Clarifying America’s claim on the Arctic
Regarding the article in the Nov. 19 edition titled “Sea treaty spat: Senate fight looms amid race to North Pole” (page 12), David R. Sands’ article about the United Nations’ Law of the Sea Treaty and the North Pole controversy contains an inaccuracy about my views on the subject.
Mr. Sands notes that I have said that the United States does not need the Law of the Sea Treaty to press its claims to the Arctic and its mineral and energy riches. However, he then quotes me as saying, “Nobody bothers to point out that [U.S. Admiral Richard] Byrd flew over the North Pole for the United States 80 years ago.” Mr. Sands did not check with me, but I never made that statement and have never suggested that the Byrd mission has any impact on U.S. claims to oil, gas and minerals there.
What I have said is that history shows — and the Russians have acknowledged — that American explorers actually set foot first on the North Pole. One of them, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Robert E. Peary, did so in 1909 and claimed it for the United States. “I have nailed the Stars and Stripes to the North Pole,” Cmdr. Peary said.
His colleague, black explorer Matthew Henson, actually planted the American flag there. The USS Nautilus traveled under the North Pole in 1958 and restated America’s claim to the region “for the United States and the United States Navy,” as recounted by Nautilus Cmdr. William R. Anderson in his book “First Under the North Pole.” Under the Doctrine of Discovery, a well-established legal principle, the North Pole and its riches belong to the United States.
Accession to the United Nations' Law of the Sea Treaty could undermine these claims because anti-American panels and commissions could turn over the natural resources in the region to other countries.
My suggestion has been to negotiate with other countries in the region on a bilateral or multilateral basis but to avoid going through the United Nations. More information is available at www.usasurvival.org. Cliff Kincaid President America's Survival Inc. Owings, Maryland