Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Henry Dearborn of the Division of North and West Coast Affairs

Participants: Brigadier General F. S. Clark (U.S.A.)
Captain P. L. Carroll (U.S.N.) of the Joint Post War Committee
Mr. Johnson (RL)63
Mr. Woodward (ARA)64
Mr. Keith (BOL)65
Mr. Tewksbury (Commercial Attaché, Quito)

It developed in the first few minutes that the representatives of the Joint Post War Committee had not understood what the representatives of the Department had thought was definitely settled—namely that the proposed agreement for the use of the Galápagos should be a military rather than a political document. They expressed great surprise and stated that since all their information had been given to their Committee on the understanding that the agreement was to be signed by political officers they would have to go over the whole ground again. General Clark informed the group that General Strong66 had been unenthusiastic about the whole question of trying to use the unsigned draft and had been inclined to recommend doing nothing whatever; however, the latter had stated that he would not interfere since the agreement could be looked upon as the first of several necessary “bites”. General Clark gave as his opinion that General Strong would not consider the signing of a military agreement as a step toward the fulfillment of post war aims. He further argued that the time element was against a military agreement in view of the urgency held to be called for and in view of the many channels of the War and Navy Departments through which the agreement would have to go.

Mr. Keith and Mr. Johnson pointed out that the Department’s desire was to obtain the goal of the Army and Navy to as great an extent as possible in the shortest possible time that it could be done on a lasting basis. They stated that the military agreement being suggested was definitely in their opinion a step toward the fulfillment [Page 1069] of military post war requirements and that, in fact, satisfying those requirements was the prime purpose for suggesting such an agreement.

At length the Committee’s representatives appeared to be convinced that the procedure recommended by the Department was a “first bite”. They said that they would lay the matter before General Strong in this light and report his reaction.

Mr. Keith consulted Mr. Hackworth67 as to whether a political or military agreement would be best under the circumstances. The latter stated that either the Ambassador or a military representative might sign the document. He said that if it were signed by a military officer the question of informing Congress would not arise, but if signed by the Ambassador it should at least be shown to the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after signature. Mr. Hackworth mentioned that if a political document were decided upon, the question of appropriations might come up. General Clark thought it would also arise if a military instrument were signed. Finally, Mr. Hackworth warned that special care should be exercised to see that whatever Ecuadoran official signed the agreement was fully empowered to do so in order that no question of legality might arise on this point at a later date.

It was then considered whether or not the Ambassador might sign for the military authorities. It was observed that he might do so if so empowered, but no conclusion was reached on the desirability of this procedure. The whole question of signature was in fact left for later decision.

Mr. Johnson had drafted an instruction to Ambassador Scotten, setting forth the specific terms he was to seek to obtain from the Ecuadoran Government and also including clauses not deemed essential but highly desirable. This draft was discussed in detail and a number of changes were effected. Mr. Johnson had also prepared an explanatory letter to General Marshall68 and a copy of this, together with a copy of the instruction to Ambassador Scotten, was delivered to the representatives of the Joint Post War Committee. It was made clear that these drafts did not reflect the views of the Department since they had not been cleared and were subject to change or omission after discussion with Mr. Berle and Mr. Duggan.

The day’s discussion ended with the understanding that the Department’s representatives would take up with Mr. Berle and Mr. Duggan the questions which had arisen and that the Committee’s representatives would follow a similar course with it.

  1. Joseph E. Johnson, Division of American Republics Analysis and Liaison.
  2. Robert F. Woodward, of the Office of American Republic Affairs.
  3. Gerald Keith, formerly Chief of the Division of Bolivarian Affairs, assigned to the Consulate at Barcelona.
  4. Maj. Gen. George V. Strong, a member of the Joint Post-War Committee of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  5. Green H. Hackworth, Legal Adviser.
  6. Gen. George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff, United States Army.