267. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Diplomatic Posts1

745. Because of recent widespread publicity,2 both in the United States and elsewhere regarding future arrangements in Antarctica beyond the end of the International Geophysical Year ending next December, Department desires consult Government to which you are accredited in order to ensure, so far as possible, that any permanent solution of Antarctic problem will be by mutual agreement among the countries having direct and substantial interests in Antarctica. Department is particularly interested in ascertaining the views of host government as to the following broad objectives which might be sought in a common Antarctic policy:

Antarctica should be used for peaceful purposes only. No military, naval, or air bases for warlike purposes should be established in Antarctica.
Countries having a direct and substantial interest in Antarctica should jointly endeavor to reach agreement with the Soviet Union, possibly by treaty, that Antarctica shall be used for peaceful purposes only. The objective would be to prevent Antarctica becoming the scene of international discord.
There should be provision for adequate measures of inspection and control to ensure the effectiveness of the above objectives.
The fruitful international scientific cooperation in Antarctica which is successfully taking place during the International Geophysical Year should be continued, by inter-governmental agreement, beyond the end of the IGY, for the benefit of all mankind.
Antarctic affairs of joint interest can be handled more efficiently and competently by the relatively few countries having interests and activities there than by the United Nations. It is understood, of course, that any such arrangements entered into would not be inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations.
It would be desirable for any policy adopted by the free-world claimant countries and the United States to have favorable repercussions in world opinion.
The basic historic rights of the United States in Antarctica, as well as such rights as other countries may assert in that territory, should be so exercised as to contribute to a long range peaceful and equitable settlement of Antarctic problems.

In your conversation with FonOff you are authorized if you consider it advisable and necessary to leave an informal secret aide-mémoire along the foregoing lines. You may inform FonOff that while the United States is currently reviewing its Antarctic policy, it has not yet taken a firm or final position, and would prefer not to do so until after consultation between our two governments in the hope of reaching mutual agreement as to the best course to pursue in the light of the current situation in Antarctica.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 702.022/2–1558. Secret. Drafted by Daniels on February 14; cleared by Murphy, ARA, and EUR; and approved and signed by Herter. Sent to Buenos Aires, Santiago, Paris, Oslo, Brussels, Moscow, Ottawa, Tokyo, New Delhi, Pretoria, Mexico City, and Rio de Janeiro, and repeated to Canberra, London, and Wellington.
  2. On February 12, the Embassy in London reported that the Daily Telegraph had printed a front-page article including a “fairly accurate résumé” of the British position on Antarctica, and noted that the Foreign Office was “intensely annoyed” at the leak. (Ibid., 702.022/2–1258)