The British Ambassador ( Lindsay ) to the Secretary of State

No. 176

His Majesty’s Ambassador presents his compliments to the Secretary of State and has the honour to inform him that the Foreign [Page 520] Office was recently approached by the British Museum in regard to the possibility of establishing some sort of protection, either national or international, for the fauna of the Galápagos Islands. A proposal which has been put forward contemplates the conversion of one or more of the Islands into a nature sanctuary for the preservation of the fauna, which is otherwise certain to disappear as the Islands become more frequently visited; the matter may, indeed, be urgent in view of the increasing number of visitors who go to the Islands for purposes of sport.

As far as His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom are aware, no international control for the preservation of fauna is at present in existence in any part of the world and they accordingly feel that a new scheme of the kind contemplated could scarcely be put forward without the views of the Ecuadorean Government having first been obtained, especially as concessions for fishing and shooting in the Galápagos Islands are a considerable, and possibly increasing, source of revenue to that Government. Since their own information on the subject tends to confirm the urgent necessity of taking definite steps to preserve the fauna, His Majesty’s Government have instructed His Majesty’s Chargé d’Affaires at Quito18 to elicit the views of the Ecuadorean Government on the matter.

At the same time as it is understood that the proposal for some form of protection originated from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and the American Museum of Natural History in New York, His Majesty’s Government would be glad to learn whether the United States Government could see their way to instruct their representative at Quito to associate himself with the inquiry, which his British colleague has been instructed to make.

  1. Cecil C. A. Lee.