Created: 7/1/1981

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Soviet Frustrations in the Law of the Sea Conference



Smiel tViMltatioiM inh* Sea Ciafinart

Thorev.cnKhl> ii* la*the seaut

mouv'siittn lhc statu.the Draftrcpurol b> theuikmC'MtlWviicc.MiiheCI.OS lilt

The aein-i preventedHmsv.tha dilemma On .me haml. the USSROf- lhc, and nsstddap* onIheand open theorn .he.-he. hand ihe MtULie to eurt.n*

he .e 'he<

ViuK-umkrt.Uin ibcf >ncSeabedbwldo, Ioanntno tavern the presets.ihai lhc,tep

Ihe a-.un

in LM'

the .mcrci. of ih. do en-ntngH>.unobk .n

ec cmnference IrunWgJrun,sIeeat.on anuffn>rHI<

I sveniiall, there ate three ch.-eo. reopens in Genoa nest month;

itI mied State andother Western countries

hc restrict".'featuresould enhancee.vk.fed CHmirk.

tonteroi. InVkoVtm

n.,eh, km able M or a.o ba.icr ht

n alliance.


tui mui.i" del end.* .bcn-wev it race* the natdferjaWllfcl



. 1

1 Objcciitc*

LSSK'i dimre io play( rule (it ihetiicd Nation* Conference on ibe La*oCI OS llliirn frustratedeMfin held in New York lavl Marcho review ihoroughl) il>of Ihe sea ratltev brought ihescssaon MaandSR had little Choice but to.icvommodaic ihe LS re'K*

in The

Miihuii has been hampered in (vreparing it* *ir.itcg>emainder ol Ihe lOih Sr>"uo becauve of ihe uncertainly engendered btevruon. which has. for other dcknaiionsll a*enti.ill>dimension* Him. ihere in. unecnuinu mer ihe eiieni of the LS polic*

vnd ihe result* il may produce in liteof far-reaching change*

review ntiu uie iiuu-

LSecond, it isille LS review u. ill be completed b* ihe iim* ihe tOtti So..ion resume* in Cicrtciauru" dcta> ma*e dm-hi- in foreignibotil ihe com milhe Lniicd Stale* in the Ureal) making process

SR niuM alM) "Cigh il- doircigh profile, in an iniornalwnjl lorum againu it*INheuoa *lfo*gl* fa>*nr* the

matiuu pro"ihe prc>ent lir,,iim ikeikr Sen

tlJr.tfi Convention)hose protuiwiu faetliiaietransit through tlrails andiMmoscow* indicated thai ilread' lit wrap up the negotiation* and open the convcniiott lorOn Ihend. >MS renew ofpooiion ha* Mikoi* art oprtuiu-ftn> in Capitalise on in self-appointed* defender of the Third Vv.wld Many of the developing couiitric* have strong labnui ilie seabed mining article in ihe Draft Convention, belie ing that Ihcs reprocmwip

ation .i he**

mining article* .treat ihe heart of ihe LS objection* to ihe proem icti and ihe main rea.un for the current review hi determine whether LS itiieroiv are belter servedomprehensive inuliilaicral treat*unilnu.iiionresent legal rcg"tte of cuviomar* lav. wiih tt* "openeature.

andf bilaier.ilwith oilor maritime iulnn>

andng ma iih *ir,iit

CCOS III.has jncmpicd to protectOn interests and al ihcsjme time in appear svmpaihctic io ihe need* of ihe Third WorldCLOS III hasifficult negotiating environe LSSK.a an iii mee Soviet Lnion ha% pljscd an active roie mitproiawji. aadati t"

contain initialise* !or changeas detrimentaloscow joinediiicduledI ranee, andhoiled the <iroup.rfThe LSSKii-t.opCiin3llKStraditional concept, ol*<bis andavigation in strain.ithf Uw United Stales nndowever, frustrates Soviet desire* l" pro-clycountries in thisn.iloSCsW *ecu prompteda rive mil il> in ihe earlier sessions.b> ihe

expem* ill' UieaiMCK


l/NCT.OS IIIthe emergence of iho Sovieti niaiur maritime power Two decade- ago ihe Ssniei fleetprimarilyoastal defenseat rarely vemored far fromodayonstitutes ahi||hIttvj The Soviei Navylhc mennsrrs which ihe USSR projects'image through show-the-lias port calls and imirc-siile^pcrmj-wn! presence inird World harbors The dcrc .if ihe USSR iodcplo>> Navy effectivelymploy ii* crowing merchantami fleetsvicted inwlhc Sen piotum*

