tajo produjo destrozos en su te- 
rreno. 

R. Solo le quito el agua; no lo 
destrozo. 

P. iCuando ustedes vieron hacer ese 
corte en el lado Americano, intentaron 
otro parccido en el Mexicano? 

R. Dos 6 tres dias antes del cambio 
del rio, algunos vecinos trataron de 
hacer otro corte para impedir el daiio- 



13 



viiit (111 (l.iMia.Ljc tlwit ininlit In- causcil 
liy reason <<{ tin- ciit-olT on tlu- AiiuTican 
side 

Q. State wliat tlama.nc has l)ien sus- 
taiiiid l>y your |)ri>i)iTty hy reason of 
the lack of water in tlie ahaiulonecl bed 
of the river? 

A. We are dainaj^ed by hick of water 
for the inhaliitaiits. the stock and for 
agricidtiiral jjurposes. 

Testimony of I)esi<ierio Cantii. 

Examination by tlie Mexican Commis- 
sioner. 

Q. Wliat is your name, where do you 
reside and what is your occupation ? 

A. Desiderio Cantu : Ilorcon Ranch : a 
farmer. 

Q. Have yon any land in Mexico on 
the Rio (irande, and if so, what is its 
name and locati(Hi ? 

A. ^'es ; I own land called Ilorcon 
Ranih. in Sectii>n 15 of the Jurisdiction 
of Matamoros. 

Q. Has the cut-off made by the 
American Rio Grande Land and Irri- 
gation Company caused any destruc- 
tion to your land? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. lias the lack of water in the old 
river bed caused anv damage to vour 
land? 

A. ^'es, sir. 

Q. What damage? 

.\. I am unable to properly irrigate my 
land on account of the scarcity of water. 

Q Was an attempt made to make a 
cut-ofT on the Mexican side so that the 
river would not change by reason of 
the cut-f>fT on the .Xnurican side? 

.\. Yes, sir. 

y. What prevented the accomplish- 
ment of this work? 

A. Some of the neighbors on Las 
Pelad.is Ranch objected to it. 

Q. When work was commenced on 
the American side what was your un- 
iler-t.tnding as to its object? 

.\. I was given to understand that it 
was a levee to protect their land. 

Q. Who informed you of thi^? 

A. The peo|)le who were employed by 
the American comjiany to make the 
cut-ofT. 

Testimony of Geronimo Ra/an. 

Kxamination by the Mexican Connnis- 
*>ioner : 

Q. What is your name, where do you 
reside and what is your i>ccupation? 

A. Geronimo Hazan, Ranch La Bolsa; 
a farmer. 

O. .\rc vou the Kwiur of La Pmlsa 
Ranch? 



(|Ue podia causar el hecho en el lado 
.\merican<>. 

r. ,;I)iga usted (pie mal ha sufrido su 
propiedad por la falta del agua en el 
cauce abandonado del rio? 

R. Los perjuicios (pie causa la falta 
del agua se extieiiden a los habitantes, 
el ganado y la agricultura. 

iestimonio de Desiderio Cantu. 

Lxamen por el Comisionado Mexi- 
cano. 

P. ftCual es el iiombre de usted, 
donde reside y cual es su ocupaci<')n ? 

R. Desiderio Cantu. Rancho del Ilor- 
ci'm. Labrador. 

P. i Posee usted tierras en M(}xico, 
en cl Rio Grande y, en ese caso, ouno 
se Hainan y donde estan ? 

R. Si; soy dueno del Rancho del llor- 
C(')n, de la Seccion 15 de la Jurisdiccion 
de Matamoros. 

P. iHa causado algi'in destrozo en sus 
tierras el tajo construido por la "Ameri- 
can Rio Grande Land and Irrigation 
Company" ? 

R. Si, Sci'ior. 

P. ,; La falta de agua en el cauce vie- 
jo. le origina algi'in perjuicio a su te- 
rrene? 

R. Si, Senor. 

P. ,:Cual? 

R. Que ya no puedo regar conve- 
nientemente mi tierra i)or la cscasez del 
agua. 

P. ,; Se liizo en el lado Mcxicano al- 
gi'in inteiitn para hacer en el otro corte 
(|ue imi)idiera (pie el rio se desviara por 
el tajo Americano? 

R. Si, Senor. 

P. ;Que inipidio la ejecucion de esa 
obra? 

R. Algunos vccinos del Rancho de 
Las Peladas se opusieron a ello. 

P. Cuando sc empczaron los traba- 
jos del lado Americano ,;qu(!' se les dijo 
a ustedes epic teiiian por objeto? 

R. Se me dio a entender que estaban 
haciendo un horde para defender su te- 
rrene (de la Compania). 

P. ,:Ouien le informo a listed de eso? 

R. La geiite einpUada en el tajo por 
la Comi)ania. 

Testimonio de Gen')nimo Hazan. 

Kxamen por el Comisionado Mexi- 
cano. 

P. ,; Conio sc llama usted. donde re- 
side y dial es su ocupacion ? 

R. Geronimo Pazan. Rancho de La 
Bolsa. Labrador. 

P. ,; l-ls usted dueno del Rancho de 
La Pl.lsa? 



14 



A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Has the cut-off made by the Amer- 
ican Rio Grande Land and Irrigation 
Company caused the destruction of your 
land? 

A. Yes. 

Q. Has the scarcity of water in the 
abandoned bed of the river caused you 
anj' damage ? 

A, Yes. 

Q. What damage? 

A. The damage is caused on account 
of my horse stock being unable to ob- 
tain water. 

Q. Do you know whether any work 
was done on the Mexican side of the 
river to prevent the river from changing 
its course by reason of the cut-ofT on 
the American side? 

A. 1 do not know of any. 

Q. When the work was commenced on 
the American side what were you told 
they were going to do? 

A. They (the company) did not tell 
me anything, but I was informed that 
they were going to build a levee. 

Examination by the American Com- 
missioner: 

Q. You have stated that the cut-of¥ 
injures you because it deprives your 
horses of water. Is not the cut-ofif 
above your ranch — Las Bolsa? 

A. Yes. sir ; but my horses graze up 
above the cut-off. 

Q. Do you own the land where your 
horses graze above the cut-off? 

A. Yes, sir ; I have a community in- 
terest in it. 

Testimony of Primitivo Hinojosa. 

Examination by the Mexican Commis- 
sioner : 

Q. What is your name, where do you 
reside and what is your occupation ? 

A. Primitivo Hinojosa; La Palma 
Ranch ; a farmer. 

Q. Are you the owner of any land in 
Mexico, in the vicinity of Horcon 
Ranch ? 

A. Yes ; La Bolsa Ranch. 

Q. Did the cut-off made by the Amer- 
ican Rio Grande Land and Irrigation 
Company on the American side cause 
the destruction of any of your land? 

A. No; there was no destruction of 
my land, but it injured my crop by 
causing the river to overflow, and I be- 
lieve it will ultimately destroy my land. 

Q. Will the scarcity of water in the 
abandoned bed of the river cause you 
any damage? 

A. No. 

Q. Do you know whether any attempt 



R. Si, Seiior. 

P. iHa causado destrozos en sus te- 
rrenos el tajo hecho por la "American 
Land and Irrigation Company"? 

R. Si. 

P. La falta del agua en el lecho vie jo 
ile ha causado a usted algun perjuicio? 

R. Si. 

P. iCual? 

R. El perjuicio consiste en que mi 
caballada no tiene ya agua que beber. 

P. I Sabe usted si se hizo en el lado 
Mexicano alguna obra para impedir que 
el rio se cambiara por el tajo hecho del 
lado americano? 

R. No se de nada. 

P. Cuando se empezo la obra del lado 
Americano ique le dijeron a usted que 
se estaba haciendo? 

R. A mi no me dijeron nada; pero si 
supe que iban a hacer un bordo de 
defensa. 

Examen por el Comisionado Ameri- 
cano. 

P. Ha dicho usted que el tajo le per- 
judica porque deja a sus caballos sin 
agua; ino esta el tajo mas rio-arriba 
que el Rancho de La Bolsa ? 

R. Si, Senor; pero mis caballos pas- 
tan arriba de donde sale el tajo. 

P. iEs de usted el terreno en que 
pastan sus caballos, arriba del tajo? 

R. Si, Senor ; son terrenos de comu- 
nidad. 

Testimonio de Primitivo Hinojosa. 

Examen por el Comisionado Mexi- 
cano. 

P. iComo se llama usted, donde re- 
side y cual es su ocupacion ? 

R. Primitivo Hinojosa. Rancho de 
La Palma. Labrador. 

P. I Posee usted terreno en Mexico, 
cerca del Horcon? 

R. Si; el Rancho de La Bolsa. 

P. iHa causado algun destrodo en su 
terreno el tajo hecho del lado Ameri- 
cano por la "American Land and Irri- 
gation Company"? 

R. No; no ha destruido mi terreno; 
pero perjudico mis cosechas, porque hizo 
que el rio las inundara y creo que al fin 
tambien destruira mis tierras. 

P. iLe causa a usted perjuicio la 
falta de agua en el cauce viejo? 

R. No. 

P. i Sabe usted de algun intento del 



15 



]''Xr I ^\'T'\'^''^'''''"'''\''' '^"'" -^'^-^i^-'"'. para haccr u.n, tajo 

a cm-o»T lo prevent tlu- cha.mn- n. t k- ,,,,0 in.pi.li.ra al ri., ca.nl.iar p..r d nie 

rix.r l.y rcaM.n uf tlu- cnt-.fT .„. tlu- sc- hi/., rn d la.l.. AiiuTican.,' 

Anuruan ^uk.^ ,, .,, 

A. N\>. '< •'^' 

U. What prr\iiili<l tlu- aicomplish- '' -' 'Jm imp'<li" <|in-- m- liiiiira :•■ 

imiit of iliis cut-uiT? H. Xo se. 

;V u','"„"";| ■""'"•. r , • . '*• ':'>'i""" a "'^tc.I alKo Ins tral.a- 

y WIni tlu- cm-niT was lK-n,« mkkU- ja<|..rcs <|iu- !iicic-r..ii c-l tajn AuK-ricano 

on tlu- AnurK-an suU- .lul tlu- worknu-n s.-l.n- su ol.JHo. cnan.lo cnii.c-xaron a 

cn^aKi-d Ml such work make any state- hacerlo? 

mint to von as lo its ohji-ot? 1. c- 1 ■ .... 

^ A. vc.; „„., .,„, ,iu, „an„« ,,„'*i„^'i;';,;:nsr" "'•''" ""'""'" "" 

Examination liy tlu- Aimriran (.oni- ■•-xamon por d Comisionado Anu-ri- 

missioiur: cano. 

Q. Vkw Iuvc statu! that yon lidievc ''• I la dicho ustc-d (|Ut- cree (|ue d tajo 

tlu- oni-olT will in the fntiire <lestroy destruira en lo fnliiro sns tierras ^quc 

yonr laiul. What is your n-ason for ra/«'.n tiene para creerln? 

thinking so? 1^ (^-r^.,, ^^^^^. ]^ corricnte del rio hara 

A. I liduve that the current ot tin- ,|ue mi tcrreno se vava rompiendo a 

river will cause my land alonj; tlu- h,iir,nuo raido (por derruml.es sucesi- 

banks of the river to cave in. vos). 

Testimony nf Xatividad Cantn. lestinionio de Xatividad Caiitti. 

r.xamniation Iiv the Mexican Connnis- i- 1 r- - - 1 m • 

^j,,„^.^. <..iii ». iiiim> l-.xaiiuM iior el Coniisionaflo Mexi- 

Q. What is vonr name, where do von ^' ,',' , ■ , , •, • 

reside and what is vour occui.ation ■'" ' '•'*'«'' "'''•' ^" noml.re. residencia 

A. Xatividad Cant'u; La Holsa Ranch; > ompacion ? 

a farmer. R. Xatividad Cantn. Rancho de La 

(J. .\re you the owner of any land I'oNa. Lal.rador. 

mar the I I'orcon Ranch in Mexico? p. ; Ivs usted dueno dc alKini terreno 

A. \es; 1 have an interest in La l'.o!- m Mexico, cerca del Ranch., del Hor- 

sa Ranch. .-.in ? 

L). Has the cut-off on the American ,.; s;. ^ i,„ereses en el Rancho 

side ma.Ie hy the American Ri.. (.ran.k- ,|^. | ,, p.ol^a 

Land and Irrijration f..mpanv caused ,, " ,,' '" , , • , 

anv de.structi..n of vour land?' P ;lla caiisado a kuii destro^o en 

A. Since making the cut-..fT ..n the V" '!'"'''"'" '"' .*'''^"! '''"'' '^'- '^l j 

American side mv lands have heen ..ver- \>"^rK:»";' P'"". la "American Ri.. C.rande 

n.nvn with water: the water cmiiiR '•'"'•• '''"'' Irrmatu.n Company ? 

int.. the houses. The current in the R- Hcsde tpie se hizo el tajo .\meri- 

river ate into the l.anks and caused cano mis terreiu.s han estad.) iinmdados, 

them t<. drop int.. the water. entrando el a(j;ua hasta las casas. La 

Q. Is the water still on y.nir laiuP crriente del ri.. ha comido los ha- 

.\. Pan of tlu- land is still under rrancos y los ha hecho caer al agua. 

^^ater. y> ; Hav t.xlavia agua en su terreno? 

g. Did the scarcity of water in the ^ j'arte <le d esta aim inun<lado. 

al.and.ined Led of the river cau-c vou ,. i , • • • - 1 r 1. 

any ilamage^ ' • '- '-^' causa algun perjmci.. la falta 

A. Ve.s; it' was a watering i.Iace for '"^' ''«"■'' '"" ''^ '''''''''' ahand.mad..? 

my animals, and as 1 own cows I am '^ '*^'' P<>rque alii hahia sido siempre 

damageil to that extent. el.revadero y, com., tengo vacas. resiento 

Q. Do y..u kiu.w if the Mexicans '■•i^c perjuici... 

made an attempt t<. make a cut-off on P. ,: Sahe listed si l..s Mexicanos in- 

the Mexican side to jjreveiit the river tentar.m hacer un taj.. en el la<lo Mexi- 

fn.m changing its c. mrse hy reas. .n ..f can... para impedir (pie el rio camhiase 

the cut-off on the American side? p, .r i-I del lado .\mericano? 

