Memorandum by the Director of the Office of American Republic Affairs (Briggs) to the Assistant Secretary of State for American Republic Affairs (Braden)

The Export-Import Bank for some months has been considering certain public works projects in Ecuador, we being given to understand that the projects had been approved in principle and awaited only final O.K. of engineering studies, et cetera. Two projects in particular (water works for various municipalities, and Manta-Quevedo Highway) have been reportedly on the point of jelling for some weeks. As you know we have not been happy over Ecuador’s relationships with the Bank, the Development Corporation, et cetera. [Page 876] and in our opinion there are some grounds—although not so substantial as asserted by Ecuador—for the Ecuadoran complaint.

We now hear that the Bank has no more money as a result of large credits to Europe and Asia. If this is true all pending projects in Latin America will have to await a further capital authorization by Congress.

It would be particularly unfortunate, having in mind the critical attitude already prevailing in a number of Latin American countries is a result of our alleged preoccupation with world problems to the detriment of Latin American relations, should the Export-Import Bank in fact be out of funds at this time. (The recent comments on this subject by the Mexican and Brazilian Ambassadors would be merely a sample of what we would face when they begin reading about tens of millions of dollars for Poland, China, Iraq, et cetera, and nothing whatever for the Good Neighbors, many of whose projects were submitted long before those of other countries outside of this hemisphere).

Ellis O. Briggs