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

No. 1043

Sir: Adverting to the Department’s instruction No. 353, of May 10, 1927,9 with regard to the claim of the Polarfront Company to certain land on the Island of Jan Mayen, I have the honor to transmit herewith a self-explanatory note dated the twenty-third instant from the Norwegian Foreign Office in which the Norwegian Government reiterates its opinion that the Polarfront Company has no valid claim.

I have [etc.]

Laurits S. Swenson

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

Mr. Minister: In your note of June 3, 1927, concerning the claim made by the American company “Polarfront Company” to occupy a part of the Island of Jan Mayen, you stated that the area claimed by the company in question and which is alleged to have been found unoccupied on July 26, 1926, included that part of Jan Mayen which lies north and east of a direct line drawn from the northern part of North Lagoon on the northwest coast of the Island to President Rock on the southeast coast of the Island.

In this connection I have the honor again to point out what I previously stated in my notes of March 7, 1927,9 and April 30, 1927,10 that the Norwegian Meteorological Institute has extended its occupation to cover the whole Island of Jan Mayen and that notification thereof had been given the United States Government in a note from the Norwegian Legation in Washington dated May 17, 1926.11

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It is therefore incorrect when the Polarfront Company declared that it found the territory to which it lays claim unoccupied on July 26, 1926. The Norwegian Meteorological Institute’s occupation of the whole Island was given visible manifestation among other things by the fact that the Institute placed annexation placards among other places by a house lying on the northern part of Jan Mayen—that area to which the Polarfront Company now lays claim. From the investigations which I have had made it appears that the Polarfront Company’s expedition before arriving at North Lagoon landed on the northern part of Jan Mayen, had been in the house in question, and must have seen the annexation placard.

As regards the claim stakes which Mr. Ekerold, President of the Polarfront Company, alleges to have brought to the Island in 1922 when he undertook occupation on behalf of the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, I must reiterate that no such claim stakes have been seen or known and nothing has been previously mentioned about them.

With regard to the boundary of the territory which the Polar-front Company claims to have occupied, I must advise that I have had new investigations made in the matter. From these it appears that the house and fox farm established by the Polarfront Company lie about due west from the northern shore of North Lagoon, while about 100 meters northeast of the house stands the placard put up by Mr. Ekerold, which designates the northern boundary of the territory occupied by him on behalf of the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. The placard is of considerable size and stands on a mound, so it is quite visible from the newly erected house. It has been ascertained that the sign has not been moved by any who have served Jan Mayen station after Mr. Ekerold. It must therefore be considered proved that the Polarfront Company’s establishment lies within the area which Mr. Ekerold occupied in 1922 on behalf of the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.

The steps taken by the Polarfront Company to occupy Jan Mayen thus indicate a violation of that right acquired by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, which as the rightful occupant of the Island is justified in taking the measures to maintain its rights.

I beg [etc.]

Ivar Lykke