The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 90, July 1986 - April, 1987

Personal Diplomacy: Lyndon B. Johnson and
Mexico, 1963-1968
E. V. NIEMEYER, JR.*
OFFICIAL RELATIONS BETWEEN NATIONS, CARRIED OUT BY THE RESPEC-
tive officers entrusted with this responsibility, are strongly influ-
enced by the manner in which the national leaders react to each other.
If they do not get along well, a damper is cast on the relations between
their countries. On the other hand, if the leaders warm to each other
and treat each other on a basis of equality and mutual respect, the re-
sulting atmosphere can exert a positive influence on the ties between
the two countries. Such a situation occurred during the presidency of
Lyndon B. Johnson, whose activist, extroverted personality and "good
neighbor" policy were key factors in the successful conduct of diplo-
matic relations with a proud and sensitive neighbor: Mexico. This
study is not an analysis of how LBJ and his administration grappled
with the chief issues of U.S-Mexican relations, but an examination of
how two chief executives-the U.S. president and his Mexican counter-
part, Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, neither of whom spoke the language of the
other-developed a warm, harmonious, almost brotherly relationship,
and how this produced significant results in the relations between the
United States and Mexico during their respective administrations.' It
must be affirmed, however, that this relationship did not exist at the
*E. V. Niemeyer, Jr., is a Program Specialist II with the International Office, the University of
Texas at Austin. He would like to thank Thomas C. Mann, former ambassador to Mexico; re-
tired foreign service officers Edward A. Jamison and Henry Dearborn; and Professor Lyle C.
Brown, Baylor University, for their valuable assistance in the preparation of this article.
'For a comprehensive review of U.S.-Mexican relations, see Karl M. Schmitt, Mexico and the
United States, I82r-1973: Conflict and Coexistence (New York, 1974). See also Lyle C. Brown and
James W. Wilkie, "Recent United States-Mexican Relations: Problems Old and New," in John
Braeman, Robert H. Bremner, and David Brody (eds.), Twentieth Century American Foreign Policy
(Columbus, Ohio, 1971), 378-419, and Lyle C. Brown, "The Politics of United States-Mexican
Relations: Problems of the 1970os in Historical Perspective," in James W. Wilkie, Michael C.
Meyer, Edna Monz6n de Wilkie (eds.), Contemporary Mexico: Papers of the IV International Con-
gress of Mexican History (Berkeley, 1976), 471-493-

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 90, July 1986 - April, 1987. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117152/. Accessed September 16, 2014.