The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador (Franks)
The Secretary of State presents his compliments to His Excellency the British Ambassador and has the honor to refer to his note No. 175 of April 29, 1952,1 enclosing a draft of the United Kingdom’s reply to the request of the United Nations Secretariat for comments on the draft articles on the Continental Shelf and Related Subjects prepared by the International Law Commission.2
There is enclosed the proposed reply of the Government of the United States on this subject. It will be noted therefrom that the Government of the United States is not prepared at this time to submit comments on Part II, Related Subjects, but will endeavor to submit them to the Commission at a later date. Whether this will be possible before the Commission meets in June the Department of State is unable to state at this time. In any event, the comments of the Government of the United States on Part II will be made available to the British Government.
It will be further noted from the proposed reply that the Government of the United States is in general agreement with the draft of the Commission on Part I, Continental Shelf, and that its views are not substantially different from those of the British Government on Articles 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. With respect to Article 1, the Government of the United States observes that it is not inconsistent with the President’s Proclamation of September 28, 1945 under the [Page 1666] terms of which the exploitation of the natural resources of the Continental Shelf is not limited by the depth of the superjacent waters. The Government of the United States is not entirely convinced by the comments of the British Government in support of its proposal to amend Article 1 to permit the exploitation of the continental shelf only “as far as the hundred fathom line”.
In so far as Article 2 is concerned, the formulation “control and jurisdiction” is the same as that used in the President’s Proclamation and is, therefore, unobjectionable to the Government of the United States. This does not necessarily mean, however, that the United States would object to the application of the concept of “sovereignty” to the continental shelf should such application have general approbation.
It should be pointed out further with respect to the proposed comments of the Government of the United States that they are made with a view to furthering the work of the Commission and do not necessarily represent a final position, although it is unlikely that they will be modified generally.
- Not printed; it stated that the British Government was generally satisfied with the terms of the draft articles. (320.22/4–2952)↩
- The reference Draft Articles are printed as part of the Report of the International Law Commission to the General Assembly concerning the work of its third session in ILC Yearbook, 1951, vol. ii, p. 141. These articles were drafted after presentation of the Second Report on the High Seas (A/CN.4/42) submitted by Professor J. P. A. François of the Netherlands, Rapporteur Spécial of the Commission, on Apr. 10, 1951. Chapter 11 of the Second Report dealt with the Continental Shelf. For the text of the report in French, see ibid., p. 75. The Commission discussed Chapter 11 at its meetings from June 28 to July 4 and again on July 12, 1951; for additional information, see ibid., vol. i, pp. 267–301 and 346.↩