465. Telegram 3364 From the Embassy in Mexico to the Department of State.1 2

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  • US Training of Mexican Police as Related to Student Disturbances


  • A) Kubisch/Petrow June 17 Telecon
  • B) Mexico 3331
  • C) Mexico 3330

For Deputy Assistant Secretary Hurwitch and Petrow

1. Following ref telecon this morning we found two brief references in today’s newspapers—the first we’ve seen—to alleged training in US of individuals linked to June 10 student disturbances. One was on page 14 of Excelsior which reported student meeting June 16 at zacatenco campus of national polytechnic institute (ipn). among points discussed at that meeting, but according to excelsior not approved unanimously, was identification of seven persons as “captains” or “lieutenants” of the “halcones” and a statement that they were “trained by the cia in washington.” page 46 of la prensa had similar brief reference and used several of same names saying these individuals were denounced as agents of “yankee imperialism” and that group received training in the us and japan in firing weapons. both stories played up diaz escobar’s involvement.

2. These brief, inside page, passing references in otherwise long news stories were also noted by a [Page 2] reporter for English language news. During a telecon today with Embassy spokesman, reporter mentioned newspapers reference to CIA and US training which spokesman passed off as usual charge of CIA involvement whenever disturbances occur. Reporter let matter drop.

3. Four of names in newspaper articles are identifiable with persons sent to us for police training: Lt. Javier Castellanos Agueros, Lt. Moises Cuauhtemoc Guzman Torres, Lt. Jose Lamberto Ponce Lara, and Francisco Ricardo Villasenor Mota (see Mexico’s 1027 and 1824).

4. In accordance ref telecon Charge met with FonOff Under Secretary Gallastegui at noon today and, among other things, raised this subject, providing Gallastegui with clipping of Excelsior article mentioned above. Gallastegui said he had already seen article and was not surprised that Charge raised matter. He unhesitatingly acknowledged that FonSec Rabasa had made initial request for training to Ambassador in January and that he had later reconfirmed to DCM official nature of request and had arranged for appointment of Diaz Escobar with Embassy. He also recalled his statements to us that President Echeverria personally wanted Embassy and USG to assist with this training.

5. Charge explained our concern that Embassy and USG might somehow be linked with Diaz Escobar, with training of “Halcones,” or with June 10 disturbances. Pointed out that several of names in Excelsior article were of individuals officially accredited to Embassy by GOM and had gone to us for police training program. Gallastegui was told that as far as we know none of those who had departed for training had returned to Mexico and that GOM was bearing student expenses in connection with this training.

6. Gallastegui was asked if President Echeverria was fully informed about police training we were providing Mexicans and he said he felt certain Echeverria [Page 3] knew all about the training, although he, Gallastegui, had never personally discussed it with the President; he indicated that FonSec Rabasa had. When he was asked if Sanchez Vargas also was informed he said he did not know. When asked if Mexicans had also gone to other countries for training as we had been assured they were, he replied in the affirmative saying that groups had also gone to France, England, and Japan.

7. Gallastegui went on to say that GOM’s request for assistance in police training had been a legitimate one, that appropriate GOM authorities had wanted to select certain individuals to go abroad and study latest police techniques, covering virtually entire range of police activities, and return to Mexico later this year to assist in the reorganization and modernization of Mexico City police department.

8. Charge said that we hoped no attempt would be made in Mexican communications media to try and link Embassy or USG with “Halcones” or last Thursday’s student disturbances because of our assistance to Diaz Escobar and our training of individuals nominated to US by GOM. Gallastegui said he understood such concern. Charge speculated that enterprising reporters might be able to ferret from various sources, such as relatives and associates, fact that four cited leaders of “Halcones” are receiving USG training in Washington and that next step might well be to link USG with bloody repression of June 10. If this were to happen, Charge asked, what would GOM do? Charge said that Embassy and USG naturally would prefer not to have to issue any kind of statement clarifying the matter, making it clear that we had no connection whatsoever with disturbances—although this point was left hanging in mid-air as though USG had not ruled out such as possibility in advance. Charge went on to express view that if charges were in fact made against USG in Mexican press it would appear far better for GOM to take whatever steps seemed necessary and appropriate to set record straight.

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9. Gallastegui said that matter was sufficiently serious that he would have to discuss it with FonSec Rabasa, who in turn might also want to consult President Echeverria. He asked that Embassy and USG make no public statement or comment about matter until he was in touch with us again later today. As of 6:30 p.m. we have still not heard from him.

10. In accordance with his request and ref telecon we are making no statements of any kind to press, nor except for brief passing mention by news reporter indicated above, have we had any further inquiries. However, for reasons indicated in this and reftels we are of opinion that press will not let allegation of USG involvement pass unnoticed, and that within next twenty-four to forty-eight hours some action will have to be taken to deal with. Siempre and Por Que at least can be expected to give feature play to this story, and other press not likely to ignore it. Hopefully GOM will take whatever action necessary but if not, our best option may well turn out to be issuing statement contained Mexico 3331, or some version of it. In accordance Kubisch/Petrow telecon we will consult with Department before actually releasing such a statement; however, such consultation may have to be on extremely short notice, and we will appreciate Department’s readiness to move quickly if circumstances so require.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 787, Country Files, Latin America, Mexico, Vol. II, January 1, 1970–December 31, 1971. Secret; Exdis; Priority. A stamped notation on the telegram indicates that it was received in the White House Situation Room at 8:47 a.m. on June 18. In telegram 3382 from Mexico City, June 18, the Embassy reported that Gallastegui told Kubisch: “Not to worry—proper measures have been taken.” (Ibid.) In a June 21 Intelligence Information Cable TDCS DB–315/03453–71, CIA reported that President Echeverría knew of the “Halcones,” and that he had “ordered or agreed to the use of the ‘Halcones’ against the student demonstration held on 10 June 1971.” (Ibid.)
  2. Chargé Kubisch reported that he had expressed concern to Mexican Under Secretary of Foreign Affairs Gallastegui that the U.S. Government might be linked to the training of the “Halcones” or the June 10 incident.