444. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, November 12, 1969.1 2

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November 12, 1969

FROM: Henry A. Kissinger [HK initialed]
SUBJECT: Settlement of Boundary Problems with Mexico

In the memorandum at Tab A Secretary Rogers informs you that he has authorized negotiation of a treaty with Mexico to settle all outstanding boundary problems. These are problems which have arisen from the shifting of the Rio Grande river channel.

The proposed treaty would seek an overall settlement which would cover:

-- adjudication of various tracts of land which have been affected by the shift in the river’s course, and settlement to private land-owners affected thereby (the total settlement costs are estimated at about $5 million contrasted with a net cost of $39 million for the somewhat similar Chamizal settlement of 1963.)

-- procedures for settlement by the International Boundary and Water Commission of future boundary uncertainties, including determination of reaches of the river where its channel should be stabilized to prevent future shifting of the boundary.

-- determination and stabilization of maritime boundaries extending 12 miles in the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.

The Secretary’s memorandum states that the Department has begun to brief interested Members of Congress and Texas authorities, and expects no opposition.

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An overall settlement of this nature would be a major accomplishment in US relations. It would in particular avoid a more difficult and costly settlement later when the lands in question become more populated and valuable.

President Diaz Ordaz has indicated his desire to leave such a treaty to his successor in 1970–71 to sign and ratify. However, if agreement is reached earlier, the Secretary suggests that you and President Diaz Ordaz could join in announcement of approval of recommendations submitted by the respective Foreign Offices.


Tab A - Memorandum from the Secretary of State

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 787, Country Files, Latin America, Mexico, Vol. I, January–December 31, 1969. No classification marking. Sent for information. A handwritten November 17 notation on the cover page reads, “Back fm Pres.” Attached but not published at Tab A is a November 3 memorandum from Rogers to Nixon.
  2. President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger summarized information regarding a proposed treaty between the United States and Mexico to settle all outstanding boundary problems.