The Ambassador in Ecuador (Scotten) to the Assistant Secretary of State for American Republic Affairs (Braden)

personal and confidential

Dear Spruille: The Galápagos matter seems to be hanging somewhat in the balance, and it will not be until the end of next week that I can tell which way the scales will tip.

This afternoon the Minister for Foreign Affairs, who just returned from a several days’ trip to Guayaquil, told me that he had had a session with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Assembly last Friday on the eve of his departure from Quito. He stated that he had explained the Galápagos situation carefully to the Committee and that the members of the latter had informed him that they did not dare make any decision without submitting the question to the Assembly itself. The Minister added that the Assembly will discuss this question in a secret session on Thursday, September 12. The Minister himself will be present at that session to explain the matter in detail. He added that while some decision may be arrived at during the same session of the Assembly, it is possible that a decision may be postponed until the next session on the thirteenth. I asked the Minister if he could tell me in confidence, the general attitude of the Committee. He stated that in the strictest confidence, he could tell me that the Committee was somewhat cold to the proposition and felt that the Galápagos matter should be handled in a formal treaty, rather than by an exchange of notes. He added that he is finding himself considerably handicapped in his activities from the fact that while he is a Liberal, the majority of the Assembly is Conservative and they resent somewhat having a Liberal Minister for Foreign Affairs instead of one of their own party. While I am perhaps jumping to conclusions, he gave me the impression that the tendency of the Conservative Assembly would be to oppose anything that he as a Liberal Minister should propose.

In passing on to you, Spruille, the information set forth above, I do not wish to convey the impression that all is lost. I think, however, I should give you full information in order that you should be prepared in case I have to send up some bad news after the Assembly makes its decision the end of next week.

Very sincerely yours,

R. M. Scotten