The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 169
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The United States-Mexican Boundary Survey
Doniphan's column, an accurate latitude of that city was not
available for Trist, and he was forced to depend upon his admit-
tedly unreliable sources. For this reason, neither Trist nor the
Mexicans knew exactly where to place the boundary with respect
to latitude so that it would be certain to leave El Paso a Mexican
town. Instead they compromised by introducing Disturnell's map
as an arbitrary guide to furnish a pictorial description of the loca-
tion of the line, and the words, "which runs north of the town
called Paso," were inserted into the treaty further describing the
southern boundary of New Mexico for the protection of the Mex-
ican interests." As it stood, then, in the treaty, the boundary was
based upon: (1) an exact initial point on the Pacific, (2) an
arbitrary line dividing upper and lower California from that
initial point to the junction of the Gila and Colorado, (3) two
rivers, the Gila and the Rio Grande, and (4) a notoriously
erroneous map, plus a specific reference to the geographical point
of El Paso. Quite obviously those appointed to run and mark the
line would have an important role in determining just what these
provisions, in fact, meant.
Article V of the treaty also specified the appointment by each
of the two governments of a commissioner and surveyor who were
to meet at San Diego within one year of the date of ratification
of the treaty, and "proceed to run and mark the said boundary
in its whole course to the mouth of the Rio Bravo del Norte."'14
It declared that, "the result agreed upon by them shall be deemed
a part of this treaty, and shall have the same force as if it were
inserted therein."" Thus the relatively extensive powers of the
commissioner and surveyor were incorporated into the treaty
itself. The men chosen by the United States to execute this impor-
tant commission would seemingly have to be men of wide ex-
perience in diplomacy and in topographical and geodetic work,
with the ability to organize and control a large party engaged
in extensive operations in an unknown country, among hostile
tribes, and in co-operation with a nation ever on the alert to
salvage even a minor victory from its recent humiliating defeat.
laUndated Trist draft of letter to New York Evening Post (MS., Nicholas P.
Trist Papers, Library of Congress), XXXIV, June so, 1849-February 23, 1853.
14Senate Executive Documents, goth Cong., ist Sess. (Serial No. 509), Document
No. 52, p. 44-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959, periodical, 1959; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/m1/212/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.