Editorial Note

The Staff Assistant to the Director of the Joint Staff, in the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Captain H. A. Knoertzler (U.S. Navy), in a memorandum dated February 25, 1955, furnished to the Department of State “extracts from a decision by the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 27 September, 1952” regarding the United States position on a three-mile limit, which read as follows:

  • “a. ‘the traditional U.S. position on the three-mile limit for territorial waters should not be modified’
  • “b. ‘if it becomes practice for United States ships and planes to avoid areas closer than twelve miles to a foreign coast, we are making International Law in conflict with an established position of the United States. In every United States governmental position recorded in connection with territorial waters since 1794, the United States has recognized the three-mile limit.’” (711.022/2–2555)

The full text of the decision was not found in Department of State or Department of Defense files.