ThcSusict Un.oi. hasemerged in LNCI.OS* OK of ihestrongest proponent uf rcaminc (he iradiiional Inch sca< rights,ol nas.gahun. Indeed, iws igation i* lhcS is-ue fort- stratcBie .merest-require thatal ie.ssels enjoyum their home pons to ihe open waier* ur the At bulk and Pacificell :i>ls of iwssage between thosehe Northernutc lhc only inioruccan rouie Mhilly within Soviei walcis-is nav.jaWC unK in summer. Reaching lhc hich sens Irom Sovietocecsiiaics puuagc through such choke points .is ihe Barents :md Norwegian Sea- and ihe Danish.Vro.iso. Tsugnru. Gibraltar. Rosi-orus. nnd Dar-dandles Straits. Moscow has long been sensitive u. anyor event that might alter the statu* of ihese water-

These inieresls.niiK.ll, led the USSR to firmly onpusc in UNCI.OS IH the principles of ihe lOO-mile exclti.ivc ecnnotmc /oner ftshina 'one. Oumumbercd by ihe developing coastal stales, ihenow ucooicseedonile ECZ butn. in the Draft Cunvcniionon frecdmi.galiun andhin it They wouldlear st.uement lltit ihe economic wnc enjuj* lnuh sea', ttalus and thu> is clearly not underhe Sennets belteve lhalarifio.iion is. neededsilsrarh agai.'si

creeping iurisdieiion b>tal *iaic* ihai could interfere withea**agc smUidml in tin I

< uni fPi urn appears IHfull* Sm i,eed*nimpeded I'

iii-.andtwer lappediie territorial

NSK jKii iniliall. resisted piil. of. ilieui. and iii he island Male, tin archipelagic regimes .oscring.navigationalowever, hate appa>viitl> bccuallc-viaiid b>illtngnci.*ctHtcciIc lot *ca lanes

"iJ .ui rovte* throvghe hi pc Lied -

f foreign .hip* and aircraft. SliH. Soviet acceptancebe archipclaftic lonecpi i* conditioned upon ihccniti into forcenfa eom-pre hi naive ocean* and economic /one*

AaicrcM in retainingr u. tecn.e ocean*purred Soviet effort, lo limit cnaslal it.ue turi-dici ion mer broad conlittenul shelves. The Sovieuusk lo limit lit. application of the so-called IriOt tiMntuia for demarcation of ihe outer limit of jurisdiction arguing thai formula wouldattt. mile connacutal shelf .imundjnd in Ihe Indian Ocean and pcrnmted Kingdom and New Zealand locfanli /onearea* ranging1 io MIO miles InSoviei elfoti. rcMiltcd in ihe craflii ig of new texts thai would col off coastal .lull'jurisdictionine IIK)miles beyondh.. provided that the included *hclf meei* Ihec*i. tor vrdrnenlnil distance 'rout Iheolmnen'jl

omptcs game inS negotiations onI ikeuled Slalo.SK wants all vlaic*o theodule* and otherrelegal footing with Ihe Knlcrpiisc. Ihe proposed mining arm ofSeabed Auihorit. ilSAt. Bul Mowtw. opposes unlimiiedWeuern cttrpoialions anduna/am (monopolyseek to Itmii ihe ni<mbcit.iliabletsmroncowsc-nedf'rinictc* nil) not be available in ihe fuluic when Sovietneed Ihe manganese, nickel, copper, and cobalt foundnodules strewn on the sen beds bound the limits ofluritdtciion

. The Untied Sioic* and othct NATO nations will dominate large area* of the seabed. Soviet naval authorities are concerned that international waters above seabed mincsitc* might become "areas of influence" ol thedemocracies

. The USSR and its allies will not be adequately represented on the .In-member executive Council, the principal inail-gcrialocgan of lhc ISA. To this end Ihe USSR will strongly defend ihc existing leal, which guarantees the "swciatisT states three permanent scatson ihe Council

The USSR's concern over the technological lead enjoyed by the West in seabed mining is most fully evidenced by il* consistent oppoii.on to US proposals forystem of preparatory investment protection 1PIP1 for seabed miners under the LOSIP measure, akinrandfather clause, has been soughi to protect corporate investments in seabed mining made priorhe cnliy into force of lhc Convention, ll would (rant carl,riority, once ihe Convention enters into force.ine the site* foe which their equipment has been customised. The USSR's oprtouimn appears to stemearavorable PIP arrangement would allow carl, applicant' from the industrial nalion* to corner lhc prime mineaites in the Pacific Ocean, to the disadvantage of the Soviet Union and other late entrants who wail in the developmenl of seabed technology

