The meeting of Mexican President-elect Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado with United States President Reagan Oct. 8 takes place at a moment of extreme economic trauma for Mexico.
Mr. de la Madrid is inheriting an economic mess that will require not only austerity and skill, but also a lot of US good will and help to solve. The rhetoric of outgoing President Jose Lopez Portillo - who took sharp issue with the developed nations over their economic relations with third-world countries like Mexico - was hardly designed to encourage such good will and aid.
But the Mexican President-elect is eager to get off to a good, friendly start with President Reagan and the US.
Mexico's needs are immense. Between now and the end of 1983, for instance, it will need to borrow $8.31 billion and will need to work out the postponement of payments of principal on most of more than $80 billion in foreign debt. De la Madrid economic advisers hope that Mexico can make the interest payments of these loans - an estimated $18 billion over the next 15 months.
The agenda for the de la Madrid-Reagan talks is open. But shoring up the battered Mexican economy overrides just about all other issues. The US is already providing an advance payment of $1 billion for Mexican oil destined to the US strategic reserve.