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

No. 442

Sir: I have the honor to report that on April 13th the President of Ecuador informed me that as soon as possible after the return of the Minister for Foreign Affairs from vacation, he hoped we might have a conference regarding the Trade Agreement. I replied that I should be pleased to meet them at their convenience.

On the 12th Dr. Alejandro Ponce Borja, recently made General Manager of the Banco Central, advised me that at the instance of his Board of Directors he wished to confer with me regarding methods for improving trade relations between the two countries. Yesterday when he undertook to deal with the subject, he limited his remarks to our protest dated March 13, 1939, saying the Minister for Foreign Affairs had requested him to exchange views with the Minister of Finance and the Directorate of the Banco Central, to ascertain if all restrictions might not be removed on items listed in Schedule I.

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Dr. Ponce Borja said that the opinion of the persons consulted was that to do so would render their whole Import Control System ineffectual: that we knew there was a Control when we signed the Agreement and he wondered if we might not go easy in insisting upon strict compliance for a time at least, until a study could be made.

I informed Dr. Ponce Borja that before the Trade Agreement was signed there was general talk about canceling all Import Control plans; that although signed August 6, 1938, the Agreement did not become effective until October 23rd; that when I returned toward the end of December 1938 the matter of withholding or restricting import permits had been informally discussed with officials at Guayaquil, and later at Quito, and that Don Ricardo Ortiz of the Foreign Office had proposed to the Minister of Finance that the new Import Control Regulations then under study should be declared inapplicable to the French and American Commercial Agreements. To this the Minister seemed to offer no particular objection, but when the public was informed of the Regulations, no such provision was included.


I continued that if compliance would, as he thought, ruin Ecuador’s Import Control Regulations, and such control was still deemed to be necessary, notwithstanding recent public sentiment to the contrary, then we might follow the provisions of the Agreement for arranging some other understanding. I added that we would immediately seek to tabulate the imports over recent years on all items in Schedule I in order to ascertain whether the opinion which had been given to him was correct and that when the tabulation was finished the Consul would come up from Guayaquil and we would go into the matter in an effort to ascertain what indeed the effect would be upon the Import Control should our Trade Agreement be followed literally.

A copy of this despatch has been sent to the Consulate General at Guayaquil and as Mr. Nester has been informed for weeks that this subject was coming up for consideration he will no doubt visit Quito as soon after assembling his figures as possible.

Respectfully yours,

Boaz Long