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The Mexican citizens Don Manuel Garza and Don Juan Garza Chavarria bave been in possession of this piece of land on the banks of the Rio Bravo since it was adjudicated to them by the authorities of Reynosa in 1868, and bave not ceased to cultivate it, having been recognized as the owners thereof by the citizens of Texas themselves; but, by reason of the deviation of the river, the latter are now endeavoring to deprive the owners of the land of their legitimate rights, and stimulated by the judge of Hidalgo, Honorable William P. Dougherty, several citizens of Texas have undertaken operations on the aforesaid " banco," opening breaches, plowing, and doing other works within the walls of the said piece of land, and when the owners of the same attempted to close a gateway which had been opened in this wall, the judge of Hidalgo County opposed it, and threatened with imprisonment whomsoever should attempt to close that gateway.
From the report received in the department of foreign relations of the Mexican Government, it appears that both the owners of the aforesaid Mexican “banco" and the authorities of Reynosa have proceeded with the utinost prudence and circumspection, deferring the decision of this matter until the International Boundary Commission shall have determined the point relative to the ownership of the “ banco” in question.
Under these circumstances and in conformity with the convention of March 1, 1889, it is incumbent to suspend all proceedings until the International Commission created by that convention, or the respective Governments, as the case may be, shall decide concerning the nation. ality of the piece of land in dispute.
To the complaints and protests of the Mexican authorities of Rey. nosa against the above-mentioned acts, the authority of Hidalgo County has replied, denying to the owners of the piece of land their right to the same, and stating that in the United States it is not the custom to prevent citizens from the exercise of their rights, both personal and as touching their property, which statements would be well grouuded were the piece of land under consideration within the territory of the United States, but which are wholly out of place when, in conformity with what has been stipulated by the two Governments, all proceedings are to be suspended in any disputed piece of land until the nationality thereof shall be decided conformably with the basis agreed upon.
In view of this, the Mexican Government has given me instructions to ask the Government of the United States that it shall make the proper communication to the authorities of the State, to the end that they and the residents of Hidalgo County shall suspend all acts against the owners of the Mexican “banco” in the Rio Grande, in front of El Granjeno, until the question of the nationality shall be decided according to the stipulations of the first article of the convention of March 1, 1889. Be pleased to accept, etc.,
Mr. Romero to Mr. Gresham.
MEXICAN LEGATION, Washington, June 30, 1894. (Received July 2.) MR. SECRETARY: I have the honor to inform you that I have received instructions from the Government of Mexico to request that of the United States to issue anew such instructions as it may deem proper in regard to the release of the Mexican citizen Antonio H. Vela and the observance of the status quo with respect to the bank in the River Bravo, which bears the name of “ Banco Cuauhtemoc” or “Banco Vela” as I requested in advance, pending the decision of both Governments, in conformity with the provisions of the convention in force in regard to the nationality of that territory.
The Mexican consul at Brownsville, Tex., informs the secretary of foreign relations of the Mexican United States, under date of the 12th instant, that Vela has been summoned by the Federal court in that place, and that he has been arrested and taken to jail.
The judge of the Federal court, moreover, informed the Mexican consul that he had no knowledge whatever that your Department had taken any measure respecting that matter. Accept, etc.,
Mr. Gresham to Mr. Romero.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, July 5, 1894. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 30th ultimo, requesting the release of Antonio H. Vela and the maintenance of the status quo in respect to the “Banco Vela” until the nationality of that territory be adjusted by the International Boundary Commission.
The matter has been brought to the attention of the governor of Texas for appropriate action. Upon the receipt of his reply you will be informed of its purport. Accept, etc.,
W. Q. GRESHAM,
Mr. Romero to Mr. Gresham,
LEGATION OF MEXICO, Washington, July 11, 1894. (Received July 11.) MR. SECRETARY: I have the honor to inform you, with reference to our previous correspondence respecting the arrest at Brownsville, Tex., of the Mexican citizen Antonio H. Vela, that I have received instructions from Señor Mariscal, secretary of foreign affairs of the United States of Mexico, dated City of Mexico, June 26, 1894, to inform your Department that the Mexican consul at Brownsville reports that Vela's arrest has been insisted upon on the charge of smuggling to the Vela bank and of having shot from one to the other side of the river; that he is further charged with having disobeyed the order of the Texas authorities to leave the bank, and a summons that was sent him from Hidalgo County, and that only under bail has he been able to obtain his liberty.
