434. Memorandum From Viron P. Vaky of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, July 1, 1969.1 2

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MEMORANDUM
THE WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON
Action

Tuesday - July 1, 1969

MEMORANDUM FOR DR. KISSINGER
FROM: Viron P. Vaky [VV initialed]
SUBJECT: Terms of Reference for US Section of the United States-Mexico Commission for Border
Development and Friendship (CODAF)

Charles Meyer has been designated Chairman of the US Section, United States-Mexican Commission for Border Development and Friendship (CODAF), vice Ambassador Raymond Telles. In that capacity he has sent you for your information a memorandum (Tab B) outlining the terms of reference he intends to establish for the operations of the US Section of CODAF. These are unexceptionable and seem entirely suitable to the present situation.

I have drafted a brief memorandum from you in reply (Tab A), acknowledging receipt of the terms of reference, and suggesting that your office be kept informed of future plans and activities vis-a-vis the Mexicans as these develop.

Background

CODAF was formed in 1967 by the two governments in a special effort to improve relations along the US-Mexican border. Its original mandate was to study how this objective, as well as improved living standards in the area, might best be achieved through cooperative action. It has had mixed results, since (a) the Mexicans were never sure what CODAF’s role ought to be; (b) the Mexican Government was not prepared to give the border area special preference in allocating government investments; and (c) the US Section tended to operate more in a public relations rather than study context. Recently the Mexican Foreign Minister suggested we re-think CODAF’s role. The attached terms of reference submitted by Meyer, and the reorganization of the US Section itself, provide a means of doing this. These terms of reference for the US Section’s operations provide:

-- the principal task will be to develop areas in which joint cooperative action can be helpful, and act as an initial bridge between US and Mexican agencies which execute the activities.

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-- stimulate social, economic and cultural studies of problems common to both sides by US public and private institutions.

-- assist private US organizations such as the Border Cities Association.

-- serve as a liaison between the US border jurisdictions and various federal agencies.

The US Section of CODAF has on it representatives from all relevant US Departments, such as HEW, Labor, Commerce. Plans for restructuring the US Section are now being made by Meyer, and in due course discussions will be held with the Mexican Government on the role of CODAF as viewed by the two governments.

The activities of this Commission are not dramatic, but they are important. Given a long history of conflict among the border communities, and marked economic and cultural differences between the two sides of the border, problems and friction can be expected to continue and to grow if not confronted. Since good relations with Mexico are important to us, special efforts to reduce the tensions and friction of the border area, as well as actions to demonstrate to the Mexicans that our interest in good relations is more than rhetoric, are desirable.

Recommendation

That you sign the attached memorandum to Mr. Meyer.

Attachments
Tabs A and B.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 787, Country Files, Latin America, Mexico, Vol. I, January 1969–December 31, 1969. No classification marking. Sent for action. Attached but not published are Tabs A and B. Tab A is a July 12 memorandum to Meyer from Kissinger and Tab B is a memorandum from Meyer to Kissinger.
  2. National Security Council staff member Vaky informed President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger that Assistant Secretary Meyer had been designated Chairman of the U.S. Section of the United States-Mexican Commission for Border Development and Friendship (CODAF). According to Vaky, although the Commission’s activities were not dramatic, they were important in promoting good relations with Mexico.