323. Memorandum for the Files, by the Officer in Charge of Antarctic Affairs (Wilson)1


The second meeting was held April 3 at the invitation of Ambassador Robert McClintock (S/P) at 3 p.m. in Room 5105. In attendance were:

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  • State
    • Ambassador McClintock, S/P
    • Mr. Crowley, BNA
    • Mr. Bane, UNP
    • Mr. Hewett, L/UNA
    • Miss Whiteman, L/ARA
    • Mr. Watrous, OSA
    • Mr. Wilson, RPA
  • Defense
    • Mr. Ernst
  • CIA
    • Two representatives

Mr. McClintock apologized for postponing the meeting one day. He said the matter was not quite so urgent since we had been given until April 12 (instead of April 5) to present the inter-agency recommendations to the NSC.

He said the papers presented by all agencies2 except Defense were satisfactory, and asked Mr. Ernst when Defense could be expected to make up its mind. Mr. Ernst said the Joint Chiefs of Staff had not yet made up its mind. They are discussing the answer to the Department’s March 11 letter,3 he said, but there is as yet no agreement on how the answer is to be. But they are giving it high priority and hope to reach a firm decision in the near future. He said he could anticipate that Defense might have some reservations about limiting the US claim (if any) to the Unclaimed Sector, as they are more interested in other parts of Antarctica.

Mr. Bane said he was sure a US claim would precipitate UN action and we should be prepared for this if we decide to go ahead with a claim. He said this did not mean IO is opposed to making a claim, and added that it would be much better to act quickly if we are going to make a claim than to let the thing drag on until the Antarctic issue is again raised in the UN.

Miss Whiteman said L is in favor of making a claim and has been for many years, but that off the record she wished to point out that she thinks the one sure way to precipitate a Soviet claim is to make one of our own, and therefore we should be prepared for this.

Mr. Crowley said we could anticipate the Russians would either make a claim or go to the UN to protest against all claims and appeal for internationalization, but that they would not do both. In other words, if the Russians are going to make a claim, they would lose India’s support.

The CIA representatives expressed the opinion that we are building trouble for ourselves by upsetting the apple cart and that the benefits to be gained by pleasing the Australians would not be worth the antagonizing of the Russians. Ambassador McClintock said we are already in trouble anyway.

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In closing the meeting, Ambassador McClintock said he believed the most the NSC could be expected to decide at this time is to initiate conversations with our Allies (i.e. the seven present claimants) preparatory to making a claim. He said he felt that we should agree to tell the other friendly countries that we are going to make a claim but haven’t decided exactly what and would like to discuss it with them. This would also be the opportunity for safeguarding our rights to utilize all Antarctic territory. The Ambassador said he personally is opposed to a condominium, since condominiums never work, and that it would be much better just to cut up the pie and divide it among the US and present claimants. If the other countries prefer a trusteeship, then we could consider that, and he said that he could imagine many worse solutions than a trusteeship on which Russia would be represented, if it eventually should come to that.

After the meeting, Ambassador McClintock expressed to me the view that since this is clearly a diplomatic problem …4 not a military or intelligence one … State’s recommendations will carry more weight than that of other agencies with the NSC, and therefore he anticipates that NSC will agree to making a claim. In his view, there is no turning back now on State’s policy, since it has been formally expressed in the March 11 letter to Defense.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 031.1102/4–357. Secret.
  2. None found.
  3. Document 320.
  4. Ellipses in this paragraph are in the source text.