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Chapter 6. Oceans Policy


332. Letter From the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Nitze) to Secretary of State Rusk

Nitze presented Department of Defense view on the continental shelf and related issues.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 33-5. Secret.


333. Circular Airgram CA-406 From the Department of State to Multiple Posts

The Department summarized U.S.-Soviet Law of the Sea negotiations held in New York on December 16-18, 1968, and enclosed a draft convention, dated December 20, which included a revised article on preferential fishing rights for coastal states.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 33-8. Confidential. Drafted by Carter on January 17; cleared by McKernan, Springsteen, EA/J, Interior, and Defense; and approved by Meeker. Sent to Ankara, Athens, Bonn, Brussels, Copenhagen, The Hague, Lisbon, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Oslo, Paris, Reykjavik, Rome, Tokyo, and USNATO. Repeated to Canberra, Moscow, Ottawa, and USUN. The first two articles of the enclosed convention, negotiated ad referendum by U.S. and Soviet representatives in July 1968, are undated. The third article is dated December 20, 1968. No drafting information appears on the draft convention. The memorandum of discussion with the Japanese Embassy was not found attached.


334. Memorandum From the Deputy Legal Adviser (Belman) to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson)

Belman reviewed the 2 years of interactions with the Soviet Union, concerning Law of the Sea issues, and recommended consultations with NATO allies. Johnson approved the recommendation.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, L/OA Files: Lot 72 D 505, Box 2, Law of the Sea NATO. Confidential. Sent for action. Sent through S/S. Drafted in L/SPA by Carter and Belman; cleared by McKernan and Springsteen; and approved by U. Alexis Johnson on March 20. Johnson added the following handwritten suggestion below his initials: “Suggest we consider whether we should not make simultaneous approaches to other selected countries such as Japan and some ARA state.” Tab A is published as the enclosure to Document 333. Attached but not published at Tab B was an unsigned and undated report, which recounted the results of talks between U.S. and Soviet experts and surveyed the current status of international opinion on the limits of territorial waters, free passage through straits, and fisheries. Tab C is published as Document 333. Attached but not published at Tab D was an unsigned and undated memorandum, which listed amendments to the draft article III on fisheries proposed by the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. response to the Soviet proposals. Attached but not published at Tab E was a March 11 information memorandum from McKernan to Meeker that indicated that S/FW believed consultations through NATO channels would steer the fisheries negotiations away from provisions acceptable to developing countries, therefore making widespread agreement impossible.


335. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs (De Palma) to Secretary of State Rogers

De Palma noted the increased tempo of United Nations work on Law of the Sea issues and outlined key issues requiring United States attention.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, D/LOS Files: Lot 75 D 243, 1968 Seabeds. Confidential. Sent for information. Sent through S/S. Drafted in IO by Deputy Assistant Secretary David H. Popper. Copies were sent to U, J, and C. Published from an uninitialed copy.


336. Letter From Secretary of the Interior Hickel to Secretary of State Rogers

Hickel requested an interdepartmental review to consider the interests of the U.S. fishing industry in formulating policy priorities for potential upcoming law of the sea conference.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 33-8. Confidential.


337. Memorandum From the Acting Legal Adviser of the Department of State (Belman) to Secretary of State Rogers

Belman forwarded to Rogers information pertinent to the issues raised by Interior Secretary Hickel’s letter of April 15, 1969, and included a draft reply.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 33-8. Confidential. Sent for action. Sent through S/S and initialed by Walsh. Drafted by Belman and concurred in by McKernan and by Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Malcolm Toon (EUR). David S. Black was Under Secretary of the Interior from 1967-69. For Tab A, see Document 339. For Tab B, see Document 336.


338. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Hillenbrand) to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson)

Hillenbrand recommended lodging a formal protest to a recent Canadian announcement expanding certain boundaries of Canadian internal waters and establishing expanded offshore zones that might exclude foreign fishing activities. Johnson approved the recommendation.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 33-8. Confidential. Sent for action. Sent through S/S. Drafted by John C. Griffith, Office of Canadian Affairs, Bureau of European Affairs on April 22 and cleared by Springsteen, EUR/CAN, and S/FW, and in draft by Belman. Johnson apparently approved the recommendation. The approval line is marked in an unknown hand as follows: “4/25/69, 12:00 noon.” Tabs A, B, C, and D were not found. For Tab E, see Document 333. Tab F, April 23, was a draft note from Rogers to Canadian Ambassador Ritchie expressing disappointment that the Canadian Government notified Washington only a few hours before the public announcement and registering the hope that U.S. officials would have the opportunity to consult and comment upon any proposed legislation the before it was submitted to the Canadian Parliament


339. Letter From Secretary of State Rogers to Secretary of the Interior Hickel

Responding to Hickel’s April 15 letter, Rogers assured him that consideration would be given to U.S. fisheries interests in developing Law of the Sea positions.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 33-8. Confidential. Drafted by Belman on April 21.


