The Norwegian Minister (Bachke) to the Secretary of State

Sir: Prompted by certain statements that recently appeared in the Washington press concerning territorial claims to Antarctic regions, which, it seems to be surmised might arise out of discoveries made or to be made during the flights of Commander Byrd, at present on an expedition to the South Polar Regions,12 my Government has instructed me to communicate the following:

The Norwegian Government has taken it for granted that the Government of the United States of America, whichever intentions it may have to claim sovereignty to certain parts of the Antarctic regions, in consequence of the standpoint taken in the note of the Honorable Charles E. Hughes, the then Secretary of State, to my predecessor, and dated April 2, 1924,13 does not intend to base such possible claims to sovereignty or claims of priority to sovereignty in the South Polar Regions upon the flights of Commander Byrd. In any case, the Norwegian Government assumes that possible claims of this nature do not comprise any part of the territory immediately circumjacent to the South Pole, which, as will be known, was taken [Page 718] possession of in the name of the King of Norway by Captain Roald Amundsen in December 1911, under the name of Haakon VII’s Plateau, nor to comprise the territories on both sides of Captain Amundsen’s route to the South Pole south of Edward VII’s Land and including i. a. Queen Maud’s Range.

My Government has instructed me to add that while it is not its intention at the present time to claim sovereignty to the territories referred to above, it considers that the said discovery and annexation constitute a valid basis for a claim of priority to acquire such territories whenever the requirements of international law as to effective occupation of a new territory shall have been fulfilled.

Furthermore, as far as the sovereignty to Edward VII’s Land in the Antarctic regions is concerned, the Norwegian Government is of the opinion that considerable weight should be laid upon the fact that the said land or region was explored, mapped and occupied in the name of Norway by Mr. Prestrud and his companions, who, previous to anyone else, in 1911 visited the region referred to on a sleighing expedition from the Bay of Whales.

Please accept [etc.]

H. H. Bachke