buttons previous Return to bibliography Next


        SUBJECT:   The Galápagos Islands

     On November 15, 1943, you approved the State Depart-
ment recommendations with regard to the Galápagos Islands.

          "(1) that plans be made now to work out at a
     later date some arrangements satisfactory to the
     War and Navy Departments, perhaps through inter-
     American action, and (2) that the agreement already
     drafted and accepted by both governments be signed
     without change at once."

     Shortly after the Department received your memorandum
and before the agreement could be signed, the "Merritt
report" was published.  The reference in this report to the
need for continued use of the Galápagos base by this country
after the war caused the Ecuadoran Government to change its
mind about signing the agreement as drafted and previously
accepted by both Governments.  Ecuador has now proposed
certain modifications, the principal one being to the effect
that the agreement shall remain in force only for the dura-
tion of the present world conflict.

     The changed circumstances have been discussed with
officers of the War and Navy Departments and have been
brought to the attention of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who
were informed that the present attitude of the Ecuadoran
Government appears to necessitate a new approach to the

     With their concurrence, it is therefore recommended

          (1) that this Government take no further
     initiative with regard to the signing of an agree-
     ment, at least until after the Ecuadoran elections
     in June;

          (2) that, if the Ecuadorans should insist upon
     signing an agreement soon, as now appears most
     probable, the Ambassador be instructed to negotiate
     an instrument which would contain as few modifications
     as possible and would in any case terminate not earlier
     than six months after the end of the war.

     This Department, in cooperation with the War and Navy
Departments and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is continuing work
on plans for obtaining the permanent use of the Galápagos

February 5, 1944.