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                                               November 20, 1942.

Mr. M. L. Leap,
Department of State,
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. Leap:
          Occupancy of the Galápagos Islands by the armed forces of
our country necessitates prompt consideration of measures for the
protection of the peculiar fauna of these islands.  Many species found
here are encountered nowhere else in the World, and if they are
destroyed there will be definite loss to science and the human
interest as well as much resentment on the part of Ecuadorian and other

          I am forwarding herewith a brief memorandum convering this
matter with the suggestion that it be brought to the attention of the
proper authorities in the Army and the Navy.  It is important that
action be prompt.
                                             Sincerely yours,

                                               A. Wetmore,
                                           Assistant Secretary


                              M E M O R A N D U M

                                                   November 20, 1942.

          In the program of the State Department for Cooperation with
the American Republics one of the items carried for the Smithsonian
Institution has been concerned with the conservation of flora and
fauna in the New World on an international basis.  Under this, plans
have been made for a laboratory in the Galápagos Islands to be used
as a center for studies concerned with conservation, a matter of value
and one of which the government of Ecuador is definitely interested.
Recently through the present war situation the project has been held
in abeyance.

          It is inevitable that necessary development for military
purposes in the Galápagos Islands will impose considerable change, and
will bring heavy pressure upon the peculiar species of plant and animal
life found there.  For one thing many men will be brought to the islands
which unitl now have had few or no human inhabitants.  The animal life
of the Galápagos has had few enemies on land so that birds and other
kinds are fearless to an extraordinary degree.  A number of the species
have only a small number of individuals and are restricted to limited
areas so that unless they are protected thei will be exterminated in a
very short time.

          It is recognised that disturbances through construction and


actual occupancy are unavoidable, but it is important and necessary
that all hunting for game or sport, and all other unnecessary molestation
of the wild life be controlled and prohibited by the military authorities.
There should also be control of the introduction of dogs, cats, or other
animals that may prey on the native fauna.  Officials of the Eduadorian 
government are seriously concerned with the welfare of the wild life of
the islands, and have so indicated through their adoption of the recent
Convention for Nature Protection and Wild Life Preservation in the
Western Hemisphere to which the United States and other American Republics
are now signatories.

          To be specific the Galápagos Islands are the home of giant
tortoises found nowhere else in the world, of a species of fur seal, of
a peculiar penguin, of a flightless cormorant, of large lizards or
iguanas, one kind living in water and the other on land, and of numerous
birds of small and medium size, all of which are known throughout the
world for their peculiarities.  The snakes found in the islands are not
poisonous and none of the mammals, birds or reptiles native there are
harmful.  Should any be destroyed needlessly much resentment inevitably
will arise that will have reaction in other matters of importance in
negotiations between the United States and other countries, particularly
the other American republics. Immediate action is urged. 

                                      A. Wetmore,
                                      Assistant Secretary,
                                      Smithsonian Institution.