442. Memorandum From Viron P. Vaky of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, September 30, 1969.1 2

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September 30, 1969

FROM: Viron P. Vaky [VV initialed]
SUBJECT: Operation Intercept

The following is the sequence of events, as I understand them, relating to Operation Intercept and its effect on Mexican-US relations:

1. Operation Intercept was put into effect September 21.

2. The public uproar in Mexico has become increasingly stronger. There was a particularly unfortunate incident in the mid-week when the Mexican Consul General in El Paso was searched. Tourist traffic is down to a dribble. The Mexican press is becoming very vocal, and the issue is becoming a hot one publicly throughout Mexico.

3. The Mexican Foreign Minister complained to Secretary Rogers in New York on September 26 about Operation Intercept. He particularly decried the lack of consultation prior to the operation’s initiation, and said it was damaging US-Mexican relations.

4. The Mexican Ambassador called on Assistant Secretary Meyer on September 29 under instructions to protest the impact of Operation Intercept.

5. At the official luncheon he hosted for the Astronauts in Mexico City, September 29, President Diaz Ordaz in his toast mentioned the damage to bilateral relations caused by Operation Intercept which he called a “somber curtain” marring these relations.

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6. At the Cabinet meeting September 29, Elliot Richardson suggested that we talk to the Mexicans about the future of the operation to overcome some of these problems. However, no one in ARA was told of this. (See 8 below.)

7. At a luncheon on September 29 in New York, the Mexican Foreign Minister told Secretary Rogers that he (the Foreign Minister) was returning and wondered what he could say to the press when he landed in Mexico City. The Secretary said that we ought to have bilateral consultations here in Washington on Operation Intercept. Carrillo Flores readily agreed and telephoned Diaz Ordaz to inform him of this suggestion. The Secretary did not, as far as I can ascertain, talk to Mitchell himself, but he may have known of item 6 above when he talked to Carrillo Flores.

8. Kliendiest called the Mexican Desk today to suggest that the time had come to talk, and told the desk about 6 above-- which is how ARA found out about it. (It is not clear that Kliendiest knew of the Secretary’s offer, but he may have.) The Country Director responded that it was a good idea, and is now in the process of setting up bilateral consultations, coordinating with Justice.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 787, Country Files, Latin America, Mexico, Vol. I, January–December 31, 1969. Confidential. Sent for information. A stamped notation on the first page indicates that Kissinger saw the memorandum on October 2.
  2. National Security Council staff member Vaky reported on the effects of Operation Intercept on U.S.-Mexican relations.