Draft Declaration on Antarctica, Prepared in the Department of State1


Modus Vivendi

(Containing Modifications Suggested by the Chilean Government Outlined by Mr. Rodríguez on September 24, 1951,2 with Proposed United States Modifications)

Messrs ———, duly authorized representatives of the Governments of Argentina, Australia, Chile, the United States of America, France, Norway, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, being met in the City of ———, have studied the Antarctic problem, and taking into consideration:

That there exist vast areas in the Antarctic Continent which have not yet been well explored or mapped;

That coordination of the scientific data that may be obtained in the Antarctic on meteorology, terrestrial magnetism, cosmic rays, geology, marine biology, et cetera, is, or may be, of great value for maritime and air navigation, the development of tele-communications, agriculture, and many other activities;

That it is the desire of the signatory Governments to maintain close relations of friendship and to avoid any cause for international differences; and that it is desirable therefore, to prevent the occurrence of conflicts over sovereignty or any other matter that may arise in the Antarctic which may disturb such relations;

In the name of their respective Governments, declare:

That their Governments are engaged in conversations and an exchange of views in order to arrive at a friendly and mutually satisfactory solution of the problem of Antarctica;
That in the territory south of Parallel 60 degrees South Latitude, the establishment of new bases, the sending of expeditions, the collection of fees of any character, or the engaging in other similar activities by or on behalf of any signatory Government during the period while this Declaration is in effect, shall not prejudice any existing rights which any other signatory Government may possess; and that the maintenance of present bases, the establishment of new bases, the sending of expeditions, the collection of fees of any kind, or the engaging [Page 1735] in other activities during this period by any signatory Government shall not be invoked at any time against other signatories of this Declaration as giving any rights in the area additional to those which it may possess on the date of the signature of the Declaration;
That any one of the signatory Governments and their nationals may carry out explorations and scientific research in any part of the area; and that on grounds of international courtesy, expeditions travelling under the flag of any country signatory to this Declaration may be permitted in the other signatory countries to obtain supplies or other necessary facilities in accordance with international usage;
That the signatory Governments will exchange scientific information relating to the Antarctic, including the regular exchange of books, pamphlets, periodicals, maps, navigation charts, photographs, descriptions, computations (calculations), and, in general, scientific data they may possess or obtain with respect to the Antarctic;
That the signatory Governments will establish an Antarctic Consultative Committee, with headquarters in the City of———composed of one member for each country, the Chairmanship of the Committee to be rotated annually; that the signatory Governments will inform the Committee of their projected activities and the results of their scientific research and study in the Antarctic; and that the Committee will establish its own regulations;
That the Committee shall not have the power to request changes in the plans of any country or those of its nationals but, in order to achieve the proper coordination, it shall furnish information concerning the plans or projects of any country or of its nationals that may be duplicated, in whole or in part, by new plans or projects, particularly in the matter of camp sites.

That the Committee shall inform the signatory Governments concerning any situation that may arise in case a country not a signatory to this Declaration indicates an intention or desire to carry out explorations or scientific research or study in the Antarctic;

That the signatory Governments agree by the terms of this Declaration not to assent to any such expedition during the life of this Declaration, except on condition that it shall not be invoked as a basis for territorial claims.

That in case this status quo is threatened by events of any nature, the signatory Governments will communicate with each other, in order to agree upon the measures which they consider it desirable to adopt in the interest of maintaining the status quo.

This Declaration shall come into effect immediately and shall remain in force for eight years. Six months before this period expires, the signatory Governments will consult with each other concerning the advantage of meeting in an Antarctic Polar Conference. If, within six months prior to the expiration of the eight-year period, none of the signatory Governments indicates to the others a desire to terminate this Declaration, the period of its duration shall be understood to be automatically extended for successive periods of one year, subject to termination at the end of any such one-year period by any signatory Government, provided that at least six months’ notice to the other signatory Governments has been given.

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Done in the City of ———, on the day of the month of ———, in the year one thousand nine hundred and fifty ———.

  1. This draft modus vivendi, undated, was sent to the Chilean Embassy on November 14, with an aide-mémoire of that date, not printed.
  2. A memorandum of conversation by Andreas G. Ronhovde, Chief of the Division of Northern European Affairs, September 24, not printed, reported his conversation of that date with Rodríguez, in which the latter presented Chile’s proposed revisions of the draft modus vivendi. The only substantive changes were the addition of the phrases “the collection of fees of any character” and “the collection of fees of any kind” in Article 2 (702.022/9–2451). These changes and most of the other changes were incorporated into the new U.S. draft.