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

No. 313

Sir: There is enclosed a copy of the “Draft Convention and Report of the Governing Board of the Pan American Union on Nature Protection and Wild Life Preservation in the American Republics”, published by the Pan American Union in June 1940. The report of the Committee of Experts contained therein was approved by the Governing Board of the Pan American Union at its meeting on June 5, 1940, and the Governing Board decided to have the convention opened for signature at the Pan American Union on October 12, 1940.32

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The draft convention has aroused interest among scientists and scientific institutions in this country as offering a basis for cooperative action among the American Republics in taking practical measures for the preservation of wild life in the western hemisphere. Among the species of animal life of particular interest to scientists are those which are found on the Galápagos Islands. It appears that many of the animal species found on these islands are unique in that they exist nowhere else in the world, and that their extinction would be an irreparable loss to science. Among the interesting fauna now found on the islands mention may be made of the tortoises, land iguanas, marine iguanas, sea lions, Galápagos finches, mocking birds, doves, Galápagos hawks, owls, albatrosses, flamingos, and the Galápagos ducks.

In view of the rarity of these and other species found on the Galápagos Islands the Smithsonian Institution has manifested an interest in conducting further research with regard thereto, and has expressed a desire to cooperate with the appropriate authorities of the Ecuadoran Government in pursuing this important scientific research. If the Government of Ecuador is agreeable to this proposal, the Smithsonian Institution on its part would be prepared to finance the establishment of a small scientific laboratory on the Galápagos Islands, to acquire and maintain there proper laboratory equipment and supplies, and to assign to this work two or three scientists and laboratory assistants at its own expense.

Please inquire of the appropriate authorities of the Ecuadoran Government if a cooperative undertaking of this character would be of interest to it, and whether it would be prepared to accord facilities in order that the project might be carried out successfully. If the proposal is agreeable in principle to the Ecuadoran Government, the Department will gladly assist in working out further details between the Ecuadoran Government and the Smithsonian Institution.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
A. A. Berle, Jr.
  1. For test of convention signed at Washington, October 12, 1940, see Department of State Treaty Series No. 981, or 56 Stat. (pt. 2) 1354.