722.2315/1372a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Brazil (Burdett)

3. From the Under Secretary.2 Please inform Aranha3 at an early opportunity that the Ambassador of Ecuador, by instruction of his Foreign Minister, has communicated to me the text of the instruction which the former has just received under date of December 28. The text of this communication is as follows:

[Text of Ecuadoran note not printed. It gave a detailed account of recent incidents on the Ecuadoran-Peruvian frontier.]

In transmitting this message the Ambassador made the following suggestions:

“In the event that Peru refuses to agree to the immediate beginning of the work of the Commission,4 Ecuador is resolved to resort to a Commission of Conciliation; and it is hoped that the Department of State will lend every assistance in order that the Commission may accomplish its high objective and in order to avoid, meanwhile, any resort to violence on the part of Peru. Anything that the Department of State might do to promote peace between the two countries would be profoundly appreciated; and in its desire to avoid a conflict the Ecuadoran Government would be prepared to accept any measure that might be proposed to it and that might have the guarantee of a friendly government.”

We have recently received decidedly disquieting reports on the situation along the Peruvian-Ecuadoran frontier, and while both Governments reiterate their desire to adopt only peaceful methods of settlement and to refrain from any acts which might result in violence, the dangers of the situation, particularly under present world conditions, are obvious. It is by no means impossible that agents of non-American [Page 213] powers may have some responsibility for the present recrudescence of the controversy.

It seems to me all the more desirable for these reasons that some further attempt be made to persuade the two Governments of the necessity, in the interest of the entire continent—apart from their own best interests—to submit the solution of the boundary dispute to some friendly mediation or to some impartial arbitration. As Aranha knows, I have felt for a long time that the Government of Brazil is the best qualified of all of the American governments to undertake the task of mediation. I recognize, perhaps more than any one else, the efforts which Aranha has already made in this sense. I would be most grateful, however, if you would let me have his views with regard to this communication, and let me know if he does not now see the way for some further effort on his part which may pave the way towards the desired solution. He may, of course, count, as he knows without my telling him, upon the consistent and earnest support of this Government in the efforts which he may find it possible to make in this direction. [Welles.]

  1. Sumner Welles.
  2. Oswaldo Aranha, Brazilian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  3. Peru had accepted a proposal by Ecuador for a joint commission to ascertain the facts which might serve to determine the position of the traditional de facto boundary between the two countries.