031.1102/10–2254: Circular telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in Argentina1


206. In course recent meeting Rome International Geophysical Union, national plans for Antarctic phase International Geophysical Year 1957–58 (IGY) were discussed. Working Group on Antarctica of Special Committee for IGY (French initials: CSAGI) approved existing plans for 21 stations (including 3 U.S.) in general region Antarctica and recommended 8 additional stations at “gap-locations” of which 5 in Antarctica proper. CSAGI resolution inter alia urged that as many nations as possible should take part and invited various nations to “consider recommendations to establish stations at the gap-locations”.

USSR representative attended Rome meeting as observer. Soviets indicated intention participating IGY but not yet apparent whether interest includes Antarctic phase IGY. Should Soviets desire establish foothold Antarctica as basis future claim danger arises that CSAGI invitation would provide plausible opportunity do so with “international blessing”.

U.S. Committee of IGY has under consideration adding to its existing Antarctic plans establishment station one of gap-locations. Plans had earlier been made for forthcoming official U.S. expedition (Circular Telegram 1702) to investigate Gould Bay in Weddell Sea as base possible future exploration. One of gap-locations recommended CSAGI is Vahsel Bay (77 South, 35 West) not far from Gould Bay (both are within British and Argentine claims). Others are Astrid Coast (10 East, 70 South, Norwegian claim) and Knox Coast (67 South, 105 East, Australian claim). CSAGI specifically asked New Zealand consider station at Ross Island (76 South, 169 East) and Norway at Peter I Island (69 South, 90 West).

To reduce likelihood Soviet decision establish base one or more gap-locations desirable U.S. and/or friendly countries state their intentions occupying them. For purpose exploring that possibility request you informally and confidentially give foreign offices foregoing information orally and inquire whether they have any plans [Page 1765] for taking up indicated gap-locations. Refer map attached NSC 5424/1 July 19, 1954 for locations.3

Inquiries should be explicitly without prejudice status existing claims and possible future U.S. claims. Avoid urging decisive action at this time as result U.S. approach. Carefully point out present inquiries due U.S. Government initiative and not U.S. Committee for IGY or other scientific body.

Report findings soonest.

  1. Drafted by Hilliker. Cleared by Marjorie Whiteman of L/ARA; Henry Dearborn and Frank J. Devine of the Office of South American Affairs; Robert O. Blake of the Office of Eastern European Affairs, William Dale Fisher of the Office of Western European Affairs, Dr. Koepfli of the Office of the Scientific Adviser, and Carothers of the National Science Foundation. Sent also to Santiago, London, Paris, Oslo, Canberra, Wellington and repeated for information to Moscow.
  2. Supra.
  3. NSC 5424/1 is printed without its map on p. 1760.