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and he cites in support of that contention the Rio Grande treaty entered into in 1906.
Mr. Rose. He doesn't desire us to enter into a treaty immediately. He asked the committee to hold this up till they do enter into a treaty. It may be 50 years from now. He puts it into the hands of Mexico. They may never enter into the treaty.
Mr. HAYDEN. In reading the letter from the Secretary of State I notice that he cites the Rio Grande case wherein it was proposed to divert waters from the Rio Grande in the United States. In that
case he conceded, as he now concedes in the case of the Colorado · River, there is no doubt of the right of the United States to divert
the water. Secretary Lansing states that in the case of the Rio Grande, Congress enacted legislation to authorize the construction of the Elephant Butte dam above El Paso. The legislation to which he refers is the passage of the reclamation act, approved June 17, 1902. It was not until May 21, 1906, that a convention was concluded between the United States and Mexico which apportioned the waters of the Rio Grande between the United States and Mexico. So according to the Secretary's own statement there is no reason why legislation should not first be enacted to authorize the diversion of the waters of the Colorado River and negotiations conducted afterwards as in the Rio Grande case. There is no doubt in either case that the United States has the right to construct such irrigation works regardless of any diplomatic negotiations. It therefore seems to me the Secretary is inconsistent when he recommends that negotiations with Mexico should precede legislation by Congress.
Mr. BARBOUR. If you are to have nogtiations with Mexico you would arrive at negotiations much quicker by going ahead now than waiting for the negotiations.
Mr. YAGER. Mr. Chairman, I would like to state that Senator Thomas in a two days' speech before the Senate discussed the Rio Grande treaty most fully. That is a speech of March 23 and 24, 1914, where he took up and answered this treaty dealing with the waters of the Rio Grande, the very treaty that Mr. Lansing bases his position on here. And Senator Thomas's words are most applicable to our situation.
Mr. HAYDEN. Has Senator Thomas's speech been printed in this record ?
Mr. YAGER. I don't think it has. This is what he says regarding that treaty on page 4 of his speech:
Now, Mr. President, that treaty upon its face
Speaking of the Rio Grande treatyis an ordinary engagement between two sovereign Governments, one of which engages to settle certain controverted local waters between them by furnishing and delivering at its own expense for all time 60,000 acre-feet of local water to the other. It is, in fact, the consummation, Mr. President, of a sordid, shameful, and successful intrigue conducted in the interest of private parties impelled by greed and gain, based upon the existence of no legal, equitable, or moral claim whatever on the part of the Mexican Government or any of its citizens against this Government or any of its citizens.
And, going on, he states on page 54 of the same recorded speech: Mr. President, I do not hesitate to brand this treaty scheme as a huge speculative enterprise conceived by greed and fostered by governmental agencies, a scheme the needs of which are out of all proportions to the ends finally accomplished in its name.
That is the very situation we are in regarding the waters of the Colorado. The waters of the Colorado River are inherently ours, and why should we American citizens be deprived of the use of these waters, to the detriment of the development of our lands, while Mexican lands are being developed by these waters? I can’t help but feel the position of the State Department is not tenable and is against the interests of the American Government and American citizens, and I desire as a representative of that section of the country to present that situation to your committee. Mr. HAYDEN. The Secretary of State says that considerations of equity and comity should govern the distribution of the waters of the Colorado River, based upon the same consideration which governed the equitable distribution of the waters of the Rio Grande. Mr. BARBOUR. Does he indicate right there whether there is any agreement being considered at this time? Mr. HAYDEN. Secretary Lansing states at the end of his letter: The Government of the United States proposed in 1912 to the Government of Mexico that a convention be concluded providing for the appointment of a commission to study, agree upon, and report the basis of distribution and appropriation of the waters of the Colorado River, the findings of the commission, if and when approved by the two Governments, to be embodied in a treaty. After an exchange of several draft conventions a form of convention seems to have been practically agreed upon in May, 1913, but, apparently, because of the strained relations which have been existing between the Government of the United States and the so-called Huerta administration in Mexico the convention was never signed, and the matter has been since in abeyance. Mr. BARBOUR. What could be the considerations in equity and comity between the nations that would ask us to do that? Mr. SMITH. There might be some consideration of comity, but not of equity. Comity, as I understand it, would be promoting the friendly relations between the two nations. Equity would imply that they had some right to the water. Mr. HAYDEN. The Secretary states that “although the provisions of the bill in question are not clear upon the point as to whether the works, for the construction of which the bill provides, would result in the use of practically the entire flow of the Colorado River at a point a little north of the boundary line between the United States and Mexico, information coming to me from other sources appears to indicate that such would be the case during certain seasons of the year.” It is a fact that there is under cultivation, according to the testimony before this committee, approximately 100,000 acres of land in Lower California, and if, as the Secretary of State has said, the entire flow of the Colorado River, during certain seasons of the year, would be diverted to lands in the United States, the Mexican lands would be deprived of water. In your opinion, is there any equitable consideration existing between the two Governments which would make it advisable to have an understanding as to the division of water for lands in both countries which require the use of it in order to continue to produce crops? Mr. YAGER. If I may answer that in the event of a shortage of water it simmers down to a question of whether we are going to allow American lands on this side of the border to be deprived of water? or are we going to give our water to Mexican people to satisfy them, to cultivate their lands and let our people's go bare?
