The Minister in Norway ( Swenson ) to the Secretary of State

No. 489

Sir: Referring to my No. 244, of July 5, 1923,2 I have the honor to enclose herein copies, with translation, of a note from the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, dated the 15th instant, and of my reply thereto, dated September 23rd,3 relative to the report to the effect that Mr. Chr. Ruud, a Norwegian citizen, has sold his alleged rights to the Island of Jan Mayen to an American residing in Christiania, and that henceforth the Island is to be considered as being American, according to the view of Mr. Ruud and the American purchaser.

I also enclose a clipping from Morgenbladet, issue of September 11, 1924, with translation, containing the item referred to by Mr. Mowinckel, and another from the same paper, issue of September 22, 1924, containing a statement from Mr. Ruud’s attorney.4

You will also find enclosed copies, with translation, of Professor Mikael H. Lie’s opinion5 referred to in the clipping of September 11th.

Mr. Mowinckel is at present out of the city on a political campaign tour of the country. When he returns to his desk he will undoubtedly discuss the above matter with me. In case he does I shall report his observations.

I have [etc.]

Laurits S. Swenson
[Page 825]

The Norwegian Minister for Foreign Affairs ( Mowinckel ) to the American Minister ( Swenson )

Dear Mr. Swenson: I notice in Morgenbladet of the 11th instant that Mr. Chr. Ruud, a Norwegian citizen, is reported to have sold to an American, residing in Christiania, the rights which he claims to the Island of Jan Mayen, in the Arctic Ocean, and that henceforth the island is to be considered as being American, according to the view of Mr. Chr. Ruud and the American purchaser.

I have not verified this report, but I beg to point out, ex tuto, that the main portion of said island, on which a wireless station for weather forecasting was erected in the summer and fall of 1921, has been annexed, with a view to permanent occupation, by Engineer Ekerold, on behalf of the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, a Norwegian Government institution, which claims that the occupation is effective relative to all other occupations. I also wish to call attention to the fact that some time ago the Norwegian Minister at Washington notified your Government of this annexation.6

In addition I beg to refer to the statement contained in my predecessor, Mr. Michelet’s, official communication to you dated June 30, 1923,7 relative to the views and attitude of the Norwegian Government with respect to the international status of Jan Mayen.

Joh. Ludw. Mowinckel
  1. Ibid., p. 633.
  2. The note of September 23 (not printed) stated that the Minister was communicating a copy of the Norwegian note of September 15 to the Department of State for its information.
  3. Neither printed.
  4. Not printed.
  5. See note from the Norwegian Minister to the Secretary of State, Apr. 21, 1922, Foreign Relations, 1923, vol. ii, p. 632.
  6. Ibid., p. 633.