A. They attempted such a work, luit R. Inieiitaron la ohra. pero la al.an- 

al-anfloned it. d..naron. 

(J. D<. you know wh\ tlu- work was P. ,;Sal)e usted i.or .jiu- la ahando 

abandoned? naron? 

16 



A. The \v(irk was abandoned by rea- 
son of the o1)jection of the owners of 
the Las Paledas Ranch. 

Q. When the cut-off was being made 
on the American side did you have any 
information as to what it was intended 
for? 

A. The workmen engaged in making 
the cut said it was going to be a 
levee. 

Testimony of Chester B. Davis. 

Examination by the Mexican Commis- 
sioner : 

Q. Please state your name and resi- 
dence? 

A. Chester B. Davis My residence is, 
temporarily, Lonsboro, Hidalgo Coun- 
ty, Texas. 

Q. What is your profession ? 

A. An engineer. 

Q. What is your connection with the 
American Rio Grande Land and Irri- 
gation Company? 

A. Engineer in charge. 

Q. Have you a map of the region in 
which you planned your works and can 
you show it to us? 

A. I have no map with me. 

Q. Did you make a survey? 

A. Only generally; there was no speci- 
fic plan. 

Q. Do you find this sketch, marked 
"Exhibit A," approximate, and will you 
give us an explanation of the general 
plan of your works in connection with 
this case? 

A. The sketch map is closely approxi- 
mate. The proper execution of the 
compan3's plan necessitated the con- 
struction of a pumping station at or near 
the place marked "B" on the sketch, 
along the north bank of the river, near 
Esterito ranch. An examination of the 
river adjacent thereto revealed the fact 
that a natural cut-off was possible or 
probal)le at or near the point marked 
"A"' on the sketch, up stream from the 
proposed station, which cut-off, if it oc- 
curred, would render of little or no 
value the site which the company wished 
to use. A determined effort was made 
to revet the shore on the southerly side 
of the neck at or near the impending 
cut-off, and a very considerable expen- 
diture of money was made in trying to 
hold it against the river. This work 
extended over a period of some three 
months. The neck at the point "A" at 



R. La obra fue abandonada por la 
oposicion de los duenos del Rancho de 
Las Peladas. 

P. Cuando se estaba haciendo el tajo 
Americano ituvo usted algunos in- 
formes sobre el fin a que se le destinaba? 

R. Los trabaj adores empleados en el 
decian que iba a ser un bordo de de- 
fensa. 

Testimonia de Chester B. Davis. 

Examen por el Comisionado Mexi- 
cano. 

P. Sirvasc usted decir su nombre y 
su residencia. 

R. Chester B. Davis. Mi residencia 
temporal es Lonsboro, Hidalgo County, 
Texas. 

P. iCual es la profesion de usted? 

R. Ingeniero. 

P. iCual es su conexion con la 
"American Rio Grande and Irrigation 
Company" ? 

R. Soy su Ingeniero Director. 

P. I Posee usted algun piano de la 
region en el cual haya proyectado sus 
obras y puede usted ensenarnoslo? 

R. No traigo conmigo ningun piano. 

P. i Pero hizo usted algun levanta- 
miento ? 

R. Solo de un modo general : no hubo 
ningnn piano detallado. 

P. iCree usted aproximado este cro- 
quis, marcado Anexo "A," y quiere us- 
ted darnos por medio de el una explica- 
cion del plan general de sus obras rela- 
tiva a este caso? 

R. El croquis es bastante aproximado. 
La ejecucion apropiada de los planes de 
la Compania exijia la construccion de 
una estacion de bombas en el lugar 
marcado "D" en el croquis, 6 cerca de el, 
a lo largo de la margen norte del rio 
y cerca del Rancho del Esterito. Un 
examen de la parte adyacente del rio, 
revelo el hecho de que era muy posible 
6 que se produjera naturalmente un corte 
en el rio en el punto marcado "A" en 
el dibujo, 6 cerca de el, aguas-arriba 
de la propuesta estacion de bombas. Tal 
corte, de verificarse, convertiria en — de 
poco 6 de ningun valor el sitio que la 
Compania deseaba usar. Se hizo un 
esfuerzo decisivo para revestir la ribera 
en la parte sur de la garganta eii que 
amenazaba el cambio y se gasto una 
considerable cantidad de dinero en tratar 
de defenderla contra el rio. Esta obra 
se extendio a un periodo de tiempo de 
cerca de tres meses. La garganta en el 
punto "A." en donde amenazaba el cam- 
bio, resulto ser de arena muy fina cast 
movediza, facilmente atacada por la co- 



17 



the inipiiuliiig cut-off proved to be of 
very line s.iml, almost a quicksand, 
which was very easily eroded I)y cur- 
rent or wave action, and it was prac- 
tically impossible after an exiiaustion of 
all (he means availal)le to hoKl the revet- 
ment in place and to i)revent the l)anl< 
from cuttin>j severely. These results, in 
my opinit)n, were a^^ravated l)y reason 
of the fact that there was a difference 
in the river's elevation between the hi^h 
side and low side of the neck approxi- 
matiiifjr 12 inches. The neck was so nar- 
row, it hc'wii less than 1(K) feet in width 
at various points alonjj it. that the water 
passing throujj;h the neck from the upi)er 
river kei)t this line and almost quick- 
sand almost saturated, it bein^: robbed 
of all its stability, and the company was 
forced to al)andon further work and 
effort to prevent the cut-off at this 
point. This work was done with the full 
consent and approval of Senor Solis. the 
owner of the property, which was under 
Mexican jurisdiction. 

The Company has expended larj^e 
sums of money in building various por- 
tions of its irrigation system; all look- 
ing to the erection of the pumping plant 
near the point "B," referred to above, 
practically all of which investment 
would be lost or of little use to the com- 
pany if the cut-off, now almost inevita- 
ble, was permitted to occur at the point 
markeil "A," since the river would fol- 
low a channel entirely remote from the 
pumping site. To protect itself against 
such a result a neck of land at or near 
the point marked "C" was cut through. 
the neck "C " being on land owned by 
the company and under American juris- 
diction. 

Q. Of course, when you took charge 
of the work you knew that the Rio 
Grande was the boundary between the 
United States and Mexico? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Did you know of the existence of 
any treaties between the two countries 
regarding said boundary? 

A. Generally. 

Q. Have you read them? 

A. I never saw a copy, nor read a 
copy, until after the work was com- 
pleted. 

Q. While the work was progressing 
had you any warning as to |)robablc in- 
ternational comi)lications as a result of 
such work. Any official warning? 

A. 1 do not recall any warning or ofli- 



rriente y la accion de las olas, y se 
cncontro practicamen te imposible, dcs- 
pues de agotar todos los recursos que 
habia a mano, conservar en su sitio el 
revestimiento e impedir (|ue el barranco 
fuera seriamente atacado. Segun me 
[larece, este resultado se agravo por el 
liecho de existir una diferencia de nivel 
de cerca de doce pulgadas en el rio entre 
la parte aha y la baja de esta garganta 
<|ue estan estrecha (|ue tiene menos de 
KK) pies de ancho en varios de sus pun- 
tos, i)udiendo pasar el agua a traves de 
ella desde la parte superior del rio y 
conservando casi saturada esta arena 
tina y UKJvedi/.a ; tal cosa la privaba por 
completo de su estabilidad y obligo a la 
Compania a abandonar toda obra o es- 
fuerzo po>terior por im|)edir el cambio 
en este sitio. Los trabajos (|ue alii se 
hicieron se emprendieron con pleno con- 
seiitimiento y la aprobacion del Sefior 
Si)lis. i)ropietario del terreno que esta 
en jurisdiccion mexicana. 

La Compania habia gastado ya gran<les 
sumas de dinero en construir varios 
tramos de su sistema de irrigacion. todos 
basados en la ereccion de una planta de 
iiombeo cerca del punto "B" antes ci- 
tado. Practicamcnte se habria perdido. 
o habria sido de poca utilidad para la 
Compania, todo ese gastossi se hubiera 
permitido que se verilicara en el lugar 
marcado "A" el cambio ya casi inevita- 
ble, supuesto que el rio seguiria un 
cauceci)mi)let;imente lejano del lugar de 
Iximbeo. Para protejerse ct)ntra tal re- 
sultadfi se liizo un corte a traves de la 
parte estrecha del terreno en que se halla 
el punto marcado "C." quedando toda 
la faja "C" en terreno de proi)iedad de la 
Compania y de jurisdiccion Americana. 

P. 5 Por supuesto. cuando usted totno 
a su cargo la obra sabia que el Rio 
Cirande es la fronti-ra entre Mexico y 
los Kstados Unidos? 

R. Si. Senor. 

P. ,; Sabia usted la existencia de cier- 
tos tratados entre los dos paises respecto 
a esta frontera? 

R. De un modo general. 

P. ; Los habia usted Icido? 

R. Nunca vi ni lei un ejemplar de 
ellos sino hasta despues de que la obra 
estaba hecha. 

P. ,;Tuvo usted durante la ejecucioii 
de la obra alguna advertencia en cuanto 
a la j)r<ibabilidad de comidicaciones in- 
teniacionales coino resultado de dicha 
olira : alguna advertencia oficial ? 

R. N'o recuerdo de ninguna notifica- 
cion o advertencia oficial. Estoy seguro 



18 



cial notification. I am certain that none 
•ever came to my department. 

Q. When you began the work did 
you authorize Mr. Silver or your fore- 
man to make a statement about its ob- 
ject? 

A. Mr. Silver is the business manager 
of the company and is not under my 
authority. 

Q. Can you tell us whether your com- 
pany lias a charter, and if so from 
what government? 

A. I understand that it is organized 
tinder the laws of the State of Texas, 
"but I have no personal knowledge as I 
am not an officer of the company. 

Examination by the American Com- 
missioner : 

Q. Has the company a map of the 
land and proposed work to your knowl- 
•edge? 

A. There never has been a survey 
made from which could be produced a 
inap of the river as it now is. There 
are in the office of the Engineering De- 
partment of the company a copy of the 
portfolios of maps issued by the Bound- 
ary Commission, which is used as a 
general guide, and some surveys were 
made which would determine the shore 
line in the vicinity of the point marked 
■"B," and down stream in the vicinity of 
the point marked '"D," and on the Amer- 
ican side of the river only. 

Examination by the Mexican Commis- 
sioner : 

Q. What was the reason for selecting, 
exclusively, the point marked "B" for 
the pumping station ? 

A. There were several reasons : The 
banks and bed of the stream at that 
point are very favorable for the pur- 
pose ; perhaps more so than at any other 
point in miles. Immediately adjacent 
to and north of the north bank is a 
large lagoon which the company has 
converted into a reservoir with a super- 
ficial area approximating 350 acres, 
-which it intends to use as a sedimenta- 
tion basin to prevent the filling up of 
its main canal by sediment, which would 
■otherwise be deposited in them and had 
very nearly completed that work ; and 
another reason is, that at this precise lo- 
cation there was a sufficient bed of very 
hat-fl r]ay to form a most excellent foun- 
dation. The shores and land adjacent 
to the river along the company's front 
on the river are mostly fine sand and 

19 



de que ninguna llego nunca a mi depar- 
tamento. 

P. iAutorizo usted, cuando empezo 
sus trabajos, a Mr. Silver 6 a su capataz 
para hacer algunas aserciones respecto 
al objeto de ellos? 

R. Mr. Silver es el Gerente de la 
Compania y no esta bajo mi dependen- 
cia. 

P. i Puede usted decirnos si su Com- 
pafiia tiene alguna concesion oficial y 
de que Gobierno ? 

R. Entiendo que esta organizada bajo 
las leyes del Estado de Texas; pero no 
tengo un conocimiento personal de ello 
porque no soy imo de los Directores de 
la Compaiiia. 

Examen por el Comisionado Ameri- 
cano. 

P. i Segun lo que usted sabe, tiene la 
Compaiiia algun piano del terreno y de 
las obras proyectadas? 

R. Nunca se ha hecho ningun levan- 
tamiento del que pueda tomarse algun 
piano del Rio en su actual estado. Hay 
en las oficinas del departamento de in- 
genieria de la Compania un ejemplar de 
los atlas de pianos publicados por la 
Comision de Limites que se usa como 
guia general, y se ban hecho algunos 
levantamientos que podrian determinar 
la linea de ribera en la proximidad del 
punto marcado "B" y rio-abajo en las 
cercanias del punto marcado "D" y solo 
del lado Americano del Rio. 

Examen por el Comisionado Mexi- 
cano. 

P. iQue razon para elejir para esta- 
cion de bombas exclusivamente el punto 
marcado "B"? 

R. Hubo varias razones ; los hordes y 
el cauce del Rio en ese punto son muy 
favorables para el objeto, tal vez mas 
que cualquiera otro punto en varias 
millas a la redonda. Inmediatamente 
junto a la margen norte y al norte de 
ella, hay una gran laguna que la Com- 
pania habia convertido en una presa 
cuya area aproximativa as de 350 acres 
y que trataba de usar como vaso de 
sedimentacion para impedir el azolve do 
su canal principal a causa del sedimento, 
que de otra manera se depositaria en el; 
esa obra estaba casi concluida ya. Otra 
razon es que en ese lugar precisamente 
hay una capa de barro muy duro bas- 
tante para formar una excelente cimen- 
tacion. Las margenes del rio y el te- 
rreno adyacente a ellas a lo largo de la 
propiedad de la Compania, esta formado 
principalmente de arena fina y movediza 
dificil, si no imposible, para una buena 



(|iiicksai)(l, making fuiiiKlatiniis ditViciilt. 
if not impossililc. And also, tlu' liciKht 
of tlu- hank with reference to the aver- 
age hiyh water is such that a jniniijinf,' 
station couhl he l)uilt without fear of 
innnilation. At no point west of point 
'ii," witliin a (hstance of two miles, 
was the liank known to he suitahle, 
most of it heinjj; l)elow the level of hi^h 
water. 

