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Chamizal Dispute finally settled

October
28
1967

On this day in 1967, U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson and Mexican president Gustavo Díaz Ordaz formally settled the so-called Chamizal Dispute by agreeing that Mexico should receive 7.82 acres of the Ponce de León land grant. The dispute between Mexico and the United States involved about 600 acres at El Paso between the bed of the Rio Grande as surveyed in 1852 and the present channel of the river. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848 and the Treaty of 1884 had specified that the boundary between the two nations should be down the middle of the river along the deepest channel, regardless of any alterations in the banks or channels. By 1873, alterations in the river's course had carved out a 600-acre tract known as the Chamizal that became de facto U.S. territory. In 1895, however, Mexico argued that the boundary had never changed and that the Chamizal was therefore technically Mexican territory. In 1911, the International Boundary Commission proposed dividing the disputed territory, but the U.S. rejected the proposal. The dispute continued until President John F. Kennedy agreed to settle it on the basis of the 1911 arbitration award. In January 1963, the United States and Mexico ratified a treaty that generally followed the 1911 arbitration recommendations. The small portion of the Ponce de León grant that changed hands in 1967 officially ended the dispute.

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