184. Memorandum From Secretary of Defense Brown to Secretary of State Vance1

Dear Cy,

In conjunction with preparations for the President’s trip to Mexico and as a part of the ongoing review of our policies toward Mexico, I believe we should address, as a major issue of U.S. security interest, the question of a broad petroleum agreement with Mexico.

I believe Mexican petroleum is, or should be, one of the basic factors in our quest for an improved bilateral relationship. Our PRC deliberations in this area, however, have centered only on the narrow subject of the importation of natural gas.2

The deteriorating situation in Iran has magnified the serious question of continuing availability of oil from the Persian Gulf in the future, causing us to reexamine our military requirements and look for alternative sources of supply. Accordingly, our bilateral relations with Mexico and ready access to Mexican oil have rapidly emerged as extremely important U.S. security interests.

The attached assessment3 prepared by my Assistant Secretary for Program Analysis and Evaluation provides a starting point for consideration of our future requirements and how we should be attempting to satisfy them. If we add to these concerns the potentially precarious political scenarios that could develop in the Persian Gulf area there is even more reason for concern. Given these facts, prudence dictates addressing these issues prior to the President’s trip to Mexico. As Secretary Schlesinger has recognized, the pace at which Mexico expands its petroleum production is an important factor in the equation—one which we should be working on at top levels in our bilateral deliberations.

I believe that it is essential that we address this subject in the forthcoming PRC meeting on Mexico, now scheduled for January 31.


  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Special Projects File, Box 9, Henry Owen, Chron, 1/27–31/1979. Secret. A copy was sent to Brzezinski.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 170. Another PRC meeting on Mexico was held on January 19. The Summary of Conclusions is attached to a February 2 memorandum from Brzezinski to members of the Cabinet, informing them that the President had approved the conclusions. None of the conclusions concerned energy, which would be the subject of a future PRC meeting. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South File, Box 32, Pastor Country Files, Mexico: PRM 41 (Policy, 12/78–1/79))
  3. Attached but not printed.