The United States recognized the independence from Spain of Colombia, of which present-day Ecuador then formed a part, on June 19, 1822, when President James Monroe received Manuel Torres as the Colombian Chargé d’Affaires. Ecuador withdrew from the Colombian federation in 1830 and received U.S. recognition as a separate state in 1832. The two countries concluded a treaty of peace, friendship, navigation, and commerce in 1839, and the United States sent its first resident diplomatic agent to Quito in 1848. Diplomatic relations have continued since that time, with the United States and Ecuador participating together in inter-American institutions.
Modern Flag of Ecuador
The United States effectively recognized Ecuador in a June 4, 1832, letter from Secretary of State Edward Livingston to Ecuadorian President Juan José Flores. Writing at the direction of President Andrew Jackson, Livingston acknowledged a letter from Flores dated January 13, 1832, in which Flores had announced that he was “at the head of the Government of the State of the Equator.” Livingston also conveyed President Jackson’s gratitude for Flores’s assurance that U.S. citizens in Ecuador would continue to enjoy the rights and privileges guaranteed to them under an existing treaty with Colombia. Though Livingston expressed Jackson’s hope that Ecuador, New Granada (present-day Colombia and Panama), and Venezuela might reunite and thus achieve domestic tranquility, the letter indicated a recognition of Ecuador’s separation from the Colombian federation.
Another indication of U.S. recognition of Ecuador came in May 12, 1834, instructions to Robert B. McAfee, Chargé d’Affaires in New Granada, with which the Department of State transmitted the commission of Seth Sweetser as consul in Guayaquil. The dispatch referred to Guayaquil as a city “in Ecuador,” and it asked McAfee to tell Sweetser to “apply to the Government of that State for his Exequatur.” Sweetser subsequently presented his commission to the President of Ecuador and accepted his exequatur from him on February 24, 1835. Sweetser’s unconditional acceptance of his recognition as a consular representative from the Ecuadorian authorities constituted further U.S. recognition of Ecuador as a sovereign state. Moreover, in instructions dated April 21, 1836, Secretary of State John Forsyth authorized Chargé McAfee to negotiate a treaty with the Ecuadorian minister expected in Bogota, confirming once again U.S. recognition of Ecuador’s status as an independent republic.
The first U.S. consular representative to serve in what is today Ecuador was William Wheelwright, appointed on June 9, 1824, as the U.S. Consul in Guayaquil. The Senate confirmed his appointment on April 8, 1825, and he was recognized by the Intendente of the Department of Guayaquil, General Juan Paz Castillo, on July 5, 1825.
At the urging of Consul Horatio N. Beach, the Department of State raised the rank of the Consulate in Guayaquil to Consulate General in 1884. The Consulate General continues to operate today. It is the only consular post in the Western Hemisphere outside of Canada, Mexico, and Brazil.
The United States established diplomatic relations with Ecuador on August 12, 1848, when Chargé d’Affaires Van Brugh Livingston presented his credentials to the Ecuadorian Government. He became the first resident U.S. diplomatic agent in Ecuador.
The rank of the U.S. Legation in Ecuador was raised to Embassy on March 5, 1942. The Minister to Ecuador, Boaz Long, was raised in rank to Ambassador.
The first major agreement between the United States and Ecuador was a commercial treaty signed by U.S. Special Agent James D. Pickett and Ecuadorian Finance Minister Luis de Saá on June 13, 1839. The two Governments exchanged ratifications of the treaty at Quito on April 9, 1842, and it became effective on September 23, 1842.