387. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to Secretary of State Rogers and Secretary of Defense Laird1 2

SUBJECT:

  • Fisheries Dispute with Ecuador

The President has directed that vigorous efforts be undertaken to negotiate a practical settlement of the fisheries dispute with Ecuador and the other South Pacific nations which:

  • -- avoids further adverse impact of this dispute on our political relationship with the nations of the Hemisphere, and
  • -- reserves our juridical position on the extent of the territorial seas.

He has asked that the Secretary of State, in coordination with other appropriate agencies, submit a memorandum to him reporting on United States negotiating strategy and the actions taken or planned to implement that strategy. The memorandum should include, as appropriate, recommendations for actions requiring Presidential decision. In this connection, consideration should be given, inter alia, to:

  • -- steps required to waive the suspension of Foreign Military Sales to Ecuador;
  • -- designation of a special emissary; and
  • -- consultations with the Congress and domestic industry representatives.

The memorandum should be submitted to the President by February 22, 1971.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 283, Agency Files, Department of State, Vol. X, 1 December 1970-15 April 1971. Secret; Limdis. Also sent to Secretary of Defense Laird. Copies were sent to the Secretary of the Interior, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the director of the CIA. Between mid-January and mid-February 1971, Ecuadorian naval vessels seized 18 U.S. fishing boats operating within the 200-mile exclusionary zone claimed by Ecuador. The Ecuadorian government imposed fines in excess of $850,000. On January 18, 1971, the United States government suspended military sales to Ecuador under Section 3(b) of the Foreign Military Sales Act, which states, “No sales, credits, or guaranties shall be made or extended under the Act to any country during a period of one year after such country seizes, or takes into custody, or fines and American fishing vessel for engaging in fishing more that twelve miles from the coast of that country. The President may waive the provisions of this subsection when he determines it to be important to the security of the United States or he receives reasonable assurances from the country involved that future violations will not occur, and promptly so reports to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate. The provisions of the subsection shall not be applicable in any case governed by any international agreement to which the United States is party.” On February 1, 1971 the government of Ecuador ordered all U.S. military personnel to leave the country. For the response to this document, see Foreign Relations 1969-1976, E-Vol. 10, American Republics, 1969-1972.
  2. On behalf of the President, Kissinger directed the Secretary of State to submit, in conjunction with other agencies, options and recommendations for a negotiated settlement to the fisheries dispute with Ecuador.