The Ambassador in Ecuador (Scotten) to they Secretary of State
[Received 4:10 p.m.]
295. I urge that instructions be sent through the War Dept immediately to General Crittenberger to suspend all further activities toward dismantling the Galápagos base for the following reason:
Remarks made recently by Ecuadoran Army and Navy officers led me to believe it not improbable that the Minister of Defence was desirous of our maintaining the base in some form to be determined. In order to give the Minister of Defence an opening to broach this matter I called upon him this morning ostensibly to discuss ceremonies [Page 852] attending our evacuation of the base July 1st. The Minister himself interrupted my remarks to say that the question of the return of the base to Ecuador was very troublesome for him. He said Ecuador was in no condition financially to maintain it and that 4 months after we left the base it would be stripped clean and all the fine buildings, etc., destroyed. He stated it would be a magnificent site for the Ecuadoran Naval Academy. I told the Minister that while I was without instructions I was convinced that if his Govt so desired it would be possible to work out a formula under which we would maintain the base under Ecuadoran sovereignty but with an American garrison and without expense to the Ecuadoran Govt. The Minister who evidently has been giving this matter considerable thought stated that unfortunately his people did not realize the true situation existing at the Galápagos base. He stated he would immediately discuss this matter with the FonOff and with the Ecuadoran Defence Council and the President. He promised to speak to me not later than tomorrow afternoon and discuss the matter further.
Although it is of course possible that the Minister’s ideas may not be shared by the FonOff and the President I am convinced he will make every effort along the lines explained above and I feel there is a reasonable possibility this matter may be arranged to our satisfaction.