859b.01/–: Telegram

The Ambassador in Great Britain ( Davis ) to the Secretary of State

826. Have received note from Foreign Office stating that Danish Minister has requested British Government to recognize Danish sovereignty over Greenland. Lord Curzon has informed Danish Minister

“That the geographical position of Greenland makes the question of ownership a matter of great importance to the British Empire as a whole and to Canada in particular, and that His Majesty’s Government therefore feel obliged to attach to their recognition of Danish sovereignty over it the condition that in the event of Denmark wishing to dispose of the territory she will grant the British Empire the right of preemption. Subject to this condition His Majesty’s Government are prepared at once to recognize officially the sovereignty of Denmark over Greenland.”1

  1. The British Government modified its position regarding recognition of Danish sovereignty over Greenland in the following note to the Danish Minister in Great Britain, September 6, 1920 (Legal Status of Eastern Greenland, P. C. I. J., Series C, No. 62, 26th sess., 1933, p. 48):

    “Sir: With reference to your note No. 202/30/B.2. concerning the official recognition by His Majesty’s Government of His Danish Majesty’s sovereignty over Greenland which you were good enough to address to me on July 20th, I have the honour to inform you that His Majesty’s Government recognize His Danish Majesty’s sovereignty over Greenland, but in view of its geographical proximity to the Dominion of Canada, His Majesty’s Government must reserve their right to be consulted, should the Danish Government at any time contemplate the alienation of this territory.”

    The complete text of the note of May 19, 1920, from the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to the Danish Minister in Great Britain, which is summarized in the above telegram, is printed ibid., p. 46.