Boundary Dispnut

The USSR ey player in the controversy over how maritime boundaries bei^eenopposiieand adjacent states arc to be delimited and bow boundary disputes arc to be stilled. Moscow favor* the current provisions of the Draft Convemion. which till toward the concept of equitable principles as the prcfciicd criterion for delimiting economic rune and continental shelf boundaries and which also exclude existing boundary disputes from bindine arbitrations posiiion r* forged by longstanding boundary disputes wiili Norway and Sweden in the Barctti* nnd Baltic Sea-,The USSR wants to remain freeressure these smaller siaies unilaterally for boundary =onceisions. using the argument ihat special circumstancescsisung in the orca make acase for drawinglhal deviate from an equidistant lin<

Most conference delegation* were bewildered and frustrated by IneOf the US polic* review. Many participants had believed ihaih ScssMnin New York would be lhc last negotiating section of the Conference Even ihe skeptics thought ihai ihe few remaining mailer* could be SCltlcdollow-up session this summer in time for the signature uf the convemionaracas inWhile Moscow was annoyed both by ilic timing of the US announcement and by the lack of advance notice, ii is far more concerned about ihe outcome. Statements ol the Soviei delegation

were marked by elfixisaffirm the basicgsdeal" of the Draft Convention as-land* and to stress thcdifficuli) of making an* rundameii-lal changes in ihai package. Ncscriheless. ihe Soviets Stopped short ofhe Drall Convention ;i*lake ii or leave il" basis

The US aeiionpiesenicd Moscow wiih anpportunity lo currywith ihe developing countries b> the Unitednd ii did so throughout ihe session. Soviet comments, however, were relatively restrained. The USSR's public posture was one of continuing support for adoption of the Convention by consensus, but Dermis Foreign Minister Kuryrcv privately threatened the United States with pushingetic on the Convcnlion if the LS delegation was not prepared to pcirlicipatc in ihe conclusion of the treats

was the Soviet effori io defend the Drafi Convention more apparent in New York than in meetings ofhich deals with navigation issue, and questions of coastal stale jurisdiction Over living and nonliving resources. Several tcrmorialid-minded developing coastal slates, in interventions stage-managed by Peru, pressed for changes in the Draft Convcnlion lhat wouldy.ll siaie rights al the expense of the rights of the intern;!itonalhe interventions were stronger lhan in precious sessions, but thetate nilack was met head on win. euuul ferocity by Ihe -Sovieu on both procedural and Mtbsianlivc ground.

Moscow'sdecp concern over ihe fate of the Dtafi Convcnlion was clearly reflectednonpancr" presented lo Secretary of State Haig byDobryninonay. The document states that the USSR is pro-loundly convinced thai ihercressing needapid conclusion ofS traaiy. In Mersey's opinion the Draft Convcnlionomprehensive sci of provision* of international law lhat was negotiatedomplex package of balanced compromises by som l stales. The USSR assumes that after some minor svorkon the Drafl Convention al ihe forthcoming session in Geneva, ii could be adopted and opened for signaiure. Hope is expressed thai ihis goalfind the support of all ihe conference participants "without exception.

' InKiuifiehYanke-idW-BYorkihe

chairman held tort,Bi negotuiissns hadbee-iompletedai ihcOwo session0

and that anyW.nliven ihew^

iMt alread) achieved.

theonna.alor,bul -onetollai-nw1 he Cro-pof Olesa.eui* called, blocked any "O'k

o. tobedat long os the United Sixesinobtr io cnt'f in the

Ambassador Dobry nip's note made no tlloriide Moscow's pio.ue.ii ihe confusion and dol.i> caused in ilie LS actions. The paperiinilid Slates for lis obslluelit'ilisl. position alleging Ihai Ihe resultant ilualion provided an opportunity lof territorial-si. minded developing coastaleopen discussions noumbei ol sensitive issues on which enmp' ii was reached earlier *ueh a- ihe navigation of worships in ihe territorialk leg in it ol ihe esslustte economic /one. fisher* peoWetm. and ihe regime of ihe high teas Mimus* messageek*af It believe* the Draft Convention onih of ihe Searagile' pachagc ihai mini be adopted soon orl unravel as carious pressure groups seelill the doeumcar* language in their Ijsoi

