Memorandum by the Ambassador to Ecuador (Scotten), Temporarily in Washington, of a Conversation With the Ecuadoran Ambassador (Galo Plaza)
The Galápagos matters arose in conversation with Galo Plaza at luncheon today. I stated that I had not seen Wayne Taylor and had only discussed the matter in a general way at the Department but that what I was puzzled about was what was the Ecuadoran understanding as to the amount that the United States would set aside for the use of the base as provided in the aide-mémoire which the Minister of Foreign Affairs and I had signed. He stated that the Ecuadoran understanding was that the full amount of $20,000,000 would be set aside and used to liquidate the $20,000,000 loan. He stated that nothing specific had been said in the memorandum, although Nelson Rockefeller’s letter56 mentioned the sum of $20,000,000. I inquired, as a hypothetical question, whether if the United States should set aside a lesser sum, let us say $10,000,000, the Ecuadorans would be [Page 1023] prepared to reimburse the Bank for the remaining $10,000,000. He stated that it is the feeling of the President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs that unless the entire $20,000,000 were set aside to liquidate the loan, Ecuador should simply leave the United States in possession of the bases with no question of compensation being mentioned. In other words, he created the impression that Ecuador realized it would have to yield to force majeure and allow us to remain in the Galápagos, but that the Government felt that for internal political reasons it could not actually agree to a lesser amount than the $20,000,000. He stated that this was understood by Messrs. Rockefeller and Avra Warren57 and they could probably explain this to the Department.