446. Memorandum of Conversation, Washington, December 5, 1969.1 2

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Memorandum of Telephone Conversation

DATE: December 5, 1969

SUBJECT: U.S.-Mexican Relations

PARTICIPANTS: Hugo B. Margain, Ambassador of Mexico
Chris G. Petrow, Country Director, ARA/MEX

S - The Secretary (cc)
U - Mr. Hastings (cc)
The White House - Mr. Vaky
ARA - Mr. Meyer
ARA - Mr. Hurwitch (cc)
E/OT - Mr. Worthington
INR - Mr. Dearborn
Amembassy MEXICO - Ambassador (cc) McBride
Amembassy MEXICO - Minister Kubisch

During a conversation I had with Ambassador Margain today, we briefly reviewed the current state of U.S.-Mexican relations. Margain had just returned from a ten-day trip to Mexico during which he had met with Foreign Secretary Carrillo Flores and President Diaz Ordaz.

1. President Nixon’s Letter to Diaz Ordaz

Margain said Diaz Ordaz had told him how pleased he was with President Nixon’s letter of November 18 and had asked Margain to tell Assistant Secretary Meyer and Secretary Rogers what a good impression the letter had made on him. Diaz Ordaz had been particularly pleased with President Nixon’s statement on Operation Intercept.

2. Narcotics Talks

Margain said that he had found a considerable degree of satisfaction on the part of the Mexican Government with the work of the Joint Working Group on narcotics cooperation. He said he was satisfied that a good agreement would be reached. He said the Mexican officials participating in the talks were very much impressed with Minister Kubisch.

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3. Conversation with Ambassador McBride

Margain said he had had an opportunity for a long conversation with Ambassador McBride at a social function in Mexico City. He said he was pleased by the Ambassador’s “positive attitude” toward Mexico. He said the Ambassador had developed a large circle of Mexican friends, official and otherwise, and was considered by Mexican officials to be a very effective Ambassador.

4. Tomatoes

Almost as an afterthought, Ambassador Margain mentioned tomatoes and asked whether I thought agreement between our two countries on this question was possible. (Margain was not in Washington during the second round of talks, on November 24 and 25, and had apparently not yet been briefed on these talks). I said I was convinced that an agreement was possible. I said this would require Mexico to agree on a market-sharing formula, but that once this principle was accepted, Mexico would find that the U.S. was flexible as to the size of Mexico’s share of the market.

5. Possible Meeting between Echeverria and President Nixon

I told Margain I understood he had mentioned casually to Assistant Secretary Meyer the possibility of an informal meeting between Echeverria and President Nixon in the United States sometime after Echeverria’s election and before his inauguration. I said ARA thought such a meeting would be a good idea but before exploring it with the White House wanted to make sure that the idea had the approval of Echeverria. Ambassador Margain said that he had not been able to discuss his idea with Echeverria during his trip to Mexico City, but that in any case it was too early to speak to Echeverria. He thought it would be best to wait until after the election (July, 1970). He said he would keep the idea in mind and would be in touch with us about it after the election.

6. General Observations

It was apparent throughout the conversation that Margain was extremely satisfied with the present state of U.S.-Mexican relations and that he believed that the cordiality which had [Page 3] characterized these relations before Operation Intercept had been virtually restored. He gave much credit to the State Department for this turn of events.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL MEX–US. Limited Official Use. Drafted by Petrow. Copies sent to the Secretary, Hastings, U, J, C, D, Vaky, Meyer, Hurwitch, E/OT, INR, Ambassador McBride, and DCM Kubisch.
  2. Mexican Ambassador Hugo B. Margain discussed U.S.-Mexican relations with the Department Mexican Country Director, ARA/MEX, Chris G. Petrow. Margain stated that Díaz Ordaz was pleased with President Nixon’s November 18 letter, and he believed that the cordiality which had existed before Operation Intercept had been “virtually restored.”