Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Edgar L. McGinnis, Jr., of the Office of South American Affairs


Subject: Ecuadoran Shipping Discrimination

Participants: Senor Galo Plaza—President of Ecuador
Dr. Neftali Ponce—Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador
Senor Colon Serrano—Minister of Economy of Ecuador
Senor Salazar Gomez—Chairman, Committee on Foreign Relations of the Chamber of Deputies of Ecuador
Mr. Mann—ARA
Mr. Warren—OSA
Mr. Krieg—OSA
Mr. McGinnis—OSA

Following the discussion with President Plaza of other matters (which are covered by separate memoranda), Mr. Mann mentioned to the President that this Government was concerned over the matter of Ecuador’s discrimination against American steamship lines in favor of the Gran Colombia Merchant Fleet. Mr. Mann said that it was his understanding that Ecuador granted preferential treatment to shipments on vessels of the Gran Colombia Merchant Fleet in the payment of consular invoice fees. Mr. Mann added that it appeared that Ecuadoran revenues were reduced by this practice and that the Ecuadoran Government might wish to give consideration to granting a direct subsidy to the Gran Colombia line in lieu of this present discriminatory practice.

The President replied that he had talked with President Truman concerning this question.1 President Plaza said that he had told President Truman that the Grace Line had had a virtual monopoly of international shipping in Ecuador and that the Ecuadoran Government had accordingly supported the efforts of the Gran Colombia Merchant Fleet to provide competition to the Grace Line since it was felt that this virtual monopoly arrangement was not healthy either for Ecuador or for American shipping interests. President Plaza went on to say that the matter of Ecuadoran support for the Gran Colombian Fleet was an extremely delicate issue in Ecuador. He further observed that the substitution of a direct subsidy in lieu of other official support of the Flota would involve action by Congress, but said that he had had this matter in mind and was still hopeful that some satisfactory arrangement could be effected.

  1. No memorandum of this conversation was found in Department of State files.