Editorial Note

The General Assembly, on November 21, 1947, created the International Law Commission, and designated its members on November 3, 1948. The Commission was charged, among other responsibilities, with developing and codifying international law in connection with the “regime of the high seas” and the “regime of territorial waters”. In these endeavors, its work was reviewed by the Sixth Committee, the Legal Committee of the Assembly.

The Commission’s first session took place from April 12 to June 9, 1949. From this session on, it considered such subjects as territorial waters, contiguous zones, the continental shelf and its superjacent waters, nationality of ships, collision and other aspects of safety of life at sea, and fisheries. It framed various proposals, including draft articles, which the General Assembly considered but failed to accept on the ground that it would not deal piecemeal with any single aspect of the regime of the high seas or the regime of territorial waters until all the problems involved had been studied by the Commission and reported upon by it to the Assembly. (Resolution 798 (VIII), adopted December 7, 1953; for text, see United Nations, Official Records of the General Assembly, Resolutions Adopted by the General Assembly at Its Eighth Session during the Period from 15 September to 9 December 1953, page 51)

The United Nations, in 1956, commenced publication of the summary records of the Commission’s records from its inception and of various of its basic documents, in the form of Yearbooks of the International Law Commission. For the years 1950 to 1954, the yearbooks were released in two volumes for each annual session, one for the summary records of meetings and the second for the documents, including the Commission’s report to the General Assembly. For the year 1949, the summary records and documents were published in a single volume. The yearbooks will hereinafter be identified [Page 1665] as ILC Yearbook, with the year and appropriate volume number.

In addition, the United Nations has prepared summaries of the activities of the Commission in the fields of the high seas and territorial waters in its Yearbook of the United Nations, 1948–1949, page 951; 1950, page 863; 1951, page 845; 1952, page 795; 1953, page 676; and 1954, page 412, each ff.