IJ. Was ilic selection of this cnt-ofT 
tleterinined In the economy of the loca- 
tion or for other reasons? 

A. Primarily I suppose it was influ- 
enced hy economic conditions. It was 
the narrowest point; material seemed 
suitahle and the conditions seemed to 
warrant the lielief that it would ulti- 
mately straij^hten itself ami harmonize 
with the channel below. 

Examinatii'ii hy the American Com- 
missioner : 

Q. Who is the President of yt)ur 
Company ? 

A. Mr. Thomas W. Carter, of St. 
Louis. 

Q. .\re connnunications addressed to 
him at Lonshoro, Te.xas. forwarded to 
him ? 

A. Lonshoro is not a postofhce and 
mail is never delivered to us there, hut 
if so addressed is sent to the branch 
Dead-Letter Office of the Postofficc De- 
partment at San .\ntonio, Texas, and 
from there is returned to the writer. 

Q. Vou met the Consulting iMifrjueers 
of this Commission about July 14th. did 
you not ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Did the company continue the 
work on this lower cut-olT after the visit 
of the Consulting LuRinecrs? 

A. Yes, sir; its work was confined to 
efforts to prevent erosion of the Mex- 
ican bank and to cause the river to har- 
monize with the channel below. 

The Connnission then adjourned. 



cnneiuacion. .\dema>. la altura del ha- 
rranco respecto a las altas a^uas ordina- 
rias es tel (|ue podria construirse alii 
una estacion de homheo sin temor de 
inundacii'm. V.u nin>;una parte al ocste 
del punto "]{," dentro de ima distancia 
de dos mill.is, estaha la margeii a |)rop6- 
sito |)ara la instalacion, (piedando la 
ntayor i)arte de ella debajo del nivel do 
las altas aguas. 

P. ; La localizacion del corte fue de- 
terminada unicamente i)or la economia, 
o hubo otras razones? 

R. Yo creo que de un modo funda- 
mental .se dehio a las condiciones econo- 
micas. Kra un sitio angosto ; el mate- 
rial parecia conveniente y las condi- 
ciones apoyaban la creencia de que el 
norte se enderezaria por si misnio, en 
ultimo resultado, armonizandose hacia 
abajo con el cance del Rio. 

h^xamen por el Comisionado .\meri- 
cano. 

P. ,;Quien es el PresideiUe de la Com- 
jjafiia de nsted ? 

U. .\lr. Thomas W. Carter, de Saint 
Loiiis. 

P. ,:Las comunicaciones que se Ic diri- 
jen a Lonshoro, Texa.s, les son entrc- 
gadas? 

R. Lonshoro no tiene oficina de co- 
rreo y nunca .se nos entrega corres|)on- 
dencia alii sino que la que va asi diri- 
gida se pasa a la Seccion de correspon- 
dencia sohrante de la Ohcina de Corrcso 
de Sail .\nlonio, Texas, y de alii se 
devuelve ii (|uien la envio. 

P. ; Recibio nsted a los Ingenieros 
Consullores de esta Comision hacia el 
14 de Julio, no es verdad? 
R. Si. Senor. 

P. ,;Continuo la Compai"iia su trabajo 
en este corte despues de esa visita de 
los Ingenieros Consultores? 

R. Si, Senor. Su obra se limito a 
esfuerzos jjara impedir la erosion de la 
margen Mexicana y para obligar al Rio 
h armonizarse con el cauce antiguo situ- 
ado mas ahajn. 

La Comision Mixta Uvanto enseguida 
su sesion. 



Rrow.n'svii.lk, Tkx.\.s. 
Oclohcr 24. 19(")6. 
The J<jint Commission met at 10:30 
a. m. at the I*"ederal litiilding. 

The Joint Commission having care- 
fully considered the state of the works 
done on the Rio Grande hy the .Ameri- 
can Rio Cirande Land and Irrigation 



1 '. K( »W .\ S V I I.I.K. T V X .\ s . 

Octuhrc 24 dc 1906. 

La Comision Mixta se reimii) a las 
10.10 A. M. en el Kdificio I'ederal. 

llabieivlo estudiado cuidadosamente 
la Comision Mixta las ohras luchas en 
el Rio Cirande por la ".American Rio 
Grande Land and Irrigation Comiiany." 
segiin el estado dc ellas ohservado clu- 



Company, as observed by it during its 
visit to that place on the 19th instant, 
and having listened to the sworn testi- 
mony of the several witnesses, connected 
by reference to the approximate sketch 
map of the locality prepared by the Con- 
sulting Engineers, and attached hereto, 
find the following facts : 

That the said American Rio Grande 
Land and Irrigation Company did 
wrongfully and knowingly cause a 
change in the current channel of the 
Rio Grande where it constituted the 
boundary line between the United States 
of Mexico and the United States of 
America, by artificial means, and in di- 
rect violation of Article III of the Con- 
vention of November 12. 1884. between 
the two Governments, and if said Article 
III is applied the change in the running 
channel of the river produces no altera- 
tion in the boundary line, which still 
continues in the old bed of the river. 

The Commissioners are of opinion 
that indemnity should be made for this 
wrong, but they do not understand that 
the Treaties under which it was organ- 
ized and under which this investigation 
was conducted confers upon it jurisdic- 
tion over the title to land, damage to 
property, the control of riparian rights 
or the enforcing of reparation for 
wrongs by offenders for changing the 
channel of the river where it consti- 
tutes the boundary. 

Nevertheless, as this is a novel case, 
wherein it appears that some example 
should be set and a precedent estab- 
lished in order to deter others from 
similar wrongs, we submit the question 
to the better judgment of our respective 
Governments for instructions as to fur- 
ther proceedings. 

The Consulting Engineers took photo- 
graphs at the points marked E, F, G, H, 
and / on the sketch map herewith, 
which will be forwarded to be attached 
to the papers herewith and made a part 
of the record as soon as received from 
the photographer. 

The Commission then adjourned. 

Anson Mills. 

Wilbur Keblinger. 

Fernando Beltran y Puga. 

Cesar Canseco. 



rante la visita a la localidad hecha el 
dia 19 del actual ; despues de escuchar 
el testimonio juramentado de los diver- 
sos testigos, conectandolo y refiriendolo 
al croquis aproximado del lugar prepa- 
rado por los Ingenieros Consultores y 
aqui ad junto, dicha Comision resuelve 
lo siguiente : 

Que la referida "American Rio 
Grande Land and Irrigation Company" 
causo a sabiendas e ilegalmente un 
cambio en el curso normal del Rio 
Grande en la parte en que forma la 
lines limitrofe entre los Estados Uni- 
dos Me.xicanos y los Estados Unidos 
de America, usando para ello de medios 
artiliciales y violando directamente el 
A.rticulo III de la Convencion de No- 
viembrc 12 de 1884 entre ambos Go- 
biernos. Que, si se aplica diche Arti- 
culo III, el cambio citado no produce 
alteracion en la linea limitrofe, que con- 
tinua estando en el locho antiguo del 
Rio. 

Los Comisionados opinan que dobe 
hacerse alguna reparacion por este mal ; 
pero no creen que los Tratados segiin 
los cuales esta organizada la Comision 
y se ha conducido esta investigacion les 
concedan derecho de dictaminar en lo 
relativo a titulos de propiedad de tierras, 
estimacion de perjuicios a las propie- 
dades y determinacion de los derechos 
de los riberenos, ni de imponer a las 
personas que hayan cometido la ofensa 
de cambiar el curso del Rio en donde 
sirve de linea limitrofe la obligacion 
material de reparar el mal hecho. 

.Sin embargo, siendo este un caso de 
caracter completamente nuevo en la 
Comision y por el cual aparece la ne- 
cesidad de hacer un ejemplar y estable- 
cer precedentes que impida a otras per- 
sonas cometer ofensas analogas, some- 
temos tal decision al mejor criterio de 
nuestros respectivos Gobiernos en de- 
manda de instrucciones respecto a nues- 
tros posteriores procedimientos. 

Los Ingenieros Consultores tomaron 
varias fotografias. en los puntos marca- 
dos "E," "F," "G." "H," "I," sobre el 
croquis adjunto, las cuales seran remi- 
tidas, tan pronto como las entregue el 
fotegrafo, para que se adjunten a este 
expediente y fornien parte de el. 

La Comision Mixta levanto enseguida 
su sesion. 

Fernando Beltr.an y Puga. 

Cesar Canseco. 

Anson Mills. 

Wilbur Keblinger. 



21 



(Traiivlation.) 

Kxhihit n. 

CONSLLATK OF TIIK UN'ITF.D 
STATKS OF MFXICO. 

Brownsvillk, Tkxas. yi(/.v 1. 1906. 

HavinR seen the works you are earry- 
iuK on, on both sides of the Rio (irandc, 
witli the apparent intention of diverting 
the cliannel of this international stream, 
I hereby notify you that such work must 
be discontinued until permission is ob- 
tained from both j^overnnients — the 
United Slates and Mexico — inasmuch 
as such diversion, althouijh its object 
may be fiighly commemiable, is contrary 
to existing treaties l)etween the United 
States and Mexico, and tlie regulations 
of the Hiiundary Commission created 
thereunder. 

lIoi)in).j that the matter may be given 
your immediate attention, I have the 
honor of assuring you and your com- 
pany of my most distinguished consid- 
eration. 

(Signed) Mgu B.\rr.\gan. 

To Mk. S. p. Silvkr. 

President of the Rio Grande Lond 
and Irrigation Co.. 
Sam I'ordyce, Texas. 

A true copy : 

WiLiuR Keiimngkr, 
Seeretiiry, I'. S. Section. 

International Boundary Commission. 



Anexo "B." 
AI margen un menibrete 



"Consulado 
Mexicanos 

Xuinero 1. 



(jue dice : 
dc los F!!stados Unidos 
en Brownsville, Texas." 



Urownsvii.lk, Tkxas, 
Julio 1° de 1906. 
ilabiendo visto los tral)ajos que por 
su cueiita estan llevando a cabo sobre 
aml)as margenes del Rio Bravo, con el 
osten.>-il»le ol)jeto de desviar la corricnte 
de dicho Rio "Internacional," con toda 
atencion y resjjeto prevengo a usted que 
delien sus|)enderse los trabajos mientras 
tanto no olitengan el permiso de ambos 
Gol)iernos, Mexico y los Kstados Uni- 
dos, i)uesto que la olira que estan ustcdcs 
practicando desvia la corriente del Rio 
que es Internacional, y tales trabajos 
aim cuando scan con noble objcto, pug- 
nan con nuestros tratados internacion- 
ales y con el pacto hecho entrc las 
Comisiones de Limites del Rio Bravo 
nombradas por esta Nacion y la Repii- 
blica de Mexico. 

Esperando ser atendido en este im- 
portante asuiito, tengo el honor de pro- 
testar a usted y a todos los demas miem- 
bros de la Conipania mi distinguida 
consideracion. 

Kl Consul, 
(I'irmado) Mic.if.l Barruian, 
Rulirica. 
.'\l Senor S. P. Silvkr. 

Presidenle de la Contf<ania Rio Grande 
Land and Irrigation. 
Sam Fordyce. Texas. 
Fscopia : 
Brownsvillk, Tkxas, 

Oetuhre 24 de 1906. 
Cksar Canskco, 
Sei retario .Me.vieano. 



El Paso, Texas, .Wnember 5, 1906. 
The Honorable, the Secretary of State. 

Sir: Referring to my letter of October 24th last, forwarding proceedings ..f tlie 
"Horcon Ranch Case," I have the honor to enclose herewith four photographs wliich 
are a part of those proceedings and should be attached thereto. 
1 liave the honor to be, Sir, 

\'^ery respectfully. 

Your obedient servant. 

.\ns()N Mills, 
Brigadier General, ('. S. .Irmy. Retired, American Commissioner. 
Enclosures : 

F'our photographs. 



to 2 Z 






H W > 



■Ho ?: 

> K o 
tt '^ ^ 

AO en * 

"-^^ S 



a o 



o 2 



o 


H 


H 


W 


w 


n 


w 








5< 


w 


W 






El Paso, Texas, Nor ember 8, 1906. 
The Honorable, the Secretary of State. 

Sir ; I have the honor to enclose herewith a Journal setting forth an opinion 
of the Mexican CommissioTier regarding the lack of jurisdiction of this Commission 
in certain cases under existing treaties, and my reply thereto, with the request that 
if the Department deems it advisable it be considered in connection with the instruc- 
tions asked for in the Joint Journal in the "Horcon Ranch Case," transmitted to the 
Department with my letter of October 24, 1906. 
I have the honor to be, Sir, 

Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 

Anson Mills, 
A 1)1 erica n Co mm issio iier. 



(JOINT JOURNAL.) 



El Paso, Texas, November 7, 1906. 
At the conclusion of the regular busi- 
ness of the Joint Commission the Mexi- 
can Commissioner stated that he de- 
sired to present certain questions to the 
American Commissioner which had been 
suggested to him as a result of the re- 
cent investigation by the Commission of 
the Horcon Ranch case, as follows : 

That the questions involved in that 
case brought more directly to the atten- 
tion of the Commissioners, in the first 
place, the uncertainty of their jurisdic- 
tion and of their authority in matters 
pertaining to the awarding of damages 
and making reparation on account of 
works wrongfully constructed in the Rio 
Grande ; in the second place, the unde- 
niable fact that in the near future ques- 
tions will undoubtedly be raised, owing 
to the rapid development of the border 
region, affecting the physical condition 
of the Rio Grande, i. e., irrigation sys- 
tems deriving their water supply from 
the Rio Grande, which questions are 
not clearly within the jurisdiction of 
this Commission under the Treaty of 
March 1, 1889, creating it. 

Such irrigation systems affect the 
physical condition of the river in two 
ways: (1) by the consumption of its 
perennial flow, and (2) by the changes 
wrought in its banks and channel by the 
subsidiary works which are necessarily a 
part of such systems, as has been the 
case in the Horcon Ranch complaint. 

