280. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Ecuador1

241309. Subject: Presidential Message on Retorno Process. Ref: Quito 6612.2

1. Following is text of message from President Carter to President Poveda. Per your request in Reftel, you are given discretion to use or not to use it, depending on your judgement in the developing situation as to whether it would be helpful in forestalling the plot to overturn the July 16 elections and thwart the democratization process. It is a message not repeat not a letter and there will be no repeat no signed copy.

2. Quote: I recall the assurances that you personally and other members of the Government of the Armed Forces have made to me and others in the past regarding your Government’s determination to return Ecuador to constitutional rule and respect the popular will as expressed in elections. I believe that the position taken by your Government has been an example for the Hemisphere, it has enhanced the prestige of the Ecuadorean Armed Forces, and has won you the goodwill and esteem of people all over the world.

3. For these reasons, I find especially disturbing the reports reaching me concerning the possibility that the results of the July 16 election may not be respected. Without prejudging the validity of this information, I want to convey to you my dismay should these developments occur. During the past two years, Ecuador and the United States have been able to attain through our common efforts a bilateral relationship which has been unparalleled in recent years. Much of the progress in relationship has been based upon our mutual respect for human rights and democratic principles. The continuance of shared ideals will enhance [Page 811] the warmth of our relations. The absence of them would inevitably impinge upon our relationship.

4. Nevertheless, I am confident that these reports are not true, and that the United States and Ecuador can continue to further strengthen the already strong ties which bind us. End quote.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780386-0660. Confidential; Niact Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Guerra and McNeil; cleared by Pastor, Oxman, Vaky, and in S/S; approved by Vaky. The Department repeated the telegram to USSOUTHCOM on September 22, 2015Z. (Ibid.)
  2. See footnote 4, Document 279. In telegram 6709 from Quito, September 23, Gonzalez reported that he delivered the message to Poveda on the evening of September 22: Poveda “remarked that if the SET report showed that the July 16 elections were corrupt (viciadas) the GOE would have to protect the interests of the people.” In addition, Poveda “repeated his previous assurances that the military do not wish to remain in power.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780389-0151) In telegram 7027 from Quito, October 5, Gonzalez reported on his meeting with Ayala to discuss Poveda’s official reply to this message. (National Archives, RG59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780408-0264)