The Mexican consul at Brownsville calls attention to the fact that the prosecuting attorney has stated that he has no knowledge of the understanding that has been reached between the Mexican Government and the United States Government with respect to submitting to the International Boundary Commission the question of the nationality of the Vela bank, in order that it be decided in conformity with the convention of March 1, 1889.
For this reason I am again instructed by Señor Mariscal to call this matter to the attention of the United States Government in order that it may renew its orders for a stay of all proceedings against Antonio H. Vela pending the decision, in the terms aforesaid, respecting the nationality of that bank. Accept, etc.,
Mr. Romero to Mr. Gresham.
LEGATION OF MEXICO, Washington, October 12, 1894. (Received October 12.) MR. SECRETARY: I have the honor to transmit to you, referring to our previous correspondence on the subject, a copy of a communication from the consul of Mexico at El Paso, Tex., bearing date of the 4th instant, which shows the urgent necessity that exists for a decision of the question relative to the taking of water from the Rio Bravo (Rio Grande) del Norte in the State of Colorado and the Territory of New Mexico, which has so seriously affected the existence of the frontier communi. ties for several miles below Paso del Norte, above the confluence of the tributary rivers with the Rio Grande, and points out the danger lest otherwise those communities may be annihilated.
My object in sending you the inclosed copy is to solicit, very specially, an examination and decision of this grave question by the Department of State, in order that the evils referred to by the Mexican consul at El Paso, Tex., may be remedied. Be pleased to accept, etc.,
CONSULATE OF MEXICO,
El Paso, Tex., October 4, 1894. For some time past, as you are aware, the difficult question of the right of both peoples to make use of the water of the Rio Grande has been agitated by the inhabitants of the frontier towns of Paso del Norte and El Paso, Tex. This question is an element that is destined to decide with regard to the existence or the disappearance of the frontier towns. Thus has been estimated, with good reason, in my opinion, the importance of this most serious question.
As you are likewise aware, our Government has never abandoned its claim to that right, and no one doubts that the matter will be settled in a manner favorable to the interests of both countries; but that which now renders it imperatively necessary that some step be taken, even if it be merely of a temporary character, is that the alternative "to be or not to be” is daily drawing nearer, an alternative which has so long been feared by persons who know the needs which press so hard upon Ciudad Juarez. The nearness of that danger is what compels me to address this report to you, the depopulation of our aforesaid city staring me, so to speak, in the face.
Of course it is not my purpose here to touch upon the points of public law which the question involves, since that does not come within my province, nor would I ever presume thus to elucidate it; I must simply confine myself to a statement of what is actually taking place to the detriment of the interests of Paso del Norte, leaving it to you to infer what the results will probably be.
Agriculture, which is already impoverished on this entire frontier, is threatened with total destruction within perhaps two years, if the scarcity of the river water continues during that short period; and the destruction of agriculture will inevitably entail the ruin of the infant industries which are now kept in existence with so much difficulty.
Almost all articles of prime necessity are brought from places situated at a distance of from 500 or 1,000 miles, because they can not be produced here, and this circumstance occasions a condition of things that is well nigh unbearable, since, owing to it, the prices of commodi. ties are not proportionate to the limited means of the majority of the inhabitants.
It is already impossible for employers to pay the wages of their employés with their accustomed liberality or regularity; large numbers of the laboring class are absolutely unable to find employment, and leave the country. As this class of persons forms the majority of the inhabitants, it is evident that, if this state of things continues, the city must go to decay and ruin.
