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



  • Quevedo–Manta Highway Project
  • Participants: Ambassador Chiriboga of Ecuador
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary WoodwardARA
  • OSAEdgar L. McGinnis, Jr.

Ambassador Chiriboga stated that he wished to inform Mr. Woodward of his conversation on August 13 with General Edgerton regarding the Quevedo–Manta highway project. The Ambassador stated that after informing him of the Bank’s approval of the draft contract between Ecuador and the J. A. Jones Construction Company, General Edgerton informed him that the Export-Import Bank would be unable to approve any credits for local expenditures for the project.

Ambassador Chiriboga said that he was extremely surprised and disappointed at the General’s attitude, since the Bank had previously committed itself to provide for local expenditures for the construction of the highway and that the Bank’s refusal to fulfill this commitment would “kill” the project.1

The Ambassador related that the loan was granted in 1942 under terms that committed the U.S. to loan a sum sufficient to complete the highway. He said that the highway and waterworks loans were offered [Page 990] to Ecuador at that time as a consolation for the concessions it made in signing the Rio Boundary Protocol.2 In any case, he said, the Bank’s refusal to make good on this long-standing commitment would not be understood by his Government and that he would refuse to transmit such a decision to his foreign office preferring that an adverse decision of this gravity should be transmitted to Ecuadoran Government through the U.S. Embassy in Quito. The Ambassador indicated that after he had made these remarks General Edgerton appeared to be more sympathetic and indicated that he would look into the matter further before making a decision.

Mr. Woodward stated that the Department realized the importance of this project to Ecuador and would be pleased to discuss the matter with appropriate officials.

  1. In a memorandum to Assistant Secretary Waugh, dated Aug. 14, 1953, reviewing the background of the Quevedo–Manta Highway project, Director of the Office of Financial and Development Policy Corbett stated in part that “there is a definite commitment between the U.S. Government and the Ecuadoran Government that this project will be completed.” (103 XMB/8–1453)
  2. Reference is to the Protocol of Peace, Friendship, and Boundaries Between Peru and Ecuador, signed at Rio de Janeiro, Jan. 29, 1942, and entered into force, Feb. 26, 1942; for text, see 56 Stat. 1818. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and the United States also signed the Protocol as guarantors.