Courtesy Reuters

The Ecuador-Peru Boundary Dispute

ON July 5, 1941, the peaceful relations of Ecuador and Peru were ruptured by military conflict over a century-old boundary dispute. Small-scale operations were conducted at scattered points on a thousand-mile-long frontier. Almost at once (July 9) the representatives of Brazil, Argentina and the United States made suggestions for troop withdrawals and peaceful negotiations. In the midst of these preliminaries, and despite "acceptance in principle"

of the offer of the three friendly Powers, the Peruvian Army continued its advance northeastward along the Gulf of Guayaquil and eastward beyond the boundary on the Zarumilla River. Reference to the accompanying map will show that this action cut lines of communication between the western interior provinces of Ecuador and the sea. In the same period Peruvian forces also took river outposts in the Oriente, the Amazonian slope of Ecuador.

It was not until August 20 that Peruvian military observers left for the frontier. Five days later the observers from both sides met to compare preliminary findings as to actions in keeping with or in contravention of the agreement of July 15, whereby Peru was to withdraw its troops behind the line of the status quo. Scattered military action, flights over "enemy" territory, troop concentrations, aerial bombings, etc., continued through August and September. The Ecuadorian Army was almost completely disorganized; trade was disrupted; and the problem of the refugee Ecuadorian populations flowing from the invaded territory became a preoccupation of the Guayaquil municipal authorities. Then on January 29, 1942, came from Rio de Janeiro the welcome news that a "Protocol of Peace, Friendship, and Boundaries between Ecuador and Peru" had been signed.

World War II may have stimulated the aggression which was charged against Peru by Ecuador and against Ecuador by Peru. But the World War also led to the Conference at Rio de Janeiro in January 1942. "The bee fertilizes the flower that it robs." One of the results of that conference was the agreement between Peru and Ecuador to survey the boundary and adjust the dispute. Thus the last serious territorial

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