283. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Diplomatic Missions1

316. Attention chief of mission. In line this Govt’s opposition to extension territorial sea beyond traditional three-mile limit and expected discussion this question in coming session UNGA, Defense Department is desirous that effects on naval operation of an extension territorial sea be fully understood by other UN members with view to obtaining their support for US position on three-mile limit.2

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Navy Dept has conducted extensive research this subject and has prepared detailed tactical arguments3 against departure three-mile rule. Navy has assembled two-man teams to assist in presenting these arguments to appropriate officials of country to which you accredited. These teams will leave Washington probably October 30. Itineraries will follow.

Department has concurred this project in view importance preventing anticipated effort to adopt resolution favoring extension beyond three miles at coming session UNGA. Dept and Navy have agreed officers will (a) act under guidance and control of chief of diplomatic mission in all regards (b) confine their contacts to naval or other military authorities, including heads of defense establishments, except as chief of mission may otherwise recommend. Teams will also indoctrinate local US personnel.

Teams would plan spend two days each post first day for briefing with Embassy and second for consultation local officials. Embassy has responsibility review with team its proposed presentation and advise re content and emphasis. Embassy should delete any portions deemed unsuitable for local use.

Team discussions will be confined to security arguments and questions naval and navigational operations in territorial waters and will not include other related subjects such as continental shelf, adjacent zones, fisheries, etc.

Recommendation requested whether teams should wear military or civilian clothing. If chief of mission has important objections to visit he should advise Dept prior morning October 29 specifying reasons.

Reply niact.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 700.022/10–2656. Confidential; Niact. Sent to Manila, Bangkok, Taipei, Copenhagen, Rome, Oslo, Lisbon, Dublin, Stockholm, Baghdad, Ankara, Tehran, Addis Ababa, Jidda, Athens, Rabat, Monrovia, New Delhi, Karachi, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, La Paz, Bogota, Santiago, San José, Ciudad Trujillo, San Salvador, Guatemala, Quito, Port-au-Prince, Tegucigalpa, Panama, Lima, Mexico, Asunción, Managua, Montevideo, and Caracas, and to USRO at Paris for information. The message contains a notation that it was not to be distributed outside the Department.
  2. In a letter of October 21 to the Secretary of State, Acting Secretary of Defense Reuben B. Robertson expressed the grave concern of the Department of Defense over the effects on naval operations of an extension of the territorial sea beyond the traditional 3-mile limit. He strongly recommended that three teams assembled by the Department of the Navy present that Department’s tactical arguments to countries in Europe, the Far East, and Latin America that are militarily allied to the United States and whose claims extended beyond the 3-mile limit. (Ibid., 700.022/10–2456)
  3. Supra.