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4. Organization

(a) The commission is composed of a commissioner selected by each of the governments and a presiding officer selected by mutual agreement of the two governments.3

(b) A Secretary appointed by each of the governments, the two secretaries acting as "Joint Secretaries of the Commission and * * subject to its in

structions." 4

(c) Agency of the United States, with counsel, authorized to present arguments in favor of or against any claim before the commission. This agency is also the Agency of the General Claims Commission (q. v. ante), and its office is in Washington.

(d) Agency of Mexico, with counsel, representing Mexico. This agency is in Mexico City.5

3 Article I, Special Claims Convention, United States and Mexico, signed September 10, 1923, proclaimed by the President February 23, 1924.

4 Article V, Special Claims Convention, United States and Mexico, signed September 10, 1923, proclaimed by the President February 23, 1924.

5 Article IV of the Special Claims Convention, United States and Mexico, signed September 10, proclaimed by the President February 23, 1924.




1. Origin and Mission

The International Joint Commission was created by the treaty between the United States and Great Britain signed January 11, 1909,1 the object of which is "to prevent disputes regarding the use of boundary waters and to settle all questions which are now pending between the United States and the Dominion of Canada involving the rights, obligations, or interests of either in relation to the other or to the inhabitants of the other, along their common frontier, and to make provision for the adjustment and settlement of all such questions as may hereafter arise."

The International Joint Commission was designed to meet the special needs of two countries whose inhabitants have a common fountain of law, the same traditions, and similar institutions of government, but who live under two distinct and separate governmental jurisdictions.

The line that marks the boundary between these two governmental jurisdictions extends across the continent, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, a distance of more than 3,500 miles. At least 2,000 miles of this boundary is marked by navigable and nonnavigable waters, with an aggregate population inhabiting their shores of approximately six and a half millions of people. These waters are the common property of the people of both the United States and Canada, and the right to their use for sanitary and domestic purposes, for navigation for power, and for irrigation purposes, or for any other lawful purpose, is a right which the inhabitants of the two countries enjoy in common. In the exercise of this common property right, or in the use of this common property, controversies between the inhabitants of the two countries have arisen in the past, are now pending, and, as the demand for the use of these boundary waters for these purposes increases with the increase of population along the boundary, controversies will continue to arise and increase in number. The International Joint Commission affords these neighboring populations, in their international relations, a simple, inexpensive, common-sense means of settling promptly their differences, whether these differences are national, state, municipal, or individual.

2. History

The genesis of the International Joint Commission dates back to the 90's, when two irrigation congresses were held at Denver and Albuquerque. At the first of these, in 1894, one of the Canadian delegates introduced a resolution, which was unanimously adopted, urging upon the United States "the appointment of an international commission to act in conjunction with the authorities of Mexico and Canada in adjudicating the conflicting rights which have arisen, or may

136 Stat. 2448.

hereafter arise, on streams of an international character." A similar restition was adopted at Albuquerque the following year.

In 1896 the government of Canada passed an Order in Council embody the principles of these resolutions, and took up with the United States g through the Inush Embassy at Washington, the question of the establishment I an michnational commission. The government was not, however, prepare t to go on with the matter at that time, and it was not until 1902 that by concomment legislation the two governments created what was known as the Internat cal Waterways Commission, which must not, however, be confused with the Interhational Joint Commissiofl

The Waterways Colimnisstof, which consisted of six members, three represvuing the Lidled States and three representing Canada, was purely an investibating Fody wala at aux Tual jurisdiction

Purling the commub sims explence it has disposed of a number of important spp >this Aukodying to any of boundary waters, and has investigated others. Some of those you Sinous have wolved the nerests of the state, others of majy dans and Spill y dwa> vid vorpotadons and individuals. They touched such Varda 99% pubito lo alle mani din and water supply; their decision affected và postali ve both sides of the frontier, and were an ***.....N kate tamareds of millions of dollars


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rivers, and waterways, or waters flowing from such lakes, rivers, and waterways, or the waters of rivers flowing across the boundary."

Boundary waters, therefore, include the international portions of the St. Croix and St. John rivers, between the state of Maine and the province of New Brunswick; the St. Lawrence river, from Cornwall to Kingston; Lake Ontario, Niagara river, Lake Erie, Detroit river, Lake St. Clair, St. Clair river, Lake Huron, St. Mary's river, Lake Superior, the series of small rivers and lakes from Lake Superior over the height of land to Rainy Lake, Rainy Lake, Rainy river, and the Lake of the Woods, to that minute but very controversial point in diplomatic history, the northwest point of the Northwest Angle Inlet of the Lake of the Woods.

