134. Memorandum From Robert Pastor of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Aaron)1


  • U.S.-Mexico Consultative Mechanism

Attached at Tab A is the schedule; at Tab B are Secretary Vance’s Talking Points; and at Tab C is a background paper which ARA prepared for Vance, telling him everything he needs to know if he cares.2

In essence, the purpose of the meeting is to set up five working groups to begin tackling problems in U.S.-Mexican relations along the lines suggested by the two Presidents. In fact, it is a formal meeting to give the Mexican people the sense that this operation is meaningful and going forward, though neither are true.

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The truth is that ARA diddled around for the last month giving fifth grade tasks to the agencies and never bothering to try to work out the considerable differences which exist between the various departments. The truly difficult choices in U.S.-Mexican relations require hard trade-off between, for example, Treasury’s interest in maintaining austere IMF conditions, and State and AID interest in rural development. There are similar trade-offs between STR and State, Treasury and Energy, Labor and Justice. The decision to set up five working groups dealing with compartmentalized issues is really a decision to sidestep the hard decisions in exchange for the empty symbol of cooperation. This might not be a bad point to raise with Secretary Vance as a way to trying to increase the chance for success of the mechanism.3

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor, Country, Box 28, Mexico, 4–7/77. Confidential. Sent for action.
  2. None of the tabs is attached.
  3. Vance met with Foreign Minister Roel Garcia on May 26 to establish the U.S.-Mexico Consultative Mechanism and set up the working groups.