800.014 Antarctic/556

The Ambassador in Argentina (Armour) to the Secretary of State

No. 1543

Sir: Supplementing my despatch no. 1524 of November 9, 19409 with reference to Argentina’s attitude toward the Chilean Government’s decree of November 6, 1940 by which Chile claimed sovereignty over certain Antarctic regions, I have the honor to enclose the text, with translation,10 of a note addressed by the Argentine Government to the Chilean Government on November 12, 1940, accepting Chile’s suggestion for a meeting of the competent authorities of both countries to consider their respective claims.

It will be observed from the note that Argentina bases its claim to the Antarctic areas in question on, 1) continuous occupation through maintenance of an observatory in the South Orkneys established 37 years ago; 2) certain expeditions made by its Navy, and 3) the geographic proximity of the area to the archipelago of the Falkland Islands which it asserts “is also part of our national territory”.

The note refers to a communication which the Argentine Government addressed to the British Government on September 11, 1940 suggesting that an international conference be held to establish the juridical-political status of the Antarctic region, and to another communication which it sent on March 9, 1940 to the Government of the United States10 regarding its claims in that region. The note concludes

“the Argentine Government understands that the situation created by the unilateral claims to zones of the Antarctic made by various States, to which Chilean claims are now added, can be satisfactorily settled from an international point of view only by means of a conference of the interested States and through an agreement among them on the basis of their just claims and rights. With the aggregate of antecedents supporting its claims, the Argentine Government could doubtless have adopted a similar attitude had it not considered that a unilateral act would in no way have strengthened this claim. From [Page 338] this same point of view it cannot consider the Chilean claim without reservations, although this does not imply any intention to deprive that friendly nation of its rights to a portion of the region in question.

“Fortunately the explanation which the Chilean Government gave after the issuance of its declaration, in the sense that the competent authorities of both countries could enter into contact in order to reach a solution taking into consideration the aspirations of both nations, will enable us, within the best tradition of our relations, to revise and settle by common agreement the limit which is to define our just claims. The Argentine Government therefore accepts the friendly suggestion of the Chilean Government in the hope that the agreement which may be reached will also serve to guarantee the rights of both countries with respect to the other interested nations.”

Respectfully yours,

Norman Armour
  1. Not printed; see telegram No. 534, November 9, 11 a.m., supra.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.