There remains no other recourse for the maintenance of tranquility pending the settlement of the main question—the only one which will remedy so many evils-than the equitable division of the waters of the river.
There is a scarcity of that water here, not because the supply in the river has been naturally exhausted, in which case there would, of course, be no ground for complaiut, but because of the numberless drains which have been made by the farmers of Colorado and New Mexico, who have settled the pending question by appropriating the water of the Rio Grande to their own exclusive use.
Companies, moreover, are still being organized and plans are being formed, more or less seriously, for the purpose of monopolizing on the American side the small amount of water brought down by the river in those months when it is so abundant that it can not be exhausted by the drains in New Mexico and Colorado. A meeting of stockholders has just been held at Denver for the purpose of removing the political and material difficulties which have hitherto stood in the way of the accomplishment of their plans for irrigation, and I am informed that it is attempted to create the impression that these plans involve certain concessions in favor of Ciudad Juarez, such as selling it the water which it requires, when Ciudad Juarez has quite as much right as they have to use the water.
The plans, which have heretofore threatened our city with destruction, are not unknown to you, and it is probable that you also have knowledge of those to which I have referred as having been discussed by the meeting at Denver, but, as a supplemeut to this report, I have the honor to inclose four clippings from The Times / newspaper, published in this city, which have reference to that meeting, and, as I have already remarked, I leave it to you to consider the consequences that must necessarily follow the accomplishment of those plans.
All that I desire to do is to discharge my duty by reporting the foregoing to you and to our Government, and, in doing so, I have, etc.,
JOSÉ ZAYAS GUARNEROS.
1 Not printed.
USE OF THE RIO GRANDE FOR IRRIGATION.
Mr. Gresham to Mr. Romero.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, November 1, 1894. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your note of the 12th ultimo, in relation to the use of the waters of the Rio Grande River in Colorado and New Mexico for irrigation and other purposes.
Having referred your previous note of September 10, last, in regard to the same matter, to the Secretary of Agriculture for examination, I am in receipt of the response of that Department, stating that it is by no means certain that the low state of the Rio Grande at Ciudad Juarez and vicinity is due to the utilization of water for irrigation along the upper course of the river to a greater extent than heretofore. A failure of the supply has frequently occurred at Ciudad Juarez in the past, and this is satisfactorily explained by the drought that has prevailed over the headwaters of the Rio Grande for the last two or three years, and over the territory around El Paso for six or eight years. The evidence in the possession of the Department of Agriculture does not show any material inorease in the utilization of water for irrigation on the Upper Rio Grande for several years past.
Your present note of October 12 has been in like manner referred to the Secretary of Agriculture with a recommendation that the matter be investigated. Accept, etc.,
W. Q. GRESHAM.
DISCRIMINATING TONNAGE AND CARGO DUES IMPOSED ON MEXICAN
VESSELS IN AMERICAN PORTS.
Mr. Romero to Mr. Gresham.
LEGATION OF MEXICO, Washington, December 26, 1893. (Received December 26.) MR. SECRETARY: For the reason that the Congress of the United States of Mexico passed a law on the 12th of December, 1883, whereby certain reductions in import duties were granted to foreign goods imported into Mexico in Mexican vessels, and since there was no commercial treaty in force between our two countries that provided otherwise, the Secretary of the United States Treasury decided, on the 24th of May, 1889, by circular 9402, that, in pursuance of section 2502 of the Revised Statutes of the United States, a discriminating duty of 10 per cent ad valorem, in addition to the import duties paid by goods imported in vessels of the United States of America, should be levied upon Mexican goods imported in Mexican vessels.
For the same reason, the Secretary of the Treasury also decided that, instead of the 3 cents per ton which, according to article 11-marked— 14, of the act of June 19, 1886, Mexican vessels entering United States ports were required to pay, $1 per ton should be collected from them.
The Congress of the United States of Mexico, desiring to place foreign vessels on the same footing with Mexican vessels as regards the payment of import duties, has repealed articles 1 and 2 of the act of December 12, 1883, which provided for those reductions, and it has to