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Defending polar empire: opposition to India's proposal to raise the ‘Antarctic Question’ at the United Nations in 1956

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2008

Adrian Howkins
Affiliation:
Department of History, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station B7000, Austin, Texas 78712-0220, USA

Abstract

This paper examines the international response to India's 1956 proposal to raise the ‘Antarctic Question’ at the United Nations. It focuses in particular on the uneasy alliance that developed between the British Commonwealth and Latin America in opposition to the Indian proposal. Although Great Britain, Argentina, and Chile were bitterly disputing the sovereignty of the Antarctic Peninsula region, they shared a common desire to keep the southern continent off the agenda of the United Nations. This ability to work together for common goals, despite their differences, set an important precedent for the Antarctic Treaty that would be signed in 1959. In this way, opposition to the Indian proposal, more than the proposal itself, played an important role in the history of Antarctica in the 1950s. Latin American opposition to the proposal helped to fragment any ‘anti-imperial’ coalition that might have developed in Antarctica. This fragmentation helps us to place the Antarctic Treaty System into the framework of post-colonial studies.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2007

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