National Rights in the Antarctic

THE recent Imperial Conference gave some consideration -- at the instance primarily of Australia -- to the question of British policy in the Antarctic. Political rights in the Antarctic are much less complicated and much less important than those involved in the Arctic, with which the writer dealt in FOREIGN AFFAIRS for October, 1925. At London vast areas were mentioned "to which a British title already exists by virtue of discovery," namely: the outlying part of Coats Land (viz., the portion not comprised within the Falkland Islands Dependencies), Enderby Land, Kemp Land, Queen Mary Land, Wilkes Land, King George V Land, and Oates Land. These are in addition to earlier British claims to the Falkland Islands Dependency (20° West to 80° West. Letters Patent of July 21, 1908, and March 28, 1917), and to the Ross Dependency of New Zealand (160° East to 150° West. Order in Council of July 30, 1923).

It may be assumed that each "Land," while not capable of precise delimitation and perhaps referring primarily to the coast, is intended to include the segment to the south as far as the Pole, the hinterland or "hinter-ice," so to speak. Taken all together, with the Ross Dependency and the Falkland Islands Dependency, they would include nearly all of the Antarctic Continent.

The seeming exception is the region known as Adélie Land in the neighborhood of 140° East, 66° South, which the French claim by reason of the discoveries of D'Urville in 1840. No precise statement of the limits of this region has been made. Publication of the claim was made in the Journal Officiel of March 29, 1924; but it seems to have been notified to the British and perhaps to other Governments as early as 1912, when the region was spoken of as "that portion of Wilkes Land known as Adélie Land." Terminology here may cause some confusion; in the report of the United States Geographic Board, Wilkes Land is described as the region between 155° East and 96° East; the British list above speaks of Wilkes Land as the area west of Adé

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