Memorandum of Conversation, by the Officer in Charge of British Commonwealth and Northern European Affairs (Hulley)

Participants: Mr. C. A. Gerald Meade, Counselor, British Embassy
Benjamin M. Hulley—BNA
Grant G. Hilliker—BNA

Mr. Meade came in pursuant to the same Foreign Office instruction of July 4 that had occasioned the visit of Mr. Boyd on July 12 because Mr. Boyd, he said, “did not get the right answers.”1

After I had read the instruction we discussed generally the question of replying to the Soviet note. I repeated that tentatively our feeling was that there was no need for haste in making a reply, particularly in view of the Korean situation. Indeed I was not sure that any reply [Page 915] was necessary. We do not propose to make one without prior consultation with Britain and other claimant countries. I suggested that Mr. Meade’s arguments about the weak juridical position of any Soviet claims should not be used in a reply, as it might have the unfortunate effect of stimulating Soviet expeditions to Antarctica. My personal reaction for a reply was to point out that we have had no evidence that we can expect from the Soviet Union the international cooperation which is the basis of the Soviet request. Mr. Hilliker pointed out that it had been difficult to give Mr. Boyd any exact information on the Department’s attitude because no general discussions had been held and that in any case our approach would be conditioned to a large extent by the nature of the Chilean response to our revision of their modus vivendi proposal. He also gave Mr. Meade the essence of the information we had from Santiago concerning Chilean consideration of the Soviet note.

Mr. Meade speculated at some length on the question of Antarctic claims and the validity of various acts, including the Russian voyage of 1819–21, as bases for claims. His random comments lead him to the apparent conclusion that the USSR would be prevented from taking effective action in Antarctica if the interested countries were to submit the question of claims to the International Court. I questioned whether, the USSR would agree to the jurisdiction of the Court.

  1. John G. Boyd, Second Secretary of the British Embassy, visited the Department of State on July 12 for a preliminary discussion of the Soviet communication of June 8 on Antarctica (see p. 911). Boyd brought with him a copy of his instructions of July 4 from the Foreign Office presenting British views on the Soviet communication substantially as reported in telegram 3447, June 19, from London, supra (memorandum of conversation by Grant G. Hilliker, July 12, 1950, 702.022/7–1250).