The Protocol of Peace, Friendship, and Boundaries between Peru and Ecuador, or Rio Protocol for short, was an international agreement signed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on January 29, 1942, by the foreign ministers of Peru and Ecuador, with the participation of the United States, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina as guarantors. The Protocol was intended to finally resolve the long-running territorial dispute between the two countries, and brought about the official end of the Ecuadorian–Peruvian War of 1941-1942. Nevertheless, the Protocol was incomplete, and war broke out between Peru and Ecuador twice more, in 1981 and in 1995, before the signing of the Itamaraty Peace Declaration which brought final resolution to the dispute.
In May 1941, as tensions at the Ecuadorian-Peruvian border mounted and war was imminent, the governments of the United States, Brazil, and Argentina offered their services in aiding in the mediation of the dispute. Their efforts failed to prevent the outbreak of hostilities on July 23, 1941, but the diplomatic intervention led to a definitive cease-fire being put into place on July 31. Despite this, limited skirmishes continued to occur through the months of August and September in the Ecuadorian provinces of El Oro and Loja, as well as in the Amazonian lands. Ecuador accused Peru of continuing its advances into the highland province of Azuay.
On October 2, with military observers from the three mediating countries serving as witnesses, Ecuador and Peru signed the Talara Accord, which created a demilitarized zone inside the provinces of El Oro and Loja, pending the signing of a definitive peace treaty. Diplomatic efforts continued, with the mediating countries being joined by Chile.
With its recent entry into World War II, the United States was eager to present a united American continent. At the third Pan-American Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the United States encouraged a settlement between the two countries.
On January 29, 1942, on the final day of the third Pan-American Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro, the foreign ministers of Ecuador and Peru, Julio Tobar Donoso and Alfredo Solf y Muro, signed a "Protocol of Peace, Friendship, and Boundaries", known as the Rio de Janeiro Protocol. The observers from the United States, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile co-signed the document, becoming "Guarantors of the Protocol". The Rio Protocol was subsequently ratified by each country's congress on February 26, 1942.
By the terms of the Protocol, Ecuador agreed to withdraw its long-standing claim for rights to direct land access to the Marañon and Amazon rivers; Peru agreed to withdraw Peruvian military forces from Ecuadorian territory. An area of 200,000 km2 (77,000 sq mi) of hitherto disputed territory in the Maynas region of the Amazonian basin was awarded to Peru, which had been established to be the de facto possessor of the land since the end of the 19th century. The status quo line defined in the 1936 Lima Accord was used as the basis for the definitive border line; the previous border recognized current possessions, but not sovereignty. Relative to the 1936 line, Ecuador ceded 18,552 km² of previously possessed territory to Peru, while Peru ceded 5,072 km² of previously possessed territory to Ecuador.
During the 1960s, the Ecuadorian government alleged that the Protocol was invalid, because it had been signed under coercion while foreign troops were stationed on Ecuadorian soil. This stance was modified by subsequent governments, but was never officially reverted until the resolution of the dispute in 1995.
The intended goal of the Rio Protocol was not fulfilled until the signing of the Itamaraty Peace Declaration in 1995. Between the signing of the two treaties, the Paquisha Incident and the Cenepa War rekindled the dispute.
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( English Translation )
PROTOCOL OF PEACE, FRIENDSHIP, AND BOUNDARIES BETWEEN PERU AND ECUADOR
The Governments of Peru and Ecuador, desiring to settle the boundary dispute which, over a long period of time, has separated them, and taking into consideration the offer that was made to them by the Governments of the United States of America, of the Argentine Republic, of the United States of Brazil, and of Chile, of their friendly services to seek a prompt and honorable solution to the program, and moved by the American spirit that prevails in the Third Consultative Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American Republics, have resolved to conclude a protocol of peace, friendship, and boundaries in the presence of the representatives of those four friendly Governments. To this end, the following plenipotentiaries take part:
For the Republic of Peru, Doctor Alfredo Solf y Muro, Minister of Foreign Affairs; and
For the Republic of Ecuador, Doctor Julio Tobar Donoso, Minister of Foreign Affairs;
Who, after having exhibited the respective full powers of the parties, and having found them in good and due form, agree to the signing of the following protocol:
The Governments of Peru and Ecuador solemnly affirm their resolute intention of maintaining between the two peoples relations of peace and friendship, of understanding and good faith and of abstaining, the one with respect to the other, from any action capable of disturbing such relations.
