435. Telegram 140240 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Mexico1 2

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  • Marihuana and Dangerous drugs

1. Full documentation on the Marihuana and Dangerous Drug Task Force has been pouched (register no. 19128) and will arrive in your hands shortly.

2. Above documentation contains information on so-called “Operation Intercept” which will be full-fledged U.S. effort along entire U.S.-Mexican border to interrupt traffic of drugs and marihuana from Mexico.

3. As security precaution approximate dates for “Operation Intercept” are omitted from reference material. However, for your information only, it is anticipated that operation will commence between September 15 and September 30 and last for approximately one month. It is unlikely that logistics involved can be arranged prior to earlier date and it is highly undesirable, for variety of reasons, postpone operation later than September 30.

4. We are aware of possible negative implications of operation on proposed meeting of Presidents and we are desirous avoiding, [Page 2] to extent possible, unpleasant incidents at meeting which could be caused by unusually stringent border crossing inspections, etc.

5. After you have had opportunity study Task Force documentation, we would appreciate views on following questions, as well as any other considerations you wish to raise:

A. Effect, from point of view Mexican sensitivities, of holding meeting while “intercept” under way. If this highly undesirable, would relations be damaged should “intercept” commence within several days after meeting?

B. Task Force willing give 24–48 hours advance notice of “intercept” to selected high GOM officials. Additional advance time not possible because of high risk of leaks and consequent loss of surprise factor. We would appreciate your views on best means informing GOM of purpose of operation and at same time assuring GOM that it in no way affects very cordial relations between our countries.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 787, Country Files, Latin America, Mexico, Vol. I, January 1969–December 31, 1969. Secret; Exdis; Eyes Only Ambassador. Drafted by Michael Yohn (ARA/MEX); cleared by U; and approved by Meyer. In telegram 4658 from Mexico City, August 25, McBride recommended that the United States inform Mexico’s President, Foreign Secretary, and Secretary of the Interior about “Operation Intercept.” (Ibid.) In telegram 147028 to Mexico City, August 29, the Department of State authorized McBride to inform Carrillo Flores of the task force, emphasizing that it was U.S. policy to give full advance information. (Ibid.)
  2. The Department of State provided information on the President’s Marihuana and Dangerous Drug Task Force, which included documentation on “Operation Intercept,” a U.S. effort to interdict narcotics at the border with Mexico. The Department requested the Embassy’s views on Mexican sensitivities.