340. Memorandum From the Assistant Legal Adviser for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (Aldrich) to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson)

Aldrich opposed compromise language proposed by the Department of the Interior concerning seabed principles. Johnson disapproved Aldrich’s recommendation to continue efforts to secure an agreed continental shelf boundary and a moratorium on seabed claims.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, General Files on NSC Matters, S/S-I Files: Lot 73 D 288, Box 9, NSC/Misc. Seabed. Confidential. Sent for action. Sent through S/S. Drafted by Carter, who also drafted the undated “Seabeds Moratorium-Background and Considerations.” Copies were sent to Richardson, Samuels, Pollack, and Popper. Johnson disapproved the recommendation on June 2.


341. Memorandum From Robert Osgood of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Osgood discussed the imminent potential conflict between U.S. policies concerning ongoing seabeds treaty negotiations, a potential Law of the Sea treaty, and a longstanding fishing rights dispute with Peru. He outlined disagreements between Executive Branch agencies, and recommended preparation of a policy options study. Kissinger approved preparations of a NSSM.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 381, Subject Files, Seabeds, Volume I, May 1970 (2 of 2). Secret. Kissinger initialed his approval of the recommendation and wrote on the final page, “do brief memo to Pres + NSSM for study.” An attached June 19 note from Haig to Osgood reads, “Henry has read you memorandum and asked that you coordinate with Pete Vaky and Mort Halperin in the preparation of a brief memorandum for the President, forwarding an NSSM for the President’s approval, which will initiate the necessary study.”


342. Circular Telegram 103620 From the Department of State to All American Republic PostsZ

The Department registered concern over Uruguay’s assertion of expanded territorial sea claims and the potential for further claims by other Latin American governments.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 33-8. Confidential. Drafted by Carter on June 23; cleared in S/FW, ARA, L/ARA, ARA/APU, ARA/BR, the Departments of Defense and Interior; and approved by Assistant Legal Adviser for Economic Affairs Richard A. Frank. Edward M. Korry was the U.S. Ambassador to Chile. Gabriel Valdes Subercaseaux was the Chilean Foreign Minister.


343. Memorandum From Secretary of Defense Laird to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Laird expressed concern that U.S. defense needs were not being taken sufficiently into account in the multiple, interrelated, sea law-related negotiations taking place concurrently. He recommended preparation of a National Security Study Memorandum on an expedited basis.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 381, Subject Files, Seabeds, Volume I, May 1970, (2 of 2). Confidential.


344. Memorandum From Robert Osgood of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Osgood recommended referring Law of the Sea questions to the Under Secretaries Committee rather than issuing a National Security Study Memorandum.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 381, Subject Files, Seabeds, Volume I, May 1970, (2 of 2). Secret. Sent for action. For the final signed versions of Tab A and Tab B, see Documents 349 and 347. Tab C is published as Document 343.


345. Memorandum of Conversation

Executive Branch representatives discussed with Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson differences and concerns about Law of the Sea issues. All agreed on the need for a moratorium on seabed boundary claims. The Interior department reserved its position regarding the U.S. negotiating stance on seabed boundary issues in upcoming negotiations at the UN.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 33-5. Limited Official Use. Drafted by Pollack and approved in J. The conversation was held in Jackson’s office. For the seabed principles proposed by the United States at the UN Ad Hoc Committee to Study the Peaceful Uses of the Sea-Bed and the Ocean Floor Beyond the Limits of National Jurisdiction, see UN Document A/AC.135/25 (June 28, 1968).


346. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rogers to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Rogers informed Kissinger that the Department of State disagreed with the Department of Defense proposal to prioritize Law of the Sea questions. He proposed that the government continue to work toward resolving internal differences without altering U.S. positions concerning several ongoing negotiations with sea law implications.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 381, Subject Files, Seabeds, Volume I, May 1970, (2 of 2). Confidential.


347. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to Secretary of Defense Laird

Kissinger informed Laird that rather than issuing a National Security Study Memorandum, the Under Secretaries Committee would consider how to coordinate Law of the Sea policy.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 381, Subject Files, Seabeds, Volume I, May 1970, (2 of 2). Confidential. The attachment is published as Document 348.


348. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to Secretary of State Rogers

Kissinger concurred with Rogers that the National Security Council need not deal with Law of the Sea matters presently. Kissinger requested the Under Secretaries Committee attempt to resolve the outstanding issues concerning Executive Branch disagreements and potential conflicts between the U.S. negotiating positions on various sea law negotiations.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 381, Subject Files, Seabeds, Volume I, May 1970, (2 of 2). Confidential.


349. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the Under Secretary of State (Richardson)

Kissinger requested that Richardson convene the Under Secretaries Committee to consider coordination of U.S. policy concerning the Peruvian fishing dispute, the definition of a boundary between the continental shelf and the deep seabed, and a seabeds arms control agreement.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-253, Under Secretaries Study Memoranda, U/SM 50-54 [1 of 3]. Secret.


350. Memorandum From Robert Osgood of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Osgood provided an update on the status of negotiations between Executive Branch agencies to develop coordinated positions on the interrelated issues of Peruvian fisheries, definition of the continental shelf, and seabed arms control.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-253, Under Secretaries Study Memoranda, U/SM 50-54 [1 of 3]. Confidential. Sent for information. Published from an uninitialed copy.


351. Memorandum From Robert Osgood of the National Security Council Staff to the Senior Military Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (Haig)

Osgood explained the current state of Executive Branch interagency negotiations concerning Peruvian fisheries policy. He also suggested that the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger have the opportunity to examine any resultant bilateral agreement before it was signed.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-files), Box H-253, Under Secretaries Study Memoranda, U/SM 50-54 [1 of 3]. Confidential. Published from an uninitialed copy.


352. Memorandum From Robert Osgood of the National Security Council Staff to the Senior Military Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (Haig)

Osgood noted that the concerned Executive Branch agencies had agreed on a negotiating position for upcoming fisheries talks with Peru and assured Haig that the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger would have a chance to review any bilateral accord produced.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 381, Subject Files, Seabeds, Volume I, May 1970, (2 of 2). Confidential. After the penultimate sentence, Osgood inserted a handwritten note that read: “But I shall not send it. Instead, I have communicated its message to McKernan on the telephone. He assured me that HAK would have an opportunity to see the agreement before it is signed. He also assured me that he would keep me informed, through a special secretariat in his office, of the conference developments.” A handwritten notation by Osgood on the attached letter reads: “Not sent. Communicated telephonically.” Department of State Circular 175, December 13, 1955, outlined procedures for the negotiation and signature of treaties and other international agreements. See Arthur W. Rovine, Digest of United States Practice in International Law 1974, (Washington: U.S. Department of State, 1975), pp. 199-215.


353. Letter From the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson) to Members of the Committee on International Policy in the Marine Environment

As chair of the Committee on International Policy in the Marine Environment, Johnson furnished to the committee a draft resolution on seabed principles to guide the U.S. delegation at the August 1969 UN Seabeds Committee meeting and a memorandum of understanding among Executive Branch agencies concerning the seabed boundary principle.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, General Files on NSC Matters, S/S-I Files: Lot 73 D 288, Box 9, NSC/Misc.-Seabed. Limited Official Use;Noforn. A copy was sent to Christopher Phillips at USUN.


354. Circular Airgram CA-4850 From the Department of State to Multiple Posts

The Department requested that the addressed posts discuss major issues with members of the host governments’ delegations to the forthcoming 24th UN General Assembly meeting. The published section of the enclosure deals with seabeds issues.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, UNGA-3. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by the IO/UNP staff and approved by Greene. The published section of the enclosure is enclosure 5 and is classified as Limited Official Use. Sent to all posts except the following to which it was repeated for information: Algiers, Bern, Bonn, Bucharest, Budapest, Khartoum, Moscow, Prague, Saigon, Seoul, Sofia, Warsaw, USINT Cairo, USUN, USOECD Paris, US NATO, the mission at Geneva, and USEC Brussels. The remainder of the airgram, which deals with General Assembly issues unrelated to Law of the Sea negotiations, is not published.


355. Memorandum From the Legal Adviser of the Department of State (Stevenson) to Secretary of State Rogers, Washington, September 3, 1969

Stevenson registered his opinion that U.S. acceptance of a 12-mile limit to territorial waters in seabed arms control negotiations would not prejudice the more general U.S. policy of not recognizing territorial claims beyond 3 miles.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, L/OA Files: Lot 73 D 391, Box 9, Law of the Sea USG Position. Confidential. Drafted by Carter.


