Policy Planning Staff Files: Lot 64 D 563

Memorandum by John A. Morrison of the Policy Planning Staff to Carlton Savage, Executive Secretary of the Policy Planning Staff1


Subject: Meeting of April 20 [21?] 1948 on Draft of Policy Paper for Antarctica

1. It developed at the meeting that at the time the policy paper was drafted EUR had two documents which had not been circulated to [Page 976] S/P apparently through oversight. One of these was a draft of an agreement for establishing an International Antarctic Commission outside of UN which had been prepared by Mr. Boggs on March 222 and which had been revised as a result of a meeting which S/P had not been notified of. The second was a letter from Mr. Forrestal to the Secretary, dated April 12,3 in which the position of the JCS regarding Antarctica was stated.

2. Mr. Thompson (EUR) argued that since the British had expressed a desire to negotiate with Argentina and Chile with a view to settling their dispute with these countries regarding the Falkland Island Dependencies, our Government should take no further steps toward a general discussion pending the outcome of these negotiations. S/P pointed out that in view of the rancors developed during the past navigation season between the British on the one hand, and the Chileans and Argentines on the other, rancors which would in all probability be revived and perhaps accentuated in the coming navigation season and which would embarrass this Government, more positive action by the United States is needed. ARA supported this view.

3. Discussion resulted in agreement that this Government propose to London that an international regime, affiliated with the United Nations, but not a UN trusteeship, be established for the Antarctic continent, disposition of the disputed islands (South Shetland, South Orkney and South Sandwich groups, and South Georgia) to be attempted by the British in negotiation with Chile and Argentina. Mr. Morrison (S/P), in consultation with Mr. Boggs and UNA, was instructed to draw up a draft agreement for an international regime for submission to London. Mr. Thompson urged that in view of the difficulties which had attended discussions with Mr. Hadow of the British Embassy here, an officer be sent to London to carry on preliminary negotiations.

4. It was agreed that the JCS be informed of the nature of the proposals which the Department proposes to make to the London Foreign Office and that JCS be requested to advise the Department whether these proposals give proper protection to U.S. security interests.

  1. The source text is attached to a short, summary record of the 165th Meeting of the Policy Planning Staff, April 21, 1948. According to that record, there was a discussion of a draft paper on the Antarctic, dated April 16. Present for the meeting were the Director of the Policy Planning Staff, George F. Kennan, Staff members George H. Butler, Henry S. Villard, Bernard A. Gufler, and Joseph P. Davies, Jr., Staff Executive Secretary Carlton Savage, and John A. Morrison. Participating in this meeting from other parts of the Department were: Llewellyn E. Thompson, Deputy Director, Office of European Affairs; Robert F. Woodward, Deputy Director, Office of American Republic Affairs; Samuel W. Boggs, Special Adviser on Geography, Office of Intelligence Research; Caspar D. Green of the Division of Northern European Affairs; James H, Webb, Jr., of the Division of North and West Coast Affairs of the Office of American Republic Affairs.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Ante, p. 971.