811.24522/7–3146: Telegram

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


403. Have just had lengthy and satisfactory conversation with Minister Foreign Affairs regarding Galápagos matter. I explained that as I probably would not see him again before he meets with the Foreign Relations Committee of the new Assembly47 (he leaves on Friday for Bogotá for inauguration President and only returns here ninth) in order to avoid any possible misunderstanding that Committee, I desired to explain our position once more. I stated that we are willing to maintain the base and give full guarantees for Ecudoran sovereignty in whatever agreement we sign, but that we are not willing pay any compensation or allow this matter to be a bargaining point for other matters. I explained that our Government is now on a peace time basis, that an economy wave is in progress and that the agreement must be expedited so that the War Department may obtain necessary funds from Congress. I cited, as an example of economy wave, that Navy Department cancelled only last week extra compensation which members our Naval mission have been receiving for services here. The Minister assures me that he understands the situation perfectly and will so explain it to Committee. He said that his only idea was for United States to assist Ecuador with the outstanding [Page 857] loan negotiations and also assist it to supervise fishing in the Galápagos. I replied that three officials of the Export Import Bank will arrive here Sunday for the purpose of completing both the Guamote Tambo loan matter and the Guayaquil waterworks loan. I further explained that negotiations have been completed for Ecuador to purchase two small naval vessels in the United States of the type of submarine chasers which would be admirably suited for supervising fishing in the archipelago. The Minister Foreign Affairs seemed very pleased with this information. He added that I could rely on him to present the matter to the Assembly Committee in the most favorable light. He hopes to begin conversations with me about August 14 and to be in position to sign agreement for the Galápagos August 18 or 20.

While the Minister is, as the Department is aware, apt to insert last minute conditions in any negotiations, I feel from his general attitude this conversation that the matter is more promising than heretofore.

  1. In telegram 389, July 22, 6 p.m., the Ambassador reported that the President, while desirous of prompt completion of a Galápagos agreement, had decided to await the appointment of the Foreign Relations Committee (811.24522/7–2246).