Memorandum by the Acting Chairman of the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee (Hickerson)60
Reference is made to my memorandum concerning Soviet demands with regard to Bear Island and the Spitsbergen Archipelago61 (SWNCC 159, dated 13 July 194562). On page 11, Appendix B to this memorandum,63 it is stated that in July 1941 the Soviet authorities made it clear that they looked to Jan May en as well as Spitsbergen and [Page 103] Bear Island as potentially important communication links with the rest of the world and pointed out the importance of defending these islands. Considering this circumstance and the fact that the Soviet Foreign Minister reiterated in November, 1944, the Soviet demands with regard to Bear Island and Spitsbergen, and again referred to this matter in a conversation with the Norwegian Foreign Minister in May, 1945, the Department of State recommends that, pending settlement of the question of proposed Soviet bases in the North Atlantic, no steps be taken to withdraw United States Navy personnel presently attached to the radio-sonde station on Jan Mayen Island.
- This memorandum was circulated for the consideration of the Committee in connection with their consideration of SWNCO 159 of July 13, 1945 (ante, p. 92), and a copy was forwarded to the Joint Chiefs of Staff for comment from a military point of view. In a memorandum to the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee, dated August 10, 1945, not printed, the Joint Chiefs of Staff requested “that the Department of State be informed that pending settlement of the question of proposed bases the United States naval personnel presently attached to the radio-sonde station on Jan Mayen Island will not be withdrawn.” (SWNCC File) According to SWNCC 159/7, 22 August 1945 (Note by the Secretaries of the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee, not printed), by informal action on 21 August 1945, the Committee approved 159/2.↩
- For documentation regarding the attitude of the United States concerning reported demands by the Soviet Union on Norway with respect to Spitsbergen and Bear Island, see pp. 91 ff.↩
- Ante, p. 92.↩
- The undated study prepared by the Department of State and entitled “Soviet Interest in Bases: Spitsbergen and Bear Island”, not printed.↩