432. Telegram 1460 From the Embassy in Mexico to the Department of State, March 21, 1969, 1805Z.1 2

[Page 1]

TELEGRAM
Department of State
MEXICO 1460

R 211805Z MAR 69

FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 0000

MEXICO 1460

REF: CHAPLIN TO DEARBORN LETTER MARCH 7

SUBJ: OJINAGA AND OTHER RIO GRAND TERRITORIAL CLAIMS

1. I CALLED ON FONSEC MARCH 20 AT MY REQUEST TO DISCUSS OJINAGA TRACTS AND POSSIBLE PACKAGE TREATY FOR ALL OUTSTANDING CLAIMS IN RIO GRAND VALLEY.

2. MY REMARKS TO FONSEC WENT AS FOLLOWS: I WANT TO CONSULT YOU ON THE STATUS OF OUR DISCUSSIONS ON OJINAGA TRACTS. OUR IBWC COMMISSIONERS HAVE STATED OUR RESPECTIVE OJINAGA CLAIMS TO EACH OTHER AND THESE STATEMENTS ARE IN CONFLICT. QUESTION IS WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE. IS GOM INTERESTED IN PUSHING FORWARD AT THIS TIME TOWARD SOLUTION OR DOES IT CONSIDER TIME NOT PROPITIOUS? ANOTHER QUESTION ON WHICH I WOULD LIKE TO CONSULT IS WHETHER GOM WOULD BE INTERESTED IN TRYING NOW FOR TREATY WHICH WOULD RESOLVE ALL TERRITORIAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN US IN RIO GRANDE VALLEY - A TREATY WHICH WOULD ALSO INCLUDE APPROPRIATE MEASURES TO AVOID HAVING TERRITORIAL QUESTIONS IN VALLEY BECOME PROBLEMS IN THE FUTURE. SUCH TREATY MIGHT INCLUDE STIPULATIONS ON ALL TYPES OF CHANGES LIKELY TO OCCUR AND MIGHT AUTHORIZE IBWC RESOLVE PROBLEMS ACCORDING TO SPECIFIC MEASURES SATISFACTORY TO BOTH GOVERNMENTS. IT MIGHT BE EASIER RESOLVE OJINAGA TRACTS PROBLEM IF IT WERE PART OF PACKAGE THAN TO RESOLVE IT ITSELF. WOULD PRESIDENT DIAZ ORDAZ BE DISPOSED ATTEMPT SETTLEMENT DURING HIS ADMINISTRATION? SETTLEMENT MIGHT BE MORE DIFFICULT WITH PASSAGE OF TIME.

3. FONSEC AGREED OUR COMMISSIONERS HAD COME UP WITH DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSED STATEMENTS. HE SAID HE WOULD HAVE TO CONSULT PRESIDENT [Page 2] BUT HIS OWN OPINION WAS PRESIDENT WOULD BE MUCH INTERESTED IN ATTEMPTING EARLY SETTLEMENT ON PACKAGE BASIS. FONSEC STATED OJINAGA AREA WAS IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT WAS PRINCIPAL AREA AT ISSUE BUT THERE WAS NO REASON WHY IT MUST BE HANDLED SEPARATELY. WHEN I REPEATED IT MIGHT BE EASIER NEGOTIATE SETTLEMENT IF OJINAGA WERE PART OF PACKAGE, HE QUICKLY SAID QTE YOU MEAN A COMPROMISE? UNQTE. I RESPONDED THAT I HAD SAID QTE NEGOTIATE UNQTE. THIS WAS THE ONLY MENTION OF WORD QTE COMPROMISE UNQT DURING OUR CONVERSATION AND FONSEC SAID IT. I ASKED IF HE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE GOOD PROCEDURE FOR OUR COMMISSIONERS SUBMIT RECOMMENDATIONS TO THEIR GOVERNMENTS IF GOVERNMENTS SHOULD APPROVE PUSHING FOR PACKAGE TREATY. HE THOUGHT SO.

4. NEXT STEP HERE IS FOR FONSEC TO CONSULT PRESIDENT AND LET ME KNOW LATTER’S DECISION.

5. IT SEEMS REASONABLE CONCLUDE FROM FOREGOING CONVERSATION THAT IF DIAZ ORDAZ’S VIEWS COINCIDE WITH FONSEC’S GOM’S POSITION WOULD BE THAT IT WOULD BE PREPARED NEGOTIATE PACKAGE TREATY ARRIVED AT THROUGH ADJUSTMENTS IN PRESENT POSITIONS BOTH GOVERNMENTS. AT ONE POINT IN OUR DISCUSSION FONSEC SAID AMBASSADOR FRIEDKIN’S PRESENTATION OF US POSITION CLAIMING WHOLE OJINAGA AREA LEFT MEXICAN COMMISSIONER NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO REITERATE ALL OF CLAIM IT HAD ASSERTED SINCE 1907. IMPLICATION SEEMED BE IF US HAD SHOWN SOME INCLINATION COMPROMISE GOM MIGHT HAVE RESPONDED IN LIKE MANNER.
DEARBORN

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 32–1 MEX–US. Confidential.
  2. The Chargé reported a discussion with Foreign Secretary Antonio Carrillo Flores raising the possibility of a resolution to the bilateral dispute over the Ojinaga borderlands, which had been under U.S. control since 1895.