File No. No. 763.72112/10826

The Ecuadorian Minister ( Elizalde) to the Secretary of State

No. 22

Mr. Secretary of State: I have the honor to call the attention of the Secretary of State to the following:

Many years ago there were organized in Hamburg three joint stock companies, named “Plantagengesellschaft Clementina,” “Deutsche Ecuador Cacao Plantagen und Export Gesellschaft,” “Cacao Plantagengesellschaft Puga.”

These companies gave employment to farm hands, laborers, etc., about 4,000 persons, all Ecuadorians, and the cacao grown by them ranks among the best of the country. The heirs of Durán, Seminario, and Puga, who are the original owners of the respective plantations, have had their property thrown back upon them, so to speak, and in return do not now collect a cent, inasmuch as the Germans say that they have no orders to effect the payment of the shares owing to them, and also on account of there being no purchaser for the cacao grown on those estates for fear of the action that might be taken by the Allied representatives.

So, we have about 10000 bags of cacao that can not be sold, 3,000 unemployed laborers in the Province of Los Rios, three Ecuadorian families, the largest owners of those lands, suffering the undeserved conseqnces of transactions that were lawful before the war, and a countless number of Ecuadorian planters for the account of the owners of the respective states threatened with the loss of their property and the fruits of their labor.

The Minister of Foreign Relations of Ecuador has proposed some kind of arrangement to the Allied diplomatic representatives in Quito in order to protect the Ecuadorian interests involved. He has, for instance, spoken to them about appointing an Ecuadorian custodian of the said estates, the net proceeds thereof, after deducting [Page 364] the expenses, to be deposited in an Ecuadorian or American bank in the name of the Government of Ecuador.

But no solution has yet been reached and, under the circumstances, I am instructed to assist in bringing about an arrangement which would terminate a situation so anomalous and unfair as that described above; and I have thought that the most suitable way to deal with this case is simply and frankly to lay the facts before the Department of State, whose cooperation in adjusting the present difficulties may have a decisive influence.

Not only the sense of justice which guides the actions of the Government of the United States, but also the consideration of the ties of cordial friendship which it maintains with the Government of Ecuador, encourage me to apply to the Department of State for its cooperation in bringing these difficulties to an early settlement.

The Secretary of State can not fail to see that the present situation, affecting the economic welfare of the country, must hamper and weaken the efforts Ecuador is now making toward fulfilling its foreign economic engagements,

I avail myself [etc.]

R. H. Elizalde