74. Telegram 10712 From the Embassy in Mexico to the Department of State1

10712. Subj: Charter for Economic Rights and Duties of States (CERDS). For Secretary from Ambassador Jova.

1. Although I had had brief conversations with Rabasa on social occasions, today I was able to see him alone for lengthly conversation in which as you can imagine, our position on Charter for Economic Rights and Duties played an overriding role. Rabasa is still hurt over our position on Charter although he assured me repeatedly he bears no personal grudge and that he and President had made reasoned decision not to “make an issue” over the matter at this time. He made following points which he requested I repeat to you (although I am sure most of them are already familiar): (1) Language of Article II specifically permits states to make bilateral agreements on settlement of expropriation disputes which may arise and hence he still cannot comprehend our qualms in this regard. (2) While it is true as I had pointed out, that our position on Charter had long been made clear to him he felt that this applied to the situation before the Tubac meeting and that conversations at Magdalena and Tubac followed by President Ford’s public support for Charter had created a new situation between Mexico and U.S. on this matter. (3) Despite my insistence that Senator Percy was already member of U.S. delegation to UNGA and charged with Committee II Affairs, Rabasa still unable to comprehend why a member of legislative branch “himself with transnational background” was given what seemed to be prime negotiating and even decision-making role. (He is still very resentful of Senator Percy.) (4) By the time U.S. del met with him and offered new alternative language, which seemed conciliatory, it was practically on eve of vote and hence unrealistic at that late date to attempt to bring together Group of 77 let alone to attempt consensus of proposed changes. (5) Fact that U.S. had actually lobbied against CERDS, “a Mexican initiative so dear to heart of President Echeverria” was particularly hurtful. As an example of our lobbying, Rabasa said that he informed that U.S. attempted persuade Japan to change from abstention to negative vote. He said he had not told President Echeverria of this activity as it was difficult enough to explain U.S. negative vote and it would be impossible to explain actual [Page 252] lobbying against interests of friendly Presidential meeting at Magdalena/Tubac.

2. I will not repeat here points I made in defense of USG position. Rabasa was tense at beginning of conversation but we ended in more relaxed and friendly mood. Rabasa said that he hoped that during coming months USG could reexamine its position and come to recognize that Charter was not inimical to U.S. interests and in fact would prove to be actually helpful.

3. In regard forthcoming MFM at Buenos Aires, Rabasa stressed that unless tangible progress could be produced it might be better to postpone or cancel this meeting. “Words of goodwill” had been very useful in creating an atmosphere at early meetings but now results were imperative either on transnationals, on science and technology or on something else. Otherwise the system of informal MFMs which had been created so auspiciously would become hollow and as lacking in prestige of some recent OAS General Assemblies.

4. Rabasa stressed his affection and admiration for you, which he said shared by President Echeverria, as well as his recognition of important world tasks on which you were engaged. He hoped, however, that despite these pressures, you could find time to keep alive your personal and continuing interest in Latin America.

  1. Summary: Jova reported that Rabasa was still upset by the U.S. vote against the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States but that the Mexican Foreign Secretary hoped the United States would reassess its position on the issue in the months ahead.

    Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Latin America, 1974–1977, Box 5, Mexico—State Department Telegrams—Tosecstate—Nodis. Secret; Nodis.