358. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs (Greene) to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson)1 2


  • Subjects in the Field of Seabeds oil which we will be working over the next six months - INFORMATION MEMORANDUM

I have listed below subjects on which we will need to take action in the field of seabeds over the next six months.


Position on Boundary: We are now engaged in attempting to arrive at a Departmental position. If possible, we should try to be in a position to give the general line of our thinking to Senator Metcalf’s Committee on November 19, as well as the Department’s answers to questions raised by Senator Jackson in his letter of July 1969. We should aim at getting our full Departmental position in shape no later than December in order to be ready for a meeting of the USC on this subject in January.

In preparation for the January meeting we will have to formulate an issues paper and a briefing paper for you and Under Secretary Richardson.

When we are closer to having a government-wide boundary position, we will develop a scenario for handling consultations on the Hill and with industry. We will also wish to develop a scenario for obtaining international acceptance of our new position.

Studies: We should reach agreement with other agencies on nature and scope of studies to be performed, as well as their financing.
We should design an ADP system for storage and retrieval of information on offshore activities and positions of all other countries including their views on the principal issues.
Machinery: We will develop further our position regarding machinery applicable to the area of the seabeds beyond national jurisdiction.
International Decade of Ocean Exploration: We will prepare for the March session of the Seabed Committee a statement regarding our plans and proposals regarding the International Decade of Ocean Exploration.
Principles: We are planning to review our principles in light of the debates in Committee I and consider how best to obtain agreement on these principles at the March session of the Seabeds Committee, building on the synthesis already formulated by the Seabeds Committee at its August session.
Pollution: We anticipate discussion of pollution at the March meeting. We will formulate a position regarding international ground rules to improve the quality of the marine environment. We must also be prepared to answer criticisms regarding blow-outs, etc. and be prepared to discuss in detail US safeguards against pollution, and any new proposals we can make promoting international cooperation in the control of marine pollution.
Law of the Sea: We must consider results of the Law of Sea canvass and determine whether we should call for a Law of the Sea conference in the near future and whether this should also deal with the shelf.
Marine Preserves: We will review our own proposals on international marine preserves, reconsider objections which have been raised, and determine whether we wish to urge further these preserves at the March 1970 meeting of the Seabeds Committee.
NOAA : We will review findings of the Ash Committee, when published, in formulating State Department position regarding organization within the USG in dealing with ocean space issues.
International Organization in the Ocean Area: We will study further how best to organize the international community in terms of handling problems of the ocean and seabeds.
  1. 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.
  2. Greene listed the Law of the Sea-related subjects and organizational issues to be addressed over the ensuing 6 months.