National Affairs: Icebergs & Atolls

The Pacific Ocean, from Hawaii to Australia, presents a tantalizing picture. All over it, like the nutmeg on an eggnog, are sprinkled little islands that appear to be ideal refuges from the turmoils of civilization. Worthlessness of the islands hitherto turned out to be an additional nuisance: since no one has claimed them, no one knows whom they belonged to.

Last week, the U. S. took two steps to correct this lamentable situation. First it was announced that the State and Navy Departments were investigating claims to the titles of some 50 islands...