196. Memorandum of conversation, June 30, between President Kennedy, President Lopez Mateos, and Foreign Minister Tello1

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  • Salinity and other problems


  • President Kennedy
  • President Lopez Mateos
  • Foreign Minister Tello
  • Ambassador Mann
  • Ambassador Carrillo Flores
  • Mr. Martin
  • Senator Mike Mansfield

The meeting was opened with further considerable discussion of the salinity problem as it would be treated in the Communiqué. After the language had been worked out, President Lopez Mateos expressed his concern that the situation might become acute again after October 1963 which would be a very active period in preparation for the 1964 elections in Mexico. President Kennedy said he would do his best to prevent a recurrence of the difficulties which the Mexicans had experienced last fall.

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There followed considerable discussion of the Communiqué on the subject of the Chamizal problem. At the conclusion of this discussion President Kennedy proposed that our experts continue to work on drawing up an appropriate line, with the Mexicans realizing the difficulty of taking land that had been built on and lived on by American residents of El Paso since the original award, and what would be possible in terms of compensation in lands less difficult for us to turn over. He thought we might seek a solution within the framework of an arrangement in which the United States would agree that the award was a just one which the United States should have accepted at the time it was made. Mexico would indicate that while it agreed with this view, it realized the changes that had taken place which made an accurate carrying out of the award very difficult, and as a gesture was accepting parcels of land elsewhere rather than at the exact location indicated by the award. President Lopez Mateos said he agreed with this.

Foreign Minister Tello, in response to a question from President Kennedy as to whether there were any points on which Mexico felt it might be in the wrong, said that Mexico was [omission in the original].

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1. They would not support any action which was not related to the UN action.

2. They would not support anything which was related to positions taken at the Belgrade Conference.

3. They should defend aggressively the Alliance for Progress.

4. They should defend aggressively LAFTA.

5. In general, barriers to trade should be reduced and on this Mexico had in mind restrictions of the common market.

President Lopez Mateos, after expressing his appreciation for the exchange of views during the visit, said he was fully aware that recent Mexican actions, in particular with respect to Cuban matters, have created doubts in some parts of United States’ opinion about Mexico’s basic attitude on Cuba and the United States. He wished formally to assure President Kennedy and the people of the United States that in case any conflict should arise, Mexico would be glad to guard the United States’ rear with its 35 million people. President Kennedy expressed his great appreciation for this, and said we would be glad to defend the Mexican flanks as well.

  1. Salinity problem on the lower Colorado River and other problems. Confidential. 2 pp. DOS, CF, 611.12/6–3062.