310. Instruction From the Department of State to Certain Diplomatic Missions1



  • Soviet Interest in the Facilities in Connection with the Antarctic Expedition

We are concerned over reports which have been received indicating that the Soviet Union may formally request the use of base facilities in the Southern Hemisphere in support of the Soviet Antarctic program during the International Geophysical Year. Our concern is motivated by fears that the Soviet interest will not be limited to that period. The use of such facilities has other strategic significance, and we should like to see that a coordinated policy toward a possible request for base facilities be adopted by those most likely to be approached. The addressee missions are therefore instructed to approach at an appropriate level the governments to which they are accredited, in formally conveying the following:2

“The United States has followed with interest plans announced by the Soviet Union for an Antarctic expedition in connection with the International Geophysical Year. We do not yet know whether Soviet activity in the Antarctic is motivated by real scientific interest or whether it heralds an attempt at permanent occupation of a portion of the Antarctic. We feel sure that our friends and allies who have a traditional interest in the Antarctic Continent share our concern over the latter possibility.

“The United States has learned that the Soviet Union has informally requested assistance at recent IGY meetings in the nature of landing rights at airfields as stopping points for planes en route to the Antarctic. We believe that the extension of such assistance would be contrary to the interest of all having an interest in the Antarctic unless we can be assured that the main Soviet interest is connected with the International Geophysical Year and thus limited in its duration.

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“In the common interest we believe we should adopt a common policy towards any official Soviet overtures by keeping each other informed of such developments.”

. . . . . . .

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 031.6102/11–1555. Confidential. Sent to Buenos Aires, Canberra, London, Pretoria, Santiago, and Wellington. Drafted by Edwin D. Crowley (EUR/BNA) and cleared by Horsey and appropriate officers in BNA, L/ARA, OSA, and EE.
  2. The text that follows is identical with a text drafted by Crowley and sent from Barbour to Acting Secretary Hoover in a memorandum of November 3, which Hoover approved. (Ibid., 031.1102/11–355)