Article I of the Convention of 1889 
puts under the "exclusive" jurisdiction 
of the Commission all questions of what- 
ever kind that may arise along the Rio 
Grande border liable to affect the boun- 
dary line, and the Rio Grande being the 



El Paso, Texas, Noviembre 7 de 1906. 

Una vez despachados los asuntos or- 
dinarios de la Comision Mixta, el Comi- 
sionado mexicano manifesto que deseaba 
someter al Comisionado americano las 
siguientes ideas, que le han sido suge- 
ridas por el resultado de las recientes 
investigaciones que esta Comision hizo 
en el caso del Horcon : 

La materia tratado en dicho caso trajo 
prominentemente a la atencion de los 
Comisionados : en primer lugar, lo in- 
cierto de su jurisdiccion y de sus facul- 
tades en puntos tales como la otorga- 
cion de danos y perjuicios a causa de 
obras ilegalmente ejecutadas en el Rio 
Grande; en segundo, la seguridad de 
que, debido a! rapido desarrollo de la 
region de la frontera, se presentaran 
muy pronto a su estudio cuestiones que 
afectan indudablemente a las condiciones 
fisicas del rio (como son las empresas 
de irrigacion en que se intente utilizar 
sus aguas), pero que parecerian no estar 
comprendidas con entera claridad dentro 
de la jurisdicci6n asignada a esta Comi- 
sion en el Tratado de Marzo 1° de 1889, 
que la creo. 

Tales sistemas de irrigacion afectan 
de dos maneras las condiciones fisicas 
del rio: (1), despojandolo de sus aguas 
percnnes; (2), produciendo cambios en 
sus margenes y en su curso con las 
obras accesorias que necesariamente for- 
man parte del sistema, siendo esto pre- 
cisamente lo que paso en el paso del 
Horcon 

El articulo I de la Convencion de 1889 
pone bajo la jurisdiccion "exclusiva" de 
la Comision todas las cuestiones de cual- 
quier genero que de algun modo puedan 
afectar a la linea divisoria a lo largo 
del Rio Grande : siendo asi que tal linea_ 



27 



Iioundary line all matters afTictinj^ the 
river also alTect, if'so fiicto. the hoviii- 
tlary ; s<> that all irri^atiiij^ works are 
iiiuler the exclusive jiirisilicliuii of the 
Ititernationnl Houiulary Coinmissioii. 
However, the sitecitieations ami provi- 
sions of the reiiiaininK articles of the 
Convention are confined to the most 
simple cases, i. e., where avnlsion has 
lieen created l)y natural and artificial 
means, which leaves the Commissioners 
in iloul't regarding the more comjili- 
cated and less clear <iueslions, such as 
those which inclnde irrij^ation schemes. 

The Mexican Connnissioner also 
stated that the dilVicnlties arising ont of 
these (juestions would he greatly in- 
creased if the governments of the Ixirder 
states were conceded the ownership of 
the waters of the Rio Cirande— an inter- 
national river — as the l*'ederal authori- 
ties in both countries would be left with- 
out control of the waters, concerning 
the Use of which the\ are bound to- 
gether by solenm treaty. 

The Mexican government has already 
given this matter its attention and has 
taken over the absolute control of said 
waters, and, therefore, no trouble is to 
be hx)ked for from the Mexican side. 

In the case of the Horcon Ranch in- 
vestigation, however, it was understood 
that a charter had been granted by the 
State of Texas to the .Xnurican Rio 
Grande Lan«l and Irrigation Company, 
giving them certain riglits to the in- 
ternational water, wliicii may establish 
a serious i)recedent. 

To which the .American Connnissioner 
replied that he appreciated the perti- 
nency of the remarks of the Mexican 
Commissioner an<l is of the opinion that 
he has stated correctly the present status 
of the conditions under the treaty; that 
as he understands it, the Mexican Com- 
missioner desires instructions from the 
two governments as to whether the fol- 
h)wing powers are conferred upon the 
Connnission by existing treaties and in 
wh.it manner they could be executed, 
if within the meaning of said treaties: 

(a) — to restrain a contemplated viola- 
tion of the treaty l>y a jirivate individual 
or corporation ; 

(b)— to punish for a violatifm already 
committed : 

(c) — to award <lamages to persons 
injured by the violation; and 

(d)— to regulate the use of water for 
irrigating purposes, and if so, to what 
extent. 



esta constituida por el misnio rio, todo 
lo que afecte a este afectara tambien, 
if>so facto, a la linea y, j)or consiguiente, 
las obras de irrigacion, por afectar al 
rio. sc- hallan bajo la jurisdiccion imica 
de la Comision Internacional de Limites. 

Sin embargo, las reglas y provisiones 
de los restantes articulos de la Convcn- 
cion citada se concretan a los casos mas 
simpli s. (|Ue son acpiellos en que se ha 
l)rodiKido ima avidsii'm por medios na- 
lurale> o artificiales : esto deja a los 
Comisionados en duda respecto de cues- 
tiones m.ns comi)licadas y menos claras, 
como lo son las (pie incluyen planes de 
irrigacion. 

V.\ Comisionado nuxicano indico, 
ademas, (|ue las dificultades iidurentes a 
estas cuestiones aumentarian notable- 
mente si se reconociera a los I'^stados 
fronterizos jurisdiccion sr)bre las aguas 
del Rio (irande (que es internacional), 
(|ucs en tal caso los (iol)iernos b'ederales 
(le amlios paises i)erderian todo dominio 
sobre Unas aguas en relacion a cuyo uso 
se encuentran ligados eiitre si por Tra- 
tados solenmes. V.\ (iobierno mcxicano 
ha j)rovisto ya a esto reservandose en su 
lado el dominio al)soluto de esas aguas 
y. por tanto, no habra ninguna diticultad 
de parte de Mexico ; pero por la investi- 
gacii'm del caso del Horcon se puede 
(leducir que el h'stado de Texas ha ex- 
tcndido una concesion a la ".\merican 
Rio (irande Land and Irrigation Co." 
cediendole ciertos derechos sobre las 
aguas c;n cuestion y tal cosa podria esta- 
l)lecer, de ser cierta. un precedente muy 
serio. 

HI Comisionado americano contesto a 
esto <iue reconocia la pertinencia de las 
observaciones del Comisionado mcxicano 
y que encontraba muy correctamente de- 
finido ])or el el estado actual de la situa- 
cion en relacion con los Tratados; que. 
segun ha jxidido cntender. desea cl 
Comisionado mcxicano (|ue la Comisi«'>n 
tenga de ambos Cmbiernos instruccioncs 
sobre si los Tratados vigentes le con- 
ceden facultades en los siguientes puntos 
y. en ese caso, de que manera puede 
ejercerlas: 

(a) — i)ara impedir una violacion de 
los Tratados intentada por un indivi- 
duo o una corporacion ; 

(b)— para imponcr alguna pcna por 
violaciones ya cometidas; 

(t-)_para otiiryar rindemni/acioncs 4 
las pers<Mias perjudicadas por la violacii'm : 

(fj) — para intervenir en cl uso del 
agua para irrigacion ; en tal caso. en 
(pie terminos. 



28 



The American Commissioner is in 
doubt whether the treaty contemplaled 
conferring upon the Commission such 
extended powers as those enumerated ; 
that while Article I of the Treaty of 
1889 gives an "exclusive" jurisdiction to 
the Commission over all matters affect- 
ing the boundary line, the following Ar- 
ticles do not set forth the necessary 
procedure to carry it into effect, but 
in fact limits it ; that in his opinion the 
instructions asked for in the "Horcon 
Ranch case" covers the most important 
points outlined above, but that he will 
forward the statements of the Mexican 
Commissioner to his Department with 
the request that they be considered in 
connection with the questions raised in 
the "Horcon Ranch Case" proceedings, 
pages 11 and 12 of the record in that 
case, if his Department deems it expe- 
dient.* 

The Commission then adjourned. 

Anson Mill.s. 

Wilbur Keblinger. 

Fernando Beltran y Puga. 

Cesar Canseco. 



El Cnmisionado americano no se sien- 
te seguro de que en el Tratado de 1889 
se haya intentado conferir a la Comi- 
sion poderes tan extensos como son los 
enumcrados, pues, si bien el articulo I 
de dicho Tratado da a la Comision una 
jnrisdiccinn exclusiva sobre los asuntos 
que afecten a la linea limitrofe, los 
siguientes no establecen los procedimien- 
tos necesarios nara hacer efectivo el 
primero, sino que, de hecho, lo limitan. 
En la opinion del mismo Comisionado, 
las instrucciones solicitadas en el acta 
final del caso del Horcon abarcan los 
principales puntos de los anteriores; 
pero, no obstante, enviara a su Departa- 
mento la presente exposicion del Comi- 
sionado mexicano suplicando que, si asi 
se estima conveniente, se la tome en con- 
sideracion a la vez que se estudian las 
consultas formuladas en las actas del 
caso del Horcon, paginas 11 y 12 del 
expediente (americano) relativo. 
En seguida se levanto la sesion. 

Fernando Beltran y Puga. 

Cesar Canseco. 

Anson Mills. 

Wilbur Keblinger. 



April 20, 1907. 
Brigadier General Anson M^lls, U. S. A., Retired, 

American Coiiimissioiier, Iiitcniational (Water) Boundary 

Coiniiiission, United States and Mexico, Washington, D. C. 
.Sir: Referring to your letters of October 24th and November 5th and 8, 1906, 
in relation to the diversion of the waters of the Rio Grande by the American Rio 
Grande Land and Irrigation Company, near Horcon Ranch, I have now to inform 
you that those letters and their enclosures have been referred to the Attorney 
General, for his mformation, with the request that he give this Department his 
opinion as to whether the present statutory provisions enable the findings of your 
Commission to be given effect. 

A copy of an opinion on the subject by the Solicitor for the Department of 
State is enclosed herewith, for your information. It is upon the recommenda- 
tions made in the Solicitor's opinion that the Department has asked for the 
Attorney General's opinion. 

1 am, Sir, your obedient servant, 

Robert Bacon, 
Acting Secretary. 
Enclosure : Opinion of the Solicitor for the Department of State, April 10, 1907. 



April 10, 1907. 
Dear Mr. Adee: The facts in the Horcon Ranch case appear to be as follows: 
The course of the Rio Grande near the Horcon Ranch forms two loops. The 
natural course of the water appeared to be about to form a cut off, whereby the 



*See pages 21-22. 



29 



■upper loop would liavc lucn cliniin;it<(l. Tlu- rcMilt nf iliis would have bcfU 
to dcprivi- Auu'ricaii riparian propritlurs abutting on the upper loop of the water 
whicli they h;id heretofore <'njoyeil for use and irrijjation. To counteract the 
threatened dani^er, the American proprietors du(,' an artificial channel across the 
neck of 'he lower loop, and naturally deprivinj^ the Mexican riparian proprietors 
abutting on the lower loop of the water wiiich they had heretofore been accus- 
tomed to use. 

This so-called Horcon Cut ( 'tT was a clear violatit^n of our treaties with 
Mexico, as will appear later, and has been found to be such by the International 
Water Boundary Commission. The Commission, however, feels uncertain as to 
the exact .scope of its authority in the premises and the measures which it is cm- 
powered to take, in or«ler to make reparation for the violation of treaty rights, 
and the injiiry to tlie Mexican property owners. The Commission has therefore 
agreed to report to tli.' iwo governnu'iits :m>l rr(|uest instructions as to these 
point. > 

Sul)sec|UeiUly. tlie (."onimissioners discussed the general questions involved in 
considering the jurisdiction of the Commission, and agreed to request their re- 
spective governments to instruct them si)ecit"ically as to the powers of the Com- 
mission according to the treaties: 

(a) "To restrain the contemplated violation of the treaty by private indi- 
viduals or corporations; 

(b) "To punish for a violation already committed; 

(c) "To awaril damages to persons injured l)y tlie violation; and 

(d) "To regulate the use of water for irrif^ating ])uri)o>es and. if so, to what 
■extent." 

The .\merican Commissioner noted that the instructions asked for in the 
Horcon Ranch case covered substantially the questions now sulmiittcd, but con- 
sented to forward these questions to be considered by the Department in connection 
with that case, if the Department should so desire. In order to give any adequate 
answer to the questions propounded by the Commissioners, and involved in the 
Horcon Ranch case now pending l)cforc them, it will be necessary to consider 
in some detail the treaty provisions between the United States and Mexico, gov- 
erning the Rio (Jrandc as an international boundary line. 

.Article Vll of the treaty of C.uadalupe-l lidalgo jirovides as follows: 

The river (iiia, an<l the jiart of the Rio Bravo del Norte lying below the 
.s(njthern boundar\ of Xew .Mexico, l)fing, agreeably to tlie fifth .\rticle, divided 
in tht middle of the Ikavo below said boundary shall be free and common to the 
vessels and citizens of both countries; and neither shall, without the cimscnt of the 
other, construct any work that may impede or interrupt, in whole or in part, 
the exercise of this right; not even for the puri)ose of favoring new methods of 
Navigation. ****** The Gadsden Treaty of 1853, .•\rticle IV, modifies the 
terms of .Article Vll of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo to conform to the new 
boundary line established by the latter treaty. It ])r'>vides, however, that the 
provisions of .\rticle VH shall remain in force as apidicable to that portion of 
the Rio firande which remains international boundary line. 

Article 111 of the Boundary Convention of 1SS4 contains the foUowmg 
provision : 

N'o artificial change in the navigable course of the river, by buibling jetties, 
piers or obstructions which may tend to deflect the current or produce deposits 

30 



ot alluvium, or by dredging to deepen another than the original channel under 
the treaty, when there is more than one channel, or by cutting waterways to shorten 
the navigable distance, shall be permitted to affect or alter the dividing line as 
determined by Article I hereof and under the reservation therein contained; but 
the protection of the banks on either side from erosion by revetments of stone or 
other material not unduly projecting into the current of the river shall not be 
deemed an artificial change. 

