The Department of State to the Australian Embassy 1
The following considerations, in briefest outline, have led the United States Government to the conclusion that the establishment of an international status for the Antarctic area is the most practicable and preferable method of solving the problem of conflicting and potentially conflicting claims in that area.
The prestige of several nations is engaged in the area. Very difficult problems would be posed, should a division among the various national sovereignties be sought through the International Court. The foreseeable values of Antarctica are predominantly scientific rather than strategic or economic. An international regime would be well calculated to promote the exploitation of these scientific values. Internationalization, therefore, appears to present the best possibility of removing the area from the field of present or potential future contention, at the same time preserving to the interested nations control over the strategic use and possible economic value of the area.
The conflict of interests, the friction and disagreement generated by the conflict of claims, and the unsettled status of Antarctica perturbs otherwise amicable relations and is, moreover, susceptible of exploitation [Page 997] to the disadvantage of the interested nations by nations and groups who hope to profit from discord.
An international administration for the Antarctic continent and sub-Antarctic islands would promote the further systematic scientific exploration and investigation of Antarctic phenomena. It would facilitate the correlation of meteorological observations of practical significance in long range weather forecast, particularly for countries of the Southern Hemisphere. A settlement by internationalization should, as stated above, also remove the area from the field of present or potential future conflict, at the same time preserving to the interested nations control over any actual or potential values which the area may contain, while widening the sphere of friendly, cooperative international endeavor.
The United States hopes that the interested nations will endeavor to agree on some form of internationalization of the area. In order to provide a basis for discussion, a plan for an international administration of the area has been prepared. However, the United States will welcome suggestions from Australia, and will gladly discuss any alternative proposals.
- Identic aide-mémoire, together with copies of the enclosed Draft Agreement on Antarctica, were addressed to the New Zealand Legation and the Argentine, Chilean, British, French, and Norwegian Embassies. This aide-mémoire is the same as that presented by Caspar D. Green to the Chilean and Argentine Foreign Ministries during his July visits to Santiago and Buenos Aires; see telegrams 495, July 19, from Santiago and 730, July 21, from Buenos Aires, p. 995. The Department’s action in circulating the aide-mémoire and accompanying Draft Agreement was reported in telegram 3164, August 10, to London, repeated as 308 to Oslo, 3051 to Paris, 726 to Buenos Aires, 302 to Santiago, 181 to Canberra, and 77 to Wellington, not printed (800.014/Antarctic/8–1048).↩
- This Draft Agreement is a
redraft of the earlier text included as an enclosure to document
PPS 31, June 9, p. 977. The revision was carried out in
the Department of State during the month of July, particularly in
the light of comments by the British Embassy. Telegram 3164, August
10, to London, commented as follows on the earlier reaction to this
version of the Draft Agreement:
“For your info Brit position now favorable (though UK hopes possibly to reserve two or three small islands); Chilean initial reaction negative but not categorical, One of its chief concerns being commitments to and necessity of dealing with Argentina; first Argentine reaction strongly unfavorable.” (800.014 Antarctic/8–1048)