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Phil Ricks, a member of the Amistad Dam committee of the Chamber of Commerce—I don't believe he has come in, but he is here today.
W. E. (Bill) Cook, who will also testify briefly in a moment, who is a member of the Amistad Dam committee.
Jim Lindsey, our affable and popular county judge of Del Rio, who is also a member of that committee.
Mr. Jerrel Taylor, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Del Rio, one of the outstanding citizens of that area of Texas.
Mr. Bob Robertson, over here, another good spokesman for the people in that section. He is a prominent civic leader.
Another longtime personal friend of mine, Ben Woodson, with the daily newspaper there.
Alex Haynes, another businessman and prominent citizen of Del Rio.
Last but not least, and not from Del Rio but from San Angelo, who represents a wide area of southwest Texas and who is vitally interested in and has been identified with all the worthwhile soil and water conservation projects in that section for many years, Senator Dorsey Hardeman, of San Angelo.
Now, Mr. Chairman, as I say, two or three of these witnesses would like to make brief statements.
Mr. Selden. Mr. Fisher, we are delighted to have all of these gentlemen at the hearing today. We know of their deep interest in this project, as is evidenced by their long trip from Texas to Washington in order to be with us on this occasion.
Mr. Fisher. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First, I suggest that Mr. Pettit, who is chairman of the Amistad Chamber of Commerce committee, directly interested in and responsible for the work of the Chamber of Commerce in the promotion of this project, and who has been working on it for as far back as when it was just a dream years ago.
Suppose you come up and make a statement expressing the views of the committee you represent.
Mr. Selden. We will be very pleased to hear from you, Mr. Pettit.
STATEMENT OF H. M. PETTIT, CHAIRMAN, DIABLO DAM COMMITTEE OF THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF DEL RIO, TEX.
Mr. Pettit. Mr. Chairman, and members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, my name, as Mr. Fisher told you, is Hawley M. Pettit. I am chairman of the Diablo Dam Committee of the Del Rio Chamber of Commerce, and I speak for this organization as well as the city of Del Rio, Tex., and for Val Verde County, in favor of H.R. 8080.
In 1944 the United States and Mexico entered into a treaty designed to utilize and control the waters of the Rio Grande to the fullest possible advantage and benefit of both nations. More recently President Eisenhower and the Mexican President, Adolpho Lopez Mateos, have reaffirmed the interests of both countries in speeding up construction of Diablo Dam.
Many years of work and planning have gone into the preliminary phases of this project. This represents a great deal of time, money, and effort, both on the part of the Government and on the part of the people of the area who are most highly interested in seeing the Diablo—or Amistad—Dam become a reality.
The need has been proven to be very great, both from the standpoint of flood control and the need for conservation of water and the generation of hydroelectric power. Only those who have been on the Rio Grande for many years can completely understand the full meaning of the need for the construction of this dam, for they have seen the Rio Grande during drought when it was a mere trickle of a stream and in many lower reaches of the river stood only in pools, and when whole cities and communities were in dire need of water. Then, too, they have seen this trickle, overnight, become a raging torrent destroying everything in its path, washing away bridges, homes, businesses, and destroying crops and livestock, and worst of all, snuffing out the lives of human beings.
Legislation deemed necessary for the operation of Diablo Dam has been passed by the State legislature. It has been approved by the State Board of Water Engineers and signed and recommended by Governor Price Daniel.1
The feasibility report which has been given by Commissioner Hewitt of the International Boundary and Water Commission clearly shows the need and justifies completely the cost of the construction of Diablo Dam. The Del Rio delegation is thoroughly in accord with the facts presented in the feasibility report and respectfully requests that the committee find in favor of this project which means so much to all the people who live along the valley of the Rio Grande.
Respectfully submitted, H. M. Pettit.
Mr. Selden. Thank you very much.
Are there any questions that any members would like to ask?
Mr. Burleson. Mr. Chairman, I would like to compliment Mr. Pettit and all of those with him, on his farsightedness and your enterprise in bringing this matter to fruition as you are doing, in an orderly sort or way. This offers me an opportunity to say also, Mr. Chairman—and I know that my other colleagues on the committee will join me in this—that I think all of you are fortunate in having men like O. C. Fisher and Joe Kilgore, Senator Hardeman, and others in official positions, who are so enthusiastic and so ably representing you, in this and other official capacities.
Mr. Pettit. Thank you very much. We feel very grateful to have them as our representatives here.
Mr. Selden. Thank you very much.
Mr. Fisher. Mr. Chairman, among the others here from Del Rio is Mr. W. E. (Bill) Cook, a certified public accountant. He is a director of the South Texas Chamber of Commerce which covers the entire area that is interested, on the American side, in this project.
Bill has a brief statement he would like to make expressing the views of the Chamber of Commerce of South Texas.
