Chamizal Treaty of 1963

September 25, 1964 – VIVA CHAMIZAL! — Standing before a map of the Chamizal area, erected at the Bowie High School site of Friday’s celebration of the border settlement, two presidents held their hands high together to mark the happy conclusion of 100-year-old international problem. President Adolfo Lopez Mateos and President Lyndon B. Johnson were joined by their wives, Senora Eva Semano de Lopez Mateos, left, and Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson. —Photo by El Paso Times.

In 1910 the United States and Mexico agreed to settle an international boundary dispute that dated since 1895. Mexican citizens claimed that the United States had incorporated about 600 acres that were lost behind the Rio Grande (Rio Bravo) during a flood. This area was known as the Chamizal.

A tribunal was formed from both countries and included a jurist from Canada. Their recommendation was rejected by the U.S. Government that fostered further ill-will between the United States and Mexico. The dispute continued on.

An island that was formed in the river was known as Cordova Island, previously part of Mexico at the time in United States territory. The island was crime-ridden and a departure point for illegal crossings into the United States.

In spite of many efforts by the presidents of both countries to find common ground on the dispute, it wasn’t until 1963 that President John F. Kennedy agreed to the original recommendation of 1910-1911 with the aim to not only ending the ill-will between nations but to solidify the Organization of American States and the strengthen Alliance for Progress.