314. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Merchant) to the Under Secretary of State (Hoover)1


  • Antarctica: Indian Proposal for UN Discussion

It is understood that the recent Indian proposal to include the “Antarctic question” on the agenda for the next meeting of the next General Assembly2 was discussed during the last meeting of OCB.

… The explanatory memorandum has not yet been presented by the Indians to the UN secretariat and we have no details on the [Page 644] Indians proposal. Rumor has it that it involves a UN trusteeship over the Antarctic.

. . . . . . .

Until we have seen the Indian proposal we are not in a position to say whether or not we would favor it. Should we favor a trusteeship we would be going contrary to the views of a number of our friends. The atmosphere surrounding the problem at the moment makes it unlikely that the UN could contribute to a solution and under NSC 5424/1 as revised we could not agree to a UN trusteeship. However, such a solution has merits which should be given full consideration. We would not necessarily oppose such solution and if the Indian proposal takes this form we may have to review our policy again. You will recall the Secretary mentioned this UN possibility during his briefing before the recent [revision] of NSC 5424/1.

You may wish to pass this on to the OCB at its next meeting and say that until the details of the Indian proposition are available we cannot make any useful comment. Each Department should, however, review its thinking on our policy so that we can reach an agreed position if a trusteeship is proposed.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 702.022/2–2456. Secret.
  2. Telegram 641 from New York, February 24, reads: “On instructions, Indian delegation February 17 requested Secretary General UN include ‘the question of Antarctica’ on agenda 11th GA. Indians have promised explanatory memo ‘in due course’ but have not yet submitted. New Dehli press report says Indians contemplate asking GA proclaim entire Antarctic area UN trust territory. Department and Mission have made no comment.” (Ibid.)