Memorandum by the Director, Office of American Republic Affairs (Daniels) to the Under Secretary of State (Lovett)


Subject: Ecuador: Galapagos Air Base. Request for Continued Use of Tug and Barge

Background: Under the broad terms of a secret wartime defense agreement with Ecuador signed in February 1942, and in accordance with an informal verbal agreement with respect to the establishment of a base on the Galapagos Islands, we constructed and operated a military base at Seymour Island during the war.1 No formal agreement for the establishment or operation of the base was ever concluded.

In 1946 the Ecuadoran Government formally requested our withdrawal and the base was turned over to Ecuador on July 1, 1946.2 At the time of our withdrawal the Ecuadoran Government agreed that certain U. S. Air Force personnel could remain on the base as technicians for the purpose of training Ecuadoran personnel. Under this temporary arrangement the Air Force continued to maintain an Air Warning Station at Seymour Island. In June 1948 the Air Force decided to withdraw their remaining personnel from Seymour Island, for reasons of economy. The Ecuadoran Government thereupon requested that it be allowed to purchase, at as reasonable a price as could be arranged, the equipment used on the base which is necessary for its continued operation by Ecuadoran forces.

Pursuant to the Department’s recommendation, the Department of the Air Force instructed the Caribbean Air Command to declare surplus to the Foreign Liquidation Commissioner for sale to Ecuador most of the equipment which Ecuador sought to purchase.

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  1. For texts of agreements and other documentation relating to this subject, see Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. vi, pp. 371379.
  2. For documentation on this subject, see ibid., 1946, vol. xi, pp. 836 ff.; see also ibid., 1947, vol. viii, pp. 676 ff.