230. Editorial Note

In a letter to Assistant Secretary Holland of July 11, Ambassador White wrote that he was reluctant to resolve the aviation agreement negotiations with Mexico by an exchange of notes as proposed by President Ruiz Cortines and Minister of the Treasury Carrillo Flores. White wrote in part:

“On thinking the question over further, however, it occurs to me that we can call their bluff and put them in a difficult position if we accept an exchange of notes and then reproduce textually the standard Bermuda-type form of agreement in that exchange. I am not so sanguine or naive as to feel that this will bring them around because I still feel that Ruiz Cortines is holding out to see what happens on his railroad loan, despite Carrillo Flores’ disclaimer of any linking up of the two. However, it does call another bluff of theirs and strengthens our case of having met all their requests, should we come to a breakdown in the negotiations. Furthermore, this manner of presentation will give me a final text for them to accept or not and will cut the props from under Buchanan’s insistence that technicians come to discuss the matter, the matters of principle having been accepted. We have met them on the two outstanding matters of principle and there were no other technicalities to be ironed out so there is really nothing further for technicians or others to haggle about. That does not mean that Buchanan will not attempt to do so if possible but if I can hand the text of the note to Ruis Cortines or Carrillo Flores stating that it covers everything agreed to and point out in the text where these points are covered, it certainly puts them on the spot—not that they mind being there or want to do anything about it—to hold out longer.” (Eisenhower Library, White House Central Files)

White attached to this letter a draft note embodying the air agreement.

On July 17, the Aviation Division of the Office of Transport and Communications transmitted a copy of White’s draft proposal to the Civil Aeronautics Board. In a letter to Deputy Under Secretary Prochnow dated July 18, James R. Durfee, Chairman of the CAB, [Page 730] wrote in part: “The Board is seriously concerned over the Ambassador’s proposal to refrain from offering Mexico at this time rights beyond the United States on either the New York or Miami route, and rights beyond Chicago to points in Canada. The Ambassador states that he has deleted beyond rights on these routes for tactical reasons. It is our understanding that such rights were offered to Mexico in January and that the offer is still outstanding, and it occurs to the Board that failure to reaffirm such offer in the current proposal may lead to a breakdown of the negotiations.” Despite these reservations, Durfee wrote further that the Board believed Ambassador White was in the best position to judge the reactions of the Mexicans to this proposal and that the Board would make no objection to presenting White’s draft note to the Mexicans. (Department of State, Central Files, 611.1294/7–1856) In telegram 147 to Mexico City, July 18, the Department stated that it had no difficulties with White’s proposal concerning the aviation agreement negotiations. (Ibid.)