Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State (White)

The Minister of Ecuador, Señor Zaldumbide, called and again expressed the interest of his Government in the boundary settlement in the upper Amazon region. He told me that he was instructed to advise me officially but confidentially that Ecuador has opened negotiations with Peru for the settlement of its boundary and that negotiations are proceeding at Quito.

The Minister again expressed the great desire of his Government that in any settlement that should be made now Ecuador would not be left out as was the case in 1922 and 1925 when the Colombian-Peruvian Treaty17 and the Tripartite Agreement between Brazil, Colombia and Peru,18 respectively, were signed. He said that on those occasions Ecuador had been treated as though it were a disturbing element seeking only to make difficulties. He said this is not at all the idea or intention of the Ecuadoran Government which, on the contrary, frankly desires a settlement and wants to cooperate to that end.

The Minister said that everything that goes on in Latin America is known in Washington; that this is the center of all activity, and for that reason he hoped that we would advise him of anything that is taking place. I asked Mr. Zaldumbide whether his Government had advised the Colombian Government of the negotiations going on between Ecuador and Peru and he said they had not. I told him they might wish to consider doing so because it is quite possible that there might be a direct settlement between Colombia and Peru and unless Colombia was informed of Ecuador’s position and desires it was quite possible that some arrangement might be arrived at without Ecuador being informed. I told the Minister that of course we would be very glad to tell him anything we properly could but that we are often given information confidentially and if, for instance, later on there should be negotiations between Peru and Colombia resulting in a settlement concerning which we were informed confidentially, we could not advise the Ecuadoran Government thereof. I told him that right now I am not authorized to advise the Colombian Government that Ecuador and Peru are negotiating and, similarly, should there be negotiations later on between Colombia and Peru, I might be advised of them in the same confidential way as he had just advised me of the Peru-Ecuador negotiations. Of course anything [Page 372] coming to us in confidence we would have to keep confidential and could not pass on to him. The Minister said he understood this but that we had so many sources of information; that we might be informed through our Ambassador in Lima, our Minister in Colombia, et cetera. I said that of course that was quite possible but that our representatives abroad might in turn receive confidential information and while they would advise the Department the Department could not give this information out. The Minister said he understood this perfectly and he was not asking us to do anything that was improper but anything we did learn that we could tell him would be most welcome. I told him that we would keep the matter in mind and of course if there should be anything we could properly advise him of we would be glad to do so.

F[rancis] W[hite]
  1. Signed March 24, 1922, League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. lxxiv, p. 9.
  2. Procès-Verbal of March 4, 1925, Foreign Relations, 1925, vol. i, p. 461.