Memorandum by the Legal Adviser (Phleger) 1
- Position of the United States concerning National Claims in Adjacent Seas.
The attached paper sets forth a study of the recent trend of the claims asserted by coastal states in adjacent seas and makes recommendations concerning the policy to be followed by this Government in its support of the principle of the freedom of the seas.
A restatement of our policy concerning the drawing of the outer limit of inland waters, the breadth of territorial waters, and rights of jurisdiction which may be asserted in the high seas, is becoming increasingly necessary and urgent. American fishing vessels have been arrested and seized by Ecuador and Mexico in areas of the seas which the United States considers high seas. The United [Page 1675] States and Ecuador are scheduled to hold conversations on the problem in the near future. The United Kingdom has suggested informal exchanges of views with this Government for the purpose of working out a common approach and united opposition to the growing trend towards extension of the areas of adjacent seas in which coastal states claim increasingly large forms of control.2 This Government has already been called upon and will be called upon in the future to present its views and comments on the drafts concerning territorial waters and the high seas prepared by the International Law Commission. It might even be necessary to contemplate in the future the possibility of litigation with certain foreign states on some of these issues. Hence the necessity for reexamining the position of this Government on all phases of the problem.
Your comments and suggestions are requested on an urgent basis, and should be received no later than March 27, 1953, in order to be taken into account in the final redraft of the paper which will be sent to all other interested departments and agencies. Comments and suggestions should be sent to Room 4259 New State or phoned to Extension 5066.
- This memorandum and its attachment were drafted by Joseph M. Sweeney of Yingling’s staff. They were sent to the Bureaus of Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs; Inter-American Affairs; European Affairs; Far Eastern Affairs; various offices within those bureaus; the Bureaus of Economic Affairs and United Nations Affairs; the Office of the Under Secretary of State’s Special Assistant for Fisheries and Wildlife; and the Office of the Special Adviser on Geography.↩
- On Mar. 4, 1953, Yingling informed Barbara Salt, First Secretary of the British Embassy, that the United States would be willing to undertake such conversations in London, but not before May 1953. (Memorandum of conversation, Feb. 27, 1953, by Yingling, 700.022/2–753)↩
- Judgment of Dec. 18, 1951, I.C.J. Reports 1951, 116. [Footnote in the source text.]↩
- Joint Resolution 373, Feb. 11, 1952; see also H.R. 676, June 9, 1952, and H.R. 684, June 11 and 26, 1952. [Footnote in the source text.]↩
- League of Nations; Acts of the Conference for the Codification of International Law, III, Territorial waters, C.351(b) M.145(b), 1930, V, 206–207, hereinafter referred to as Acts of Conference. [Footnote in the source text.]↩
- U.N., A/CN.4/53, 21–25. [Footnote in the source text.]↩
- Sources used in the compilation; Acts of Conference, especially 123–126; League of Nations, Bases of Discussion for the Conference for the Codification of International Law, II, Territorial Waters, C. 74 M. 39, 1929, V; Jens Evensen, Etendue des Eaux Territoriales (La Haye 1951); Boggs, National Claims in Adjacent Seas, 41 Geographical Review 185, 192–201 (1951); U.N., A/CN.4/53, 11–15; Telegrams, despatches and other reports from the field. [Footnote in the source text]↩
- U.N., A/CN.4/53, 11, 16–21. [Footnote in the source text.]↩
- Acts of Conference, 210–211. [Footnote in the source text.]↩
- U.N., A/CN.4/49, 4. [Footnote in the source text.]↩
- See footnote 2, p. 1665.↩
- 49 Stat. 517; 19 U.S.C.1701, 1703. [Footnote in the source text.]↩
- 59 Stat. 884–885. [Footnote in the source text.]↩
- 0059 Stat. 885–886. [Footnote in the source text.]↩
- U.N., A/CN.4/49. [Footnote in the source text.]↩
- See footnote 2, p. 1665.↩
- U.N., A/CN.4/42, 50. [Footnote in the source text.]↩
- Phleger transmitted copies of this paper to the Secretaries of Defense, Treasury, Interior, and Commerce, and to the Attorney General, under cover of letters dated Mar. 31, 1953. These officials replied on various dates between April and July 1953. In general they concurred with the Department of State’s position paper, but the Secretaries of Defense and Commerce and the Attorney General expressed reservations or made comments and suggestions regarding the specific wording or emphasis of the paper. These replies are in Department of State file 711.022.↩