485. Telegram 7204 From the Embassy in Mexico to the Department of State, December 16, 1972, 0026Z.1 2

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TELEGRAM
Department of State
MEXICO 7204
R 160026Z DEC 72

FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4010

MEXICO 7204

SUBJECT: CONVERSATION WITH PRESIDENT ECHEVERRIA

1. DURING A CONVERSATION WITH PRESIDENT ECHEVERRIA THIS MORNING, I FOUND HIM RELAXED AND FRIENDLY. HE INDICATED OPTIMISM WITH REGARD TO US-MEXICAN RELATIONS FOR 1973.

2. SPECIFICALLY, WE DISCUSSED A NUMBER OF SUBJECTS. ECHEVERRIA INDICATED OPTIMISM THAT 1973 WOULD SEE THE SETTLEMENT OF THE LONG-STANDING SALINITY PROBLEM. I REPEATED THAT THE BROWNELL REPORT WOULD BE SUBMITTED ON TIME BUT, OF COURSE CAUTIONED THAT WE DID NOT KNOW EXACTLY WHEN A DEFINITIVE PROPOSAL TO THE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT WOULD BE MADE. HE INDICATED UNDERSTANDING BUT ALSO SOME SENSE OF URGENCY ABOUT A SETTLEMENT. I PROMISED TO REPORT HIS VIEWS AND POINTED OUT THAT SOME CONTINUING ARRANGEMENT BETWEEN THE BOUNDARY COMMISSIONERS WOULD BE NEEDED AFTER DECEMBER 31 IN ORDER TO PREVENT A REVERSION TO THE EARLIER SITUATION. ECHEVERRIA INDICATED HIS UNDERSTANDING OF THIS SITUATION.

3. I ALSO INFORMED ECHEVERRIA THAT IT LOOKED AS THOUGH HE COULD FINALLY SIGN AN AGREEMENT SETTING UP THE STUDY GROUP FOR THE NUCLEAR DESALINIZATION PLANT. I SAID WE WERE ALMOST AT AN AGREEMENT ON A TEXT. I MENTIONED THIS PROJECT, OF COURSE, WAS FOR THE FUTURE, [Page 2] BUT MENTIONED THE IMPORTANCE WHICH NATIONAL PATRIMONY SECRETARY FLORES DE LA PENA GAVE TO THIS PROJECT BECAUSE OF ITS IMPORTANT COOPERATIVE ASPECTS AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF WATER RESOURCES FOR MEXICO AND ELECTRIC POWER FOR THE US. ECHEVERRIA INDICATED SATISFACTION AT THIS PROGRESS.

4. FINALLY, I MENTIONED THAT WE HAD NOW SUBMITTED TO WASHINGTON THE FIRST NINETEEN NAMES OF MEXICANS TO STUDY IN US GOVERNMENT AGENCIES UNDER OUR EXCHANGE PROGRAM WHICH WAS SIGNED IN WASHINGTON ON JUNE 15.

5. ECHEVERRIA CONCLUDED THE CONVERSATION BY REITERATING HIS OPTIMISM FOR THE FUTURE AND HIS SATISFACTION THAT THE LAST PURELY BILATERAL PROBLEMS WHICH WE HAD OF ANY SIGNIFICANCE SEEMED WELL ON THEIR WAY TOWARDS SOLUTION. MCBRIDE

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 33–1 MEX–US. Confidential. In telegram 7363 from Mexico City, December 28, the Embassy reported an exchange of notes with Rabasa that extended the temporary salinity agreement until April 30, 1973. (Ibid.) In a memorandum to Nixon, December 29, Johnson forwarded a copy of Herbert Brownell’s report and recommendations for a permanent resolution to the Colorado River salinity issue. Neither is published. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 789, Country Files, Latin America, Brownell Report on Salinity Problem with Mexico)
  2. Ambassador McBride reported that President Echeverría indicated optimism that 1973 would see the settlement of the long-standing salinity problem.