The Secretary of the Navy (Swanson) to the Secretary of State
Sir: Reference is made to your letter of December 12, 1934, File NE 891.0145/9 & 800.3391/1,10 inclosing copies of despatches No. 193 of August 28, 1934, and No. 224 of September 25, 1934,11 from the American Minister at Teheran concerning legislation and regulations recently adopted by the Persian Government with respect to the limits of Persian coastal waters and the conditions of passage and sojourn of foreign warships in Persian waters and ports. The comments of the Navy Department have been requested on this subject.
Reference is also made to your letter of January 30, 1935, File NE 891.0145/10, inclosing a copy of despatch No. 1167 of January 17, 1935,12 dealing with the attitude of the British authorities towards the provisions of the legislation in question.
The Navy Department recommends that the United States Government decline to recognize any law, regulation or declaration issued by a foreign government which does not conform to the generally accepted principle that the territorial waters of a State do not extend beyond the limit of three marine miles. Claims of territorial jurisdiction by a foreign government over waters adjacent to its continental boundaries beyond the three marine miles is an attempt to appropriate the high seas to the exclusion of other nations. This can only be made effective by a general international agreement.