1933

PCIJ

Legal Status of Eastern Greenland Denmark v Norway

1931 Norway officially declared its taking possession of Eastern Greenland, un-colonised part of the island, Denmark had not colonised that region, but the court found evidence of exercise of state authority over the area for many centuries to be established at the ‘critical date’ (day Norway’s declaration) Denmark argued that Norway had recognised Danish sovereignty over the Island by the ‘Ihlen declaration’ 1919, declaration given quid pro quo, if Denmark did not rise objection to the Norwegian claim to Spitzberger

Court considers it beyond all dispute that a reply of this nature given by a minister of Foreign Affairs (Ihlen) on behalf of his government in response to request by the diplomatic representative of a foreign power in regard to a question falling within province, is binding upon the country to which the Minister belongs. Norway is under obligation to refrain from contesting Danish sovereignty over Greenland as a whole. Claim of sovereignty based upon continued display of authority involves two elements: intention and will to act as sovereign and some actual exercise of display of such authority. In case of very little populated areas very little exercise is enough in the absence of competing claim