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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1937. The British Commonwealth, Europe, Near East and Africa

United Kingdom ,   pp. 1-135 PDF (51.1 MB)

Page 129

811.0141 Phoenix Group/9
    The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador (Lindsay)
                                     WASHINGTON, August 9,1937.
  EXCELLENCY: The receipt is acknowledged of your two notes, dated
respectively July 16, 1937, and July 22, 1937, with regard to Canton
Island, and other neighboring islands in the Pacific.
  In these notes you pointed out that Canton Island and the other
islands in the Phoenix Group were incorporated in the Gilbert and
Ellice Islands Colony by an Order-in-Council, dated March 18, 1937,
and that the British Government accordingly desired to have removed
an American flag painted on the stainless steel, and other emblems
left at Canton Island by the U. S. S. Avocet, in May 1937.
  In the view of the American Government, the sovereignty over the
Island of Canton and certain other islands in the Pacific is the sub-
ject of conflicting claims. Pending the final settlement of title by
mutual agreement between the two Governments, therefore, the Amer-
ican Government cannot accept as binding upon it the British Order-
in-Council of March 18, 1937.
  The American Government is, however, prepared to discuss with
the British Government the question of the sovereignty of such Is-
lands as are claimed by both, on the understanding that pending the
outcome of such conversations neither Government should undertake,
or cite, any action from this point forward,-such as the establishment
of settlers on the Islands,-which would render adjustment of the
conflicting claims more difficult.
  Accept [etc.]                                 [CORDELL HULL]
811.0141 Phoenix Group/9
Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of European Affairs
  (Mofifat) of a Conversation Between the Counselor of the Depart-
  ment of State (Moore) and the British Ambassador (Lindsay)
                                    WASHINGTON, August 9, 1937.
  Judge Moore told Sir Ronald that he had asked him to come to
the Department in order to hand to him a note in reply to the British
Embassy's two notes of July 16 and July 22, with regard to Canton
Island and other neighboring Islands in the Pacific. After reading
the Department's note (which bore the date of August 9 31) Sir Ronald
remarked that in effect what the United States was proposing was
(a) to effect a clean-up of the entire situation regarding disputed
t Supra.

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