184. Telegram From the Embassy in West Germany to the Department of State1

2043. Subj: Signing of the LOS Treaty: UK and FRG Perspectives.

1. Confidential—Entire text.

2. At a social event last night attended by Embassy’s LOS Officer, subject of LOS was raised in discussion with Michael Wood, UK Embassy’s Legal Adviser, and Dr. Fleischhauer, head of the legal section at the Foreign Office. Wood stated at one point that, based on his information, the UK would almost certainly not repeat not sign LOS treaty at Jamaica next month.2 In response, Fleischhauer remarked that, while there was still no official position, this was also the case with the FRG, i.e., that it was now “virtually certain” that the FRG would not repeat not sign LOS treaty at Jamaica next month (Fleischhauer left open the possibility that it might, of course, sign at some point further in the future). As later discussion confirmed, those who heard Fleischhauer’s remark were taken aback by his candor. (Comment: Fleischhauer’s statement goes well beyond any information Foreign Office has thus far provided to Embassy’s LOS officer on the state of play in FRG’s deliberations on the treaty. End comment.) Wood later indicated, but without elaboration, that he thought the solidification in FRG’s thinking had taken place only within the last day or two.

3. Embassy cannot, of course, confirm the validity of statements made by Wood and Fleischhauer. Wood, however, has been involved in LOS matters on the UK side (in New York and elsewhere) for many years and is believed by Embassy to be well-connected on this issue. Fleischhauer, who is extraordinarily well-respected as legal counsel at the Foreign Office and who has just been named the new legal counsel at the U.N., is known by Embassy to be heavily involved in LOS matters at a relatively high level within the FRG.

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Guhin, Michael A.: Files, LOS (Law of the Sea) Rumsfeld Mission, Key Allies, October 1982–March 1983. Confidential; Immediate. Sent Immediate for information to London and for Michael Guhin in London. Printed from a copy that was received in the NSC Message Center.
  2. In telegram 25269 from London, November 19, the Embassy reported that Thatcher stated the British would not sign the treaty. (Ibid.)