450. Telegram 1077 From the Embassy in Mexico to the Department of State1 2

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1. I spent forty minutes with Echeverria at his house Friday afternoon. I found him relaxed and looking extremely fit. He held forth first on length and depth of his tour of the country. He said he had already visited twice as many towns as any of his predecessors during their campaigns. He said this type of trip was necessary really to know Mexico and its problems and gave him invaluable insights that he would not be able to obtain after his inauguration. He likewise outlined need of Mexico for more technical training for its young. He mentioned preponderance of the very young in Mexico’s demographic pattern and noted these were necessarily nonproductive but he did not refer directly to population planning problem.

2. Passing to more specific questions, Echeverria said he hoped President Diaz Ordaz would meet again with President Nixon before termination of his mandate because Diaz Ordaz had labored so hard for Mexican-American friendship. Turning to his own case, Echeverria said he would be glad to visit U.S. during period between validation of his election by Congress (early September) and his inauguration on December 1. He mentioned October as the ideal moment from his viewpoint. He stated “if President Nixon invites me to the United States, I will accept ‘gladly’.” Echeverria desires to have meeting take place in California if possible because of large Mexican population there. He thought meeting in California would have very good repercussions in terms of Mexican-American relations. He indicated way in which I could reach him on those or any [Page 2] other subjects while he was campaigning in countryside. I indicated I was leaving for Washington tomorrow and he asked me to convey this message to U.S. Government.

3. Echeverria also said I could inform Washington that his foreign policy would not change from Diaz Ordaz policy. He indicated this as based on “back-to-back” solidarity and friendship between Mexico and Washington. He said he would continue vigorous anticommunist line he had followed as Interior Secretary which while protecting individual liberties, would not permit radical activism. He stated at some length his conviction that Mexican system of liberty within framework of law and order was only formula for Latin America although he stated smilingly that Mexico would not seek to export her revolution.

4. Presidential candidate expressed considerable pessimism about rest of Latin America and saw no end to swings of pendulum from anarchy to military dictatorship. He criticized military dictatorships rather strongly saying that they inevitably led to counter movements because of their repressive nature. He saw no new developments on horizon in Cuba and admitted there appeared no possibility under current circumstances for Cuba to re-enter hemispheric organizations. He indicated incidentally that he also planned some travel in Latin America.

5. Echeverria discussed his forthcoming Cabinet quite freely and confirmed our view that he would not definitely make up his mind until November. He said he saw a blend of perhaps half the men in the present Cabinet who were in their fifties with the other half consisting of experienced and able men in their mid to late forties. He said present Cabinet was extremely able and singled out Attorney General Sanchez Vargas as an outstanding Mexican. Echeverria was somewhat less kind with regard to Mexican businessmen, and he said organization of Mexican industry required considerable change. He said best men were not being moved ahead and there was much too much “juniorism” (promoting of sons of heads of companies).

6. Finally candidate indicated climate for foreign investment would remain warm and referred to breakfast he held this [Page 3] morning with thirty representatives of U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

7. Comment: I realize Washington will have to consider at some length question of invitation to Echeverria. I hope it will come through. I was personally glad to see him ready to come to U.S. as there was always possibility he might be reticent on this score. I would also like to make point that while Echeverria received me with the greatest cordiality, fact he is meeting with U.S. Ambassador undoubtedly is somewhat sensitive and it is for this reason I am marking this message “Limdis”.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 15–1 MEX. Confidential; Priority; Limdis.
  2. Ambassador McBride reported on a meeting with presidential candidate Luis Echeverría, who told the Ambassador he “could inform Washington that his foreign policy would not change from Díaz Ordaz policy.”