Mr. HAYDEN. Is it proper to assert our rights to that extent? Could there not be an equitable division of the water between the lands in the United States and in Mexico, recognizing in each case that the lands in each country have acquired a valid appropriation of water?
Mr. YAGER. I will state this, that the engineers have told us that there is water enough in the Colorado River for the irrigation of the whole watershed, but it will require storage to get that water so that there will be equalization of the stream throughout the year. If we go ahead about our own business and build this canal and if there is a shortage of water below the line, they will come to usthe people of the United States—and offer to pay for storage for additional water, but I do not believe Mexico has acquired any right, either equitable or legal, to these waters.
Mr. HAYDEN. You would not object if the Governments of the United States and Mexico should negotiate a treaty with the result that the people of Mexico should pay their fair share of the cost of any storage works which might be constructed in the United States?
Mr. YAGER. No; I can see no objection. I think the United States could furnish these Mexican lands with water provided they paid an amount which would justify the United States in building storage.
Mr. HAYDEN. The condition now is that the Mexicans have a right to the use of one-half of the water that passes through Mexico. You propose to change the conditions by the construction of an allAmerican canal, so that when there is not enough water in the Colorado River to supply all the lands in the United States and Mexico, the American lands shall use it and the Mexican lands shall go dry?
Mr. YAGER. There is no obligation upon the United States to continue running water through Mexico, and if Mexico does not wish to bear the expense of obtaining this water let her lands go dry. American lands should not be forced to bear the expense of irrigating Mexican lands.
Mr. HAYDEN. You decline to recognize that the Mexicans have any rights whatever by reason of the fact that they have been applying the waters to beneficial use on their lands?
Mr. YAGER. The fact that Mexicans have been using these waters does not deprive American citizens of their right to the use of them.
Mr. HAYDEN. I am not referring to a legal right, but to an equitable right.
Mr. YAGER. They have no equitable right such as referred to in that letter of the Secretary of State, nor can those interests come before this committee with clean hands claiming an equitable right.
Mr. HAYDEN. If the irrigable area in the Imperial Valley is enlarged by the construction of an all-American canal of sufficient capacity to take all the water out of the Colorado River, for the two or three months of the year when the water is low, it would then be your purpose to see that the entire flow of the stream is diverted into the United States and let the lands in Mexico go absolutely dry during such seasons?
