Memorandum by President Roosevelt to the Assistant Secretary of State (Moore)

I hesitate to have the acquisition of Galápagos by the United States discussed even confidentially with the Ecuadorian Government. Such action would undoubtedly become known and, at this time, would create an unfavorable impression.

On the other hand, I wish you would discuss with the Secretary the following:

Approach the Ecuadorian Minister, informally, with the suggestion that because of the extraordinarily interesting flora and fauna of these Islands (unlike any in the world) the Pan American Union should consider the possibility of their being converted from Ecuador sovereignty into a Pan American International Park or wild life area. The Pan American nations could chip in some sum—let us say two or three million dollars—to reimburse Ecuador for the money they have spent there. This amount would more than compensate her! The title would then vest jointly in all the members of the Pan American Union. The Pan American Committee could then maintain the Islands as an International Park—prohibiting all fishing and shooting and all colonization. The Committee would also be responsible for the patrolling of the Islands. The only use to which the Islands could be put, under the agreement, is a commercial air line stopping point—no militarization being allowed. The United States would, of course, bear the major part of the purchase price and the patrol. The total cost would be very small.

Such action would forestall any possibility of sale of, or use by, a hostile power.

In regard to Cocos Island, nothing need be done at this time because it has no Naval or Aviation danger to us under existing development of armaments.

F[ranklin] D. R[oosevelt]