315. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission at the United Nations1

73. 1. Re Antarctica. Indian UNDel has given USUN copy GOI’s draft explanatory memo in support its proposal inscribe Antarctica agenda 11th GA and has requested our comments. GOI seeking views other interested governments. Memo substantially identical with that given us by NZ Embassy Aug. 22 copy which transmitted attachment Department’s memo conversation same date.2 Memo suggests “GA should call upon all states agree and [Page 645] affirm peaceful utilization Antarctica for the general welfare and in particular agree that area shall not be used in any manner that would promote increase world tensions or extend to this area influence and effects existing tensions.”

2. FYI We would welcome Indian decision withdraw item or agree postponement its inscription this session; and we do not expect take final position on inscription until it definite Indians intend press for inscription. In meanwhile, we wish to avoid any discussion specific terms Indian proposal. End FYI

3. USUN (and Embassy New Dehli if similarly approached) should take following line in responding Indian request our views: US position on inscription not yet determined. Indian draft memo helpful in giving US clearer indication Indian objective. While we have not undertaken formulate detailed comments on Indian memo we would like to make certain general observations at this time. We can see no need to raise Antarctica in UN at this juncture and believe it politically unwise to do so. While GOI apparently wished avoid raising question territorial claims we doubt if this can be avoided entirely. This could lead to exacerbation existing rivalries among countries having claimed Antarctic territory making even more difficult an eventual solution problem. Moreover, we doubt whether any constructive result likely be obtained. There is freedom of exploration and scientific investigation in Antarctica as evidenced by extent of voluntary cooperation by countries currently participating IGY activities there. We fail see legitimate basis for what we understand to be Indian concern over possible use Antarctic region for nuclear testing. As we have indicated previously US has no present intent or plan to use Antarctica as nuclear testing site. Agenda for 11th GA already heavy. For these reasons we would hope GOI would not press for inscription at this time. We wish underline however US doubts re discussion Antarctica in UN does not mean US has modified its desire further international cooperation Antarctica and Indians probably aware past US efforts this end. We would appreciate being informed by GOI whether and when it intends submit explanatory memo UN.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 702.022/9–356. Confidential. Drafted by David Bane of the Office of United Nations Political and Security Affairs. Cleared by EUR, ARA, NEA, BNA, and L/UNA. Initialed for Hoover by Samuel De Palma, Deputy Director of the Office of United Nations Political and Security Affairs. Also sent to New Dehli and pouched to Buenos Aires, Canberra, London, Oslo, Paris, Santiago, and Wellington.
  2. Neither printed.