It will be noted that while this Article specifically provides that no artificial 
change resulting from the constructing of jetties, piers, etc., shall be permitted 
to alter the boundary line between the United States and Mexico, and while the 
clear inference from the article is that such jetties and piers and obstructions as 
■would tend to alter the course of the river are prohibited, there is no express 
prohibition of such constructions. The meaning of Article IIT, however, is made 
perfectly clear when considered in connection with Article V of the Boundary 
Convention of 1889, which refers to "work * * constructed, in either of those 
rivers, such as are prohibited by Article III of the convention of November 12, 
1884, * * ." This gives us an authoritative interpretation of the meaning of 
Article III, supra. 

Returning again to the boundary convention of 1889, we find the following 
pertinent provisions : 

All differences or questions that may arise on that portion of the frontier 
between the United States of America and the United States of Mexico where the 
Colorado and the Rio Grande Rivers form the boundary line, whether such differ- 
ences or questions in the bed of the aforesaid Rio Grande and that of the Colo- 
rado River, or of works that may be constructed in said rivers, or of any other 
cause affecting the boundary line, shall be submitted for examination and decision 
to an International Boundary Commission, which shall have exclusive jurisdiction 
in the case of said differences or questions. 

When owing to natural causes, any change shall take place in the bed of the 
Rio Grande or in that of the Colorado River, in that portion thereof wherein those 
rivers form the boundary line between the two countries, which may affect the 
Taoundary line, notice of that fact shall he given by the proper local authorities 
on both sides to their respective Commissioners of the International Boundary 
Commission, on receiving such notice it shall be the duty of the said Commission 
to repair to the place where the change has taken place or the question has arisen, 
to make a personal examination of such change, to compare it with the bed of the 
river, as it was before the change took place, as shown by the surveys and to decide 
-whether it has occurred through avulsion or erosion, for the effects of Articles 
I and II of the convention of November 12, 1884; having done this it shall make 
.suitable annotations on the surveys of the boundary line. 

Article V, already referred to, reads in full as follows : 

Whenever the local authorities on any point of the frontier between the United 
States of America and the United States of Mexico, in that portion in which the 
Rio Grande and the Colorado River form the boundary line between the two 
countries, shall tliink that works are being constructed, in either of those rivers, 
such as are prohibited by Article III of the Convention of November 12, 1884, or 
by Article VII of the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo of February 2, 1848, they shall 
so notify their respective Commissioners, in order that the latter may at once 
submit the matter to the International Boundary Commission, and that said 

31 



(.'iiiiiiiii>-i<iii mav piocicd. in aiiorilaiur with tin- i»r<>\ isiiiii> «.|' tin- f<>ren<iiiij{ ar- 
ticlo, to (U'ciilc wlutlirr tlu- work is anions llu- miinlKT (if thoM- wliich arc ponnittctl, 
or of thosi- \vhii!i arr prohiliitcd In tlv- stipulations of those troalics. 

Tlu- Commission may iirovisionally siispmd tin- construction of the works 
in (|iicstion jicndinij the invcstiKati(«n of the matter, and if it shall fail to a^ree 
on this point, the works >-hall he suspended, at the nistance of one of tiie two 
Governments. 

It is tlu n lore s ■( n liiat the -o-ialled llorcon Cut o(T amonnis to a "waterway 
to shorten the n;i\ i^ahU' ilistaiice" forh'ddeii h\ Article III. of ilie convention of 

It aisn api)ears that hy .\rticle I of the latter convention, any (picstitin con- 
cerninij this cnt-o(T heinjj; one which "«rows out of altercations * in the bed 
of the * Rio (Irande and also of works ''" constructed in said river," is 
therefore one proper to he sulnnitted for examination to the International I'.oun<i- 
ary Commission, which h.is "exclusive juris<liction" over Mich cases. 

h'inally, inasmuch as it is specifically provideil that the Conmiission may 
suspend the construction of any wiirk peiidiiiff its examination, it would have hecn 
within the coini)etencc of the Commission to susjjend work upon the llorcon 
Cut-olT. had the Commission passe<l upon the acts hefore the work was completed. 

The (piestion now arises as to the authority of the Commission after having 
prtdiounced the cut-ofF a violation nf the tre.ity to i)rocee<l to fjive redress fur such 
violation. 

It would seem that the treaty proviiles no method wherehy the decisions of 
the Conmiission could he enforced exce|)t throuj^h an ajipeal to the ordin.iry judicial 
process providinjf for vindicating riijhts secured hy treaty. 

In other words, the houndary convention of 18,^9 has set up a si)ecial commis- 
sion with authority to decide a certain kind of (|ucstion. Once this Commission 
has deciiled a (|Uestion, as it were, in the convention, and is entitled to the sanction 
of any other treaty jirovision, and anyone violatinp; it or refusing to ohcy any order 
made hy the Commission within its jurisdiction,, is in the position of refusing to 
recognize rights secured hy treaty, and is liahlc to the regular processes of the 
law for securing redress in such a case, hut the treaty provides no methrid whereby 
the Commission itself may execute its decisions. In the present instance, the Com- 
mission has pron'ninced the llorcon C ul-ofT a violation of the treaty. Its decision 
in this resjiect is hy .Article I made exclusive, and it would seem conclusive. It 
rem.iins for the (iovernment or jirivate parties interested to sue upon this decision 
in the i)roper hVderal or .State Courts, very much as suit may he brought upon 
a judgnunt. ♦ * * 

.1. M. S. 

i )i I'VRT.Mi NT OK Statk. W \S II I N(. I o\ . July 2u. 19l)7. 
HKKiAiiiiK Ijkmkai. .\.\son Mm.ls, I'. S. .\., Rcliicd, 

.Imrricmi Mcuthcr of the I iitcnialioital {H'alcr) lUmtuhiiy 

Comiitissicit. I'nili'd Stales diid .Ui'.ritu. !l\isliiiti;ti>ii. /). C. 

Sik; I enclose herewith, for your information, pages J3(> to J54, inclusive, of 
the advance sheets of the "Opinions of the Attorney (ieiieral," containing a copy 
of .\ttoriiey (jeneral Bonaparte's letter of May lOth last, giving his o|>inion as to 
whether the present -talutory provisions enable the lindings of your Commission to 
be given effect, in the matter of diversion, near llorcon Ranch, of the waters of 
the Ri" (irande by the \mericaii Rio 'irande Land and Irrigation Comiiany. 

32 



I also enclose herewith, for your confidential information, a copy of the De- 
partment's letter to the Attorney General, of the 22d ultimo, expressing the opinion 
that it is desirable to institute and maintain a suit against the offending corpora- 
tion, to compel the restoration of the river channel as it was. 

I am. Sir, your obedient servant, Robert Bacon, 

Acting Secretary. 



MEXICAN BOUNDARY— DIVERSION OF THE RIO GRANDE. 

The authority of the International Water Boundary Commission, under the conven- 
tion of 1889 (26 Stat., 1512) with Mexico, is restricted to the determination of 
questions respecting the boundary alone, and does not extend to the adjudication 
of private rights and liabilities. 

The Conmiission having found that the American Rio Grande Land and Irrigation 
Company, by the construction of its works, which changed the channel of the 
Rio Grande at a point forming the boundary line between the United States 
and Mexico, violated the stipulations of that treaty, the judgment is binding upon 
both countries, and the Commission is functus officio as regards the carrying: 
into effect of their decision. 

The Federal statutes (sec. 563, Rev. Stat., and act of August 13, 1888, sec. 1 ; 25 Stat.^ 
433) provide a right of action and a forum to citizens of Mexico who have been 
injured by the action of the irrigation company. 

It is the duty of the United States to vindicate the injury done to Mexico regarding: 
the boundary line, and to that end the United States may proceed by bill in 
equity to obtain mandatory relief in some appropriate form to compel the 
restoration of the status quo ante. 

Opinion of Attorney General Harmon (21 Op., 274) distinguished. 

Department of Justice, May 16, 1907. 

Sir : Your letter of April 20th submits certain findings of the International! 
Water Boundary Commission, and requests my opinion as to whether or not the 
present statutory provisions enable the findings of the Commission to be given effect. 

The Commission investigated a complaint by the Mexican authorities in relation) 
to the diversion of the waters of the Rio Grande by the American Rio Grande Land 
and Irrigation Company on the American side near Horcon Ranch, Mexico, and 
found : 

"That the said American Rio Grande Land and Irrigation Company did wrong- 
fully and knowingly cause a change in the current channel of the Rio Grande where 
it constituted the boundary line between the United States of Mexico and the United 
States of America, by artificial means, and in direct violation of Article III of the 
convention of November 12, 1884, between the two governments, and if said Article 
III is applied, the change in the running channel of the river produces no alteration 
of the boundary line, which still continues in the old bed of the river. 

"The Commissioners are of opinion that indemnity should be made for this 
wrong, but they do not understand that the treaties under which it was organized 
and under which this investigation was conducted confers upon it jurisdiction over 
the title to land, damage to property, the control of riparian rights, or the enforcing" 
-of reparation for wrongs by offenders for changing the channel of the river where 
it constitutes tlie boundary." 

The boundary convention of 1889 with Mexico gives to the InternationaF 
Boundary Commission exclusive jurisdiction to decide the differences and questions- 
growing out of natural or artificial changes in the beds of the Rio Grande and 
Colorado rivers where they form the boundary line between the United States and 

33 



Mexico. Tin- .•lutliority i)f tlu- 0)mnii><sii>n iindi-r that tri-aty is restricted to the 
dctenuinutioii of iiui-^tiotis re>-|K-i-liii>{ tlu- huiindary alone, and does not extend to 
the adjudication i>l priv.iti- rinliis and iiahilities. The Commission has found here, 
within its juris(hctioii. that the American Rio (Irande Land and Irrigation Company, 
hy the construction of its works chanKinK tlie channel of the river, violated the 
sti|)ulations of that treaty, wliicli refers to and incorporates the sti|)uIations of 
earlier treaties. 

I'.otli Conmiissioners havinj.; agreed to this tindinjr or decision, tluir judgment is 
hiiidiiijj; uptm I'oth countries l)y the express provision of Article VIII of that treaty. 
Manifestly the Commission is fuiiclus nfRcio in this matter, and the (luestion is, how 
can their decision he carried into effect ? 

The (|uestion of suspending the construction of ijrohiliited works, which is au- 
thorized and directed hy the treaty, does not arise here, hecause it appears from the 
report of the joint envjineers that the work had pro^ressd so far as to Ik- beyond 
control. 

.\s to iiuUnuiity for injuries wiiich may have heen caused to citizens of Mexico, 
I am of opinion that existing statutes provide a right of action and a forum. Sec- 
tion 563, Revised Statutes, clause 16. gives to district courts of the United States 
jurisdiction "of all suits brought by any alien for a tort only in violation of the 
law of nations or of a treaty of the L'nited States." The act of August 13, 1888, 
amending and superseding earlier laws (25 Stat.. 433. sec. 1), gives to the circuit 
courts of the L'nited States "original cognizance, concurrent with the courts of the 
several States, of all suits of a civil nature at common law or in equity ♦ * * 
in which there shall be * * * a controversy between citizens of a State and 
foreign states, citizens, or subjects, in which the matter in dispute exceeds, exclusive 
of interest and costs, the sum or value aforesaid [$2.1X)()1." 

I rei)eat that the statutes thus provide a forum and a right of action. 1 can not, 
of course, undertake to say whether or not a suit under either of the foregoing 
statutes would be successful. That would depend upon whether the diversion of the 
water was an injury to substantial rights of citizens of Mexico under the principles 
of international law or by treaty, and could only be determined l)y judicial decision. 
In a case where the diversion of water for irrigation occurred within the l'nited 
States above the jKiint where the Rio (irande becomes the international boundary. 
Attorney General Harmon held that the L'nited States is under no obligation or 
liability by treaty or the principles of international law, but he did not consider a 
diversion, as here, wlure the river is tlie bi'undary. nor tlie liability of private 
parties in such case. 

As to the public tort, so to speak — ^thai is. the injur\ to Mexico in respect to the 
boundary line by changing the channel of the river — I incline to the view that a 
treaty of the L'nited States, which is part of the supreme law of the land, having 
been violated, a remedy exists to redress that wrong. The L'nited States owes the 
<iiUy and has the right of vindicating the treaty. It can hardly Ik doubted that in a 
proper case calling for prevention the L'nited States may proceed by bill in equity 
to obtain an injunction, and that in a case like the present, where the prohibited 
thing has been done, the United States may proceed in the same way to obtain 
mamlalory relief in souie appropriate form to compel the restoration of the status 
quo ante. 1 t'md provision for this course in the act of 1S88. already referred to. 
That act gives jurisdiction to the circuit courts of the Lhiite<l States of all suits of a 
civil nature at connnon law or in equity in which the United Slates are plaint itTs or 

34 



petitioners. I am of the opinion that the limitation of jurisdictional amount in that 
act does not apply to such suits. 

Whether, in view of all the circumstances and the efifect upon the various 
Mexican as well as American interests involved, it is wise or expedient for the 
United States to file a bill against the oflfending corporation to compel the restora- 
tion of the river channel as it was is not a matter for me to determine, although it 
is undoubtedly that the question whether legal proceedings should actually be un- 
dertaken is finally referable to me. Awaiting an expression of your views upon 
this point, I have the honor to remain. Very respectfully, 

Charles J. Bonaparte. 

The Secretary of State. 



June 22, 1907. 
The Honorable, The Attorney General. 

Sir : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 16th 
ultimo, giving your opinion as to whether the present statutory provisions enable 
the findings of the International (Water) Boundary Commission, United States 
and Mexico, to be given efifect, in the matter of the diversion, near Horcon Ranch, 
of the waters of the Rio Grande by the American Rio Grande Land and Irriga- 
tion Company. 

In reply I have the honor to say that, under all the circumstances, the Secretary 
of State is of the opinion that it is desirable to institute and maintain a suit against 
the offending corporation to compel the restoration of the river channel as it was. 
The magnitude of the pecuniary interests involved appears to the Secretary of 
State to be quite unimportant as compared with the observance of good faith 
on the part of the United States and the public evidence that will be given of the 
purpose of the Government to insist upon the observance by citizens of the United 
States of the treaty with Mexico as a part of the supreme law of the land. 

