The Ambassador in Ecuador ( Scotten ) to the Secretary of State
[Received May 3.]
Sir: I have the honor to inform the Department that Dr. Luis Eduardo Laso, the Ecuadoran Minister of Economy, called on me this afternoon on the eve of his departure for the San Francisco Conference.28 He stated that he had talked with the President and the Minister for Foreign Affairs subsequent to a conversation I held with him on April 7 at which time I pointed out the desirability of concluding the Galápagos negotiations prior to any request on his part for financial assistance from the United States (my despatch No. 2894, April 7, 1945).29
Dr. Laso stated that he had made a proposition to the President and the Minister for Foreign Affairs which was acceptable to both of them and which was along the following lines. In order to make the post war use of the Galápagos by the United States military forces palatable to the Ecuadoran Army, an agreement would be drawn up in renewable form for five- to ten-year periods and the United States would furnish the Ecuadoran armed forces with military equipment for its needs during these periods. The equipment would be determined by a joint commission of Ecuadoran and American military officers. Nothing of a financial nature would be included in the agreement. Dr. Laso informed me that if the support of the Ecuadoran Army can be obtained for a Galápagos agreement with the United States any opposition in Ecuador would be powerless to prevent it as the Army is all-powerful here. He is convinced that the Ecuadoran Army would welcome this arrangement and would be unanimously in favor of it.
Dr. Laso then added that once an agreement of this sort is signed, which he felt could be done very rapidly as far as Ecuador is concerned, he proposes to discuss in Washington certain credits which Ecuador desires to negotiate with the Exim Bank on a commercial basis. Mr. Tewksbury,30 who was present during the conversation, has drawn up a memorandum of Dr. Laso’s proposals which is enclosed herewith.29 It is Dr. Laso’s present plan to proceed to Washington after having discussed the matter during the conference at San Francisco with the Ecuadoran Ambassador, Galo Plaza, and the Minister for Foreign [Page 1010] Affairs and to hold discussions with the Department and the Export-Import Bank along the lines of the enclosed proposal.