800.014 Antarctic/8–1447: Airgram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom


A–865. Suggest informal opportunity be taken re Embtel 4372, August 131 and Emb A–1787, August 142 to remind Foreign Office official US does not recognize Brit or other Antarctic claims and reserves all rights.

In view Argentine, Chilean sentiment, to challenge their freedom of movement in Antarctica until UK is ready to suggest practicable means of settlement would seem more productive of problems than of advantage. Our impression is that Argentina (and probably Chile), regarding matter as essentially question of national prestige, is prepared [Page 1051] to go to great lengths to defend her claim and probably would not accept reference of the problem to an international court for settlement.

Dept’s impression is that Argentine-Chilean accord3 is more apparent than real, as noted by Foreign Office official. However, it seems probable that the accord could be firm against Britain should latter take uncompromising unilateral action. US as potential claimant and as having especial desire to cooperate with Britain as well as with Chile and Argentina will avoid position which could be interpreted as favorable to either faction.

  1. Not printed; it reported that the British Foreign Office had begun to study measures to obtain Chilean and Argentine recognition of United Kingdom territorial rights in the Antarctic (800.014 Antarctic/8–1347).
  2. Not printed.
  3. In July, the Foreign Ministers of Chile and Argentina issued a joint declaration asserting the sovereign rights of their states in Antarctica and promising to effect a harmonious plan of action by both governments in that region. A copy of the declaration was delivered to the Department of State by the Chilean Ambassador on July 29.