209. Letter From the President to the Secretary of State1

Dear Foster: I probably have written you more often on the subject of Mexico than any other single matter. This is yet another communication, just for your personal contemplation and concerning which I should like to talk to you some time.

I have the uneasy feeling that somewhere along the line we are not really appreciative of Mexico’s economic and political and social problems. I believe that there is a holdover in our country today of the thought that Mexico is inherently an enemy of ours—I rather sense this feeling often when I hear people talking of the country.

Visits from foreign heads of state are normally a bore, but I am so earnestly of the opinion that the soundness and friendliness of our relationships with Mexico must be a first and continuing concern of ours, that if we could arrange for an early visit of President Ruiz Cortines I would be perfectly willing to go through with it. I think that possibly you and I could profit a lot to hear his personal thoughts about his own country and its needs, especially capital—public and private. I should like to hear his thoughts on PEMEX, because I believe that here is another subject that normally we may have looked at with prejudiced minds, because of our hatred of expropriation and socialism and so on.

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I understand that the Soviets have the largest Embassy in Mexico City and that they are constantly carrying on a real propaganda drive in order to gain advantage in that region.

If we should consider any such thing as this seriously, I do not believe that we would have to prepare a large agenda for the meeting. What I am thinking about is first hand impressions, as well as paying a compliment to the country through the entertainment of their Chief Executive. As a matter of fact, I was thinking of something as simple as asking him and his wife up here for perhaps the fifth and sixth of July. I would be glad to send my plane to Laredo, or wherever he crosses the border, to meet him, and then send him back to the same place.

This suggestion is not intended as something to be circulated for staff study; at your convenience I want to talk to you about it.2

As ever,3

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Eisenhower Diaries. Confidential.
  2. President Ruiz Cortines did not visit the United States in 1955. In a letter to Dulles dated January 18, 1956, President Eisenhower raised one possibility of meeting simultaneously with the heads of the Canadian and Mexican Governments. The President suggested that in lieu of such a meeting, he would send his brother Milton Eisenhower to both countries. The President wrote in part: “What I am thinking of is some gesture that will imply our realization that these two nations, by reasons of geography, have a special meaning to us in all phases of international existence.” (Ibid., DullesHerter Series) In a letter to the President dated January 20, 1956, Dulles stated that President Ruiz Cortines and Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Padilla Nervo had accepted an invitation to meet with President Eisenhower and Canadian Prime Minister Louis S. St. Laurent in March. (Ibid.)
  3. The source text is not signed.