811.24522/8–1944: Telegram

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

824. Embassy’s telegram 805 [804], August 16, noon.70 United Press despatch from Washington given prominence in the local press this morning reports that Senator McKellar71 stated in the Senate yesterday: “The Galápagos Islands belong to Ecuador and I believe that we have certain maritime rights and certain aerial bases, but we must become the owners by any means. Ecuador possesses these islands and there is no doubt that we can make some peaceful arrangements with that country for the purpose of acquiring the islands. We are aware of the interests of Ecuador. The Monroe Doctrine is still in effect.” The despatch also states that “McKellar undoubtedly has not read the news from Ecuador and does not know in this connection that it is being planned to insert a clause in the new constitution which will make it impossible for Ecuador to renounce its sovereignty over these islands.”

Efforts are being made in the Constitutional Assembly regarding the aforementioned clause and the appointment of a committee in the Assembly on August 16 to study certain phases of the Galápagos matter was reported in the Embassy’s despatch No. 2005 of yesterday,72 which should arrive in the Department Monday.

President Velasco Ibarra is reported in the press this morning to have replied to a newspaper reporter’s question as to his views concerning Senator McKellar’s bill saying, “The isolated opinion of one or twenty Americans is not to be taken as a definite resolve of the American authorities in deliberate exercise of their authority and of their responsibility.” At the same time the President made a lengthy statement denying imperialistic designs of the United States Government and commenting very favorably on United States foreign policy, including unselfish cooperation with Ecuador and maintenance of the principles of the Atlantic Charter. Full text being forwarded by despatch.

The proposal of Senator McKellar has been extensively commented upon in the local papers which, although they refer in friendly terms to our foreign policy and point out that McKellar’s proposal is not to be considered representative of the Government, support the efforts in the Assembly to declare all Ecuadoran territory inalienable.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Senator Kenneth McKellar, of Tennessee.
  3. Despatch not printed.