454. Telegram 4025 From the Embassy in Mexico to the Department of State1 2

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1. Thursday evening Foreign Secretary Carrillo Flores received Mr. Herbert Klein. Following an extremely pleasant interchange of cordialities, question of President’s visit to President Diaz Ordaz was discussed. Carrillo Flores first stressed heavily to us that Diaz Ordaz was extremely anxious that the forthcoming meeting not repeat not be marred by any bitter aftermath such as Operation Intercept which followed on heels of Amistad Dam meeting last year. Klein said people in Washington were vividly aware of this problem and he certainly expected no repeat no similar episode.

2. Carrillo then turned to Diaz Ordaz oft-expressed concern that meeting between two Presidents accomplish something specific which would satisfy Mexican public opinion. He explained again that this meeting was much bigger news in Mexico than in U.S. and, therefore, Diaz Ordaz was more concerned than we were about having some specific outcome. Carrillo repeated that two main issues outstanding were those of Colorado River salinity and border issues particularly Ojinaga problem. With regard to salinity Carrillo noted that recently he made a promising proposal which he personally would recommend Mexican Government accept. However, he thought Diaz Ordaz might prefer to leave this issue for Echeverria to solve. He thought ideally Diaz Ordaz administration would settle boundary issues and next President would then shortly afterwards settle salinity problem.

3. Carrillo then discussed border issues and said he thought points two through five of our proposal could be settled at commissioners level. He indicated he did not see any particular [Page 2] difficulty in point six (maritime frontier) and closed with another plea for settlement of Ojinaga issue on political grounds giving roughly 75 per cent of entire area to Mexico.

4. Carrillo then said Diaz Ordaz did not absolutely insist on any solutions but that if there were to be nothing definite accomplished Mexican Government would have to start preparing public opinion for this disappointment.

5. Finally question of dates for meeting was discussed. Carrillo repeated that frankly Diaz Ordaz had not been happy with our new suggestion for August date. Klein explained that certain problems has arisen in early September so that President would greatly appreciate earlier meeting. Carrillo said he thought that after Diaz Ordaz initial unhappiness, he would accept August dates since the important thing was to have the meeting. Carrillo concluded that Diaz Ordaz was most pro-American of five Presidents he had served and he, therefore, thought that eventually he would almost certainly accept August dates.

6. Comment: Meeting was most useful and reflected considerably greater optimism on Carrillo’s part about dates. He has asked to see me again today (Friday) perhaps to follow up on certain aspects for of forthcoming meeting. For example, both Commissioner Friedkin and I feel that there is probably greater chance of getting salinity settlement in this Mexican administration that border agreement unless, in case of latter, there are some new policy decisions taken. I will also follow up on maritime frontier issue. Conceivably if Mexicans accepted our point six formula, we could reconsider our Ojinaga position.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 787, Country Files, Latin America, Mexico, Vol. II, January 1, 1970–December 31, 1971. Confidential; Immediate; Exdis. Forwarded to the Western White House at San Clemente on July 24.
  2. Herbert Klein met with Foreign Secretary Carrillo Flores to discuss President Nixon’s upcoming visit to Puerto Vallarta and highlighted the two major issues that remained outstanding in United States-Mexican relations: salinity in the Colorado River and the Ojinaga border tracts.