347. Telegram From the Delegation to the Conference on the Law of the Sea to the Department of State1

897. Law of Sea—from Dean.

Deptel 923.2 Have established friendly relations Indian Del. They presently publicly favor six-mile territorial sea with no right to overfly between three and six, and as indicated ourtel 8813 they have been considering flexible formula three to twelve miles with right to overfly beyond six miles. Yesterday they had long meeting their Del and we informed they have requested instructions permitting support Canadian proposal. They lunched with Canadians—noncommittal but cordial.

We thinking in terms broad co-sponsorship Canadian proposal, and India should be considered although possibility antagonizing Pakistan and Korea must be weighed.

I have reconsidered making public statement in support Canadian proposal at end general debate in Committee One today in order avoid appearance of “Canadian-American proposal”. US public statement at this time in conjunction with active consultations in behalf Canadian proposal could have this result. It moreover evident further close consultations will be required, particularly with Europeans such as France, Portugal and Spain, to give them time face up difficult choice involved acceptance Canadian proposal. There is consternation among some dels whose fishing industry would be hard hit at sudden emergence Canadian proposal as concrete possibility having strong US support. It evident Canadian Del did not give them adequate advance notice as had been agreed with US Del.

We emphasizing as appropriate great economic detriment to US but that sacrifices must be made to reach acceptable compromise in order avoid failure of conference or greater evil represented possibility conference acceptance twelve miles territorial sea or flexible ILC Article 3 (2) formula which would amount to same thing.

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Ecuadorean proposal that discussion Articles One through Three and Article 66 be postponed until other articles assigned Committee One have been considered will probably carry and I plan publicly announce our position at first appropriate opportunity in order avoid speculation.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 399.731/3–1958. Confidential; Priority. Received at 2:50 p.m.
  2. Telegram 923 to Geneva, March 18, stated that it would be “highly desirable” to have a prominent member of the Afro-Asian group as a coauthor of the Canadian proposal. (Ibid., 399.731/3–1858)
  3. Telegram 881 from Geneva, March 17, transmitted the text of a draft of Articles 2 and 3 which was being considered by the Indian Delegation. (Ibid., 399.731/3–1758)