265. Memorandum From the Special Adviser on Antarctica (Daniels) to the Secretary of State 1


  • Antarctica


Following your approval on January 3, 1958,2 of the Department’s tentative position as outlined in the attached memorandum (Tab A3), secret consultations were initiated with representatives of Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom on January 6 and continued on January 13, 1958.4 These representatives were informed of the substance of the Department’s position, and it was made clear to them that these proposals were tentatively proposed by the State Department as a basis for consultation, and did not necessarily represent the final position of the United States Government.

The representatives of Australia and New Zealand are awaiting instructions from their Governments, but expressed concern at the proposed reservation of rights by the United States in areas of Antarctica outside the unclaimed sector. The British Representative expressed the opinion that the proposal for an international regime for Antarctica would have a better chance of success if it were not accompanied at this time by a territorial claim by the United States.

The same tentative proposals of the State Department were discussed at a meeting of the Operations Coordinating Board on January 8,5 and were referred to the Working Group on Antarctica for study and formulation of recommendations to be considered by the OCB on January 29. During the course of the OCB meeting, Dr. Waterman, Director of the National Science Foundation, expressed the view that it would be undesirable for the United States to advance a territorial [Page 467] claim during the current IGY. Mr. George Allen, Director of the USIA, expressed a similar opinion. However, it was generally agreed that some action was urgent in order that United States initiative might not be lost or blunted by some Soviet action.

In view of the foregoing considerations, there may be some advantage in separating at this time the proposal for an international regime from the proposal for a United States territorial claim, so as to permit immediate action on the former without prejudice to possible later action on the latter. The purpose would be to take early action (before the end of the IGY) in proposing a reasonable and constructive solution of the Antarctic problem, without prejudicing IGY international cooperation, and at the same time reaffirm basic United States rights in Antarctica even though action in asserting a specific territorial claim is deferred.

One advantage of this procedure would be that it could be accomplished by means of diplomatic notes to the interested governments, which would be made public, without the need for a formal Presidential Proclamation.

There is attached for your consideration a draft note intended to accomplish these objectives (Tab B6) and a summary of arguments for and against this modified procedure (Tab C6).


That the attached draft note be approved tentatively as an alternative State Department position.7

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 702.022/1–1458. Secret. Drafted by Daniels and sent through S/S and Murphy, who initialed it.
  2. Not identified further.
  3. Not attached, but a copy of the draft Department of State position with an attached draft seven-article convention is in Department of State, Central Files, 702.022.1–858.
  4. Memoranda of the conversations on January 7 and 13 are ibid., 722.022/1–858 and 722.022/1–1558. On January 17, Daniels met again with representatives of Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom and gave them a “Draft Basic Principles to be Considered in Establishing an International Authority for Antarctica”. A memorandum of this conversation with the draft attached is ibid., 722.022/1–2358.
  5. Preliminary notes of the OCB discussion are ibid., OCB Files: Lot 62 D 430.
  6. Not found.
  7. Not found.
  8. Dulles initialed his approval on the source text.