There are three exceptions to "boundary waters" as defined by the treaty: (1) Tributary waters, which in their natural channels would flow into such lakes, rivers, and waterways as the Seneca, Genesee, and Sandusky, on the United States side, and the Grand, Thames, and Michipicoten, on the Canadian side; (2) waters flowing from such lakes, rivers and waterways, as the Winnipeg, lower St. Lawrence, and lower St. John; (3) waters of rivers flowing across the boundary, such as the Richelieu, Red, Souris, St. Mary, Milk, Columbia, and Kootenay.

(b) Article I of the treaty provides that "the navigation of all navigable boundary waters shall forever continue free and open for the purposes of commerce to the inhabitants and to the ships, vessels, and boats of both countries equally," subject to the laws and regulations of either country not inconsistent with the privilege of free navigation. And it is further agreed that "so long as this treaty shall remain in force, this same right of navigation shall extend to the waters of Lake Michigan and to all canals connecting boundary waters, and now existing or which may hereafter be constructed on either side of the line." The right is reserved to either country to adopt rules and regulations governing the use of its canals, and to charge tolls for the use thereof, so long as these apply equally to the citizens and vessels of both countries. Absolute equality, of use is the governing principle of this article.

It is a debatable point among geographers whether or not Lake Michigan comes within the definition of boundary waters, as a "bay, arm or inlet" of Lake Huron; but it seems clear from the language of article I that that is not the intention of the treaty, as the navigation of Lake Michigan is granted to Canada "so long as this treaty shall remain in force," as an additional privilege to the "navigation of all navigable boundary waters," which has no limitation as to time.

The provisions of article I include the United States and Canadian canals at Sault Ste. Marie, the Welland Canal, the St. Lawrence river canals above the point where the international boundary strikes the river, and some smaller artificial waterways. They exclude such canals as the Erie on the United States side and the Rideau on the Canadian side, which do not connect boundary waters.

(c) By article II each of the High Contracting Parties reserves its national jurisdiction and control over the use and diversion of waters flowing across the boundary or into boundary waters; but it is provided that "any interference with or diversion from their natural channel of such waters on either side of



1. Mission

The purpose of the Special Claims Commission, United States and Mexico, is to settle and adjust amicably "all claims against Mexico of citizens of the United States, whether corporations, companies, associations, partnerships or individuals, for losses or damages suffered by persons or by their properties during the revolutions and disturbed conditions which existed in Mexico, covering the period from November 20, 1910, to May 31, 1920, inclusive, including losses or damages suffered by citizens of the United States by reason of losses or damages suffered by any corporation, company, association, or partnership in which citizens of the United States have or have had a substantial and bona fide interest, provided an allotment to the American claimant by the corporation, company, association or partnership of his proportion of the loss or damage is presented by the claimant to the commission, and which claims have been presented to the United States for its interposition with Mexico, as well as any other such claims which may be presented within the time specified.1

2. History

The first meeting was held in Mexico City on August 18, 1924. The next meeting will be held September 1, 1925.

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The Rules and Regulations of the Special Claims Commission are the same as those for the General Claims Commission (q. v.), except as follows:

I. Place and Time of Hearings.-I. The commission shall sit at the City of Mexico, where its office shall be maintained and its records kept.

2. The commission may fix the time and place of its subsequent meetings, as may be convenient, subject always to the special instructions of the two governments. The time and place of such meetings shall be fixed by orders of the commission.

II. Same as rule II, General Claims Commission.

III. Filing and Docketing of Claims.-1. A claim shall be deemed to have been formally filed with the Commission

(a) Upon there being presented to the secretaries a memorandum or statement, in duplicate, one in English and one in Spanish, signed or countersigned by the agent of the United States, or some one authorized by him to sign on his behalf, setting forth as to each claim contained in said memorandum or statement the name of the claimant, a brief statement of the nature of the claim, and the

1 Special Claims Convention, United States and Mexico, signed September 10, 1923, proclaimed by the President February 23, 1924. See article I.

2 Established by the Commission by order entered August 22, 1924.

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