702.00/6–1950: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Douglas) to the Secretary of State


3447. In informal conversation with Cecil,1 head Latin American Department Foreign Office, Embassy raised question recent Soviet note re Antarctica. Cecil said Foreign Office did not know what nature British reply would be made. Note now being studied in Legal Department and only recommendation of Latin American Department to date is for prior consultation with US, Australia, New Zealand, possibly France and Norway before reply finally decided upon. Norway has already asked Foreign Office what British will say.

Foreign Office has no idea what inspired Russian note or what next steps Russians contemplate. Cecil felt that remote possibility might be carefully worded resolution, suggesting some form trusteeship, for GA since current Russian tactics vis-à-vis Latins seem to include fomenting Latins’ anti-colonial sentiments and USSR has always had greater success in Assembly’s Fourth Committee than elsewhere.

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Cecil said Foreign Office would be helped in thinking about question by information on two points:

What effect, if any, this note has on current US thinking re Chilean “standstill” proposals—about which Foreign Office does not know officially. Cecil’s view is status Chilean note might affect timing of Foreign Office reply since if Russians should hear of Chilean proposals, USSR could use that as excuse either push own views or point out to UN Russian views being ignored, et cetera.
Position US thinking about possibility putting in US claim to parts Antarctica. Foreign Office would not want to have anything in their reply which could embarrass US since its interest in Antarctica on different grounds from that of other interested parties.2

  1. Robert Cecil, Assistant Head of the American Department, in charge of the Latin American Section, British Foreign Office.
  2. Telegram 179, July 12, to London, not printed, instructed the Embassy to reply informally to the Foreign Office as follows:

    “No US reply imminent. Dept will wish exchange views with other interested govts before making reply. Effect Sov note is to emphasize desirability agreement on territorial status Antarctica. As progress this direction and nature reply to USSR depend partly on Chilean response our proposal re suggested modus vivendi, Dept asked Chilean Emb informally for Chilean thinking, however preliminary. No new developments re question 2.” (702.022/7–1250)

    Telegram 454, July 21, from London, not printed, reported that the information provided by the Department had been transmitted to the Foreign Office (702.022/7–2150). Despatch 1747, October 13, from London, not printed, reported having been informed by the Foreign Office that the British were discussing with the Australians and the New Zealanders the possibility of making no reply at all to the Soviet communication of June 9 (702.022/10–1350).