Mexican-U.S. Relations

September 23, 1977

Report Outline
Strains Across the Border
Foreign Influences on Mexico
Quest for Recovery and Reform

Strains Across the Border

Old Issues Inherited by New Presidents

The most conspicuous absentee among the 15 Latin American chiefs of state who witnessed the signing of the Panama Canal treaties in Washington this month was the President of Mexico, José López Portillo. Whether his absence was due to the press of official business, as announced in Mexico City, or to Mexico's dissatisfaction with the treaties, as reported in Washington, López Portillo's decision not to participate clearly nettled the Carter administration, which was seeking to create an image of Latin American solidarity on the Canal issue.

The course of U.S.-Mexican relations has seldom run smooth. In earlier times the United States sent military expeditions into Mexico, occupied the capital for nearly a year and seized half of the new country's territory. Today a love-hate relationship exists on both sides of the 2,000-mile border, intensified by Mexico's overwhelming economic dependence on the United States and by the enormous gap in wealth and living standards between the two countries.

With this in mind, one of President Carter's first foreign policy initiatives was toward Mexico. In February, López Portillo visited Washington, the first chief of state to be received by Carter after his inauguration. Both leaders had only recently assumed office and both spoke glowingly of a new era in relations between the two countries. “I am willing to go farther than what courtesy and diplomatic protocol call for to cooperate with you,” Carter told López. In reply, the Mexican President stressed the opportunity for a joint attack on problems facing the two nations.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Latin America
Sep. 14, 2018  Turmoil in Central America
Jun. 05, 2012  China in Latin America
Mar. 2008  The New Latin America
Jul. 21, 2006  Change in Latin America
Mar. 14, 2003  Trouble in South America
Nov. 09, 2001  U.S.- Mexico Relations
Sep. 19, 1997  Mexico's Future
Jul. 19, 1991  Mexico's Emergence
May 05, 1989  New Approach to Central America
Mar. 06, 1987  Soviets' Latin Influence
Dec. 26, 1986  Pinochet's Chile
Nov. 08, 1985  Troubled Mexico
Apr. 10, 1981  Latin American Challenges
May 05, 1978  Central America and the U.S.A.
Sep. 23, 1977  Mexican-U.S. Relations
Jun. 04, 1976  Relations with Latin America
Oct. 21, 1970  Chile's Embattled Democracy
Jun. 24, 1970  Mexico's Election and the Continuing Revolution
Apr. 02, 1969  Economic Nationalism in Latin America
Jul. 19, 1967  Guerrilla Movements in Latin America
Dec. 28, 1966  Militarism in Latin America
Oct. 20, 1965  Common Market for Latin America
Aug. 04, 1965  Smoldering Colombia
Jun. 23, 1965  Inter-American Peacekeeping
Dec. 11, 1963  Progress of the Alianza
Oct. 05, 1962  Arms Aid to Latin America
Dec. 13, 1961  Land and Tax Reform in Latin America
Jul. 26, 1961  Commodity Agreements for Latin America
Jan. 11, 1961  Revolution in the Western Hemisphere
Feb. 10, 1960  Inter-American System
Feb. 10, 1960  Inter-American System
Jan. 13, 1960  Expropriation in Latin America
Jul. 02, 1958  Economic Relations with Latin America
Mar. 02, 1954  Communism in Latin America
Jun. 20, 1952  Political Unrest in Latin America
Sep. 18, 1950  War Aid from Latin America
Oct. 31, 1947  Arming the Americas
Jul. 24, 1946  Inter-American Security
Jan. 02, 1942  Latin America and the War
Jul. 10, 1941  Export Surpluses and Import Needs of South America
Jun. 04, 1941  Economic Defense of Latin America
Jun. 25, 1940  Politics in Mexico
Nov. 01, 1939  Pan American Political Relations
Oct. 10, 1939  United States Trade with Latin America
Apr. 07, 1938  Protection of American Interests in Mexico
Mar. 04, 1936  Peace Machinery in the Americas
Sep. 27, 1933  Trade Relations with Latin America
Oct. 16, 1928  Pan American Arbitration Conference
Jan. 12, 1928  The Sixth Pan American Conference
Jan. 10, 1927  American Policy in Nicaragua
Dec. 27, 1926  Relations Between Mexico and the United States
Diplomacy and Diplomats
Immigration and Naturalization
Regional Political Affairs: Latin America and the Caribbean