The Under Secretary of State (Welles) to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Secretary: I am enclosing a copy of a memorandum of conversation between myself and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ecuador, and will appreciate it if the Department will give prompt study to this matter so that a decision can be reached as soon as feasible upon my return to Washington as to the best ways and means of proceeding to develop the work of economic cooperation with Ecuador. I believe the copy of the report to me by the Ambassador of Ecuador will be found in the Department’s files.9 The copy given to me here is being retained by Mr. Feis10 and will be brought by him to Washington.

I presume the Department will have copies of Mr. Fetter’s report.11

Sincerely yours,


Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Welles) to the Adviser on International Economic Affairs (Feis)

Dr. Feis: The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ecuador and his colleague came to see me this afternoon and asked whether I had as yet received a copy of Mr. Fetter’s report and also whether any decision had been reached with regard to the memorandum left with me by the Ambassador of Ecuador a short time before we sailed and of [Page 602] which the Minister handed me a copy which is attached herewith. I replied in the negative to both inquiries.

We had a fairly ample discussion during the course of which I limited myself to the reiteration of the principles contained in my speech of yesterday12 and to the assurance that the proposals already submitted were receiving the most careful study in Washington and that I could state with certainty that the most favorable possible consideration would be given when a proposal was advanced by Ecuador which would provide for productive development in Ecuador and which would be regarded as financially justifiable by the appropriate governmental institutions in Washington.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs said that he would give me additional detailed projects before he left, and we also discussed the need of Ecuador’s undertaking with as little delay as possible a comprehensive plan for the situation of non-competitive agricultural production in Ecuador. I may say that both the Minister and his associate, Dr. Icaza, appeared not only to understand the desirability of this from the standpoint of public opinion in the United States, but to be genuinely interested in it per se because of the promise it held for the creation of additional commerce in the United States. I told him that immediately upon my return to Washington I would urge our Secretary of Agriculture to select a competent expert to go to Ecuador to study the situation and recommend to the Government of Ecuador a suitable plan of complementary agricultural production.13 You may wish to get out a report to Washington to be sent by air mail.

  1. See memorandum handed by the Ecuadoran Ambassador to Under Secretary of State Welles on May 23, supra.
  2. Herbert Feis, Adviser on International Economic Affairs.
  3. Report not printed. Frank Whitson Fetter, professor of economics at Haverford College, was sent to Ecuador in the summer of 1939 to make an economic and financial survey in behalf of the Government of the United States in connection with Ecuador’s request for financial assistance.
  4. Report of the Delegate of the United States of America to the Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the American Republics Held at Panamá September 23–October 3, 1939 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1940), pp. 33–39.
  5. In instruction No. 171, October 18, the Minister in Ecuador was informed that Atherton Lee and Charles L. Luedtke had been detailed by the President to assist the Ecuadoran Government for a period of about 1 month in the study of problems relating to the production and development of tropical products. Mr. Luedtke had made a previous agricultural survey on Ecuador in February–March 1939. (822.61A/13, 22)