285. Memorandum From the Assistant Legal Adviser for Inter-American Affairs (Whiteman) to the Legal Adviser (Becker)1


  • Office replies in re breadth of territorial seas

The replies received from “L” personnel to which L/ARA’s memorandum dated August 16th2 was sent for comment are attached.

  • L/C—Mr. English3 thinks that “all reasonable steps should be taken to terminate …4 the chaotic situation”, and approves the alternatives suggested in L/ARA’s memorandum in the order stated. He makes the further helpful suggestion that the US, if willing to compromise on the 3-mile breadth, should be able to pick up the votes of the 4-mile, and of the 6-mile States, depending upon the nature of what we propose.
  • L/T—Mr. Whittington5 concurs that “a reassessment is inevitable” and that the US should be prepared to support, if not propose, a compromise.
  • L/UNA—Mr. Kerley6 states that during the last session of the General Assembly, during consideration of the ILC Report in the 6th Committee (Legal), suggestions were made in informal conversations that there would probably be proposals to permit control of fishing by coastal States within a specified contiguous zone and that such proposal would receive substantial support….
  • L/EUR—Messrs. Heinzen, Pender, Read, Keegan and Boas7 submitted a joint memorandum, stating that it was premature to discuss a US policy on the subject until the background legal memorandum which Mr. Heinzen is preparing is distributed.8

L/ARA requested that any comments on its memorandum be supplied by last Thursday the 22nd. Several of the addressees were on annual leave, and should they supply comments upon their return the memoranda will be sent in to you promptly.

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In addition, Col. Raymond9 has several times stated to me (the latest occasion being August 16th) that he has been of the view for some time, that the US must be prepared to accept a “reasonable” solution in order to resolve the matter, i.e., modify our present position.

Also there is called to your attention a memorandum dated August 16, 1957, copy of which is attached, prepared in the Political Section of the American Embassy in Ottawa and addressed to the Ambassador,10 received in “L” on last Friday. Note that it is stated that ….

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 700.022/8–2657.
  2. Not found in Department of State files.
  3. Benedict M. English, the Assistant Legal Adviser for International Claims.
  4. Ellipsis in the source text.
  5. William V. Whittington.
  6. Ernest L. Kerley.
  7. Bernard G. Heinzen, John H. Pender, Jr., Benjamin H. Read, James M. Keegan, and Frank Boas.
  8. Heinzen’s report entitled “The Breadth of the Territorial Sea under Existing International Law Compared with Article Three of Part I of the International Law Commission’s Draft Articles concerning the Law of the Sea” was completed in December 1957. This work of 174 pages of text, footnotes, and tables is identified as US/CLS/Leg 3. A copy is in the files of the Office of the Legal Adviser.
  9. John M. Raymond, Deputy Legal Adviser.
  10. Memorandum by Adolph Dubs, Second Secretary of Embassy in Canada. (Department of State, Ottawa Embassy Files: Lot 64 F 89, Law of the Sea)