154. Memorandum From Secretary of Defense Brown to Secretary of State Vance1

Dear Cy,

In conjunction with preparations for the President’s trip to Mexico and as a part of the ongoing review of our policies toward Mexico, I believe we should address, as a major issue of U.S. security interest, the question of a broad petroleum agreement with Mexico.

I believe Mexican petroleum is, or should be, one of the basic factors in our quest for an improved bilateral relationship. Our PRC deliberations in this area, however, have centered only on the narrow subject of the importation of natural gas.

The deteriorating situation in Iran has magnified the serious question of continuing availability of oil from the Persian Gulf in the future, causing us to reexamine our military requirements and look for alternative sources of supply. Accordingly, our bilateral relations with Mexico and ready access to Mexican oil have rapidly emerged as extremely important U.S. security interests.

The attached assessment prepared by my Assistant Secretary for Program Analysis and Evaluation provides a starting point for consideration of our future requirements and how we should be attempting [Page 347] to satisfy them.2 If we add to these concerns the potentially precarious political scenarios that could develop in the Persian Gulf area there is even more reason for concern. Given these facts, prudence dictates addressing these issues prior to the President’s trip to Mexico. As Secretary Schlesinger has recognized, the pace at which Mexico expands its petroleum production is an important factor in the equation—one which we should be working on at top levels in our bilateral deliberations.

I believe that it is essential that we address this subject in the forthcoming PRC meeting on Mexico, now scheduled for January 31.3


  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and the Special Assistants to both, FRC 330–82–205, Box 14, Mexico (Jan–Mar). Secret. A copy was sent to Brzezinski.
  2. Dated January 17; attached but not printed.
  3. The PRC was subsequently rescheduled for February 6. See Document 155.