STATEMENT OF W. E. COOK, DEL RIO, TEX., DIRECTOR, SOUTH TEXAS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, INC., SAN ANTONIO, TEX.
Mr. Cook. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, my name, as Congressman Fisher has told you, is W. E. Cook, and I am a CPA from Texas, where the congressional district of Mr. Fisher is located. I am a past president of the Chamber of Commerce, an original member of the Diablo Dam (Amistad) Committee, a present director of the South Texas Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the South Texas Chamber of Commerce Diablo (Amistad) Dam Committee. I am the authorized representative of the South Texas Chamber of Commerce.
1 See app. I, p. 257.
This organization represents 52 counties in the State of Texas and represents all of south Texas except a small portion at the lower end of the State.
I realize the value of your time and therefore my report has been condensed to a very strong resolution passed by the 33d annual meeting of the South Texas Chamber of Commerce, its officers and board of directors, on October 12, 1959, together with supporting letters and exhibits attached thereto.
The small statement that you have in your hands does not contain the program of work activities which I have here and which I wish to give you for your files. It shows that Diablo Dam as it was known then, was the No. 1 work program for the South Texas Chamber of Commerce for the last 5 years. It also shows the area represented by the South Texas Chamber of Commerce, on one of the Chamber of Commerce bulletins.
(The document is as follows:)
. 1. Be it known that, Whereas, the principal objective of the South Texas Chamber of Commerce is the conservation of water, the storage of water, and the building of the economic resources of south Texas through the development of adequate and long-lasting sources of water supply, and
2. Whereas, the 1944 International Treaty between the Republic of Mexico and the United States of America agreed upon the construction of three international dams on the Rio Grande River for the purpose of flood control, water conservation, and the preservation of human life and property, and
3. Whereas, the construction on one (Falcon) of the three international dams as provided in the treaty of 1944 between Mexico and the United States has been accomplished, and the results of that construction have materially aided in the' development of that area below that dam known as the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas through the providing of a constant supply of water in times of drought and through the impounding of waters which formerly flowed into the Gulf of Mexico and through the harnessing of floodwaters which in the year of 1954 caused millions of dollars in economic loss in those areas, both in Mexico and Texas above the aforementioned dam, and further would have caused additional millions of dollars in economic loss to the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, excluding the loss of life in both areas, and
4. Whereas, the site has been selected for the second dam in the series of three to be located approximately 9 miles north of the city of Del Rio, Tex., near the confluence of the Rio Grande and Devils River, and detailed plans and construction procedures have been agreed upon by both sections of the IBWC on said site as the most ideal location for Diablo Dam, and
4a. Whereas, the International Boundary and Water Commission has completed the feasibility report of Diablo Dam and said feasibility report has been presented at public hearings of the Board of Water Engineers of the State of Texas, said report unquestionably justifies the need and feasibility of the construction of Diablo Dam, and said Board of Water Engineers has approved the feasibility report, and
5. Whereas, the population of the area between that point above the city of Del Rio to that point where the Rio Grande River enters the Gulf of Mexico, both rural and urban, are completely dependent upon the river as a means of life and economy, and
6. Whereas, an urgency exists to prevent a recurrence of another disaster such as that in 1954 by flooding in the Rio Grande which resulted in the loss of many human lives and millions of dollars in property damage, and records show that a devastating flood on the Rio Grande occurs on the average of every 4 years, and whereas there now exists at this date another disastrous flood rendering hardship and great loss to our fellow Texans and Mexican neighbors below Falcon Dam, and
7. Whereas, if said Diablo Dam were constructed it would alleviate and eliminate those dangers as well as stabilise our rapidly diminishing water supply in a recurring drought-stricken area by providing a large storage basin whereby orderly release of stored floodwaters wp■uld add materially to the agriculture areas along the Rio Grande; and
7a. Since construction of Falcon Dam, the water level has fluctuated from minimum to maximum, and without construction of other upstream dams, this uncertain situation will continue to prevail forever; however with Diablo, the water in Falcon can be stabilized within limits, and at all times allowance for major floods can be made; and
8. Whereas, the storage basin provided by this dam being approximately twice that of Falcon would create a new souree of water by the reduction of water loss due to evaporation and uncontrolled seepage and runoff, and whereas in the October 19, 1958, flood, at $22 per acre-foot, approximately $44 million has been lost, which Diablo Dam could have saved, in addition to flood damages on both the Mexican and United States property adjacent to the Rio Grande (14,000 people homeless as of October 19, 1958, as seven villages and 80 percent of the land between the levees in the 150 miles between Rio Grande City. Tex., and a point 10 miles north of Brownsville, Tex., have been inundated by the waters of the Rio Grande) ; and
9. Whereas, the life of the existing dam known as Falcon would be doubled due to the retarding of the silting action which is annually lessening the economic usefulness of Falcon as a storage basin ; and
10. Whereas, the communities of Del Rio, Eagle Pass, Laredo, and Zapata, representing the major population areas located above the originally constructed dam and below the Diablo Dam site have reached a common agreement upon the need for the construction of such dam in order to stabilize the economy of the entire river basin; and
11. Whereas, at the 31st and 32d annual conventions of the South Texas Chamber of Commerce, in session at Corpus Christi, Tex., on October 20, 1957, and Laredo, Tex., on October 20, 1958, adopted and urged earliest possible action on early construction of Diablo Dam:
12. Now, therefore, be it resolved, That, on this 12th day of October 1959 at the 33d annual meeting of the South Texas Chamber of Commerce, its officers and board of directors, its Water Resources Committee and general membership, endorse the earliest possible construction of an international dam and reservoir near Del Rio, Tex.; and an immediate appropriation and authorization for its construction by the U.S. Congress, and in order to stabilize, protect, and increase the basic economy of the entire south Texas area, in order to save lives and properties, now and in the future, the South Texas Chamber of Commerce urges every citizen of south Texas to join with us and immediately and urgently wire and write all of our Congressmen. Senators, Gov. Price Daniel, and congressional committees, requesting immediate action and earliest possible construction of Diablo Dam.
