439. Letter From the Ambassador in Mexico (McBride) to Secretary of State Rogers, Mexico City, September 17, 1969.1 2

[Page 1]

Mexico, September 17, 1969


The Honorable
William P. Rogers
Secretary of state
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. Secretary:

I am taking the liberty of writing to you on the subject of developments in Mexican-American relations since the meetings which you and the President had at the Amistad Dam site on September 8, because of your forthcoming meeting in New York with Foreign Secretary Carrillo Flores. Unfortunately since the meetings on that date there have been a number of unfavorable developments which I should cite in the event that they are raised by the Foreign Secretary.

1) On September 12 I informed the Foreign Secretary under instructions that we were undertaking at a subsequent date a major campaign to interdict drug shipments from Mexico to the United States. I was instructed to inform him, and subsequently the Interior Minister and the Attorney General, that we would maintain close consultation with the Mexican Government on this issue and that we appreciated Mexican cooperation on this issue. Regrettably, the Deputy Attorney General announced in Washington on September 13 that this campaign, entitled “Operation Intercept”, had already been initiated. I fear this may become an issue in our bilateral relations, and that the Mexican Government may accuse us of bad faith in announcing the commencement of “Operation Intercept” without the consultation which we had promised. The local press is already headlining the debut of this operation and indicating strong disagreement with the notion that Mexico is primarily responsible for the drug evils in the United States. The Foreign [Page 2] Secretary, Carrillo Flores, may raise this issue with you during your bilateral discussion in New York. This has been a setback to our relations, for the moment at least.

2) [text not declassified]

3) Finally, and much less important, is the fact that the Department announced your meeting in New York with Carrillo Flores on September 26 at 3:00 p.m. without clearing the time with the Mexicans. Carrillo is most desirous of seeing you but he was somewhat taken aback to read in the Mexican press of the time and the place of the interview.

I am sorry to trouble you with these matters and would not do so if I did not believe in the considerable importance of our relations with Mexico and of our need for increased care in handling them in [Page 3] Washington. I believe there is little that can be done to help in these particular matters in the Department but merely felt it my duty to alert you to them in the light of your forthcoming discussion in New York and the fact that they had unfortunately somewhat chilled the excellent atmosphere which you and the President had created at the border.

Fortunately Carrillo is of such a sanguine temperament that he will doubtless be in his usual bubbling mood when he sees you, and he is delighted at the prospect of the discussion. Nevertheless the above mentioned events have caused something of a pall.

I am sending a copy of this letter to Charlie Meyer. It was a real pleasure to see you and Mrs. Rogers at the border site and I much hope that Mrs. McBride and I will have the pleasure of a visit from you to Mexico City.

Robert H. McBride

cc: Assistant Secretary Meyer

  1. Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Guatemala City 1963–79, Roger File. Secret; Roger Channel; Special Handling. A copy was sent to Meyer and Petrow. In telegram 4881 from Mexico City, September 5, McBride advised the Department local press carried stories from Havana that Humberto Carillo, Press Counselor of Mexican Embassy in Cuba, was a CIA agent. The telegram is not published. (Ibid.)
  2. Ambassador McBride wrote to Secretary of State Rogers to advise him of unfavorable developments in United States-Mexico relations.