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                                NAVY DEPARTMENT

                      MEMORANDUM TO THE PRESIDENT

                                                       April 4, 1942

Subject:      Galapagos - Permanent United States Air Base, and
              Pan-American Wild-Life Park.

Vice-Admiral Horne and Lieutenant-General Andrews and other senior Army
and Navy officers  with whom I have discussed the subject are strongly
of the opinion that under no circumstances should our government 
relinquish our air base in the Galapagos upon the termination of the
war ("Free Men's War" or "War of Free Men"?). The reasons are crystal
clear--in this new era of aviation, the Galapagos are the veritable 
keystone of the outer defenses in the Pacific of the Panama Canal.

This objective should be achieved without doing violence to the Good
Neighbor Policy. If at any time in the near future conditions should
develop under which we could purchase the entire Archipelago or make a
long term lease for our air bases or bases, we should not hesitate to
seize the opportunity. But in view of existing political conditions in
Ecuador and the troublesome traditions that have grown up concerning
this issue in that country, it is likely that a new formula will have
to be found that does not appear to involve a permanent surrender of
sovereignty to us.

The Liberal, pro-American administration of Dr. Carlos Arroyo Del Rio,
President of Ecuador since 1940, is under severe criticism from the 
Conservative party, which numbers among its strongest supporters the 
Clergy, and Falangists, and other elements of varying degrees of pro-
Axis sympathies. The President is charged with surrender of Ecuador's
territory and future greatness in his acceptance of the terms of the
Rio settlement of the Peruvian border dispute. He is also being charged
with making a secret surrender of Ecuadorean sovereignty in granting us
military bases in Ecuadorean territory. His Foreign Minister
(a Conservative), Dr. Tobar Doneso, has just tendered his resignation.

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At the same time the Ecuadorean Army is reported to be ready to install
the Superior Commander of National Defense Forces, Colonel Ricardo
Astudillo, as Dictator. Although trained in Rome, Colonel Astudillo is
considered to be pro-American; he certainly is the "man on horse-back"
in Ecuador today.

So at the moment conditions are not propitious for negotiating a new 
treaty on the Galapagos. For this reason I did not attempt to talk 
with President Arroyo Del Rio during my one day visit to Quito in 
mid-March. But I did discuss the subject with our Ambassador there,
Mr. Boaz Long, and with the President's closest personal and 
political adviser, Senator Caton Cardenas, who is well and favorably
known to me as a man of sound judgment and great discretion. I
carefully explained to Senator Cardenas your long standing interest
in the Galapagos and the unique fauna and flora found there and how
your interests had been enhanced by your visit in the "Houston" four
years ago. I further outlined in very general terms the idea you have
for making the Galapagos into an International Park for the preservation
and perpetuation of wild-life.

I ventured to suggest two ways by which this might be done:

A)      By outright sale of the Galapagos to the United States, and then
        our creating a Pan-American Board of Trustees to govern the 
        Archipelago in the interests of science but under the protection
        of the United States.

B)      By an agreement between Ecuador and the United States under which
        Ecuador created the Pan-American Board of Trustees and technical
        sovereignty remained in the name of Ecuador, but the United States
        would pay the costs of administration, and we would police the
        Archipelago from a base leased to us for a long term of years.

I made it explicitly clear that you had no idea of exerting any pressure to
persuade Ecuador to take any course of action that was not entirely welcome
to the government of Ecuador itself, that our government did not seek
additional territory anywhere, that we would scrupulously observe the 
sovereignty of

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every Republic in the Western Hemisphere, but at the same time your mind
would be very receptive to any suggestions originating in Ecuador's 
government that would lead to formal negotiations to find ways and means 
of putting into effect the plan you cherished.

Senator Cardenas expressed his personal belief that the President would
be enthusiastically in favor of Plan B above, but that it would not be
politically wise for him to initiate negotiations until after the
Congressional elections in August of this year.

I asked Senator Cardenas to write me by mid-April as to the President's
reactions, and I told him that I had informed our Ambassador, Mr. Boaz
Long, of what I was telling him and therefore it would be quite proper
for the President to talk directly with Mr. Long on the subject if he
desired further information. And I further told the Senator that if
President Arroyo Del Rio did not want to talk to anyone at this time 
about this matter, his disinclination would be understood and his
wishes respected.

In closing, I expressed to Senator Cardenas your sincere regret that
the laws of Ecuador made it impossible for Dr. Arroyo Del Rio to visit
you officially at the White House.

In order to strengthen the hands of the present Administration in Ecuador,
it would seem to be prudent for us to give further financial assistance
to Ecuador at the earliest opportunity. I understand that a Lend-Lease
agreement is ready for signature, but our aid should extend to the broader
fields of economic rehabilitation on a comprehensive scale to include
agriculture, industry, mining, and, particularly, extensive road-building.


                    Paul F. Foster,
                    Commander, U.S.N.R.

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