The failed US attempt to buy Greenland 70 years ago - Meta News


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Saturday, November 9, 2019

The failed US attempt to buy Greenland 70 years ago


The alleged claim of the United States to buy Greenland a few months ago, is an intention with some years of history.

A while ago, The Wall Street Journal published the interest of US President Donald Trump to buy the island of Greenland , an ice-covered area located between the North Atlantic and the Arctic, which is considered The largest island in the world.
Other media outlets in the country, which also echoed the news, differed about whether the president was joking or serious about making such a claim public.
For their part, the Greenland authorities have already expressed themselves about the proposal.
"We are open to doing business, but we are not for sale."
But, despite the laughter and irony that this news could cause, the truth is that it is not the first time that a US president has launched this proposal.

Strategic region

The idea of buying Greenland was first analyzed in the United States, during the 60s of the 19th century, when Andrew Johnson ruled.
In 1867, a report by the US Department of State suggested that Greenland's strategic location, along with its abundant sources of resources, made the territory an ideal acquisition.
The aforementioned document cited at that time:
"We should buy Iceland and Greenland, especially the second. The reasons are political and commercial."

The document highlights, among other things, the vast fishing industry, its extensive coastline, its many ports and its abundant coal and other minerals that could boost the leadership of the United States in the world.
But we would have to wait until 1946 for a formal offer to arrive when then-President Harry S. Truman offered Denmark $ 100 million in gold for the island, which would amount to about $ 1.3 billion today.
Although before launching this offer, Truman had speculated on the possibility of exchanging part of Alaska's territory for strategic areas of Greenland.

A military necessity

The proposal to buy Greenland would have emerged for the first time in November 1945, when a Republican senator said the country's armed forces considered it a "military necessity . "
In April 1946, during a meeting of the strategy and planning committee of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States, an official of the State Department assured that the members considered that the real objective, as far as Greenland was concerned, should be their purchase to Denmark
At that time, the State Department considered that money in the United States was abundant and that Greenland had no value for Denmark, for the United States , on the contrary, control of the territory was indispensable for the security of the country.
The former US ambassador to Denmark during the Barack Obama administration, Rufus Gifford, recalled the situation in which the country was in those years in an interview with National Public Radio (NPR) .
"We have to look at how we were geopolitically then, in 1946 (...) After World War II and on the way to the Cold War, the United States had great concern about the continuation of political instability in Europe ... The idea that the adversaries of the United States could somehow enter a place as close (to the US) as Greenland was a real threat. "
Gifford believes that the current situation is far from that of then, since the United States currently has a very strong military and economic relationship with Greenland and believes that its purchase would not be beneficial to either party.

A military base

Although Denmark's response to Truman was negative in the late 1940s, the White House secured an agreement to build a military base in the territory in the early 1950s, at the beginning of the Cold War.
Thule Air Base remains, to date, the most northern United States military base and an example of strategic importance that the country still gives to the island. 

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