740.0011 EW/1-1745: Telegram

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

49. ReEmbstel 47, January 17, 3 p.m. The Minister for Foreign Affairs just called me urgently to his office and stated that at the Cabinet meeting held this afternoon the President urged a declaration of war against Japan and that the Cabinet was unanimously in favor of this action. The Minister added, however, that for pure internal political reasons the President desired to have some document in the archives which would forestall any future criticism on the basis that such a recommendation of President Velasco had been inopportune [Page 1000] during the time of negotiations for the Galápagos and Salinas postwar bases. The Minister added that if we could see our way clear to furnish some sort of a document in the form of an exchange of notes8 the President would immediately draft a message to the Assembly urging a declaration of war and since the Government has a large majority in the Assembly the President is certain his suggestion will be accepted without question.

Informed the Minister that I personally could not see the necessity for the action he suggested and doubted if it would be accepted by the Department. However, after some discussion I asked him exactly what he wanted and in my presence he wrote down his idea of an aide-mémoire which he would send me and my answer to him. I, of course, volunteered to send these to the Department by telegraph immediately. The suggested aide-mémoire and my reply are being forwarded by separate cable. The Department may consider the suggested aide-mémoire and my reply unobjectionable since they do not in any way imply that we have asked Ecuador to take the action proposed.

The Minister was very insistent in explaining that this request was due entirely to the peculiarities of the Ecuadoran internal political system as the opposition, even in future governments, is always ready to attack the actions of previous Presidents.

Scotten
  1. See infra.