352. Memorandum From Robert Osgood of the National Security Council Staff to the Senior Military Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (Haig)1 2
- Law of the sea, etc.
The ad hoc committee for the CEP conference succeeded in covering up its differences sufficiently to get an agreed negotiating position. Nonetheless, the delegation members from State and DOD who are mostly interested in the law of the sea treaty fear that all the suppressed issues will arise again in Buenos Aires, where they will be outmaneuvered or their relatively uninformed principals in Washington will make crucial and unwise concessions leading to McKernan’s signature of an agreement. They are sure that McKernan is determined to keep HAK out of the act and that he has every procedural right to do so under the instrumentality authorizing him to sign an agreement. Consequently, they would like to make signature of the treaty contingent upon HAK’s concurrence in some form.
I have told them that the Under Secretaries Committee will be monitoring the conference but that it is up to them to see that unresolvable differences get reviewed by the Committee rather than bargained away, and that HAK cannot be put in the position of asking, in effect, for a veto power over McKernan or Richardson.
Nevertheless, I agree with you that it would be highly improper for McKernan to sign an agreement (even if it has the formal concurrence of all the agencies specified in Circular 175’s authorization) without letting HAK see it first. Therefore, I have written the attached letter. It is equally important I think, to get a similar informal assurance from the Executive Secretary of State.
- 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.↩
- 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.↩