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Espiritu de Amistad (c. 1969)

International Boundary and Water Commission

Sound | c. 1969

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  •  U.S. Section Commissioner Joseph F. Friedken 
  •  Director General Comisionado Mexicano David Herrera Jordán 
  •   Mexican President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz and President Lyndon B. Johnson at Chazimal monument Dedication 
  •  Mexican President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz and President Lydon B. Johnson at Amistad Dam Dedication 
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This film, made by the Mexican section of the International Boundary and Water Commission, Comisión Internacional de Límites y Aguas, describes the international government agency’s work done in the spirit of friendship, el espiritu de amistad. The narrator first describes border culture, commenting on how Mexican and American cultures come together in border towns to form their own cultures, sharing languages, food, music, and sporting events. The film then elaborates on how the agency serves to resolve border conflicts, with scenes of the two commissioners working together to solve problems for both their countries. Scenes explaining the agency’s projects follow, explaining how dams and reservoirs are used to control irrigation, generate hydroelectric power, and create jobs. The film describes the International Boundary and Water Commission as an exceptional example that two governments should and can co-exist. It contributes, with peace and mutual respect, to the mutual prosperity of both countries.
The International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) has its roots in the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Gadsen Treaty of 1853, both of which established (and re-established) the U.S.-Mexico border, and also established commissions to survey and map the new U.S.-Mexico border, designating landmarks to mark the border. As the rivers that created the borders changed their courses naturally, land changed jurisdiction, and the International Boundary Commission (IBC), the IBWC's predecessor, was established in 1889 to apply rules that resulted from the Rio Grande and Colorado Rivers' roles as the boundaries between the two countries. In 1906, the two countries signed their first water distribution treaty, the Convention of March 1, 1906, which designated portions of the rivers to each country. In 1933, the two countries began joint river projects to stabilize the Rio Grande, and in 1944, the countries formed the IBWC to enforce allocations of the river and began work on dams that would be operated and maintained by both countries. The IBWC has been integral in resolving boundary disputes for the two countries over the following decades and in constructing dams and reservoirs that stabilize the boundary rivers, keeping them on course to maintain consistent borders and benefits for the U.S. and Mexico.