800.014 Antarctic/332a

The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador ( Lothian )

My Dear Mr. Ambassador: I have been very glad to repeat to Admiral Byrd the substance of your letter of December 19, 1939,9 expressing your appreciation of the services which Admiral Byrd and The United States Antarctic Service were fortunately in a position to give to the inhabitants of Pitcairn Island.

A further despatch has now been received from Admiral Byrd stating that the Chief Magistrate of Pitcairn Island, Mr. Richard Edgar Christian, desired that the appropriate British authorities be informed of the present situation on the Island. In this connection Admiral Byrd reports that the Islanders were found to be in no danger of starvation, but were badly in need of certain food and medical supplies and medical and dental attention. The necessary medical and dental attention was given by the medical officers of the Antarctic Service. Admiral Byrd left with the Islanders 4,000 pounds of flour, 3,700 pounds of sugar, 1,700 pounds of potatoes, 10 gross of matches, 80 pounds of lard, 55 gallons of gasoline for the Island’s radio power plant, and five gallons of lubricating oil. These supplies are in part to be replaced in New Zealand with funds turned over to Admiral Byrd by the Chief Magistrate of the Island. Such supplies as could not be paid for were donated by The United States Antarctic Service.

[Page 19]

Assistance was also given in overhauling the Island’s radio receiver and in repairing a disabled generator. The radio transmitter is understood to be undergoing repairs at Panama.

Admiral Byrd is taking with him to New Zealand as guests of this Government Mr. Arthur Christianson, former Chief Magistrate, who has serious eye trouble, and whose wife died of an unknown disease of the stomach four days before Admiral Byrd’s arrival, together with Mr. Christianson’s three year old son.

I am [etc.]

Cordell Hull
  1. Not printed.