133. Letter From President Carter to Mexican President Lopez Portillo1

Dear Mr. President:

Rosalynn and I greatly enjoyed your and Carmen’s visit to Washington. It was an honor to us, and a symbol of our friendship with you, to have you as the first State visitors during my administration.

Your stay enabled us to lay a firm foundation for even closer and friendlier relations between our nations. As you suggested during the [Page 295] welcoming ceremony, amicable neighbors, who understand one another and act in good faith, can find solutions to whatever problems may arise.

As we discussed during our meetings, I want to propose an agenda of issues which both our governments might examine intensively over the next few months, covering the following areas:

—Trade, with particular emphasis on increasing the flow of, and achieving a better balance in, both agricultural and manufactured products.

—Investment, especially concerning Mexico’s development needs and measures that might be taken to encourage long-term investment.

—Financial Affairs, with discussion of U.S. and Mexican measures that could contribute to the stabilization of the Mexican economy and Mexico’s desire for increased access to the international financial institutions.

—Undocumented Workers, with stress on the need for mutual, humane efforts to deal with the problem.

—Illicit Traffic in Narcotics, Arms and Smuggled Goods, with consideration of cooperative measures that can be taken, particularly in the border area.

—Energy, with discussion of Mexico’s development plans and needs for imported technology and financing.2

—Tourism, with discussion of measures to increase the flow in both directions.

—Border Environment, with discussion of the problems of cross-border traffic, water usage, pollution, border industries and crime.

As you know, I am seeking early ratification by our Senate of the treaty covering the prisoners in each country. I believe we should discuss ways to ensure proper treatment of persons arrested or detained in accordance with each of our countries’ laws.3

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I look forward to receiving your views and comments on these items, and on any other topics we might usefully discuss. Once we have agreed on the specific subjects to be covered, we can decide on the best ways to develop and coordinate our policies.4

Let me say once more how much I value our friendship and how much I look forward to a close working relationship with you.


Jimmy Carter
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor, Country, Box 31, Mexico, President Lopez Portillo Visit. No classification marking.
  2. In telegram 24241 to Mexico City, February 3, the Department reported that Foreign Secretary Roel had offered “to supply additional crude oil and gas to the United States during the energy shortage caused by the hard winter.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770038–0097) Acting on advice from Brzezinski, Carter accepted the gas and declined the oil, urging private companies to contact the Mexican Government if they needed petroleum. (Memorandum from Katz to Vance, February 10; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P770031–0234)
  3. Carter sent the Treaty on the Execution of Penal Sentences to the Senate for ratification on February 15. (Public Papers: Carter, 1977, Book I, pp. 156–157) In telegram 171121 to Mexico City from July 22, the Department reported that the treaty had been ratified that day by a vote of 90–0 in the Senate. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770261–0216)
  4. In telegram 2982 from Mexico City, March 10, the Embassy transmitted a reply from Lopez Portillo to Carter, in which the Mexican President accepted President Carter’s agenda and proposed that the high-level working group to consider the agenda be convened as soon as possible. Mexican participants in the working group would be the Secretariats of Treasury, Programming, Patrimony (oil), and Commerce. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770083–0265)