440. Telegram 5076 From the Embassy in Mexico to the Department of State, September 18, 1969, 0030Z.1 2

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TELEGRAM
Department of State
MEXICO 5076

P 180030Z SEP 69

FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1386

MEXICO 5076

REF: STATE’S 153621 (NODIS) MEXICO’S 5050 (NODIS)

SUBJECT: OPERATION INTERCEPT.

1. IN ACCORDANCE REFTELS, AT NOON TODAY I SAW SECRETARY OF INTERIOR (GOBERNACION) ECHEVERRIA AND DISCUSSED WITH HIM PROBLEM OF NARCOTICS, MARIJUANA AND DANGEROUS DRUGS, INCLUDING SPECIFICALLY OPERATION INTERCEPT. AS INDICATED IN MY TELEGRAM ON THIS SUBJECT OF SEPTEMBER 12, ECHEVERRIA HAS NOT BEEN AVAILABLE EARLIER. DCM ACCOMPANIED ME.

2. I EXPLAINED BACKGROUND OF OPERATION INTERCEPT AND REFERRED TO SPECIAL PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE REPORT OF JUNE 6, COPIES OF WHICH I LEFT WITH HIM. I STRESSED IMPORTANCE OF THIS PROBLEM TO USG AND VERY GREAT CONCERN OF PRESIDENT NIXON AS WELL AS OUR DETERMINATION TO BRING IT UNDER CONTROL. I TOLD HIM THAT IT HAD BEEN FOUND NECESSARY IN WASHINGTON TO ANNOUNCE OPERATION INTERCEPT OVER THE WEEKEND. I EMPHASIZED OUR APPRECIATION OF THE VALUABLE COOPERATION WE HAVE HAD IN THE PAST FROM MEXICAN AUTHORITIES AND EXPRESSED OUR HOPE THAT SUCH COOPERATION WOULD CONTINUE. ADDING THAT WE WANTED TO DO WHATEVER WE COULD TO AVOID UNNECESSARY PROBLEMS FOR THE MEXICAN AUTHORITIES IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF OPERATION INTERCEPT, I INVITED HIM TO LET ME KNOW IF AT ANY TIME HE SAW SOMETHING WE COULD DO TO HELP MINIMIZE DIFFICULTIES THAT MIGHT ARISE WITHOUT, OF COURSE, EMASCULATING PROGRAM.

3. ECHEVERRIA LISTENED INTENTLY AND SAID THAT MARIJUANA USE WAS ALSO A PROBLEM IN MEXICO. BEYOND THIS HE WAS FAIRLY NONCOMMITTAL, ALTHOUGH HE VOICED NO EXCEPTION OR RESERVATIONS ABOUT OPERATION INTERCEPT.

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4. THE QUESTION OF HOW LONG THE INCREASED SURVEILLANCE WOULD LAST DID NOT ARISE.

5. COMMENT: GIVEN HIS GENERAL NATURE AND PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES ECHEVERRIA COULD BE EXPECTED TO BE AMONG THE MOST UNDERSTANDING IN GOM OF OUR NEED TO DEAL WITH ILLEGAL DRUG TRAFFIC. HE SEEMED SATISFIED WITH MY EXPLANATION ABOUT THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF OPERATION INTERCEPT WITHOUT ADVANCE NOTIFICATION. ALTHOUGH HE EXPRESSED NO CONCERN ABOUT OPERATION INTERCEPT AT THIS PARTICULAR MEETING I THINK IT MAY BE THAT HE DID NOT GRASP FULLY THE INCONVENIENCES AND DIFFICULTIES THAT IT MAY CAUSE, AND WE WOULD BE PREPARED FOR HIM OR OTHER GOM AUTHORITIES TO REVERT TO THIS SUBJECT WITH SOME VIGOR ONCE THESE BECOME KNOWN.

MCBRIDE BT NOTE: HANDLE NODIS PER SSO MISS. MUENCH.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 787, Country Files, Latin America, Mexico, Vol. I., January–December 31, 1969. Secret; Priority; Nodis. The telegram’s classification was raised from Exdis to Nodis by S/SO.
  2. Ambassador McBride briefed Secretary of the Interior Luis Echeverría on Operation Intercept.