I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant, 

Alvey a. Adee, 
Acting Secretary. 

At the request of the Department of State the Department of Justice, 
through the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas, 
brought a suit in equity against the American Rio Grande Land and 
Irrigation Company in the United States Circuit Court for the Southern 
District of Texas, and on the 5th day of December, 1911, the court 
decreed, first, that the defendant company should transfer to the Mexi- 
can complainants all of the land cut-off by the unlawful diversion; 
second, that the defendants pay to the Mexican complainants the sum 
of five thousand ($5,000.00) dollars for the damages occasioned to all 
the Mexican owners ; third, that the defendant pay to the United States 
two thousand ($2,000.00) dollars to cover cost and expenses incident 
to surveying and marking the international boundary in the old river 
bed; and fourth, that as a penalty for violating the treaties the de- 
fendant pay to the United States the sum of ten thousand ($10,000.00) 
dollars. 

A copy of the bill, answer and decree follow: 

35 



lULL 

i\ iiii-: cikci'iT conrr oi nil-: lxitrd states i\ .\xi> 

I'OR rill'. S()iriii:i<.\ distkict oi' tI':xas, 

r.i<« )\\ .\s\ iLi.i". i)i\ isiox. 

1 N IvjITl V. X'o. 41. 

Tiir: r.Mii:!) Si.\ti:s ok Ami-.uka. i;t ai.s., Co^if'hiiiiant. 

Z'S. 

Till". Amiuua.n 1\1(i (Ikandi, I, and iK: I ukii.aiio.n Com i-ann', Ih-jituiant, 
To the 1 lotiorabh' Jiidijcs nf saiii Court: 

I. 

Conic the I'nitcd States of AiiK-rica. thrtiuj^h Lock Mcl)anicl. 1".><1., 
I'liitod States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas, h\- and at 
the chrection of the Attorney ( icncral of the I'nited States; and also 
conies SefK)!' Don Adclherto A. Ar^ueiies, Trustee, a resitlent and citizen 
of the City of II. .Mataiiioros. in the State of Taniauli()as. and Republic 
of Mexico, joiniii}.,' herein as coinplainant. the I'nited States of America 
conscntinjj thereto, in full and "general representation of all of the rights, 
interests, claims and (Iemand> of all citizens of the Republic of Mexico, 
and of all claimants and owners of the lands and properties situated in 
Mexico claimed to have suffered damage, he being thereunto duly au- 
thorized and designated so to act, and especially empowered to receive, 
distribute and convey, as such trustee, full title to and possession of any 
award of damages, either in land or money, or both, which niav be ar- 
judged to him as Trustee coiii])lainant herein, said Trustee being the 
representative in particular of the following named persons, claimants- 
and owners of land claimed to have been damage<l, they being residents 
and citizens of tlu- .'^^tate of Tamaulipas, Republic of Mexico, to wit: 
Lie. Joaquin Arguelle>. Lie. Jose Argiielles, Sehorita (.dnsuelo .\rguelles, 
Don Manuel Caiitu and .'^chores De^iderio Cantu. Ignacio Laiitu. ICmilio 
Zamora, b'elicitas (larcia. IVimitivo Ilinojosa. Reducindo ( )livares, 
Geroninio llazaii. Ignacio Castaneda. Jorge Cantu. Julian Caiuii. Xativi- 
dad Cantu, Jose .Angel Hernandez, Santos tantu, lialtazar Lopez, and 
the Senoras Manuela ( iarza X'iuda de Cantu, I'etra Cisncr«)s N'iuda de 
Hinojosa, b'rancisca l-'rau^tra \ inda ile I'az.in. Aiitoiiia Rodriguez \ iuda 
<le Cantu. ami .\ntonia (Iarza \ iuda de liernandez, and brings this their 
bill against the .\nierican Rio (Irande Land & Irrigation C"onipany, a 
corporation, organized under and by virtue of the laws of the State of 

36 



Texas, having its ofifice and principal place of business at the town of 
Mercedes, in Hidalgo County, Texas, in said Southern District, of which 
Company John F. Shepley, a resident of St. Louis, Missouri, is the 
President, and upon whom service of subpoena may be had ; and for cause 
of complaint your orator respectfully represents : 

II. 
That defendant is the owner and in possession of a large tract of 
land situated in Hidalgo and Cameron Counties, Texas, comprising fifty 
thousand acres, more or less, called the Capisallo Land District, being 
parts of those original Spanish grants designated as the "Llano Grande" 
now in Hidalgo County, Texas, and the "La Feria," now in Cameron 
County, Texas, situated in said Southern District of Texas. That said 
Capisallo Land District has for its Southern boundary the Rio Grande 
River, which river also forms the International Territorial boundary line 
between the United States of America and the United States of Mexico. 
That a map of said Capisallo Land District is attached hereto, marked 
"Exhibit A," and prayed to be taken and considered as a part hereof. 

III. 

That it is defendant's purpose to develop, cultivate and utilize its 
lands by the establishment of an extensive system of irrigation, and to 
that end has cleared its lands, built canals, reservoirs, roads, towns, 
bridges, a complete electrical power station and constructed on the bank 
of the Rio Grande River, in Hidalgo County, Texas, in the "Llano 
Grande" Grant, and within the said Capisallo Land District at the site 
50 marked and shown on "Exhibit A" a pumping station, and there in- 
stalled very powerful engines, together with mechanical appliances neces- 
sary to draw and lift into its canal system from the Rio Grande such 
quantities of water as are desirous for irrigation. 

IV. 

That during the months of June and July, 1906, the defendant 
Company, and its servants,- agents and employes, they then and there 
acting with the knowledge and approval of the defendant, did wrong- 
fully, unlawfully and knowingly, by artificial means, cause a diversion 
and change to be made in the current channel of the Rio Grande where 
it constituted the boundary line between the United States of Mexico 
and the Llnited States of America, some hundreds of yards below the 
site of the pumping station, at that point in Hidalgo County, Texas, in 
said Capisallo Land District, shown and indicated on the map drawn by 
W. W. Follett, Consulting Engineer to the International (Water) Boun- 

Z7 



dary L'oinniission, hereto attached, niarkeil "lixhihil I'.' and prayed to 
be taken and considere<l as a part hereof, such divei>ii>ii and change 
beinj^ contrarv to tlie provisions ,>\ existinj^ treaties hetueen the said 
L'niteil States of America and the said United States of Mexict). par- 
ticularlv heinj; contrarv and in violation of the provisions of Article \\l 
of the r.ountlarv (. onventii in Treaty between llie two said ( iovernmetits, 
CLincludcd Xo\(.inl)cr \2, 1SS4, as follows, to wit: 

"Art. 111. Xo artificial change in the navigable course of the 
river, bv buibling jetties. i)iers, or obstructions which may tend to 
delleci the current or produce deposits of allu\ium, or by dredg- 
ing to deepen another than the original channel under the Treaty 
when there is more than one channel, or by cutting waterways to 
shorten the navigable distance. >hall be permitted to affect or alter 
the dividing line as determind by the aforesaid COmmissicjiis in 
1852 or as determined by Article I hereof and under the reserva- 
tion therein contained ; but the protection of the banks ou either 
side from erosion by revetments of stone or other material not un- 
dulv projecting into the current of the river shall not be deemed 
an artilicial change." 

And particularly being contrary to and in violation of Article \' of 
the Boundary Convention Treaty between the two said governments, 
concluded March 1. 1889, as follows, to wit: 

■'Art. \'. Whenever the local authorities on any i)oint vi the 
frontier between the I'nited States of America and the I'nited 
States of Mexico, in that portion in which the Rio (Irande and the 
Colorado River form the boundary between the two countries, 
shall think that works are being constructed, in either of th<:)se 
rivers, such as are prohibited by Article ill of the Convention of 
Xovember IJ. 1884. or by Article \ II of the Treaty of ( iuadalupe 
Hidalgo of l'"ebruary 2, 1848, they shall so notify their respective 
Commissioners in order that the latter may at once submit the 
matter to the International boundary Commission, and that said 
Commission may proceed, in accordance with the provisions of the 
foregoing article, to examine the case, and that it may decide 
whether the work is among the number of those which are per- 
mitted, or of tho>e which are prohibited by the stipulations of 
those treaties. 

The Commission may provisionally suspend the construction of 
the works in quotion pending the investigation t»f the matter, anti 
if it shall fail to agree on this point, the works shall be sus- 
pended at the instance of one of the two ( "lovernments." 

And likewise contrary to the StatiUes and to International Law. 
That such wrongful and imlaw ful diversion and change in the channel 
of said Rio (Irande by defrndant. aforesaid, forming as it then did the 
natural boimdarx line between the two said countries, established and 

38 



fixed by treaty, even though the boundary itself be not thereby changed, 
constitutes an act in contempt and in violation of the sovereign authority 
and power of the two said Governments and distinctly violative of their 
treaties and the statutes, having been so declared and found by the 
International (Water) Boundary Commission, after due hearing as pro- 
vided by Articles VII and VIII of the International Boundary Conven- 
tion of 1889, as shown by the following extract from said findings: 

" * ''^ * That the American Rio Grande Land and Irriga- 
tion Company did wrongfully and knowingly cause a change in 
the current channel of the Rio Grande where it constituted the 
boundary line between the United States of American by artificial 
means and in direct violation of Article III of the Convention of 
November 12, 1884, between the two Governments, and if said 
Article III is applied, the change in the running channel of the 
river produces no alternative of the boundary line, which still 
continues in the old bed of the river. 

The Commissioners are of opinion that indemnity should be made 
for this wrong, but they do not understand that the treaties under 
which this investigation was conducted confers upon it jurisdic- 
tion over the title of the land, damage to property, the control of 
riparian rights, or the enforcing of reparation for wrongs by 
offenders for changing the channel of the river where it consititutes 
the boundary." 

Which said finding and the Journal of the International Boundary 
Commission, certified copy of which is attached hereto, and marked Ex- 
hibit "C," No. 1163 — "C" No. 1164, and prayed to be taken and con- 
sidered as part hereof. 

VI.* 

That by virtue of the terms and effect of existing treaties the two 
said Governments, and particularly the Government of the United States 
of America, complainant, became obligated, and all persons, corporations 
and inhabitants within its territorial limits, particularly the American 
Rio (jrande Land and Irrigation Company, defendant, became similarly 
obligated, to vindicate, maintain, and continue in full force and effect 
each and every provision, duty, obligation and requirement set out or 
implied in the said existing treaties. That by the force and effect of law 
and the said treaties, complainant, the United States of America, and the 
said defendant became especially obligated to recognize and maintain the 
Rio Grande as the boundary line between the two countries, as in the 
treaties declared ; but with wilful and reckless disregard thereof the said 
defendant did, during the months of June and July, 1906, as aforesaid, 

*Attention is called to fact that in certified copy this section is numbered VI, 
there being no number V. 

39 



wronjjfully and unlaw fully cause ti) he cxcavat^'I a icrtaiu i.ana! or 
troiicli and cau>f(l to be divcrti-d into said cliauiR-l the natural c<iui>c and 
till' ontin- l)()dy of tlu' watcrtlow of the Rio (iramk-, thus artihi-ially con- 
ihutiui,' sanu- over the lands of defendant for a di•^tanee nf alxiut eij^htecn 
juuulreil feet, across the neck of a lonj^ bend in said river, creating a 
new river bed at that ])oint several hundred yards below the punipinj^ 
station, as shown <>n the ^aiil map i)f b'nj^'ineer I'ollett, beiu}^' Ivxhibit 
"1>," thereby chan^Muj^' the course of the established and fi\e<l natural 
international boundarv line and thus violatinj,' its duty to maintain said 
natural line as re<|iiiri'(l liy llie treaties; and as a residt of its said wrong- 
ful and unlawful acts, as aforesai<l, did inllicl injury and damage to the 
United States of America, complainant, and to .Scnor Don Adelbertc* A. 
Arguelles. 'J'rustee. co-complainant for the claimants .and owners of the 
lands ojiposite the point of said diversion situated within the territorial 
limits of the I'niled .St.ites of Mexico and State of Tamaulipas. in the 
following particulars, to wit: 

(1) To growing crops. (2) i^xpenses of constructing levees. (3) 
Loss of land from erosion. (4) Loss of riparian rights. Which said 
damages reasonably aggregate the sum of live thousand dollars. 

The various particular items thereof an- set out and appear in the 
report of W . W. l^tllett. Consulting ICngineer of the International 
(Water) boundary L'ommission, dated March 3. 1908, a certified copy 
of which is attached hereto, marked ■I'.xhibit D," Xo. 1198. and prayed 
to be taken an<l considered as a part hereof. 

\n. 

In recognition nf the obligations ami dutie> imposed upmi com- 
plainant, the I'nited .States of .America, by its treaties with the L'nited 
State-> (if Mexico, and jxirticularly its f>bligation to maintain the fixed 
intern.atiniial bound.iry line, to wit: The I\i" ( iramle in it^ natural course 
and position, and because of its wrongful and unlawful change and 
diversion in the course and current of tin- entire flow of the water of 
sai<l river by said defendant c<>mp;iny heicinbefore spccificalK- charged; 
tt) the end that it may obtain the relief to which it i^ iu^tK iiititled in 
tlie premises, complainants pray the Court: 

I'IRST. 
To grant your writ of >ub])(ena directed to the said defendant, the 
American Rio (irande Land and Irrigation C'ompany. requiring and 
connnanding it to appear herein and to m:ike full, true, and complete 
answer, but not under oath, to the several allegations herein contained. 

40 



SECOND. 

That the Court, by proper decree, compel the defendant, the Ameri- 
can Rio Grande Land and Irrigation Company, to restore to its original 
bed, course and channel the entire current and flow of water of the Rio 
•Grande, so diverted as aforesaid, as well as in all other particulars to 
make restoration of the status quo ante, as nearly as it may be as it 
existed at and before the time of the wrongful and unlawful diversion 
of the waters charged as aforesaid. 

