Status: Indexed


only American citizens but also in American employ. If
the British Labor Government meantime officially sur-
rendered British claims, the Russians could not take im-
mediate advantage of that concession, for they would be
unable to get anybody up to Wrangel to occupy it earlier
than the following August, at which time they would find
in possession not a British but an American colony. If
the Russians then planted a rival colony it would be a
later one than the American; if they merely raised the
red flag and sailed away, leaving the Americans on the
island, their doing so would have no legal effect, for it is
a well-established principle of international law that
actual occupation is the only thing (after discovery and
exploration) which gives national ownership. If they
took the American colony prisoners and carried them off,
the Russian claims would not be strengthened thereby
legally—although there is no denying the “moral effect”
of a determined attitude which may either incense or
frighten the other contending parties, according to their
spirit and consciousness of strength.

On the basis of such reasoning as the above, Mr. Carl
Lomen arranged with his associates to buy out the
Wrangel Island holdings of the Stefansson Arctic Ex-
ploration and Development Company, Limited, and to
take over the employment of the party then on Wrangel
Island. This was in May, 1924.

We would like to tell all we know of the rest of the
story down to February, 1925. But we are so uncertain
of essential facts that we dare not commit ourselves as
to several of them. For one thing, the British Labor
Government (according to the press) had agreed in its
treaty negotiations with the Soviets to give Wrangel

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