The Government of Peru shall, within a period of 15 days from this date, withdraw its military forces to the line described in article VIII of this protocol.
The United States of America, Argentina, Brazil, and Chile shall cooperate, by means of military observers, in order to adjust to circumstances this evacuation and retirement of troops, according to the terms of the preceding article.
The military forces of the two countries shall remain in their new positions until the definitive demarcation of the frontier line. Until then, Ecuador shall have only civil jurisdiction in the zones evacuated by Peru, which remain in the same status as the demilitarized zone of the Talara Act.
The activity of the United States, Argentina, Brazil, and Chile shall continue until the definitive demarcation of frontiers between Peru and Ecuador has been completed, this protocol and the execution thereof being under the guaranty of the four countries mentioned at the beginning of this article.
Ecuador shall enjoy, for purposes of navigation on the Amazon and its northern tributaries, the same concessions that Brazil and Colombia enjoy, in addition to those that may be agreed upon in a Treaty of Commerce and Navigation designed to facilitate free and untaxed navigation on the aforesaid rivers.
Any doubt or disagreement that may arise in the execution of this protocol shall be settled by the parties concerned, with the assistance of the representatives of the United States, Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, in the shortest possible time.
The boundary line shall follow the points named below:
A)-In the west:
The mouth of the Capones in the ocean;
The Zarumilla River and the Balsamal or Lajas Quebrada;
The Puyango or Tumbes River to the Quebrada de Cazaderos;
The Quebrada de Pilares y del Alamor to the Chira River;
The Chira River, upstream;
The Macará, Calvas, and Espíndola Rivers, upstream, to the sources of the last mentioned in the Nudo de Sabanillas;
From the Nudo de Sabanillas to the Canchis River;
Along the whole course of the Canchis River, downstream;
The Chinchipe River, downstream, to the point at which it receives the San Francisco River.
B)-In the east:
From the Quebrada de San Francisco, the watershed between the Zamora and Santiago Rivers, to the confluence of the Santiago River with the Yaupi;
A line to the outlet of the Bobonaza into the Pastaza. The confluence of the Conambo River with the Pintoyacu in the Tigre River;
Outlet of the Cononaco into the Curaray, downstream, to Bellavista;
A line to the outlet of the Yasuní into the Napo River. Along the Napo, downstream, to the mouth of the Aguarico;
Along the latter, upstream, to the confluence of the Lagartococha or Zancudo River with the Aguarico;
The Lagartococha or Zancudo River, upstream, to its sources and from there a straight line meeting the Güepí River and along this river to its outlet into the Putumayo, and along the Putumayo upstream to the boundary of Ecuador and Colombia
It is understood that the line above described shall be accepted by Peru and Ecuador for the demarcation of the boundary between the two countries, by technical experts, on the grounds. The parties may, however, when the line is being laid out on the ground, grant such reciprocal concessions as they may consider advisable in order to adjust the aforesaid line to geographical realities. These rectifications shall be made with the collaboration of the representatives of the United States of America, the Argentine Republic, Brazil, and Chile.
The Governments of Peru and Ecuador shall submit this protocol to their respective Congresses and the corresponding approval is to be obtained within a period of not more than 30 days.
In witness thereof, the plenipotentiaries mentioned above sign and seal the present protocol, in two copies, in Spanish, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, at one o’clock, the twenty-ninth day of January, of the year nineteen hundred and forty-two, under the auspices of His Excellency the President of Brazil and in the presence of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Argentine Republic, Brazil, and Chile and of the Under Secretary of State of the United States of America.
(SIGNED ALSO BY REPRESENTATIVES OF THE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, AND CHILE)
Signed at Rio de Janeiro, January 29, 1942.
Approved by the Congress of Ecuador, February 26, 1942.
Approved by the Congress of Peru, February 26, 1942.
(L.S.) Alfredo Solf y Muro
(L.S.) J. Tobar Donoso
Signed) Sumner Welles
Signed) E. Ruiz Guiñazú
Signed) Juan B. Rossetti
Signed) Oswaldo Aranha
- Territorial Disputes and Their Resolution: The Case of Ecuador and Peru [link is broken]
- Text of the Rio Protocol
- Julio Tobar Donoso, La Invasión Peruana y el Protocolo de Rio. Antecedentes y Explicación Histórica. Quito, Banco Central del Ecuador, 1982 (1st Ed. 1945). P. 462.