National Affairs: Lesson in Geography

For weeks before he sent naval forces to Iceland, Franklin Roosevelt tried to make up his mind whether that rocky island, a stepping stone in the sea between Greenland and Britain, properly belonged within the borders of the Western Hemisphere which the U.S. has guaranteed to protect. Characteristically, when the President decided to act, he brushed the question aside, justified his move on grounds of military necessity.

Classic definition of the Western Hemisphere was a line drawn by Pope Alexander VI. confirmed in 1494 by the Treaty of Tordesillas. The line ran from the Arctic to the Antarctic on approximately the...

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