433. Telegram 53095 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Mexico, April 8, 1969, 1330Z.1 2

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Department of State 053095

8 APR 69 1330Z




SUBJECT: Ojinaga Negotiation

1. Memorandum of Carrillo Flores conversation with Meyer April 1 being airpouched. Re proposed boundary settlement, most significant points are FONSEC’s apparent willingness to compromise on Ojinagas, support for package settlement, and complaint about withholding of information.

2. On early occasion inform FONSEC Department concerned his statement U.S. Section Commission withholding information relevant respective Ojinaga claims. This is not Section’s intention, and we disclaim such purpose. Commissioner Friedkin’s memorandum for Mexican Commissioner dated September 3, 1968 enclosed copies all surveys available U.S. Section. We had in mind complete joint study all available information. We have not been able identify information FONSEC referred to, and would appreciate precise description.

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3. FONSEC professed some surprise Friedkin claimed whole Ojinaga area. He should be reminded while U.S. believes it has good claim to whole area, Mexico has likewise asserted it has good claim to all Ojinaga, and this disagreement reason settlement has been difficult and delayed. FONSEC should be further reminded, however, that U.S. has long believed that there is not sufficient technical evidence available either side to determine conclusively when and how Rio Grande moved from north to south side valley, and therefore not sufficient evidence to determine conclusively national ownership by either country. Friedkin recognized inadequacy of evidence for conclusive determination in same technical memorandum in which he presented U.S. claim to whole.

4. Since Carrillo Flores seemed somewhat uncertain what U.S. would include in package settlement, you might mention that elements for possible inclusion were outlined by Friedkin in [Page 3] memorandum presented Mexican Commissioner September 5, 1968. They would include elimination of eight detached tracts in addition Ojinagas, elimination of 26 so-called “Emory Islands” (Emory-Salazar survey 1852) now attached to bank opposite from country having sovereignty, determination sovereignty over 373 islands, elimination of 19 bancos under 1905 convention, agreement on arrangements so that Commission may in future prevent or correct formation of detached tracts, and possibly establishment of permanent maritime boundaries in Gulf and Pacific. Underlying purpose of package would be restoration and maintenance Rio Grande as international boundary from El Paso and Juarez to Gulf, essentially in conformity with Presidents’ instruction to Commission February 22, 1964 “to make Rio Grande once again boundary between two countries.”

5. If and when FONSEC reports favorable Presidential decision to seek package settlement (par 4, REFTEL), you may respond along following line: [Page 4] FONSEC indicated in conversation Meyer possibility of “compromise.” We understood FONSEC meant compromise of conflicting claims to Ojinaga (not trade against concessions in other parts package settlement). If FONSEC confirms understanding correct, you may admit possibility compromise, and state one basis might be insufficiency of technical evidence to determine conclusively national ownership. FONSEC may prefer another basis. You may propose that each Government authorize its Commissioner to explore with other Commissioner nature of mutually acceptable compromise in terms of division of Ojinaga area and relocation of river channel on boundary. If FONSEC accepts suggestion, as he appeared willing do April 1, you may state U.S. Commissioner is so authorized and will await Mexican Commissioner’s receipt of similar instructions.

6. Whenever appropriate you should emphasize proposals and discussions must remain informal until outline of possible [Page 5] settlement discernible and necessary consultations can be completed in U.S. GP–3

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 32–1 MEX–US. Confidential. Drafted on April 7 by T. R. Martin (ARA/MEX), cleared in ARA/MEX, L/ARA, and by US–IBWC Commissioner Friedkin; and approved by Vaky. An April 1 memorandum of conversation details the meeting between Meyer and Carrillo Flores. (Ibid.) In Telegram 1844 from Mexico City, April 10, the Embassy reported that President Díaz Ordaz had agreed to pursue a package solution with certain conditions. (Ibid.)
  2. The Department of State instructed the Embassy to explore the possibility of a “mutually acceptable compromise in terms of division of Ojinaga area and relocation of river channel on boundary.”