Chester A. Arthur photo

Special Message

April 18, 1882

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

I transmit herewith, for the consideration of Congress, a note addressed by the minister plenipotentiary of Mexico to the Secretary of State, proposing the conclusion of a convention between the two countries for defining the boundary between the United States and Mexico from the Rio Grande westward to the Pacific Ocean by the erection of durable monuments. I also lay before Congress a letter on the same subject, with its accompaniment, from the Secretary of War, to whom the proposition was referred by the Secretary of State for the expression of his views thereon.

I deem it important that the boundary line between the two countries, as defined by existing treaties and already once surveyed, should be run anew and defined by suitable permanent monuments. By so doing uncertainty will be prevented as to jurisdiction in criminal and municipal affairs, and questions be averted which may at any time in the near future arise with the growth of population on the border.

Moreover, I conceive that the willing and speedy assent of the Government of the United States to the proposal thus to determine the existing stipulated boundary with permanence and precision will be in some sense an assurance to Mexico that the unauthorized suspicion which of late years seems to have gained some credence in that Republic that the United States covets and seeks to annex neighboring territory is without foundation. That which the United States seeks, and which the definite settlement of the boundary in the proposed manner will promote, is a confiding and friendly feeling between the two nations, leading to advantageous commerce and closer commercial relations.

I have to suggest that in accepting this proposal suitable provision be made for an adequate military force on the frontier to protect the surveying parties from hostile Indians. The troops so employed will at the same time protect the settlers on the border and help to prevent marauding on both sides by the nomadic Indians.


Chester A. Arthur, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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