437. Telegram 4958 From the Embassy in Mexico to the Department of State, September 9, 1969, 1905Z.1 2

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TELEGRAM
Department of State
MEXICO 4958

P 091905Z SEP 69

FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1319

MEXICO 4958

CORRECTED COPY (CORRECTION GARBLED PORTIONS IN TEXT)

FOLLOWING ARE SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF THREE-HOUR CONVERSATION WHICH I HAD WITH PRESIDENT DIAZ ORDAZ IN HIS PLANE RETURNING FROM AMISTAD DAM CEREMONY MEETING WITH PRESIDENT NIXON (FOREIGN SECRETARY CARRILLO FLORES AND AMBASSADOR MARGAIN ALSO PRESENT):

1. DIAZ ORDAZ WAS OBVIOUSLY IN EXTREMELY GRATIFIED MOOD FOLLOWING HIS DISCUSSIONS WITH PRESIDENT NIXON. EVERY DETAIL OF MEETING HAD PLEASED HIM AND PARTICULARLY HIS TALKS WITH PRESIDENT DURING AND FOLLOWING LUNCHEON. HE WAS VERY EXPANSIVE AND DISCUSSED MEXICAN PROBLEMS WITH US DURING ENTIRE TRIP. HE SEEMED VIGOROUS, UNTIRED BY DAY’S EVENTS AND IN EXCELLENT FORM.

2. DIAZ ORDAZ WAS PLEASED BY REFERENCES IN PRESIDENT’S SPEECH TO SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP EXISTING WITH MEXICO. HE REFERRED TO THIS ON A COUPLE OF OCCASIONS AND SEEMED HAPPY TO HAVE A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP CONTINUE. HE MENTIONED THAT IT WAS A MIRACLE THIS SITUATION HAD DEVELOPED GIVEN HISTORY OF RELATIONS BETWEEN TWO COUNTRIES BUT NOW SAID IT WAS INDISPENSABLE TO MEXICO AND HE THOUGHT IMPORTANT TO US AS WELL.

3. OTHERWISE I WAS IMPRESSED BY DIAZ ORDAZ [Page 2] NEAR OBSESSION WITH U.S. SPACE PROGRAM. OBVIOUSLY PRESIDENT HAD HIT NOTE MOST LIKELY TO PLEASE HIM WHEN HE STATED TO DIAZ ORDAZ, AND LATTER HAD PUBLICLY ANNOUNCED, THAT APOLLO XI ASTRONAUTS WOULD MAKE MEXICO THEIR FIRST STOP. DIAZ ORDAZ HAD FOLLOWED US SPACE PROGRAM CAREFULLY FOR YEARS AND IS DEEPLY IMPRESSED BY OUR PROGRESS. HE SAID I COULD WORK OUT ANY PROGRAM THAT WASHINGTON WISHED FOR ASTRONAUTS IN MEXICO BUT HE WANTED TO HAVE THEM FOR SMALL LUNCH OR DINNER AT HIS RESIDENCE. HE SPOKE OF VARIOUS OTHER ACTIVITIES AND IT WAS LEFT EMBASSY WOULD WORK WITH HIS STAFF. HE READILY AGREED TO MY THOUGHT THAT EXPOSURE TO THE MEXICAN PEOPLE VIA NATIONWIDE TELEVISION INTERVIEW WAS IMPORTANT.

4. DIAZ ORDAZ ALSO DISCUSSED AT LENGTH HIS REAL DESIRE TO ASSIST IN CONTROLLING DRUG TRAFFIC. HE SAID HE HAD TALKED WITH PRESIDENT NIXON ABOUT PROBLEM AND POINTED OUT SOME OF DIFFICULTIES. HE SAID WHEN VIGOROUS MEASURES HAD REDUCED DRUG TRAFFIC AND MARIHUANA GROWING IN SONORA AND SINALOA STATES, TRAFFICANTS HAD MOVED SOUTH TO MICHOACAN AND JALISCO. IF HE SUCCEEDED IN MAKING PROGRESS THERE, THESE PEOPLE WOULD MOVE TO OTHER AREAS. HE SAID MARKET WAS IN US AND US CITIZENS WERE PURCHASING THE MARIHUANA FROM POOR MEXICAN FARMERS AND WERE EVEN FURNISHING THEM WITH IMPROVED SEED. HE MADE CLEAR HIS OWN AVERSION TO DRUGS AND THEIR USE BUT SAID THERE EXISTED DIFFICULT PROBLEM IN MEXICO IN STAMPING OUT GROWTH. HE ADDED TWO GOVERNMENTS HAD COOPERATED IN THIS FIELD, AND HE WOULD CONTINUE TO COOPERATE. HE HAD NOTED PRESIDENT NIXON’S PREOCCUPATION WITH THIS PROBLEM WHICH HE SHARED.

