The Secretary of State to the Minister in Iran (Hornibrook)

No. 108

Sir: Reference is made to your despatches No. 193 of August 28, 1934 and No. 224 of September 25, 1934,11 concerning legislation and regulations recently adopted by the Persian Government with respect to the limits of Persian coastal waters and the condition of passage and sojourn of foreign warships in Persian waters and ports.

You are requested to deliver to the Persian Foreign Minister a note in the following sense setting forth the attitude of the United States Government with respect to the provisions of the legislation in question: [Page 919]

“The Government of the United States has noticed the publication in the Persian press of the Persian law of July 15, 1934, and the Regulations based thereon, which purport to extend the dominion of Persia over the sea adjacent to its coasts beyond the three mile limit generally recognized by international law and practice.

Since the right of nations to exercise exclusive jurisdiction over a part of the sea adjacent to their coasts is derived from the law of nations, it is clear that no nation may legally extend or enlarge that jurisdiction by its unilateral action. Accordingly, the Government of the United States cannot recognize as valid the legislation under reference in so far as it purports to extend the dominion of Persia over the sea beyond three miles from its coast and it is impelled, therefore, to make full reservation of all its rights and the rights of its nationals.”

Very truly yours,

Cordell Hull
  1. Latter not printed.