459. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, April 8, 1971.1 2

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April 8, 1971

SUBJECT: Difficulties with Mexico

The only current high profile difficulty which we are experiencing with the Government of Mexico revolves around a complaint made on April 6, 1971 by Foreign Minister Rabasa to Ambassador McBride that the U.S. attitude on several trade and economic matters is threatening our “special relationship” and could lead to serious trouble between us. The immediate problem concerns textiles, but the Foreign Minister also mentioned several other recent or pending trade issues.

Ambassador McBride comments that, unless a formula is found to give Mexico some satisfaction with respect to these problems, there may be a cooling of the warm relationship built up over the past several years. Rabasa’s tough attitude on what heretofore would have been fairly modest problems of an operational nature, and his invoking of the “special relationship” with respect to questions of this sort is surprising. It is unclear whether this approach reflects the attitude of the Echeverria Administration, or whether it results from Rabasa’s insecurity in his position and his inexperience in foreign affairs. The latter seems more likely since it is doubtful that President Echeverria would risk friendly relations with the United States over minor operational issues, but Rabasa did remark to Ambassador McBride that the newly formed Mexican Foreign Trade Institute had decided to adopt a tougher policy on trade issues with the United States.

  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. The memorandum is not initialed by Kissinger.
  2. President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger reported that the only high profile difficulty in United States-Mexican relations was in regard to trade.