Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, Whitman file

Memorandum of Discussion at the 206th Meeting of the National Security Council on Thursday, July 15, 19541

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eyes only

Present at the 206th Meeting of the Council were The President of the United States, presiding; the Vice President of the United States; the Secretary of State (for Item 2 only); the Under Secretary of State (Items 1 and 3–7); Robert B. Anderson for the Secretary of Defense; the Acting Director, Foreign Operations Administration; the Director, Office of Defense Mobilization. Also present were the Secretary of the Treasury; the Attorney General (Item 1); the Acting Secretary of the Interior (Item 4); the Secretary of Commerce (Item 1); Under Secretary of Commerce Worthy (Item 1); Assistant Secretary of Commerce Anderson (Item 3); the Director, Bureau of the Budget; the Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation (Item 1); the Administrator, Federal Facilities Corporation (Item 3); the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; the Director of Central Intelligence; the Assistant to the President; the Deputy Assistant to the President; the White House Staff Secretary; the NSC Representative on Internal Security (Item 1); the Executive Secretary, NSC; and the Deputy Executive Secretary, NSC.

Following is a summary of the discussion at the meeting and the main points taken.

[Here follows discussion of restrictions upon Soviet bloc diplomats and official representatives, a report by the Secretary of State on European matters and Indochina, and discussion of United States rubber policy.]

[Page 1758]

4. Antarctica (NSC 5424;2 Memo for NSC from Executive Secretary, same subject, dated July 13, 19543)

Mr. Lay briefed the Council on the background of the problem, analyzed the present paper, and read the majority recommendations of the NSC Planning Board.

The President observed that the most effective way to handle the problem which we faced in Antarctica would be simply to say that the claims and the rights which the United States has exercised in this region are merely reaffirmed. If we suddenly jump in now and proclaim our rights, we will cause ourselves great difficulty. In view of the claims which we have traditionally maintained, the President said that we should sit down and talk over the problem with the other interested countries, but not suddenly announce new U.S. claims.

Mr. Lay pointed out that the United States had never made any formal claims in Antarctica. The President said that of course he realized that, but that there nevertheless was all the long record of American expeditions to Antarctica. We should stand on this record and not suddenly make claims, de novo. Mr. Lay then suggested that the United States should perhaps reassert its reservation of its rights in Antarctica, but pointed out that whatever we did was unlikely to be successful unless the United States continued its explorations in Antarctica.

Mr. Allen Dulles said that while the CIA had put forth a minority view in the paper under consideration, he would be willing to accept the majority proposals subject to two changes. We ought, he believed, in the first instance to talk to the Governments of Chile and Argentina at the time we asserted our claims, to see if it were not possible to reach an amicable agreement with these two Latin American states. Secretary Smith said that he was strongly opposed to this course of action because of the fact that a British claim conflicted with the claims of Chile and Argentina in this area. He much preferred the President’s suggestion that we simply reassert our rights in Antarctica.

The President said that he would rather offend the British than our Latin American friends regarding issues in Antarctica.

Secretary Humphrey inquired what the United States would have to do in order to protect its rights in this region. The necessary course of action was explained to Secretary Humphrey by Mr. Lay and others, but Secretary Humphrey thought that ten million dollars was much too high a price to pay. The President suggested that the Departments of Defense and the Interior undertake to see [Page 1759] what they could do by way of sending expeditions to Antarctica as a kind of subordinate part of their regular operations. Admiral Radford also indicated that the Navy Department could find ways and means of helping to protect U.S. rights in Antarctica without undue financial costs.

Mr. Allen Dulles said that the other problem which concerned him was to make sure that Russia was not invited to take part in any discussions or negotiations respecting Antarctica. The President expressed hearty agreement with Mr. Dulles’ position. The President concluded the discussion of this item by expressing strong approval of future expeditions to protect our rights in Antarctica, and suggesting that the State Department “figure out” how best to do it.

The National Security Council:

Adopted the statement of policy contained in NSC 5424, subject to the following changes:

Paragraph 5: Revise to read as follows:

“5. Reassertion of U.S. ‘rights’ in the Antarctic will in any event be desirable in the near future. Decisions as to the nature and timing of such a U.S. reassertion must take into account the possibility of objections by friendly governments, as well as propaganda from unfriendly quarters.”

Paragraph 9: Revise to read as follows:

“9. At an appropriate time, simultaneously:

  • “a. Reassert U.S. ‘rights’ in the Antarctic, which have been ours as the inherent results of discovery and exploration, and unofficial claims made in behalf of the U.S.
  • “b. Indicate a willingness (1) to examine with the U.K., New Zealand, Australia, France, Norway, and particularly Argentina and Chile, the possibility of an early resolution of conflicting claims by amicable means; and (2) in general, to encourage and participate in international arrangements to promote the over-all reduction of international friction, and the orderly solution of the territorial problems among friendly powers.”

Subparagraph 10–a: Revise to read as follows:

“a. Such a program should include periodic expeditions to the Antarctic and the maintenance of permanent stations in the Antarctic area.”

Note: NSC 5424, as amended, approved by the President; referred to the Operations Coordinating Board as the coordinating agency designated by the President; and circulated as NSC 5421/1.

[Here follows discussion of United States policy on Berlin and significant world developments affecting United States security.]

  1. Drafted on July 16 by Deputy Executive Secretary of the NSC S. Everett Gleason.
  2. Dated June 28, 1954, p. 1743.
  3. This memorandum transmitted to the NSC the JCS memorandum, supra.