Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Caspar D. Green of the Office of British Commonwealth and Northern European Affairs

Participants: Mr. C. A. G. Meade, Counselor, British Embassy
Mr. D. C. Tebbit, Second Secretary, British Embassy
Mr. Caspar D. Green, BNA

Mr. Tebbit came in briefly on February 13, 1950 to say that he had a letter from the Foreign Office instructing him to inquire whether [Page 909] we would still object to the British informing Australia and New Zealand of the US-British exchange of views and of our approach to the Chileans on the Chilean suggestion for a modus vivendi. He said the letter referred to the fixed British practice of exchanging full information with the Commonwealth countries and expressed apprehension that, with the considerable lapse of time between the British-US exchange and informing of Australia and New Zealand, an embarrassing situation might result.

I said that I understood their problem in this connection and that it was a problem which we share to some extent. I remarked that in view of the changes in the Chilean cabinet it was not unlikely that there would be some further delay. I said that I would see that his inquiry was taken up for consideration and would be in touch with him within a day or two.

Mr. Meade and Mr. Tebbit came in this afternoon at my request. I referred to Mr. Tebbit’s inquiry of February 13 and said that our thought on the subject was to send a message to our Embassies in Australia and New Zealand asking them to mention, without details, to the Foreign Offices that the Department has been giving serious study to an Antarctic modus vivendi proposal made by Chile and has discussed the proposal informally with the Chilean Embassy. I said that we would have no objection to the UK informing the Australians and New Zealanders of the subject, but we hoped that in doing so they could limit themselves to a general statement and would not give out copies of the documents. Mr. Meade and Mr. Tebbit believed that this suggestion would be quite satisfactory to the Foreign Office. At their request, I agreed to delay sending the proposed cables to our Embassies in Australia and New Zealand until February 20 in order to give them time to report to the Foreign Office.1 Mr. Meade and Mr. Tebbit made a rough draft of their cable report to the Foreign Office covering these points.

They requested that we let them know if we have occasion to tell the Chileans that we have given this general statement to the Australians and the New Zealanders. I said that we would be glad to do this.

  1. Brief telegrams as described here were sent to Canberra as 30 and to Wellington as 24, February 20, neither printed (702.022/2–2050). Substantially the same information was given by Green in a conversation with Owen Davis, First Secretary of the Australian Embassy on March 14 (memorandum of conversation by Green, March 14, 702.022/3–1450).