448. Telegram 182 From the Embassy in Mexico to the Department of State1 2

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For: Assistant Secretary Meyer

1. The new year has not dawned too auspiciously in terms of Mexican-American relations and I believe that we can anticipate continued difficulties throughout the year. We are faced with problems that are becoming tedious because of their insolubility but nonetheless retain their bite in terms of Mexican official, private and public opinion. I need hardly enumerate these headaches which feature prominently difficulties in trade field and particularly in Mexican agricultural exports to U.S. Reams of paper have been covered reporting Mexican attitudes on their meat exports to us and problems of other exports especially fruits and vegetables and notably tomatoes.

2. The past year was the year of the drug crisis. Fast footwork has for the present at least retrieved this situation from the viewpoint of Mexican-American relations and I fervently hope that the present spirit of cooperation will endure throughout 1970. More preoccupying now is the situation with regard to Section 807 of the Tariff Act and the hearings scheduled for May of this year. The Department is aware of the intense interest on the part of Mexico in the border industrialization plan and to have this thwarted would create a major crisis. There are other latent problems and the Colorado River salinity will undoubtedly be an issue in 1970 because of the termination of the present agreement. A difficult civil aviation negotiation for the first half of this year might also be mentioned.

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3. In sum, there are numerous clouds on the horizon of Mexican-American relations and some of them are bound to dump some precipitation on us in 1970.

4. In attempting to search around for some means of alleviating these problems, which because of various situations in the United States are not readily soluble, it has occurred to me that a tripartite meeting during the first half of the year at the invitation of President Nixon to the President of Mexico and Prime Minister of Canada would be extremely well received by the Mexican Government and people. The action of President Eisenhower in calling together the President of Mexico and Prime Minister of Canada in 1953 at White Sulphur Springs has never been forgotten here and has been mentioned to me on a number of occasions. Mexico is eternally striving for parity with Canada in U.S. consideration so such an invitation would surely be most welcome.

5. There are certain clouds on the horizon of Mexican-Canadian relations too (Canadian restrictions on textile imports from Mexico) and President Diaz Ordaz would probably welcome an opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Trudeau also. At least Canadian Ambassador Rae (protect source) believes so.

6. Furthermore, this would be extremely graceful and appropriate manner for U.S. Government to say farewells to President Diaz Ordaz who has been a good friend. At same time it would not limit our freedom of action with Echeverria in any way and would still permit us to invite him to Washington in autumn after his election in July or establish top-level contact sometime soon after his inauguration on December 1 1970. (In any event we should not invite him to Washington before the election on July 1 since this could prove embarrassing to him.)

7. Therefore, it occurs to me that such a tripartite meeting might be most useful in achieving U.S. objectives in Mexico through the means of giving evidence of a special relationship, and that it might achieve some concrete as well as important psychological results.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL MEX–US. Confidential. Repeated to Ottawa.
  2. Ambassador McBride recommended that President Nixon host a tripartite meeting with President Díaz Ordaz and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau to discuss common problems, particularly regarding economic issues.