800.014 Antarctic/8–1648

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Lovett)

Participants: Mr. Lovett, Under Secretary of State
Sr. Felix Nieto del Rio, Ambassador of Chile
Mr. Mills, Chief of NWC

The Ambassador of Chile referred to the recent visit to Chile of the Department’s special representative, Mr. Green, to discuss the question of the Antarctic. He said that during these discussions the Chilean Government proposed a sort of stand-still agreement under under which none of the countries interested in Antarctica would make efforts to promote their claims during a five year period and during this period Antarctica would be open to scientific and meteorological study by all. The Ambassador also referred to the U.S. proposal of a condominium. He stated informally and unofficially that this proposal did not appear attractive to his Government judging from despatches he has received. He requested that the Chilean proposal be given serious consideration by the Government of the United States.

I assured the Chilean Ambassador that it would receive careful consideration. I then pointed out that there was a time element involved since, if one person in the world so decided, agreement between the interested parties could be upset. The Ambassador indicated he thought my reference was to Great Britain. In view of this misunderstanding I told him frankly I had the Soviet Union in mind adding I had seen a memorandum which referred to claims by the Soviets that they had acquired rights in Antarctica by explorations more valid than those of some western hemisphere countries based upon royal grants during colonial times. This seemed to be a new thought to the Ambassador and he appeared to be impressed by the possibility of Russia advancing a claim. I added that by such a maneuver the Soviets might hope to gain a foothold in the western hemisphere.

Robert A. Lovett