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March 30, 1944

SUBJECT: The Galápagos Islands

In your memorandum of February 9 concerning the negotia- tion of an agreement on the Galápagos base, you raised the question as to whether the present might not be a good time to initiate discussions with Ecuador regarding the establish- ment of an international wildlife preserve in the archipelago. The Department has been giving this matter very careful con- sideration. You will doubtless recall that an inter-American Conven- tion on "Nature Protection and Wildlife Preservation" was opened for signature in October, 1940, and proclaimed by you on April 30, 1942. Article VI of this Convention was intro- duced at the suggestion of this Government for the specific purpose of establishing a basis for agreement with Ecuador respecting the Galápagos Islands substantially along the lines indicated in your memorandum. Although signed on be- half of Ecuador in October, 1940, the Convention has never been ratified by that Government. In view of that fact and of the sensitiveness of the Ecuadorans where the Galápagos are concerned, I propose, with your approval, to make no further approach to the Ecuadorans now on this matter, in order to avoid possible jeopardy to negotiations recently authorized relating to the use of the base during the war or enhancement of the difficulty of obtaining post-war rights. You may be sure, however, that we will follow through on the question of the post-war status of the Galápagos at the earliest possible juncture, both as regards wildlife preservation and in relation to our military needs. I believe you will be interested in the attached copy of a resolution unanimously adopted by the Inter-American Defense Board on March 14. This resolution, which I understand has been brought to the attention of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is based on, and clearly states, the principle of inter-American cooperation for the future defense of the hemisphere, along the lines

the lines mentioned in Mr. Stettinius' memorandum to you of
November 11, 1943.  Paragraph 2(d) was introduced by the
United States delegation for the specific purpose of pro-
viding inter-American sanction for such agreements re-
garding bases as we may wish to negotiate, and should prove
very useful in that connection.

                             C. H.


     Copy of resolution
     described above.