The Ambassador in Ecuador (Scotten) to the Secretary of State
[Received 11:12 p.m.]
861. When the Minister Foreign Office handed me this morning note 298 transmitted to the Dept in my 860, Dec 8, 1945,72 he stated that the President urgently requests for the sake of public opinion here that the War Dept announce immediately a definite date for the return of the Salinas base. The Minister explained that he regretted to be so urgent about this matter and that any date in the near future would be satisfactory, but what the President desired, was to be able to inform Congress of a definite date before Congress adjourns next Tuesday.73[Page 1033]
The Minister further informed me that while his Govt is entirely exposed [disposed] to permit transit rights for our airplanes after the base is turned back to Ecuador, the President prefers to make this arrangement after the base is returned instead of making it appear to the public here that the granting of these rights is a condition which we have imposed for securing the return of the base.
The Minister further explained that it would be more acceptable to public opinion for the American technicians which remain here to be under the direct control of our Aviation Mission than for these technicians to be under the control of the Caribbean Defense Command. He explained that should the technicians remain under the control of the Caribbean Defense Command, it would create the impression that we were actually maintaining an American base at Salinas, whereas, if they are placed under the control of the Air Mission no such impression will exist.
In general, I perceive no serious objection to the Ecuadoran position as set forth above and I believe that no trouble will be experienced in obtaining transit rights, etc. Furthermore, as the maintenance of the small group of technicians was actually suggested to me by Major General Walsh as being in our own interests I am hoping that this group can be attached to our Air Mission without expense to the Ecuadoran Govt. Reference my 841, Dec 4, noon.