5. MEXICAN PRESIDENT WAS PLEASED AT TRIBUTE WHICH HE SAID PRESIDENT NIXON HAD PAID TO HIS PEACEMAKING ACTIVITIES IN CENTRAL AMERICA. DIAZ ORDAZ SAID HE WAS GLAD TO REPRESENT BOTH COUNTRIES. HOWEVER, HE WAS STILL PREOCCUPIED WITH TENSIONS IN THE AREA AND THOUGHT US SHOULD UNDERTAKE SOME IMMEDIATE BUT MODEST TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE EFFORTS IN HONDURAS AND EL SALVADOR TO REPAIR ECONOMIC DAMAGES OF THE RECENT WARFARE BETWEEN [Page 3] THE TWO COUNTRIES. HE ENVISAGED ROADBUILDING PROGRAM FOR EXAMPLE THAT WOULD NOT REQUIRE YEARS OF STUDY AND ELABORATE EQUIPMENT BUT SIMPLY A PROJECT THAT US WOULD FINANCE WHICH WOULD PROVIDE EMPLOYMENT IN BOTH COUNTRIES. HE BELIEVED MEXICO COULD ASSIST IN SUCH AN ENDEAVOR AND ALSO PRIVATE CAPITAL OF BOTH NATIONS.

6. DIAZ ORDAZ WAS ALSO GLAD US HAD APPRECIATED HIS WILLINGNESS TO ACCEPT FIFTEEN BRAZILIAN PRISONERS IN ORDER THAT AMBASSADOR ELBRICK MIGHT BE FREED. HE STRESSED HE HAD NOT WANTED THESE PEOPLE BECAUSE THEY WILL IMMEDIATELY START CONSORTING WITH CUBAN AND CZECHOSLOVAK EMBASSIES AND LEFTIST ELEMENTS IN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY WITHIN TWO WEEKS. EXPRESSED CONSIDERABLE CONTEMPT FOR LEFTIST INTELLECTUAL CIRCLES IN MEXICO.

7. THIS LED PRESIDENT INTO PHILOSOPHICAL DISCUSSION OF LAW AND ORDER ISSUE IN MEXICO. HE LEFT NO DOUBT THAT HE IS DETERMINED NOT TO HAVE REPETITION OF THE EVENTS OF 1968. HE SAID UNEQUIVOCALLY THAT NO FURTHER STUDENT DISTURBANCES WOULD BE PERMITTED AND THAT IF STUDENT DEMONSTRATIONS WERE TO BEGIN AGAIN DURING HIS TERM OF OFFICE, VERY SEVERE MEASURES WOULD BE TAKEN.

8. DIAZ ORDAZ THEN DISCUSSED WITH ME TRADITIONAL BILATERAL US-MEXICAN PROBLEMS AND SHOWED HIMSELF JUST AS WELL BRIEFED AS CARRILLO FLORES. HE SAID HE HAD TOLD PRESIDENT NIXON THAT NEW AGREEMENT COVERING “BRACERO” PROBLEM WAS NEEDED. HE SAID US LABOR UNIONS HAD OBJECTED TO THEIR PRESENCE BECAUSE THEY ACCEPTED LOWER WAGES. HE SAID HE HAD NO OBJECTION WHATEVER TO HAVING THEM PAID GOING WAGE AND LETTING EMPLOYER SIMPLY SELECT THE BEST WORKER. HE WAS CONVINCED THAT UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES MEXICAN WORKERS WOULD PROVE TO BE EXCELLENT AND HIGHLY PRODUCTIVE. HE PLACED NEW AGREEMENT ON “BRACERO” PROBLEM AS ONE OF TOP PRIORITIES TO BE SOLVED BY HIS ADMINISTRATION BEFORE IT TURNED OVER POWER IN DECEMBER, 1970. DIAZ ORDAZ ALSO REFERRED TO PROBLEM OF “GREEN CARD” WORKERS AND SAID HE HOPED NO ACTION WOULD BE TAKEN AGAINST THEIR PRESENT STATUS INASMUCH AS THERE ARE OVER 40,000 OF THEM.

