800.014 Antarctic/3–2448

The Acting Secretary of State to the British Ambassador (Inverchapel)


Dear Archie: As your letter of March 24, 1948 to Lew Douglas1 arrived on the eve of his departure, he turned it over to me for reply. I believe that the talk on Antarctica which our people had with officers of your Embassy late in the afternoon of March 24 served to clarify the points raised in your letter. The following may, however, be useful.

As a result of our conversations with officers of your Embassy last week,2 we have decided to postone any approach to the other interested countries until we have had opportunity to study the question further. It was agreed, on your side, that no action would be taken for the present to issue invitations to a four-country round table concerning the area of the British Antarctic claim. I may note, in further clarification of our position, that our approach to the other countries did not contemplate a conference, but only exploratory diplomatic conversations.

The Department shares your view that no occasion should be given to the Soviet Union to participate in an Antarctic settlement or administration, and would not propose or accept any arrangement to the contrary. We feel, however, that the eminent, very extensive, and long-continued activities of official and private American parties in Antarctica places the United States in a wholly different status from any which could be successfully claimed by the Soviet Union on the basis of Russian activities of 127 years ago.

We shall hope in the near future to be in touch with your Embassy again on this subject.

Sincerely yours,

Robert A. Lovett
  1. Not printed.
  2. See telegram 1059, March 25, to London, p. 969.