576 Bailey to Burton

Memorandum 47/63 CANBERRA, 1 September 1947

CONFIDENTIAL

HEARD ISLAND

A letter in the following terms has been received from the Secretary, Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition, 1947:-

'As you may, perhaps, be aware, it is intended to station a party of technically qualified persons on Heard Island for the purpose of carrying out a survey and of making scientific observations.

It is also intended to annex the island, on behalf of either the Commonwealth or the British Government.

Your advice would be appreciated as to the best method of carrying out this operation, and as to what steps are necessary effectively to occupy the Island. All that has been done so far is to make arrangements for the installation of a Commonwealth Post Office.

Your guidance is also sought as to whether the annexation should be on behalf of our own Government or that of the United Kingdom.' Before furnishing advice, I would like to have your comments generally in regard to the proposed annexation. In particular, information is desired as to the history of the Island including details as to occupation or settlement at any stage of its history; whether it has been claimed by other countries; whether the United Kingdom has taken any action to assert sovereignty; and whether it is habitable.

[A : A1068, A47/26/11]