Clar­i­fy­ing Amer­ica’s claim on the Arc­tic

The Washington Times Weekly - - Letters To The Editor -

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 at­asur­ Cliff Kin­caid Pres­i­dent Amer­ica's Sur­vival Inc. Owings, Mary­land

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