Mr. YAGER. It has been American lands that have built up and paid for the irrigation of that Mexican land. The Imperial Irrigation District voted bonds and paid for the canals through which the Mexican lands get water. They are under no equitable obligation to continue to furnish them water. If we go ahead and build an allAmerican canal and make it a business of our own and use the waters of the Colorado River on American lands, they can come to the United States and get plenty of water by paying for the storage, and if they do not want to pay for the irrigation of their lands, let them go dry. Mr. HAYDEN. That is, you would require the Mexicans to pay for the construction of storage works in the United States to provide for the same supply of water which they now have without paying anything? Mr. YAGER. Yes; for they are not entitled to these waters without paying anything. Mr. Rose. Your statement is correct, Mr. Hayden, without paying anything. We paid for the canal down there. Mr. HAYDEN. There is no dispute about the fact that the Mexicans have a very one-sided contract in their favor at the present time, but this committee is bound to, in good faith, answer the objection made by the Secretary of State. I am trying to get your opinion, what you would have us say when this issue is raised in the House when consideration is given to this legislation. The Secretary of State is of the opinion (i. Congress in passing the Kettner bill would be dealing inequitably and violating the comity which should exist between nations. Your idea is I want to clearly get your views— that the United States should simply take all the water because we have the legal right and a physical way of doing it, and let the lands in Mexico go dry and be without water when the American lands can use the total supply from the Colorado River? Mr. YAGER. Let me go ahead and explain here. They can get water for their lands if they will pay for it. Heretofore the Mexicans have been getting water and Americans have paid for it. I say let us go about our own business and get our own water. If they want water, they can get it; and if they don’t care enough about it to come and say, “Here, we want more water, and we are willing to pay for it,” let the Mexican lands dry up. It is up to them whether they want water or not. It is not right or equitable that American lands be taxed to build canals and furnish water to Mexican lands when American lands are bare and the water ours. . Mr. HAYDEN. Would you limit the Mexican landowners by permitting them to obtain only such a supply of water as they could get by paying for storage works which would provide for their lands, or would you also provide that they might pay for their proper share of the all-American canal, with the privilege of obtaining water from the Laguna Dam from irrigation works which might be undertaken immediately? Mr. YAGER. I think that the United States should make a fair charge for any water furnished Mexican land; and if the United States has to build a dam or canal to supply Mexico with those waters, the charge should be regulated by the cost in furnishing the Waters. Mr. HAYDEN. Then, you would have the Mexicans pay their pro rata share, based upon the land now in cultivation in México, for storage,
for the privilege of connecting with the Laguna Dam, and for the cost of enlarging the canal capacity from Laguna Dam down to the Mexican border, so as to carry water to them. You think it is fair for the Mexican lands to pay all such charges? Mr. YAGER. Yes, sir. If they obtain their water from the United States, this Government should charge for furnishing it. Mr. HAYDEN. Do you believe that negotiations should be conducted by the State Department with the Government of Mexico to ascertain what they are willing to do in that regard? Mr. YAGER. Of course at the present time they are not willing to do anything and very openly state that they do not need to do anything. They are getting their water for nothing practically. American people are paying for it; they don’t need to o, anything. They don't want a treaty. It has been only those American interests down there that have suggested a treaty in the face of this legislation. If we should enact this legislation and make it a law on our statute books, I don’t think it would be five minutes before they would come to us and say we want to treat with you. This Government, I don't think, would be disposed not to treat fairly with them, but they are drying up our land by reason of their extended use of water; and if allowed to continue, it will be only a time before the Imperial Valley will be a dry desert, as it was years ago. Mr. SMITH. In other words, you believe the American people have a right to use the water in their own way without the Mexican people having anything to do with it? Mr. YAGER. Yes, sir. I would like to quote in that connection the opinion of Attorney General Judson Harmon: The fact that there is not enough water in the Rio Grande for the use of inhabitants of both countries for irrigation purposes does not give Mexico the right to subject the United States to the burden of arresting its development and denying to its inhabitants the use of a provision which nature has supplied entirely within its own territory. The recognition of such a right is entirely inconsistent of the sovereignty of the United States over its national domain. Mr. HAYDEN. Your idea is that if we were in the same position . with respect to an equitable division of the waters of the Colorado River as the United States was at the time of the agreement entered into with Mexico regarding the waters of the Rio Grande—that is, if there was a law on the United States statute books authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to use all the water of the Colorado River as he saw fit—that would then be the time to conduct diplomatic negotiations with Mexico rather than to attempt to negotiate prior to the passage of such a law Mr. YAGER. Yes. Pass the law, and they will be willing to treat, I think. This Government, I don't think, has any disposition to impose any hardships on Mexico or deprive them of anything they have there. All we want is not to be deprived ourselves. Mr. HAYDEN. If precedents amount to anything, the United States certainly was liberal enough in the Rio Grande case to insure the Mexicans that they will get justice in the apportionment of the waters of the Colorado River. Mr. YAGER. After the way we have been treated regarding these waters and after the many insults we have received from Mexico I can not understand why our State Department suggests that comity requires so much from us. We can't pick up a newspaper hardly