The Ecuadoran Ambassador (Galo Plaza) to the Secertary of State

No. 196

Mr. Secretary: In note of September 5, 194530 addressed to Your Excellency by this Embassy the Government of Ecuador formally requested of the Government of the United States the return to Ecuador from the United States of a group of Nationals of Axis countries who were brought from Ecuadoran territory where they were living to internment camps in the United States by virtue of an agreement between the Governments of Ecuador and the United States in order to prevent them from engaging in subversive activities against the security of the American republics.

The Government of Ecuador is very much interested in this matter inasmuch as it has considered that the sending of such persons to Europe would cause serious damage to Ecuadoran women, others the parents of Ecuadoran children, and some born on Ecuadoran territory, which in certain cases gives them the right properly to claim Ecuadoran nationality.

Subsequent to the sending of the above-mentioned note, my Government has carefully considered the conduct of this matter, which is [Page 286] causing anxiety to a large number of Ecuadoran families whose rights it is obligated to protect.

The Ecuadoran authorities have taken due note of the text of the Presidential Proclamation of September 8, 1945 by which Your Excellency was authorized to decide upon the fate of these aliens.

The international instruments involved in the Presidential Proclamation created a system of joint vigilance and collective effort of the American republics to preserve their integrity and independence and the integrity and solidarity of the American continent, a system of collaboration which in no way affects the sovereign right of each Government to make final disposition of aliens residing in its territory who for reasons of security have been provisionally transferred to other territorial jurisdictions in an emergency status for custody.

In consequence, my Government cherishes the certainty that Your Excellency, with your profound knowledge of the letter and spirit of the Inter-American obligations, before ordering the repatriation spoken of in the Presidential Proclamation will accede to what is requested by my Government with respect to the aliens claimed by Ecuador, since, if the State which permitted the internment does not voluntarily concur, sending these aliens to Europe would not be legal.

The Ecuadoran authorities have observed that the Department of Justice of the United States has decided that in cases of aliens who have not been prominent leaders of the Nazi Party, such factors as American nationality of the wife and children of the alien or his illness or advanced age will be considered as extenuating circumstances. In such cases the right of the alien is recognized to present himself before a special tribunal of the Department of Justice which could nullify the repatriation.

I have taken the liberty of calling to Your Excellency’s attention this regulation in regard to aliens who marry women of the United States or are parents of American children as proof that the policy adopted by the Government of Ecuador, in the sense of deciding upon the return of those aliens who have identical family relationships in Ecuador, coincides with the humanitarian policy adopted by the United States for the protection of its own nationals. It would be an act of discrimination not in keeping with the spirit of Inter-American cooperation not to accord like treatment to citizens of the different countries seeking to defend inalienable family rights.

In accordance with the principles of justice and out of respect for the spirit of the Inter-American agreements the authorities of Ecuador are under the obligation of having the responsibility of these persecuted aliens duly clarified in their own national territory.

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I also wish to recall to Your Excellency that some American republics did not cooperate to the extent of delivering aliens to internment camps in the United States and in consequence have disposed and continue to dispose at their own will, as is natural and legitimate, of the fate of such aliens. If Ecuador, like other countries of America, did carry her cooperation as far as to surrender residents of her territory to internment camps in the United States, it would be a lack of fairness not to accord her the final word in a matter in regard to which other countries have exercised their own discretion at all times. To apply different criteria to the various American republics would be an act of discrimination not in keeping with the united spirit in which the American republics have faced the problems of their security.

In submitting these remarks for Your Excellency’s enlightened consideration, my Government herewith renews the formal request contained in the note of September 5, 1945 to which I have referred.

I avail myself [etc.]

Galo Plaza
  1. Not printed.