File No. 763.72/3323

The Minister in Ecuador ( Hartman ) to the Secretary of State


My telegram February 6, 3 p.m.1 The note of the Minister for Foreign Affairs was delivered yesterday afternoon. It does not state [Page 232] or indicate the attitude of Ecuador toward the suggestion of the President that all other neutral powers take action similar to that taken by the United States. I understand that this note was written after the subject was submitted to the President of Ecuador and the Council of State. Omitting preliminary recitals the following is the complete text of the note as translated:

Very commendable and worthy of applause has been the determination of the neutral powers that have endeavored to mitigate the rigors of the present disastrous war; as equally are not censurable the principles announced by the Government of the United States in the note of April 18, 1916, directed by the Secretary of State to the German Foreign Office through the medium of Ambassador Gerard in Berlin, as regards the inalienable rights of neutrals, the immunities of noncombatants, and the sacred rights of humanity, universally and during all time recognized by civilized nations.

My Government can never consent that any of the belligerents shall impair or fail to recognize the rights that, as a neutral, international laws and treaties assure to it. Having faithfully complied with the obligations which the strictest neutrality imposes upon it, my Government can not well renounce the rights which grow out of that neutrality, which, in [truth] are but the inherent attributes of national sovereignty.

However, perhaps if some form of joint American action, looking toward the legitimate defense of the rights of neutrals were to be discussed, it would be of great interest to the Government and to know the views of your excellency’s Government and of the other American governments in a matter of such a great importance.

  1. Not printed.