THIRD. 

In the alternative, that if it should appear to the Court that it 
is practically impossible to make such restoration, then to indemnify and 
■compensate the co-complainant, Sefior Don Adelberto A. Arguelles, 
Trustee, for all of the owners of Mexican lands who have been damaged 
by reason of the wrongful and unlawful acts of defendant, as aforesaid: 

(1) That defendant be required to convey to complainant, Senor 
Don Adelberto A. Arguelles, Trustee, by delivery of its warranty deed, 
for the benefit of all of said owners of Mexican lands so damaged, all 
that tract or parcel of land belonging to said defendant company that 
was "cut-ofif," or cast upon the southern banks of the Rio Grande by 
said wrongful acts of the defendant, as shown on said Exhibit "B" and 
designated "U. S. Soil." 

(2) That defendant be adjudged to pay to complainant, Sefior 
Don Adelberto A. Arguelles, Trustee, the sum of five thousand dollars 
for the benefit of all of said owners of Mexican lands so damaged, as 
hereinbefore specified, as full compensation and settlement therefor. 

(3) That defendant be adjudged to pay to complainant, the United 
States of America, the sum of two thousand ($2,000) dollars to cover 
costs and expense incident to surveying and marking the international 
boundary line now represented by the former bed or channel of the Rio 
Grande before the unlawful diversion of the stream was made by de- 
fendant, as aforesaid. 

(4) That as a penalty for violating the provisions of the treaties, as 
aforesaid, in making, by artificial means, the unlawful change, diversion 
and interference with the natural channel, course and flow of the waters 
of the International boundary line stream, the Rio Grande, by reason 
of the wrongful acts complained of, the defendant company be adjudged 
to pay to complainant, the Cnited States of America, the sum of not less 
than ten thousand ($10,000) dollars, or such further sum as the Court 
in its discretion may see fit to decree. 

41 



'lli.it C(iiii|)l;iin;int Ikivc siuh other ainl I'uiiIkt relief ;i^ to the iDmt 
may seem nuel ;iii<l proper ami wliicli e(|uity may require, ami for costs. 

Lock McDanikl, 
I'nltiil Slatis Attorney for the 

United States of Ameriea. 

A. A. Akcl'kijJ'.s. 
Trustee for all of the elaiinatits ami 
owners of lands in Mexico claimed 
to have been dannii^ed by defendant. 

R. E. 1 1(11. 1, AN I). 

.Ittorney for Co-Complainant Trustee. 



42 



EXHIBIT "A."* 



Map of the 

CAPISALLO DISTRICT 

of the LANDS of the 

AMERICAN RIO GRANDE LAND and IRRIGATION COMPANY 

situated in 



HIDALGO and CAMERON COUNTIES, 
TEXAS. 



*Not printed. 



43 



Kxiiii'.rr -v,."* 



Map sliowini,^ the iiiitural course i>f the l\io Grande and Cut-off; 
"To accompany Iveport of March 3, 1908, on 'Damages in Ilorcon Ranche 
Case.' " 

A true copy, 

AxsoN Mills. 

Co)>iiiiissio)icr. 

Attest : 

WiLiiUR Kkhlinger, 

Secretary. 

♦Map attached to last pajj;*-' i^ practically tlu- same. 



44 



JOURNAL OF THE INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY COMMISSION. 

Exhibit C. No. 1163. 

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. 

Department of State. 

To All to Whom These Presents Shall Come, Greeting: 

I certify that the documents hereto annexed are true copies from the files, 
and records of this Department.* 

In testimony whereof I, P. C. Knox, Secretary of State, have here- 
unto caused the Seal of the Department of State to be affixed and my 
(Seal) name to be subscribed by the Chief of the Bureau of Citizenship of the 
said Department, at the City of Washington, this 2nd day of August,. 
19C9. 

P. C. Knox, 
Secretary of State. 

By R. W. Flournoy, Jr., 
Chief, Bureau of Citizenship. 

[See pages 3 to .S and 9 to 22. J 



JOURNAL OF THE INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY COMMISSION. 

Exhibit C. No. 1164. 

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. 

Department of State. 

To All to Whotn These Presents Shall Come, Greeting: 

I certify that the document hereto annexed is a true copy from the files of 
this Department.* 

In testimony whereof I, P. C. Knox, Secretary of State, have here- 
unto caused the Seal of the Department of State to be affixed and my 
(Seal) name to be subscribed by the Chief of the Bureau of Citizenship of the 
said Department, at the Citv of Washington, this 2nd day of August,. 
1909. 

P. C. Knox, 
Secretary of State. 

By R. W. Flournoy, Jr., 
Chief, Bureau of Citizenship. 



*For the contents of the annexed document the Department assumes no re- 
sponsibility. 

45 



DEPARTMENT OE STATE. 
Intkrnatio.nal (Watf.r) Bouniiary Commission, Unitko Statks and Mexico. 

El Paso, Texas. December 11. 1907. 
The Honorable The Secretary of Slate, irashiiif^tnu. D. C. 

Sir: I have tlie honor to transmit herewith Joint Journal, in Spanish and 
English, of December 10, 1907, wherein the Mexican Commissioner states that the 
parties in interest in the "Horcon Ranch Case'' are again complaining that no 
action has as yet been taken by the two governments to make redress for the injury 
sustained by them by reason of the change in the course of the Rio Grande made 
by the American Rio Grande Land and Irrigation Company and requests that the 
Commission call the attention of the two governments to the matter, to the end 
that proper action be taken in the premises. 
I have the honor to be, sir, 

Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 

Anson Mills. 
American Commissioner. 



46 



El Paso, Texas, December 10, 1907. 

The Joint Commission met at the ofifice of the Mexican Commissioner 
at 10 o'clock A. M. 

The Mexican Commissioner stated that he had received a com- 
munication from his Government in connection with the Horcon Ranch 
Case from which it appeared that the local authorities and the parties in 
interest are complaining again that no action had been taken by the two 
Governments to give redress for the injury and damages sustained by 
them by reason of the change made in the course of the Rio Grande by 
the American Rio Grande Land and Irrigation Company; that the de- 
cision of the Commission was to be assumed as approved as no notice of 
disapproval had been received within the thirty days specified by the 
treaty ; that as he had no official notice of any action having been taken 
in this case he requested that the American Commissioner join him in 
respectfully requesting the two Governments to take the matter up with 
a view of some proper action in the premises, as he considered it very 
important that the decisions of the Commission be executed as promptly 
as practicable as such delays seriously affected the prestige of the Com- 
mission along the border and its usefulness to the two Governments. 

To which the American Commissioner replied that he had been 
officially informed that steps were being taken by his Department, 
through the Department of Justice, to put into effect the decision and 
recommendations of the Joint Commission in the Horcon Ranch Case, 
and in view of the fact that these new complaints are covered by our 
former decision in this case (Joint Journal of October 24, 1906), he felt 
that he could do nothing further than call the attention of his Depart- 
ment to this new incident in the matter. 

The Mexican Commissioner replied that he was satisfied with the 
assurance of the American Commissioner that action was being taken by 
his Government in the Horcon Ranch Case and that his intention to call 
the attention of his Department to the recent complaints in the case was 
also agreeable to him. 

The Commission then proceeded to other business. 

Anson Mills, F. R. Puga, 

Wilbur Keblinger, Cesar Canseco. 



47 



Kxliilul 1). N.. 119S. Report of luigitu-fr 1". .licit. 

IXn i:i) STATKS OF AMKRICA. 

1 )i;i'.\kTMi;NT OK Stati. 

To all lo ll'liom Tlicsc I'rcsciils Sluill Cuiiw, Grcctiiii^: 

I Certify That the document hereto annexed is a true copy fmni tlie files and 
records of this Department.* 

In testimony whereof I, C. P. Kno.x. Secretary of State, have here- 
unto caused the Sea! of the Department of State to be affixed and my 
(Seal) name to he suhscril)C(l hy the Chief i^f the Bureau of Citizenship of the 
said Department, at the City of Washington, this 3rd day of Auyust, 

1909. 

P. C. Knox, 

Secretary of State. 

By R. W. Fi^iRxov, Jr.. 
Chief. Bureau of Citizenship. 



*For the contents of the anntxed docunuiu the Dii)artment assumes no respon- 
sibility. 



48 



M/D EXHIBIT D. 

Copy. 

depart:mi-nt of state. 

interxatioxal (water) boundary commissiox, united 
states and mexico. 

Treaties of 1884 and 1889. 

Damages in "Horcon Ranch Case." 

El P.\so. Texas, March 3, 1908. 
General Anson Mills, 
Commissioner, 

Washington, D. C. 

Dk.kr Gener.\l: 

I beg to acknowledge receipt of j-our letter of February 14th stating that the 
Department wished me to furnish a report as to the actual damages suffered by 
the Mexican land owners from the Horcon Cutoff. 

T have the honor of sulimitting the following report: 

After receiving your letter I visited the lands in question in order to fuliv 
inform myself as to the conditions there existing. This could not be done on 
former visits, owing to the flood conditions of the country. 

I attach hereto a map on scale of 1 :20000 which shows the Alexican ranches 
involved. These are. in their order. Cipres, La Lcona, La LTnion, Horcon, La Bolsa, 
Sabinito, Palmita, Sierra Mojada and La Palma. These are all small collections 
of jacales, except La Palma. which is of more importance but was, apparently, not 
much affected by the Cutoff. 

Positas ranch at the upper end is not included, as it w^as materially benefited 
by the change. 

The damage resulting from the cutting, in July, 1906, of the Horcon bend by 
the .-Xmerican Rio Grande Land and Irrigation Company, may be classed under five 
heads, as follows : 

1st. Damage to growing crops when the Cutoff was made. 

2nd. Damage due to the cost of leveeing to keep water away from buildings. 

3rd. Damage caused by the eroding away of land. 

4th. Permanent damage due to increased overflow. 

5th. Damage due to loss of river frontage. 

1st. Damage to Grou'iag Crops. 

In July, 1906, the river rose quite suddenly, jumping from gauge 4.7 at Mata- 
moros, on July 4th. to 13.1 on July 11th. 

The general overflow stage was reached at about 12 ft. or a little less. The 
river remained above 13 ft. until Sept. 15th. The length of the flood was unpre- 
cedented, and it came earlier in the season than usual. It was also higher than 
?ver 1)efore. The highest Matamoros record prior to 1906 was 13.5 in July, 1905. 
During the 1906 flood it reached 14.2, and was 14.0 or over 44 days during the 
overflow. 

49 



Ill m\ npt.rt <>{ Si])!. Nili. l'>)(>. to tlu- Si-irctary of Slate. I stated that the 
iiittiiiR: of tliis bciul had pn)l>ahly increased tlie dcptli of overflow on the Ilorcon 
ranch lands sonu-what. possihiy six inches. I'nrther investigation confirms this 
iipinion, so far as it applies to 1906. Since then, the river has scoured out so 
that the flood plane is prohalily the same as Iiefnre the cutoff. This six inches 
was on to|) of a flood which would have submerged all tlie cropping land of 
Ilorcon and neighluiring ranches from one to three feet any way. This additional 
six inches could not have largely increased the damage which the flood would 
have caused without the cutoff. The rainfall here is not sufficient to raise a crop 
and the only land planted is that which overflows. The flood water soaks into 
the land and then a crop can he raised the next year. Tn 1903 there was only a 
short overfltnv. and the crop of 1906 was consequently poor and the area planted 
small. The July flood caught the crop, such as it was. partially unharvestcd. and 
a loss resulted. T cannot see. however, how this addiitonal six inches could have 
materially added to the loss. Tn the ITorcon. I^t Bolsa, and La Palma and inter- 
vening ranches, there was probably some 30(1 acres under cultivation. I'ive dollars 
per acre will easily cover the loss due to the extra six inches of overflow, or 
$1,500.00 in all. 

T will say that as a result of this long-continued overflow of 1906 a bounti- 
ful crop was raised in 1907. There was no overflow in 1907, so that this spring 
the land is dry and the outlook for a crop very poor. 

2nd. Cost flf Leveeing. 

.\round the Ilorcon and La Piolsa and intervening ranches small levees about 
one foot in height, were thrown up to keep the water away from the houses. 
Probably $200.00 would cover the cost of these. While our luaps made in 1898 
show these ranch buildings all above overflow, the levels showed that the ground 
was only 0.1 to 0.3 meters (4 to 12 inches) above the former flood planes. So 
that the 1906 flood fwhich was. as stated above, six inches above the highest former 
records at Matamoros") would have put the ground at the houses awash or under 
water without the cutolT. Still it is fair to cbargr this $3¥).0() to the latter. 

3r(I. /)(/(»(/^'i' /';■(>;» lirodiiif^ J.aud. 

Owing to the faulty location of this cutoff, some land will be eroded awa\ 
from the point below it. The maximum will lie some 80 acres. Its vahu' is prol)- 
ably $20.00 per acre, or $1,600.00 in all. 

4tli. I'eiiit.nient Ihiiiutge frmit liieretiseil Overfloii: 

1 do not believe that any such damage will result. The channel has sCoured out 
so that future floods will have their norm.il r.inge. 

5th. Ihniui^e due to Loss of Rirer Froiitai^e. 

Cipres, La Leona and La Union ranches are entirely deprived of river front- 
age ancl Hereon i)artially so. What this loss meiins in dollars and cents it is im- 
possible to say. Hut it could be offset by treating the piece of land cut off as a 
banco, transferring it to Mexico, and re<iuiring the .\merican Rio (Irande Land 
and Irrigation Company to transfer title to the Mexican government, when it 

50 



could be divided among the ranches in such a way as to restore to each its river 
frontage. The total area of this "banco" is about 350 acres, measuring to the 
center of the old channel. Of this about 260 acres is fine land. At a valuation 
of $20.00 per acre, it is worth $5200.00. This is, in my opinion, much more than 
the value of the lost river frontage. 

