740.0011 EW/1–1745: Telegram

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

47. The President1 called me to his house this afternoon and informed me that on account of the demonstrations which occurred yesterday (my 43, January 17, 10 a.m.2) he had been unable to take the action reported in my 40, January 15, 7 p.m.3 He has, however, called a meeting of the Cabinet this afternoon at 4 p.m. to discuss the matter. He was especially anxious to know what contributions would be asked of Ecuador should it declare a state of war. I read him Department’s telegram 39, January 12, 3 p.m.4 stating that no further material contribution would have to be made. I then explained at some length the advantages which would accrue to Ecuador as a result of the action we were suggesting. The President seemed impressed and then stated he felt that a declaration of war on the part of Ecuador should date from December 7, 1941. I told him I thought this would be an excellent idea. He then inquired whether our present suggestion was linked with the status of the Galápagos.5 I explained it was entirely apart from that question. He then inquired regarding the status of our negotiations regarding the Galápagos and I stated I was waiting for the Minister for Foreign Affairs6 to commence conversations and that I was at his disposal at any time for that purpose. The President said that he had wished that the Minister would accelerate this matter and that he would so instruct him at the Cabinet meeting this afternoon. He added that [Page 999] he thought a speedy settlement of the Galápagos matter, after which the true facts could be made public, would serve to calm public opinion not only in Ecuador, but in the other countries of South America. I agreed with him and stated that the true facts would show that the United States [had] no imperialistic intentions.

The President then inquired whether he could tell the Assembly in secret session that I had spoken to him regarding the matter of Ecuador’s declaring a state of war. I told him that under my instructions I could not assent to this and I explained that in my own opinion to tell the Assembly that this action was a result of a suggestion made by the American Ambassador would simply be interpreted as pressure on the part of the United States. I explained carefully that we were in no wise attempting to exert pressure but were making a suggestion which we considered would be for the benefit of Ecuador itself. I further explained that I believed the resolution passed by the Assembly on November 7 and the reply of the Minister for Foreign Affairs on November 16 (my 1076 of November 8, noon, and 1104 of November 17, 11 a.m.7) already gave the President a favorable opportunity to introduce this subject. The President agreed with me and said he would not mention my conversation to the Assembly, (I would appreciate the Department’s comments on this point).

The attitude of the President during the entire conversation was entirely cooperative both as regards the matter at issue and the Galápagos matter.

  1. José Maria Velasco Ibarra.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed; in this telegram the Ambassador reported on his conversations regarding the desirability of an Ecuadoran declaration of war (740.0011 EW/1–1545).
  4. See telegram 43, January 12, 3 p.m., to Lima, and footnote 1, p. 1312.
  5. For documentation on this subject, see pp. 1007 ff.
  6. Camilo Ponce Enríquez.
  7. Neither printed. In these communications the Assembly’s favorable disposition toward approval of the United Nation’s Declaration was indicated.