Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Latin American Affairs (Wilson)

Dr. Zaldumbide, the Ecuadoran Minister, called on the Secretary this morning to deliver to him the original of the memorandum dated November 12, 1932, setting out the point of view of the Ecuadoran Government with reference to the Leticia incident. Dr. Zaldumbide referred to this memorandum as “a statement of neutrality”. (As a matter of fact it is much more than this, asserting a direct interest on the part of Ecuador in the difficulty between Peru and Colombia).

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The Secretary said that he would have a translation made of the memorandum and would then read it carefully. The Secretary said that he was greatly concerned over the situation between Peru and Colombia. As he saw it the essential point in this matter was the sanctity of treaties. After many years of negotiations Colombia and Peru had settled their boundary difficulties by a treaty which had been duly ratified and entered into effect, carrying with it the honor and obligations of both countries. The American states had always prided themselves on the belief that they had taken the lead among the nations of the world in the peaceful settlement of disputes and in the regard for the sanctity of treaties. It was now very disturbing to find that this treaty, which had settled the boundary dispute between Peru and Colombia, was being brought into question. The Secretary stated that for the remainder of his term in office he would give support to the principle of maintaining the sanctity of treaties.

Dr. Zaldumbide said that he agreed entirely with the Secretary’s views.

E[dwin] C. W[ilson]