822.796/258: Telegram

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

256. Arrangements had been practically completed for the inauguration of Panagra’s internal service on November 8 when the Minister of National Defense informed Vidal that the Government desired “moral guarantees” from the United States Government that the new service would be permanent in character. The Minister of Foreign Affairs called me to his office this morning to impart the same information and a similar proposal was made by the President to Vidal this morning.

The Foreign Minister was temperate but insistent on this position explaining that were Panagra service to be suspended for any reason after the elimination of Sedta, leaving Ecuador without any aviation service, the administration would be subjected to such criticism that might result in the overthrow of the present Government. While I am fully aware of the difficulty of giving anything in the nature of a “guarantee” that Panagra services will be permanent I am inclined to sympathize with the point of view of the Ecuadorean Government.

I have endeavored to convince the Foreign Minister that the whole course of the negotiations leading up to the establishment of a new service constitutes in itself a guarantee of our good faith and pointed out that we on our part had not insisted on any written promise with regard to the prompt and effective elimination of Sedta. I also offered to furnish him with a personal note expressing my own conviction that both Panagra and the Department of State are acting in entire good faith but he has insisted that I communicate with the Department to receive its authorization to furnish written assurances with respect to our position in the matter.

The following text of the proposed note in the premises which the Foreign Minister assures me will be entirely acceptable to his Government is submitted for the Department’s consideration and approval:

“Excellency: In accordance with authorization received from my Government I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that, motivated by a sincere interest in the maintenance of adequate internal communication services in Ecuador, the Government of the United States will in collaboration with the Ecuadorean Government exercise its good offices to the end that Pan-American Grace Airways or an Ecuadorean subsidiary thereof, continue to operate a domestic aviation service in Ecuador during the remaining years of Panagra’s present contracts and in the event that at any time for unforeseen reasons the company or subsidiary referred to should be obliged to suspend such internal aviation services my Government will exercise [Page 849] its best offices to the end that a reliable aviation company owned and operated either by citizens of the United States or by citizens of one of the other American Republics will continue to provide Ecuador with adequate internal aviation services. Such assurances are contingent upon the exclusion from Ecuador of any aviation company not wholly owned and effectively controlled by citizens of the American Republics.

Please accept Excellency the renewed assurances of my highest consideration.”