811.24522/12–1544: Telegram

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

1189. Galo Plaza has just informed me that the Assembly having learned from the government that the Galápagos negotiations had commenced, demanded and received from the Minister for Foreign Affairs a copy of our draft agreement. He added that this draft was discussed in a secret session of the Assembly day before yesterday. He stated that after a reading of the draft article by article, the numerous deputies of the Assembly who our [are?] lawyers asserted that the agreement as drafted is in complete derogation of the sovereignty of Ecuador and as such is utterly unacceptable. Plaza claims he will within the next few days be called before the Assembly to discuss this matter and he will endeavor to convince the Assembly that an agreement of some sort is necessary. He is convinced that the present draft is utterly unacceptable and must be completely changed to avoid offending Ecuadoran pride et cetera, et cetera. He claims that no amount of compensation however large would make the present draft acceptable to the Assembly.

I informed Galo Plaza that he must realize that our draft agreement was the first step in an international negotiation and that we would of course at any time be willing to consider an Ecuadoran counterdraft. He indicated that the temper of the Assembly was that it wished no long term agreement whatsoever. He repeated that President Velasco Ibarra is in favor of an agreement (my 1154, December 4, 6 p.m.77) but that the Executive is powerless to negotiate any agreement without the prior approval at least in principle of the Assembly. I told Plaza that I had been informed some time ago [Page 1078] that after Estrada’s78 return to Ecuador the Assembly had given the Executive authority to negotiate an agreement for the Galápagos with the United States (my 1051, November 2, 1 [11] a.m.79). Plaza replied that the Galápagos agreement mentioned in that statement was the short term agreement which we were negotiating at the time the Arroyo Government fell and that it did not refer to a long term lease.

Although Plaza may of course be doing a little horse trading in the sense of attempting to convince me how difficult this matter is I have heard other reports of the meeting of the Assembly referred to above and they appeared to confirm his statements regarding the antagonistic spirit evide[nt]; the present situation is seemingly inconsistent with that reported to me previously by Galo Plaza (my 1154, December 4, 6 p.m. and 1167, December 7, 12 noon [midnight]80). I can only conclude that Plaza’s former reports to me were either overly optimistic or that the temper of the Assembly has changed possibly due to the stormy sessions held recently resulting in numerous sanctions being applied against members not only of the Arroyo government but of the Mogquera government of 1938 and the Cordova government 1939.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Victor Emilio Estrada; he visited Washington to discuss financial matters as a personal representative of the Ecuadoran President.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Neither printed.