822.623/10

The Minister in Ecuador ( Gonzalez ) to the Secretary of State

No. 133

Sir: I have the honor to report that in an interview with the Minister for Foreign Affairs today, I informally expressed the substance of the Department’s instruction No. 44 of July 22, 1935, relative to the interest on the part of the United States in the preservation of the animal and plant life of the Galápagos Islands.

The Minister responded by stating that he is very much interested in the subject as he has made a special study thereof; that in his opinion it would be a splendid idea if a park could be established on the Galápagos Islands in which all of the Latin American republics and even perhaps the United States would enter, for a study of the bird and animal life, because he believed that the Latin American countries, as well as the United States, should have a common understanding in matters which affect this hemisphere. I stated that it seemed to me to be a splendid idea and that, perhaps, the United States might be willing to enter into such a scientific project. General Chiriboga stated that it would not take very much money annually to support such [Page 527] a project and that he was going to discuss the matter with several of his friends in the Congress.

He stated that when he was in Europe he made a special study of the political conditions prevailing there and he felt that, should a conflict begin in Europe, it would be very inexpedient for any European government to have any interest, either scientific or in any other manner with relation to the Galápagos Islands; that during the World War, Japanese and German ships used the Galápagos as a base unknown to the Ecuadorean Government; and that should a conflict arise in Europe now, it was quite possible that Japan might become active again with its many interests in South America and try to take possession of the Islands. He stated that the strategic position of the Islands was such as to be very valuable for a naval or air base for any of the larger powers in Europe, should all of the nations of the world finally have to enter into the conflict; that the Panama Canal was in his opinion one of the greatest safeguards to all of the Latin American Republics, and that he was pleased to note that the United States was contemplating the building of the Nicaraguan Canal, so that in case of an emergency or if anything happened to the Panama Canal, there would still be another outlet. He stated that he was going to discuss the matter further and would let me know the result.

Respectfully yours,

Antonio C. Gonzalez