310. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, June 24, 1971.1 2

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June 24, 1971

FROM: HENRY A. KISSINGER [Haig signed for]
SUBJECT: Fisheries Dispute with Ecuador

Earlier this month we informed you of a possible break in the impasse in the fisheries dispute with Ecuador (Tab B). The Ecuadorean Ambassador indicated that the GOE had decided to:

-- suspend seizures of US fishing boats until September 30;

-- consider the possibility of separating the questions of control over natural resources and sovereignty in the 200-mile territorial sea now claimed;

-- resume quadripartite negotiations with the US, or if the other CEP powers decline to negotiate, to negotiate with us bilaterally.

State has now confirmed the substance of the Ecuadorean position through our Embassy in Quito, though the Ecuadoreans’ willingness to separate resources from sovereignty is not as clear as reported by the Ecuadorean Ambassador. Nevertheless, an Ecuadorean initiative seeking to end the fisheries dispute by means of negotiations is of the greatest significance in our relations with that country, and has an important bearing on our Law of the Sea position since Ecuador is a charter member of the 200-mile club.

In view of the chronic instability of the Ecuadorean Government and the changeable nature of its President, this demarche does not itself warrant lifting the suspension of Foreign Military Sales imposed last January. However, a positive gesture on our part is in order to test the firmness of Ecuadorean intentions to resolve the dispute. Secretary Rogers has written you a memorandum (Tab A) informing you that he intends to release one of several AID loans also suspended since last January. We hope this gesture will lead to a reciprocal gesture on the part of Ecuador indicating its sincerity. We, will consider releasing several other loans depending on how the scenario develops, and will inform you when the positions seem solid enough for you to inform the Congress that we have received adequate assurances from Ecuador permitting lifting of the FMS suspension.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 784, Country Files, Latin America, Ecuador, Vol. 1, 1969–1970. Secret. Sent for information. A stamped notation indicates the President saw it. Haig initialed for Kissinger. Kissinger wrote at the top, “What’s the point of sending this to Pres[ident?]” Nixon wrote at the bottom,“Connally is to call the signals on this.” Tab A, dated June 22, is published in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume E–1, Global Issues, 1969–1972, Document 399. Tab B is published as Document 309. In telegram 2482 from Quito, June 15, Burns stated, “I strongly urge that we move with the greatest possible speed to implement our package [U.S. releasing AID loans in exchange for a positive Ecuadorian démarche] with the Ecuadorians.” (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 33–4 ECUADOR–US)
  2. President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger informed President Nixon that releasing an AID loan to Ecuador might lead to a reciprocal gesture which would indicate its sincerity in working out an agreement to the fishing dispute. If Ecuador responded positively, Kissinger thought the Administration should inform Congress that it would lift the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) suspension.