The Secretary of State to Senator Tom Connally 1

My Dear Senator Connally: I refer to my letter of July 27, 1950 concerning the letter dated July 17 received by the Committee on Foreign Relations from Miss E. A. Kendall of Arlington, Virginia.2 [Page 916] The comments of the Department were requested with respect to Miss Kendall’s remarks regarding United States policy in the Antarctic.

Miss Kendall has been in touch from time to time with officers of this Department concerning the Antarctic, most recently on July 5, 1950 when questions of the type raised in her letter were discussed at some length.

The United States has not recognized any claims of other nations to territory in Antarctica. It has refrained from asserting an official claim and has reserved any rights it may have as a result of American activities in the area. As stated in a press release of August 28, 1948,3 the Department believes that any solution of the territorial problem of Antarctica should be such as to promote scientific investigation and research in the area. This can perhaps be done most effectively through some form of internationalization.

In view of the fact that other countries’ claims to Antarctic territories are not generally recognized, there would seem to be little merit in Miss Kendall’s suggestion that the United States attempt to bargain for cession of rights to such territories from nations receiving economic or military aid. In fact, action of this sort might result in derogation of United States rights in Antarctica.

Even assuming that certain countries were capable of granting the United States considerations of value in Antarctica, the Department of State does not believe that the method suggested would be appropriate. You may wish to remind Miss Kendall that financial aid is extended to foreign countries by the United States as a means of obtaining specific results which are in the national interest and which are, in themselves, worthy of the expenditure. Such aid is not conceived of as a basis for unlimited claims on the future policies of other governments, particularly in matters not related to the aid extended. To ask for or expect from the countries participating in the European Recovery Program, for example, benefits other than those stated as objectives of the authorizing legislation, would endanger realization of our central aim of achieving recovery in Europe.

The Department of State endeavors to encourage, as far as appropriate, the exploration and scientific investigation of the Antarctic by American expeditions capable of making significant contributions to knowledge of the area and its future possibilities. On the basis of information now available, however, it is clear that efforts to effect [Page 917] settlement with a view to utilization are not practical and could not be expected to achieve results greater than the usual type of scientific project. Indeed, the practical problem of attracting adequate financial support for such a venture would seem to be insuperable in view of the difficulties which in the past have confronted sponsors of expeditions of a limited scope.

Sincerely yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Jack K. McFall

Assistant Secretary
  1. This letter, which was addressed to Senator Connally in his capacity as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, was drafted by Grant G. Hilliker of the Office of British Commonwealth and Northern European Affairs and was concurred in by the Office of the Legal Adviser, by the Office of the Special Adviser on Geography, the Office of North and West Coast Affairs of the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Affairs (Jack K. McFall).
  2. Under cover of a brief letter of July 20, C. C. O’Day, Clerk of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations transmitted to Assistant Secretary of State McFall a copy of a letter of July 17 to the Committee from Miss E. A. Kendall of Arlington, Virginia, requesting action with respect to United States claims in the Antarctic. Clerk O’Day’s letter explained that it would be helpful to the Committee to have the Department of State’s comments on Miss Kendall’s letter, particularly in connection with her statement that the Department was “apathetic” in its attitude toward the Antarctic (702.022/7–2050). In a brief letter of July 27 to Senator Connally, Assistant Secretary McFall for the Secretary of State acknowledged receipt of Clerk O’Day’s letter and promised a reply in a short time (702.022/7–2050). None of the correspondence under reference here is printed.
  3. On August 28, 1948, the Department of State issued to the press a statement explaining that it had approached the Governments of Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom informally with a suggestion that a solution for the territorial problem of Antarctica be discussed. For the text of the statement, see Department of State Bulletin, September 5, 1948, p. 301.