The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Ecuador ( Scotten )

No. 539

Sir: This Government has given very careful consideration to the Ecuadoran counterdraft of the Galápagos agreement (your despatches no. 900, January 6, and no. 925, January 1144). Although we would still prefer to postpone the signing of any agreement until after the Ecuadoran elections were it possible to do so, you are authorized to enter into conversations with the Ecuadoran Foreign Minister with a view to negotiating a mutually satisfactory agreement. In so doing you are instructed to state:

(1) That the United States Government considers it essential that the clause in the preamble of the Ecuadoran counterdraft relating to ratification be omitted. This Government believes that the use of the word “ratified” might lead to misunderstanding as to the nature of the agreement and to possible complications. Moreover, it would appear that the apparent purpose of that clause can be accomplished without any special language. This Government would not authorize the signature of an agreement which had not been previously approved by appropriate authorities here, and the President of Ecuador could presumably “ratify” this agreement, as he did the Salinas agreement (your 123, February 9 [8], 1944, 5 p.m.), despite the fact that it contains no such language.

(2) This Government is agreeable to the elimination from Article II of the clause in the original draft which relates to the possible continuation of the agreement into the post-war period. However, we believe that if the agreement were to terminate immediately upon the end of the war, it would be impossible to provide for an orderly readjustment to peace-time conditions. We therefore propose that Article II read as follows:

“This agreement shall become effective from the day of its signature, and shall continue in force for the duration of the present world martial conflict and for one year thereafter.”

It will be noted that this follows the language of the Ecuadoran counterdraft except for the addition of words underlined.44a

For your strictly confidential information, this Government is prepared to accept if necessary an agreement terminating six months after the end of the war. Therefore, while it would from our point of [Page 1058] view be preferable, for you to propose at first a one-year clause and only to retreat to six months if necessary, you are authorized, if in the light of existing circumstances you deem it to be the best course, to substitute “six months” for “one year” in your initial discussion on this point. In either case you should insist upon at least six months, and should, if the course of the discussions requires you to do so, make it clear that this Government considers this clause absolutely essential.

It is possible that the Ecuadoran Government may remark that the one-year clause was in the original Salinas agreement (Embassy’s despatch no. 2534, January 25, 194245) and was later eliminated. In this event you should call attention to the fact that Article XV of the original Salinas agreement differed essentially from the present proposal in that it contained a renewal clause.

(3) The United States wishes to amend the last sentence in Article VI of the Ecuadoran counterdraft to read as follows: “Correspondence sent from Ecuadoran territory shall bear Ecuadoran postage stamps except when mailed at United States Army or Navy post offices.”

(4) With respect to the rest of the agreement, the United States Government believes that the early signing of a mutually satisfactory agreement would be facilitated by the acceptance of the language in the draft previously agreed upon and initialed. Although it is true that most of the changes introduced into the Ecuadoran counterdraft are matters of form rather than substance (your 102, February 1, 6 p.m.), the meaning of some of the new language is not entirely clear to this Government. Unless the original draft is accepted (except as indicated in points one to three above), there may be needless delay occasioned by the necessity to reach an understanding as to the exact import of the Ecuadoran changes. In this connection you may in your discretion point out that the original draft was agreed upon and initialed. You may also wish to remark that in general the original draft follows the general ideas of the Salinas agreement more closely than does the Ecuadoran counterdraft and in certain clauses contains language identical to that of the Salinas agreement, and to express the view that it is of course to be desired that agreements on similar matters be as similar as possible in order to further consistency of administration and interpretation.

(5) After a mutually satisfactory instrument has been drawn up by yourself and the Ecuadoran Foreign Office and agreed to by both governments, arrangements will be made to send an officer from the Caribbean Defense Command to Quito to sign it.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Very truly yours,

Edward E. Stettinius, Jr.
  1. Neither printed.
  2. Printed in italics.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. vi, p. 365.