The Ambassador in Ecuador ( Scotten ) to the Secretary of State
[Received July 11—3:35 p.m.]
690. I am glad to report that the Minister for Foreign Affairs58 called me to his office this morning and told me that following our [Page 1065] conversation reported to the Department in my 680, July 6, noon,59 he had spoken to the President and was able to inform me that the Ecuadoran Government desires “as a gesture of international courtesy” to offer the United States the right to maintain our base in the Galápagos as long as we wish after the war. He added that if we so wished, his Government desired to go even farther than the suggestion I had made to him60 and would give the United States the right to abandon the base at any time it saw fit by declaring unilaterally that there no longer exists any danger of aggression by a non-American power against an American power. The Minister added that he is ready to sign an agreement or a “protocol” regarding this whole matter in any form we desire. I thanked the Minister profusely for this generous offer and stated I would transmit it immediately to the Department.
The Minister did not raise the question of any compensation and it is my impression that no compensation will be asked for although I cannot of course guarantee this pending the actual signature of an agreement.
It is my feeling that we should nail down this offer with the least possible delay before this Government changes its mind.
Parenthetically I believe this offer may be due to the Secretary’s having made very clear to Galo Plaza61 our opinion of the action of Ecuador in recognizing Argentina62 and also to my own efforts here along these lines. My belief that the Secretary may have spoken personally to Galo Plaza is based on the fact that during the course of the conversation with the Minister for Foreign Affairs he stated that apparently the Secretary has not truly understood the purposes of the recent Ecuadoran revolution and he asked whether in my opinion it would be advisable for him to proceed to Washington to explain the desire and firm intention of the Ecuadoran Government to cooperate with the United States. I reiterated very frankly our views regarding the action taken by Ecuador vis-à-vis Argentina but I stated I did not consider a visit to the United States by him necessary at this time as it was my hope and belief that the generous offer of the Ecuadoran Government as regards our base in the Galápagos would in a great measure convince the Department that its offers of cooperation do not consist of words alone but have now been translated into definite action. In view of the above I venture to suggest that the Secretary may wish personally to express to Galo Plaza his appreciation of the attitude of this Government and to indicate in some way his present [Page 1066] conviction that the Ecuadoran Government is disposed to cooperate with the United States.
The Department may decide that even though the draft agreement was negotiated for the period of the war it will be suitable for the postwar period if Article II contains a modification along the line suggested this morning by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. In case this be true I suggest either that I be instructed to sign the agreement without delay or that an officer be sent from Panama as soon as possible to sign it.
When I was in the Department recently Assistant Secretary Berle informed me of the desire of our Government to negotiate an agreement for a “participating base” at Salinas. If this is still the Department’s desire believe we should strike while the iron is hot and as soon as the Galápagos matter is nailed down, I should be instructed to negotiate this participating agreement.
- Camilo Ponce Enríquez.↩
- Not printed.↩
- The Ambassador had suggested in a personal way and without instruction, that article II of the pending Galápagos agreement be changed to allow the United States occupancy in the post-war period until the, two Governments decided to terminate it (811.24522/7–644).↩
- Designated as Ecuadoran Ambassador to the United States.↩
- For correspondence on U.S. efforts to enlist the American Republics and the United Kingdom in a common policy toward Argentina, see pp. 288 ff.↩