356. Memorandum From Robert Osgood of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Osgood outlined the effects on international negotiations of disagreement among Executive Branch agencies concerning delineation of the continental shelf boundary. He noted increasing Congressional attention to the issue and anticipated that the Under Secretaries Committee might soon meet to address the issue.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 381, Subject Files, Seabeds, Volume I, May 1970, (2 of 2). Secret. Sent for information. A notation on the memorandum indicates that Kissinger saw it. For Tab A, see Documents 350, 351, and 352. For Tab B, see Document 349. Senator Claiborne Pell (D-Rhode Island) was chair of the Oceans and Space Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


357. Memorandum From the Legal Adviser of the Department of State (Stevenson) to Secretary of State Rogers

Stevenson explained the rationale and methodology behind a worldwide canvass of governments to determine the prospects for a general Law of the Sea conference. The canvass utilized the attached aide-mimoire as a basis for discussion.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, S/S-I Files: Lot 83 D113, Box 7, NSC/MISC/Law of the Sea. Confidential. Sent for information. Sent through S/S. Drafted by Carter on October 9. Copies were sent to U, J, C, AF, EA, EUR, NEA, ARA, IO, H, E, and S/FW. For the text of the draft articles attached, see Document 333.


358. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs (Greene) to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson)

Greene listed the Law of the Sea-related subjects and organizational issues to be addressed over the ensuing 6 months.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, D/LOS Files: Lot 75 D 243, 1968 Seabeds. Limited Official Use. Sent for information. Drafted by McIntyre and cleared by Stevenson, McKernan, Pollack, and in E. Published from an uninitialed copy.


359. Memorandum From F. Allen Harris, Special Assistant to the Legal Adviser to Selected Bureaus of the Department of State

Harris circulated a proposed U.S. Government position on the seabed boundary sent by Stevenson to other Executive Branch agencies.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, D/LOS Files: Lot 75 D 243, 1968 Seabeds. Confidential. The memorandum was sent to Staff Assistant John D. Stempel (U), Staff Assistant Richard W. Baker (J), Staff Assistant David Biltchick (S/PC), McIntyre, Deputy Director George Dolgin (SCI/SE), Adviser Clarence W. Nichols (E/ORF), William L. Sullivan (S/FW), and Deputy Director William J. Trainor (INR/XR). The attached analysis of the major proposals was not found. Tab B is attached but not published.


360. Memorandum From Robert Osgood of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Osgood informed Kissinger of the continued disagreement among Executive Branch Agencies concerning determination of the continental shelf boundary and the proposal to enact a moratorium on further deep seabed claims of exploitation. Kissinger agreed to receive a briefing on the issues involved in anticipation of an Under Secretaries Committee meeting on the topic.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 381, Subject Files, Seabeds, Volume I, May 1970, (2 of 2). Confidential. Kissinger initialed his approval. Attached at Tab A was a letter from Laird to Hickel, November 13, in which Laird expressed concern that granting certain offshore seabed exploitation leases by the Interior Department might jeopardize U.S. security interests. Tab B is published as section III of Document 341. Next to the statement in paragraph 2 that the differences between the Defense, Interior, and State Departments had not been resolved, Kissinger wrote, “Why?” Also in the third paragraph, after the sentence, “I do not know whether it will succeed” Kissinger wrote in the margin, “We should issue order that this can’t be done pending undersecretaries meeting. Put on agenda of next meeting with Richardson.” Concerning Behr’s forthcoming memorandum Kissinger wrote, “Succinct, I hope.” In the recommendation, Kissinger crossed out “one-hour” and wrote “1/2.” Next to his initials Kissinger wrote, “Have-1/2 hour.” Below Kissinger’s approval, written in a different hand, is an indication that the briefing was tentatively scheduled for December 23 at 3:00pm.


361. Memorandum From Robert Behr of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Behr summarized a briefing that explained the Department of Defense position on Law of the Sea issues, especially concerning the continental shelf.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 381, Subject Files, Seabeds, Volume I, May 1970, (2 of 2). Secret. Sent for information. Kissinger wrote at the top of the page: “Let’s get it before the Under Secretaries committee.” J. B. Parker wrote below Kissinger’s note: “Col. Behr is taking follow up action.” Both notes were written on December 11.