June 11, 1895: Judson Harmon, U.S. Attorney General and the Rio Grande

0611 Judson HarmonJune 11, 1895: First day of tenure of Judson Harmon as U.S. Attorney General. “Harmon issued the most explicit statement of what became known as the American doctrine of absolute sovereignty, that “the rules, principles and precedents of international law impose no liability or obligation upon the United States,” in a case involving a claim by Mexico for damages from diverting the waters of the Rio Grande.” Or, as one source put it: “US Attorney General Judson Harmon tells Mexico that the US will ‘do whatever it pleases’ with water from the Rio Grande.”

Commentary:  Even for those days, this was a pretty amazing statement.

0611 riogrande

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One thought on “June 11, 1895: Judson Harmon, U.S. Attorney General and the Rio Grande

  1. Chet E. Anderson

    My comment is very “California-centric”. I was surprised to see this….then realized it was NOT the Judson Harmon who was an important player in CA drinking water history. Judson A. Harmon was the highest ranking State Sanitary Engineer in Southern California in the 1940s and 1950s with his statewide experience covering the 1930s also. He was a brilliant, hard-nosed, “public health” oriented engineer and was involved in much of the drinking water developments in those years in So. Calif. He later worked for Engineering-Science.

    Reply

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