United States and Mexico Sign Mutual Aid Agreement

United States and Mexico Sign Mutual Aid Agreement

The United States and Mexico have agreed to a mutual aid disaster plan to cover their 2,000 miles of common border.

The agreement, signed last May 3 during the plenary session of the United States-Mexican Commission for border development and friendship, was sealed in an exchange of notes between Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Mexican Ambassador Hugo B. Margain. In signing, Rusk said the cooperation in Hurricane Beulah last year indicates the potential effectiveness of the agreement on mutual disaster aid. Terms of the agreement were proposed by Mexico. “The representatives (of the commission) concluded that it would be useful to establish means and procedures directed toward furnishing mutual assistance between the two countries in the event of natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, fires, earthquakes or other catastrophies of that nature, in order to protect the life, property, health and safety of inhabitants of the affected areas,” the note said.

Highlights of the agreement are:

  1. Establishment of a MexicanUnited States committee for assistance in disasters to propose to the two governments measures of mutual cooperation and assistance.
  2. The committee will meet alternately in Mexico and the United States on dates approved by the two governments. The host country’s section chief will be chairman.
  3. The committee will be composed of two sections, each headed by a national representative.
  4. The Mexican section will consist of the chairman of the Mexican section of the commission and representatives of the secretaries of government, foreign relations, national defense, navy, finance and public credit, communications and transportation, and health and assistance. Others may be appointed.
  5. The U. S. section will consist of the chairman of the U. S. section of the commission, the director of the Office of Emergency Planning, the disaster relief coordinator of the Department of State, and other representatives who may be appointed.
  6. The committee’s first meeting will be held within 30 days of its establishment.
  7. The committee during its meetings may name members to subcommittees or working groups deemed necessary to study measures that should be adopted in case of disasters.
  8. The results of these working group studies will be studied by the full committee and, once agreed upon, will be referred to the governments for priority attention.
  9. The committee will prepare as promptly as possible a preliminary study of the measures that might be applied in emergency cases and might serve as a guide to the two countries at national, state and municipal levels.

The agreement will be in force for two years, subject to automatic renewal for additional two-year periods unless either government informs the other in writing of its intention to terminate the pact.

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