Two men reach out to shake hands in front of a chrome obelisk. A crowd of people look on.
Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Adolfo López Mateos at Bowie High School, September 25, 1964


On September 25, 1964, Presidents Adolfo López Mateos and Lyndon Johnson shook hands in a ceremony to commemorate the signing and ratification by both countries of the Chamizal Convention. The ceremony took place on the grounds of the old Bowie High School (today Guillen Middle School). The school lost some of its campus grounds during implementation of the Chamizal Convention.

Presidents Díaz Ordaz and Johnson shake hands in front of a grey boundary monument in this color photo. Their wives stabd on either side of them, holding their hats against the breeze.


On October 28, 1967 the United States and Mexico marked the official exchange of lands that ended the Chamizal dispute. The presidents and their wives bid each other farewell on the newly constructed Bridge of the Americas following three days of celebration in Washington, DC and El Paso-Ciudad Juárez.

“The past must not be a burden but a fruitful experience of what should repeat itself, and a vigorous warning of what must never happen again.” – President Díaz Ordaz


Open Transcript 


(President Lyndon B. Johnson) For almost a century the word Chamizal stood for dispute and disagreement between the United States and Mexico. Yet in the last 4 years, it has become for both our peoples an inspiring symbol of friendship and mutual respect. An old argument has ended. (President Díaz Ordaz) [speaking in Spanish] [voiceover] Mexico and the United States know that they can discuss their problems openly and calmly, to find their solution within a frame of equity and justice. [marching band playing] [crowd cheering] (President Lyndon B. Johnson) Too many times the world has seen disputed boundaries changed through force. El Chamizal stands as a shining example of how such matters should be settled. (President Díaz Ordaz) [speaking in Spanish] [voiceover] They also know that any international conflict, whatever its magnitude, can be solved when the parties involved sit at the table of reasoned and reasonable discussions. (President Lyndon B. Johnson) Let this monument, and this place, stand as testimony to the world of what two nations, working together, can accomplish. This is the final act of a long drama. It is a fulfillment possible only to those who respect the rights of others, and so insure their own. That is the real message of El Chamizal. [triumphant music ending]

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Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Gustavo Díaz Ordaz celebrate the official Chamizal land exchange in October, 1967.

A black-and-white photo of a black box with labels and buttons mounted on the railing of a bridge overlooking a concrete river channel. A crowd lines the edge of the channel on the left side of the photo.


On December 13, 1968 Presidents Johnson and Díaz Ordaz pushed the buttons on a ceremonial "black box" to open the Adolfo López Mateos River Channel that formed the new international boundary.


Last updated: March 1, 2021

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