325. Memorandum for the Files, by the Officer in Charge of River Plate Affairs (Watrous)1


  • Antarctica
    Meeting of the NSC Planning Board; and
    Rubottom–Bowie Conversation

On April 22 I attended a meeting of the NSC Planning Board to discuss our claims policy in the Antarctic. State was represented by Mr. Bowie, S/P; and Mr. Leonhart, S/P,2 also attended.

Various views concerning possible claims were expressed. Admiral Dufek favored claiming ….

Several speakers, including the representatives of Interior and the National Science Foundation, expressed opposition to our making claims now, on one or more of the following grounds:

Too little is known of Antarctica; we would be in a better position to know what to claim after further scientific investigation.
Making a claim would not in itself get the Russians out; it might, in fact, cause them to claim.
Making a claim might stop the flow of scientific information from the Russians which we need badly.

[Page 664]

These arguments appeared to impress the Chairman, General Cutler, who compared making a claim now to buying a pig in a poke. Mr. Bowie also had some reservations about our making claims at this time, while the representative of the JCS favored a policy of claiming now.

There was also an inconclusive discussion of the possibility of taking the Antarctic to the UN.

General Cutler said that he would draw up an interim report for submission to the NSC; copies of his draft are to be sent to the interested agencies.

Following the Secretary’s meeting on April 23, Mr. Rubottom asked Mr. Bowie about the meeting described above. The latter said that he had been impressed by the advocates of not making claims at this time, and that he was not convinced that making claims would achieve our policy objectives. Mr. Rubottom raised the point that if we continued to delay claiming we might end up with nothing.

Mr. Bowie explained that General Cutler’s draft would be sent to him, and that ARA would receive a copy for comment.

[When this copy is received I shall see that the interested areas of State get together to arrive at a Departmental position on it. LDW.]3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 702.022/4–2357. Secret.
  2. William Leonhart, National Security Council Planning Board Assistant in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of State for Policy Planning and Alternate Department of State Representative to the NSC Planning Board.
  3. Brackets in the source text.