File No. 822.032/5.


[Translation of the passage dealing with the inability of the Government to comply with the suggestion of the mediating powers regarding reference to The Hague of the boundary dispute with Perú. There is no other allusion to the United States in the message.]

Our international relations have been extended and are maintained on a footing of most cordial friendship, excepting with Peru, from whom we are still kept aloof by frontier controversies.

His Majesty, King Alfonso XIII, declined the task of arbitrator in this controversy, as soon as he perceived that the award would plunge the two litigants into war. So noble and high minded an attitude was becoming to the illustrious Spanish Sovereign and eloquently showed his interest for the maintenance of peace among the Republics, daughters of heroic Spain. On the 25th of November, of last year, his excellency, Sr. García Prieto, His Catholic Majesty’s minister of state, was pleased to communicate the said inhibition to our chancellor and the communication was received with much gratitude by the entire Ecuadorian people.

Arbitration having thus come to an end, the mediating powers, always desiring a happy and peaceful solution of the Ecuadorian-Peruvian controversy, suggested that our frontier dispute be submitted to the Permanent Tribunal at The Hague. But the Government of Ecuador, although duly appreciative of the suggestion of the medating powers, could not accept it, because there was question of a vital national interest, namely, that of our sovereignty over two-thirds of our territory. It based its refusal on the principles which, in this same respect, were upheld by the delegates of North America, Brazil, and other nations, at the second Peace Conference at The Hague; and which exclude from arbitration such questions as, in the judgment of any one of the parties interested, affect the vital interests of the nation, its honor and its sovereignty.

The Government of the United States of Venezuela, for the purpose of celebrating the centennial of its political emancipation, invited the five Republics liberated by Bolivar to a congress to agree on a basis for a union of the said States. As was natural, the Government of Ecuador accepted this brotherly invitation, and in conformity with the desires of the Venezuelan chancellery, our delegates were furnished with plenary powers in order to reach a definite and honorable settlement with the Republic of Peru, within the bosom of that assembly. Unfortunately, as the minister for foreign affairs will show you in detail, the Peruvian plenipotentiaries emphatically declared that their country would accept no settlement of any kind with Ecuador and that the union must be built up on the basis of absolute arbitration for every kind of controversies. In the face of such declarations, the Ecuadorian delegation had to present the negative answer which the minister for foreign affairs will lay before you and which has been communicated to friendly nations for their information.

I must advise you that Peru handed in this decision only after all the conciliatory methods proposed by the delegations of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela had been exhausted, all of which agreed in eliminating from the projected arbitration disputes about frontiers, present and future, in so far as these might constitute vital national interests. Peru rejected every form of conciliation and the Bolivian union, as had been foreseen, was not realized.

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However, what happened at the international congress held in Caracas has placed on evidence the good faith with which Ecuador is proceeding, as well as her desires for concord, and the sentiments of brotherliness and Americanism by which it is inspired. As a result some nations have changed their judgment of us and we have gained immensely in the esteem of the world.

The Ecuadorian-Peruvian question is therefore still pending, and constitutes the most difficult problem of our policy as well as a constant menace to the sovereignity of Ecuador; the more so because Peru refuses to restrain itself even at the behest of the mediating powers, thereby forcing us, at every step, to a decision which shall once for all put an end to this overwhelming and annoying controversy. It is time that you should handle this serious matter earnestly and effectively and point out to the Executive the conduct he must follow.