81. Telegram 124445 From the Department of State to the United States Mission to the United Nations1 2


  • Instructions to US Delegation to UN Outer Space Committee {OSC}


  • {A} USUN 2340; USUN 2349 {Both Notal}
Following instructions are for US delegation to UN Outer Space Committee’s June 25–July 6 session in New York. Except as indicated, positions set out in earlier instructions for delegations to OSC subsidiary bodies remain applicable.
Registration: Ref {A} para 1 suggests that considerable pressure could develop for US acceptance of provision to effect that launching state should mark space objects externally as may be feasible. USDel should reiterate that we cannot agree to any marking provision, on often restated technical-economic grounds, stressing lack of utility such provision would have in identification assistance. If in del’s judgment proponents of marking provision would accept review clause as adequate substitute, and thus enable consensus on treaty text otherwise entirely satisfactory to us, del may volunteer US agreement to inclusion of review provision, pointing out if deemed advisable that this would allow reexamination of technical-economic factors involved in marking issue within reasonable period.
Moon treaty: Del should adhere to positions as of end of Legal Subcommittee {LSC} session. We should insist on resolution of natural resources question before addressing other outstanding issues. If US formulation on natural resources ultimately proves acceptable, del may privately tell SovDel that we believe resolution of other main issues {advance notification of missions and formulation of treaty scope} should now be possible. At least initially, however, del should wait for Sovs to offer trade in which we would drop our insistence on advance notification and they would accept formulation of expanded treaty scope containing reference to “other celestial bodies” throughout operative text. {UK compromise proposal for incorporation by reference to “other CBS” in our article remains unacceptable for reasons stated in LSC discussion}. If USSR does not come forward with above offer, in deciding whether to volunteer proposal ourselves Del should be guided by tactical situation, particularly in light of degree to which it desirable to keep moon treaty on 1974 LSC agenda. {See para 6 below.}
Direct broadcast satellites {DBS}:Del may support OSC approval of DBS working group report including recommendation for WG’s future work {ref B}. However, that recommendation represents extreme limit which we can accept in consideration of possible DBS principles. Therefore, USDel should oppose any attempt in OSC to change directive to WG. Del may point out that recommended directive in WG’s report represents very delicate balance worked out in difficult negotiations which would be highly inadvisable to upset.
Remote sensing {ERS}: Del should support adoption of report of working group on remote sensing, including recommendation for task force to study possible modes of international data dissemination. In any discussion which may develop regarding legal aspects of remote sensing, del should endeavor to keep focus on dissemination phase.
LSC Agenda priorities: If work not completed on registration and/or moon treaty, del should support continued first priority for either or both at 1974 LSC. If forced to choose between DBS and ERS, del should opt for DBS. If priority attention to ERS proves unavoidable, del should insist that LSC’s terms of reference remain broad “legal implications”, in particular preventing specific directive to consider data acquisition.
Scientific and Technical Subcommittee {STSC} report: [Page 3] Del may support OSC approval of STSC report without change. It is possible that question of STSC’s future work and TOR may be reopened; if this happens, del should initially take position favoring present setup, reserving on and reporting any significant proposed changes.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, SP 6 UN. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Black; cleared in L/UNA, EUR/SOV, NASA/I, S/PC, PM/AE, and DOD/ISA; and approved by Stull. Repeated to Moscow.
  2. The telegram updated instructions for the U.S. delegation to the UN Outer Space Committee.