W. E. Cook,
Mr. Cook. Mr. Chairman, the foregoing is a strong resolution for the early construction of the dam.
To give you some other idea of the size, the population estimated in 1959, the last estimate of the census, was 3,487,715 people in the South Texas Chamber of Commerce area.
I wish to express my gratitude for being allowed to appear before you and I thank you for your time.
Mr. Seldetj. We appreciate very much your remarks.
Mr. Fisher. On the list of witnesses I have Mr. Aubrey Rowland, who is authorized to speak for all the bridge owners up and down the Rio Grande from Amistad to the Gulf, but he felt it just as well to submit a resolution of the Association of Bridge Owners. He asked me to seek permission to include this statement in the record. It is a strong endorsement of the project born of experience that they have had in repairing bridges through the years, taking most of the profit out of the bridge business.
Mr. Selden. Without objection, Mr. Fisher, Mr. Rowland's resolution will be included as a part of the record at this point.
Resolution Adopted By Unanimous Vote Of The Mexico-texas Bridge Owners Association At The Annual Meeting Of The Association Held In Browns^ Ville, Tex., October 4,1955
Whereas, the Rio Grande flood of June 1954 destroyed international vehicular and railroad bridges between Del Rio, Texas, and Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, between Eagle Pass, Texas, and Piedras Negras, Mexico, and between Laredo, Tex., and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and caused great loss of lives and much human suffering, loss of millions of dollars in property damage, and caused costly business interruptions and public inconvenience by the cessation of the flow of commerce between the United States and Mexico, and
Whereas, the Falcon Dam on the Rio Grande, recently constructed by the Government of the United States and the Republic of Mexico under the provisions of the treaty concluded between these governments in 1945, prevented the discharge of the floodwaters into the highly developed Rio Grande Valley, proving without question its enormous value in flood protection by saving the lives, bridges, cities, and farms lying below it, and thus preventing a monetary loss doubtless equal to the cost of the Falcon Dam itself; and
Whereas, the International Treaty provides for the construction of other dams on the Rio Grande and the two governments, acting through their respective commissions, have compiled engineering data, and plans are now being prepared for the construction of a second international dam to be constructed on the Rio Grande River to be known as the Diablo Dam and to be located above Del Rio, Texas, and
Whereas, the construction of this Diablo Dam at the site selected near Del Rio, Texas, will afford protection from the recurring disastrous floods on the reaches of the Rio Grande between Del Rio and the Falcon Dam and thus prevent future damage to the highly developed agricultural, municipal, and international properties and facilities, including international highway and railway bridges which are located on this section of the river;
Therefore be it resolved, That the Diablo Dam project should be expedited as rapidly as possible so that the dam may be in readiness to control the recurring floods on the river, and that all governmental agencies, organizations, and municipalities and individuals having in charge the work of the Diablo Dam project and all interested individuals be urged to devote their time and influence in furthering the construction of the dam;
Be it further resolved, That a copy of this resolution be sent to the President »f the United States, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, Senators Lyndon B. Johnson and Price Daniel, Congressmen Joe M. Kilgore and Clarke Fisher, and Hon. Leland M. Hewitt, Commissioner of the United States Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission.
I, the undersigned, A. M. Gault, certify this to be a true and correct copy of the resolution adopted by the Mexico-Texas Bridge Owners Association at the annual meeting of the Association held in Brownsville, Tex., October 4, 1955.
Mexico-texas Bridge Owners Association,
February 1, 1960.
Mexico-texas Bridge Owners Association
The Rio Grande Gateway Bridge Co., Brownsville, Tex.; Mr. H. W. Hiekford,