I took a picture of the main Horcon ranch buildings and show it on the next 
sheet. There are two other houses like these two and three other poorer jacals. 
Their total cost probably does not exceed $500.00. When at the point where the 
picture was taken, I asked Mr. Cantu, who lived there, how deep the overflow of 
1906 was in the road in front of his house, he replied "una vara y media" — four 
feet two inches. On Sept. 6th, 1906, I was at this place when the water was the 
highest and noted an overflow there of nine inches in the road. This was the 
maximum. 

I thus make the total actual damage as follows : 

1. Damage to growing crops $1500.00 

2. Cost of leveeing 200.00 

3. Damage from eroding land 1600.00 

4. Permanent damage from increased overflow 

5. Damage from loss of river frontage (to be compensated by transfer 

of land) 

Total $3300.00 

and the transfer of the land cut off, worth about $5200.00 

I do not wish to be understood as saying that the loss of river frontage is 
worth $5200.00 but that the transfer of this land, worth about that amount, will 
compensate the owners of the ranches involved for their loss. 

Respectfully submitted, 

(Signed) W. W. Follett, 
Consulting Engineer. 

Endorsements: In Equity No. 41. In the Circuit Court of the United States 
for the Southern District of Texas, Brownsville Division. The United States of 
America, et als., Complainants, vs. The American Rio Grande Land & Irrigation 
Company, Defendant. Bill in equity. Filed 13th day of Nov. 1911. C. Dart, 
Clerk, By Frank A. Creager, Deputy. 



51 



].\ riii". ciKcii r (•( )ik r < )i" iiii". rxrrED stati-is i-( )k iiii". 
soiriii'-Kx Disrku T ( »i' ri:.\.\s. at r.Rowxsx ii.i.i-:. 

I. C. Dart. Clerk of the Circuit C uurt of the I'liited States for the 
Southern District of Texas, in the I'ifth C"ircuit antl District afore>ai(l. 
do hereby certif\ the foregoins^ to be a true and correct coj))' of the 
original bill, except as to l"lxhil)its "A" an<l "W" in cause Xo. 41 on the 
Equity Docket of said Court, entitled ihc Cnited States of America 
ct als. vs. The American Rio ( irande Land ami Irrigation Company, as 
the same now appears on file in my office. 

To certify which, witness my hand and the seal of said court, at 
llrownsville, in said district, this the 30th day of December, A. D. ]*>\\. 

C. Dart, 
(Seal) CIcrh U. S. Circuit Court, Southern District of Texas. 

Hy 1*"k.\\k a. Cki:.\<;i:k. 

Deputy. 



12 



ANSWER 

IX THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES, IN AND 
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS, BROVVNS- 
MLLE DIVISION. 

In Equity. X'^o. 41. 

The Uxitei) Stati:s, kt als.. Complainants, 

vs. 

Till-: Am]':ki(a.\ Rio (iKaxdi-: La.xd & Irrigation Company^ Defendant. 

To the Honorable Jiid(/es of Said Court: 

X'^ow comes the American Rio Grande Land and Irrigation Com- 
pany, defendant in the above entitled cause, and hereby expressly waiving 
the issuance of subpena, and acknowledging service thereof, and makes 
this its answer to the complaint of the plaintiffs, the United States of 
America, and its co-complainant, Seiior Don Adelberto A. Arguelles, 
Trustee, to wit: 

The defendant, the American Rio Grande Land and Irrigation 
Company, admits the cause of action and all of the material facts stated 
in Complainants' bill and confesses judgment thereon; but touching 
the relief sought respectfully represents that it has now l^ecome practi- 
cally impossible to restore the Rio Grande to its original bed or channel 
at the point of diversion, and prays the Court to enter its judgment and 
decree granting unto Complainants, the United States of America, and 
its Co-Complainant, Sehor Don Adelberto A. Arguelles, Trustee, the relief 
sought in their alternative prayer, defendant agreeing to abide by and 
fully to carry same into effect. 

(Signed) Duval West, 
Attorney for Defendant, American Rio Grande 

Land & Irrigation Company. 

Endorsements: In Equity No. 41. In the Circuit Court of the United 
States for the Southern District of Texas, Brownsville Division. The 
United States of America et als., Complainants, vs. The American Rio 
Grande Land & Irrigation Company, Defendant. Answer of Defendant. 
Filed Deer. 5, 1911. C. Dart, Clerk. 



53 



i\ 'I'm-: ciRcTiT t( )iR r ( )i' riii-: i'xi'ri-:i) statics i-( )R rni-: 
S( )rTiii:K\ DISTRICT MP ri;.\ \s. \r i',Kn\\xs\ ii.i.i-:. 

J. C Dart, (.■jerk of the Circuit Cuiirl of the I'nited States tor the 
Southern District of Texas, in the I'ifth Circuit and District aforesaid, 
do herehy certify the forej^oini; to he a true and correct copy of the 
original answer of defendant in cause Xo. 41 on the Equity Docket of 
said C'ourt. entitled The I'nited States of America ct als. vs. The .Amer- 
ican Rio ( Irande Land and Irrigation Company, as tlic same now ap])ears 
I -n tile in my ottice. 

To certify which, witness my hand and the seal of said Court, at 
rirownsvillc. in said District, this tiie oOth day of l^eccmher. .\. D. 1911. 

C. D.\RT, 

( Seal I i'lcrk [\ .V. Circuit Court. Soiitlicni District of Texas. 

By Frank A. C"ri:.\(;kr, 

Deputy. 



54 



DECREE 

IX THI{ CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES, IN AND 
FOR TFIE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS, BROWNS- 
VILLE DIVISION. 

Ix Equity. No. 41. 

The L"^ntted vStates, et als., Coiiiplaiiiaiits, 

vs. 

The AiMERicAX Rio Grande Land & Irrication Company, Defendants. 

On this 5th dav of December, 1911, at Brownsville, Texas, in said 
district, in open court, being a day of the regular term of said Court, 
came the United States of America, complainant, by its attorney. Lock 
?>TcDaniel, for said Southern District, and its co-complainant, Senor Don 
Adelberto A. Arguelles, Trustee, by his attorney, R. E. Holland, and 
the American Rio Grande Land & Irrigation Company, defendant, by 
its attorney, DuA'^al West, Esq., and submitted said cause for hearing 
upon the complainants" bill and defendant's answer. 

Upon due consideration thereof, it is ordered, adjudged, and decreed: 

Firsl. — That defendant, American Rio Grande Land & Irrigation 
Compan}-, do convey to the complainant, Senor Don Adelberto A. Ar- 
guelles, Trustee, by warranty deed, for the benefit of all of the owners of 
lands situated in ]\Iexico damaged by the unlawful diversion of the Rio 
(irande, all that tract or parcel of land belonging to said defendant com- 
pany that was "cut-off" or cast upon the southern bank of the Rio Grande 
by said unlawful diversion, being situated in Hidalgo County, Texas, 
forming part of the Llano Grande grant of land and the Capisallo Land 
District, containing 246.56 acres, more or less, particularh' descril)ed as 
follows : 

vSurvey begins at a mesciuite post marked "K," on the South bank of 
the Rio Grande, and near what was the West Bank of that River before 
the cut-off was made; said mesquite post lying in the Eastern portion, in 
the north extreme eastern portion of said Banco. Said post is connected 
with the Capisallo base line of said American Rio Grande Land & Irriga- 
tion Company by the following courses and distances : 

Beginning at a point on said base line 1,405.93 ft. north oi zero of 
the zero point, thence following the meanders of the North bank of the 
Ivio Grande River by the courses and bearings, N. 78 de. 05' E. 826.09 
ft. N. 67 de. 39>^' E. 2099.58 ft. N. 63 de. 48>^' E. 1305.24 ft. N. 68 de. 

55 



(14' !•:. 14"J.(.I ft. \. 70 (Ic. 1'" ,' i:. ]A7X.22 ft. \. 77 <k-. 1.^',' I-.. M2.m 

ft. s. SI (ic. IS' ,' i-:. i().v.'»() ft. s. 4<. .ic. 07' ,' I-:. 1206.52 ft. .^. s.^ dc. 

10'/ !•:. .>J5.0o ft. S. 4 .Ic. 14' W. .^20.71 ft. tlnis .-t.ihlishin},' tlu- ]...si- 
tioii i)f tlu- iiir^tiuili- |)('«-t al)'>vr (U'^criltc-il. 

Xi>\v .startiiij^f fn>ni said HH-S(|iiite ])(i>t a> the poiiu iti hcj^inninj^. ami 
f. »il(t\viii,t; tlie nicaiKk-rs nf the old river hed the sai<l l'>atik is hounded as 
follows : 

South .^O de. 55' W. 1S7S.55 ft. .^. 44 -k-.^rees 40' W . 717.00 ft. S. 
.-(-. de. 20' ..' W. S45.74 ft. S. t\4 de. .>2' _.' W . 551.43 ft. S. 77 <le. .v- ' ,' W. 
1600.01 ft. S. 77 (k-. 2''' W . l(.«J').';o ft. S. 77 de. .>1 ' ,' W . Sl5.'.n ft. X. 
7? de. 02' W. 5SS.f.S ft. X. 5 de. OSn \\. If.lS.'H) ft. X. .v de. 23!.f 
!-:. 911.47 ft. X. 7S de. 00'/ I-:. O04.4S ft. S. 57 de. 1''' !•:. ^)00.S4 ft. S. 
43 de. 55' I".. 551.37 ft. S. 35 de. 00' K. 604.S1 ft. X. S4 de. 22' I-.. X.U.XA 
ft. S. S3 de. 22\/ v.. 1"3.15 fi. X. 7^ (k-. ^X-u' V.. S57."L' ft. X. 45 <le. 
33i_.' !•:. 073.11 ft. X. ?2 de. Ol' I-.. 1355.12 ft. X. 27 de. 02' E. 52')Xy} ft. 
X. ^' de. 01 ' j' ]•'.. 705.50 ft.; to a itoiiu at the nio>t uortlu-ru point of 
this r>aiu"o on the southern hank of tJie said l\io ( Irande I\i\er. Thonee 
with the meanders of the l\io (Irande S. 01 de. 5S'v4' 1'-- 437.0S ft. S. 
(.7 de. 10' 4' K. 302.18 ht. S. 77 de. 57' K. 618.80 ft. t.. the place of he,i,Mn- 
ninjjf. containinij in all 246.570 acres of lan<l more or le>>. 

All that portion of the land lyinj;^ between the approximate said line 
of the old river bed as shown by the polygon \'nrr)RSTr\'\\'X\'. and 
the circuit lines of the Pianco above flescribed and containing in all one 
Innidred and twentv ( 120) acres of land more or k-'^s. making an aggre- 
gate total i>f 136(').57 acres. 

Second. — That defendant, the American Rio (Iramk' Land iV Irri- 
gation Companv do pay unto tlie com])lainant. Senor Don Adelherto .\. 
Arguclles. Trustee. Five Thousand Dollars for the l)enetit of all the 
owners of Mexican lands so damaged, and particularly for the benetit 
of: T.ic. Joaquin Arguelles. Lie. Jose Arguclles, Scnorita Consuelo .\r- 
guelles. Don Manuel Cantu and Scnores Desidcrio Cantu, Ignacio Cantu. 
I'juilio Zamora. l'\4icitas Garcia, Primitivo ITinojosa. Reducindo Ojivares. 
r.eronimo P.azan. Tgnacio Castaneda. Jorge Cantu, Julian Cantu. Xativi- 
dad C'aJitu, Jose .\ngel TTernandez. .Santos ("antn. P.altazar Lopes, and 
the Senoras Manuela ( larza \ iuda de Cantu. Petra C'isneros X'iuda (k- 
llinojosa. I'rancisca I'raustra \ iuda fie I'.izan. .\ntonir) Rodriguez \ iuda 
«lc Cantu. and Antoiu'o ( iarza \ iuda de llern.indcz. .\nd that the said 
conveyance of >aid land and the said payment of said Five Thousand 
l)ollar> shall he and constitute a full liquidation and settlement of all 
damages occa^iom-d to all of the owners of Mexican lands damaged bv 
the unlawful acts of defendant. Americrm Rio Grande Land iV Trrig.ition 
Companv. 

56 



Third. — That defendant, American Rio Grande Land & Irrigation 
Company, do pa}' to the United States of America, Complainants, the 
sum of Two Thousand ($2,000) Dollars to cover costs and expenses in- 
cident to surveying and marking the international boundary line now 
represented by the former bed or channel of the Rio Grande before the 
unlawful diversion of the stream was made by defendant, as aforesaid. 

Foiirtli. — That as a penalty for violating the provision of the treaties, 
as aforesaid, in making, by artificial means, the unlawful change, diver- 
sion and interference with the natural channel, course and flow of the 
waters of the international l)oundary line stream, the Rio Grande, bv 
reason of the wrongful acts complained of, that the defendant company 
I/ay to complainant, the Cnited States of America, the sum of Ten Thou- 
sand ($10,000) Dollars and court costs in the sum of Two Hundred 
($200) Dollars. 

W. T. Burns, 

Judge. 

Endorsements: In Equity No. 41, in the Circuit Court of the United 
States for the Southern District of Texas, Brownsville Division. The 
United States of America, ct als.. Complainants, vs. The American Rio 
Grande Land & Irrigation Company, Defendants. Final decree of court. 
Filed Deer. 5th, 1911. C. Dart, Clerk. 



IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE 
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS AT DECEMBER TERM. 

I, C. Dart, Clerk of the Circuit Court of the Ignited States for the 
Southern District of Texas, in the Fifth Circuit and District aforesaid, do 
hereby certify the foregoing to be a true and correct copy of final decree of 
court in cause No. 41 on the Equity Docket of said court, entitled The 
Lhiited States of America ct als.. Complainants, vs. The American Rio 
Grande Land & Irrigation Company. Defendant, as the same now ap- 
jiears on file and of record on the minutes of said court in my office. 

To certify which, witness m\' hand and the seal of said court, at 
B.rownsville. in said district, this the loth day of December, A. D. 1911. 

C Dart. 
(Seal) Clerk [J. S. Circuit Court. SoutJicm. District of Tc.vas. 



17 



f