The Ambassador in Ecuador ( Scotten ) to the Secretary of State
[Received 2:25 p.m.]
549. Referring to Embgam 359, October 30,1 concerning request this Govt for quota 9,000 wheat Minister Economy2 informed me few days ago that unless wheat received immediately there would be complete lack of flour in Ecuadoran market in approximately one month with consequent danger social disturbances.
Yesterday MinFonAff 3 called me to his office on same subject stating that present serious shortage of flour has arisen largely from fact that large importations last year drove down price of wheat and many farmers planted barley this year instead of wheat. He added he was calling me personally as supply of flour in market could not possibly last more than one month and grave political situation would be created should population be unable obtain bread. He stated Ecuador had made repeated representations through its Embassy in Washington as well as this Embassy and had tried without success procure sufficient wheat from Canada. He stated his representation to me was a virtual SOS and the situation here respecting this matter really desperate.[Page 882]
Following this conversation MinFonAff sent me official communication emphasizing what he told me verbally as set forth above (copy and translation airmail). Dept has been apprised of serious economic situation confronting Ecuador and my considered opinion is that if population unable obtain bread the serious disorders feared by this Govt may very well occur. Obviously enemies of Govt would seize upon this opportunity to incite disorders and possibly revolution.