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Shultz Hints of Action to Prod Mexico in Drug War

March 07, 1985|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State George P. Shultz suggested today that the United States may be required to take some action to force Mexico to step up its pressure against the flow of illegal narcotics into the United States.

"Our level of tolerance has been exceeded by these events," the secretary told a Senate appropriations subcommittee.

But Shultz provided the panel with no specifics and said he would oppose the use of economic sanctions.

"I don't think it is a good idea to play around with those kinds of sanctions," he said.

Shultz was questioned at length about State Department policies toward the illegal drug trade following the kidnaping, murder and burial of a U.S. drug enforcement officer and his Mexican pilot on a ranch in Mexico.

Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.) criticized Mexican authorities for an unwillingness to move against inactive or corrupt officials while the amount of illegal narcotics continues to increase.

He said a U.S. policy of searching cars leaving Mexico has not prompted the Mexicans to action. He urged Shultz to consider withholding advance payments for oil and loans for Mexican economic development.

"Are those not better retaliatory actions?" DeConcini asked.

Shultz said while the United States will continue to forcefully press the Mexicans to move against drug dealers, he opposes direct actions that would hurt the Mexican economy.

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