The Chargé in Ecuador ( Sparks ) to the Secretary of State

No. 624

Sir: With reference to the last paragraph of my despatch No. 601 of November 17, 1936,58 concerning the definition of Ecuadorean territorial waters and marginal seas, I have the honor to report that an occasion was afforded me this afternoon to inquire informally of the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs as to what progress had been made in the premises. He stated that the Legal Adviser of the Foreign Office was just completing a very voluminous report on the subject and that it, together with the reports of the Attorney General, the Minister of National Defense, and this Legation’s notes, would be transmitted within the next two days to the President for his consideration and decision.

In response to my inquiry as to the probable opinion of the Legal Adviser in the premises, I gathered that the report will support the present definition on the grounds that countries such as the Argentine and Uruguay provide in their constitutions for a marginal sea of six miles. However, it would seem that the fundamental reason is that of national economy, since the Under Secretary referred repeatedly to the fishing resources in the Galapagos Islands and how prejudicial it would be if Ecuador acceded to our contention of a three-mile limit.

Respectfully yours,

Edward J. Sparks
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