330. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Ecuador 1

180672. Ref: Quito 5478.2

We concur line you took in Quito 5478.
Arosemena’s activities have effect on three levels which are interrelated (a) hemispheric, (b) US–Ecuador, and (c) international financial agencies.
At present moment Ecuador in general and Arosemena in particular are regarded as being “off-base”. Although Latins share some of underlying concerns of Ecuador, they repudiated his tactics and many of specific complaints. Arosemena misjudged Latin temperament on overall hemispheric problems. This is understandable because politically Ecuador has more in common with Bolivia (which was not present) and Haiti (which played no real part in OAS preparations or Summit meeting) than it has with most LA countries. It is in our interests to maintain general hemispheric view that Arosemena is attacking inter-American system, Alliance, etc. and not United States.
United States posture must be one of dignity and understanding in response to “shin kicking” by Arosemena. Our line will be that we are following principles of Alliance, that we have taken into account January CIAP review in cooperating with Ecuador and that we are working closely with IBRD and IDB. FYI. If Ecuador desires special CIAP review to deal with its specific complaints we will be glad participate. We are discussing this possibility with Sanz. End FYI.
If Arosemena carries his irresponsible conduct too far, i.e. he creates financial or other crisis, there is risk forces opposed to him will unite to oust him. It is therefore important that you a) discreetly set or keep record straight by letters to President, Minister of Finance, etc., after meetings in which Ecuadorean complaints are clarified (at opportune times you can find ways to make clarifications public), b) avoid any comments or suggestions that could be taken as implying Arosemena [Page 713] has become obstacle to US-Ecuadorean relations and should be removed, and c) act promptly to discourage any change in constitutional order in Ecuador.
We should adhere guidelines of Alliance and CIAP. We should close ranks with other lending institutions and make certain we are in step. If there are programs or projects that are not working, we should correct them or terminate them. Watchword should be “patience.”
We recognize that you have trying situation in Ecuador. Impact Arosemena’s conduct now limited to Ecuador with rest of Hemisphere lined up with US. It is important that we avoid doing anything here or in Ecuador that would change this favorable situation.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL ECUADOR–US. Confidential; Immediate; Limdis. Drafted by Sayre and approved by Gordon.
  2. President Otto Arosemena Gomez, who was elected by a constituent assembly on October 16, 1966, publicly criticized the Alliance for Progress at the meeting of American Presidents in Punta del Este April 12–14. An account of his meeting with President Johnson on April 13 is in Document 51. Telegram 5478 from Quito, April 22, reported on a meeting with Defense Minister Febres Cordero, in which Coerr argued that Arosemena’s criticism of the Alliance was jeopardizing “continued USG investment in AID program.” (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 15–1 ECUADOR)