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9. PRESIDENT THEN DISCUSSED BORDER INDUSTRIALIZATION PROBLEM AND MENTIONED HE HAD FORGOTTEN TO INFORM PRESIDENT NIXON OF HIS CONCERN AT PRESENT STUDIES IN TARIFF COMMISSION OF SECTION 807. HE SAID CHANGE IN THIS PROVISION WHICH WOULD ADVERSELY AFFECT BORDER PROGRAM WOULD HAVE REPERCUSSIONS IN MEXICO. HE ASKED THAT THIS BE PASSED ALONG AND EXPRESSED HOPE THAT SECTION 807 WOULD NOT BE CHANGED.

10. DIAZ ORDAZ THEN DISCUSSED ALSO AT LENGTH PROBLEM OF EXPORTS OF MEXICAN FRUIT AND VEGETABLES TO US. HE SAID FRANKLY MEXICAN PRODUCT WAS BETTER AS A RESULT OF VINE RIPENING AND HAND-PICKING AND THAT HE HOPED EVENTUALLY US PRODUCERS AND GROWERS COULD FIND OTHER OUTLETS FOR THEIR ENERGIES BECAUSE HE BELIEVED AMERICAN CONSUMER FAVORED MEXICAN PRODUCT. HE EXPRESSED SATISFACTION THAT TOMATO PRODUCERS OF TWO COUNTRIES WERE MEETING IN MEXICO ON SEPTEMBER 22. HE WAS THROUGHLY BRIEFED ON THESE PROBLEMS AND OBVIOUSLY FEELS QUITE STRONGLY ABOUT THEM.

11. NUMEROUS OTHER FASCINATING SIDELIGHTS EMERGED FROM THIS LONG AND RELAXED CONVERSATION [Page 5] THOUGH HE DID NOT TOUCH ON MEXICAN INTERNAL POLITICS. FOR INSTANCE, DIAZ ORDAZ HAS CONSISTENTLY REFUSED INVITATIONS TO VISIT THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND BECAUSE HE DOES NOT WANT TO COMPLICATE HIS LIFE WITH GUATEMALA. IN SUMMARY, DIAZ ORDAZ IS OBVIOUSLY A MOST SERIOUS AND DEDICATED MAN. HE HAS FAR MORE HUMOR AND VITALITY THAN APPEARS FROM HIS RATHER SOMBER PUBLIC APPEARANCES. HE IS FULLY VERSED IN MEXICAN REVOLUTIONARY HISTORY AND REMAINS FIRMLY AND FULLY THE HEAD OF THE REVOLUTIONARY FAMILY. NEVERTHELESS HE IS A MODERN MAN AND REALIZES THAT SUCH CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTS AS THE “INFORME” AND PRACTICES SUCH AS THE “GRITO” ARE OUT-OF-DATE. HOWEVER, HE WILL NOT ABANDON REVOLUTIONARY PRACTICE BUT WILL MAINTAIN THEM REGARDLESS OF HOW BORING HE FINDS THEM. HE HAS AN IMPRESSIVE GRASP OF MEXICO’S PROBLEMS AND WE CAN OBVIOUSLY ONLY HOPE THAT HIS SUCCESSOR WILL BE IN THE SAME MOLD AND HAVE THE SAME STRONG PERSONALITY, ALBEIT IN THIS CASE MASKEE HAS A RATHER DRAB AND RETIRING APPEARANCE.
MCBRIDE

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL MEX–US. Confidential; Priority; Limdis.
  2. Ambassador McBride reported a meeting with President Díaz Ordaz in which the two discussed at length Díaz’s desire to assist in controlling drug traffic and the problem of Bracero workers.