stefansson-wrangel-09-12-119-003

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Samara Cary at Nov 03, 2023 03:31 PM

stefansson-wrangel-09-12-119-003

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that of any foreign nation; the American claim would be
second, if the British were to renounce theirs, and the
Russian claim, according to the Foreign Office view, a
very bad third, valid only in case both British and
American claims were voluntarily renounced.

Finally my case was put before the Cabinet late in
July. I do not know the exact date. After I had heard
that the matter had been discussed I expected a communica-
tion on the subject from the Foreign Office but was told
that the result of the Cabinet deliberations had been
transmitted direct to Ottawa. This suited me very well
and did not cause any embarrassment. I learnt in conver-
sation with different members of the Cabinet the general
tenor of the Cabinet discussion. I believe most, or all
of those Cabinet Ministers who expressed an opinion, were
in favour of my views in general. They considered that
while the British case for the ownership of Wrangell Island
might be the strongest, still our trump card was the hoist-
ing of the British flag by special authority of the
Canadian Government in July 1914 and the hoisting of the
flag by citizens of Canada (without special Government
sanction) in September 1921 and the continuous occupation
since. The view was that if we were forced to a discussion
with other nations now we could point to only two years of
continuous occupation but if international negotiations
could be postponed for a year we should have three years of
occupation to our credit. The thing to do, accordingly
was for the Stefansson Arctic Exploration and Development
Company
to continue for another year.

On the basis of this understanding of the drift of
the Cabinet decision I said to Amery and Hoare that I was
well pleased if only they, or someone, could help me find
the money to carry on. I had already spent all I had and
all my income for two years, in addition to all I could
borrow, and was helpless financially. Since our Company has
practically no funds except those put in by myself the
Company was equally powerless. Both Amery and Hoare said
they would do what they could and I know Amery made several
urgent appeals to men considered rich. He was hopeful
about the result at first, but all their replies were
negative except one offer of £100. Unfortunately that man
had misunderstood the urgency of the situation and wrote
me a letter saying in effect that he would give me the
promised assistance next March when he came back from India.
I received that letter only after he had sailed for India.

An old personal friend of mine, Griffith Brewer, the
Managing Director of the British Wright Co., of 33 Chancery
Lane, London, W.C.2., now insisted that some action must be

stefansson-wrangel-09-12-119-003

-3-

that of any foreign nation; the American claim would be
second, if the British were to renounce theirs, and the
Russian claim, according to the Foreign Office view, a
very bad third, valid only in case both British and
American claims were voluntarily renounced.

Finally my case was put before the Cabinet late in
July. I do not know the exact date. After I had heard
that the matter had been discussed I expected a communica-
tion on the subject from the Foreign Office but was told
that the result of the Cabinet deliberations had been
transmitted direct to Ottawa. This suited me very well
and did not cause any embarrassment. I learnt in conver-
sation with different members of the Cabinet the general
tenor of the Cabinet discussion. I believe most, or all
of those Cabinet Ministers who expressed an opinion, were
in favour of my views in general. They considered that
while the British case for the ownership of Wrangell Island
might be the strongest, still our trump card was the hoist-
ing of the British flag by special authority of the
Canadian Government in July 1914 and the hoisting of the
flag by citizens of Canada (without special Government
sanction) in September 1921 and the continuous occupation
since. The view was that if we were forced to a discussion
with other nations now we could point to only two years of
continuous occupation but if international negotiations
could be postponed for a year we should have three years of
occupation to our credit. The thing to do, accordingly
was for the Stefansson Arctic Exploration and Development
Company
to continue for another year.

On the basis of this understanding of the drift of
the Cabinet decision I said to Amery and Hoare that I was
well pleased if only they, or someone, could help me find
the money to carry on. I had already spent all I had and
all my income for two years, in addition to all I could
borrow, and was helpless financially. Since our Company has
practically no funds except those put in by myself the
Company was equally powerless. Both Amery and Hoare said
they would do what they could and I know Amery made several
urgent appeals to men considered rich. He was hopeful
about the result at first, but all their replies were
negative except one offer of £100. Unfortunately that man
had misunderstood the urgency of the situation and wrote
me a letter saying in effect that he would give me the
promised assistance next March when he came back from India.
I received that letter only after he had sailed for India.

An old personal friend of mine, Griffith Brewer, the
Managing Director of the British Wright Co., of 33 Chancery
Lane, London, W.C.2., now insisted that some action must be