onei* sonunuedress ihe Umicd Stales ai revent b>S eottoahaiuns ia Moscow.urgedelegation lodnutgc thccxaci nature nf ihe change, ihe UnitedeekeCunscatHM Di*jppoinied upon being informed that lite LSad not reached the slage "here cone'tie profMrsals had emerged, ihe Soviei* rKiied lhat both the Unocd Slates and Ihe USSR had undertaken an -on to ihe developing countries b> our basic acceptance, albetl leluetanils. of ihe common1 heme and Ihe* leal in August lugf) The USSR. the* slated vsanls lo coupe raleihe United Slates bui minder* host it could go back on ii-*cummi Intern* The> believe that, all ihings considered,s dangcrou* to introduce dramatic orl changes lo ihe seabed, ten iH* the Draft Convention, einphasi/ing thai ojch proposals might undcrcui achioemeni. in other ports of ihe Convention and open the doorhe ocean*

Outlook forthe Uniied States lignals lhai iitih the Drjfido

nut strike ul the rooi of Ihe provisions on cabed mining. Ihe Group ofrobably would be Billing to negotiate various change* in ihe lesi and postpone adoption of the l.nui.iiier. Ilowoer. if ihe United reveals that ii hit* profound iroublc* with the text on seabed mining, one of ihe first reactions of ihe Group of '7 would be to lishe United Slides. Strong pressures would be applied against iheuropeans. Japanese, and Soviet, jri an effort to persuade iheni in suppnii the existing Draft Convention

Pan of the answer io adjusting ihe Drjfi Convention i* to be found inof UNCLOS III. where procedure!mphasizedand consensus dceisonntaking. Theagreeinuspends theing procedure of Unitedconference* thai calls for decisionswo-lhird* vole. Theagreed instead to negotiate ihe issue, until IINCI.OS III. however, i* notstdgrncn; call by each of1ihe Conference s

ihree committee* Haeh chairman may declare lhai cunvensu* has been leached when iibvious thai, follow tag protected negotiation*ma>or interestoini i*ere all further efforts to iii.iii orunicular segment of ihe teal are fruitless He *iaietandoff has been reached and tltoi the leal, inunction have .irucliddle groundeen ihe divergentf contending purlies. The flexibility of the term is also evident in oiher viuatton* for ctamplc. consensu* can be declared on major issue* evenew smaller countries had obKclcdhe lexis discussed in committee as long as no Male challenges thenterpretation. On lev.issue* consensus might be declared over the objection* of an even greater number of less influential Males. However, tltc vigorous proton of ihe Uniied States, several of the mnjui Western njiions. ihe USSR andallies, or ihe Gioup ofonhe adoption of1he amendment of enisling iirlicit

While il is cleatetermined United Slate* acting alone has orotic negative influence under ihe consensus procedure, it It uncertain whether, even with the support of Western allies.a. the power In force change* in the Draft Convcnlion over the object tonsnified Group ofhe lask

become feasible.flhc Soviet Union and Pastern llurnpc were io lend their support. Such support obviously would require some' measure of compensation for Moscow. It is logical to assume that,inimum. Ihe Soviets would as* that their three scats un Use Council of the International Seabed Authoriiy continue to be guaranteed and lhalota provisions remain intact. In addition, it would not be surprising to see Moscow- bargain for changes in ihe system of access ihai would assure it and ns allies one orminesitcs during the first years of commercial activity on the sea beds. Oi her demands could also follost II ihe Soviets succcidcd inivotal position in UNCLOS III bei-ecn the developing countries and the Western industrialized nation!

The Sovtet Unsoncould iry to exploit the situation to gain as much political capital as possible with the Third World, pointing oui that the United Slates intends tognibfo. itself the resources of the seabed lhal the United Nations once declared lobe lhc "common heritage off Moscow "ore to choose Ihe pathof cooperating wiih the developing countries, however, it would face the risk of destroying the Conference and. wilh it. the narration provisions or ihe Draft Convemion svhieh the Soviei* seem so eager to embrace. For it it clear that the Treaty in ils present form, or closely similar form, would not be ratified by the United States

The USSR may Tuid It dilTicull to escape the role of broker, being forced by events to serve as an intcrmediaiy nr lie breaker between the United Slates and ihe Groupf il wantsreserve the navigational safeguard, provided by the Drafi Convention. It eould turn ouilose Cull for Moscow, debating whether toide in the comine North-South confrontation or totales man like posture

Wc believe ihe Soviets will oplosture of accommodation at Geneva and al any subsequent sessionsCI.OS III. They realize that US participation in an LOS treaty it indispensable if itsc to enter into force as normtof international law. Theyn the other hand.ssish to offend lhc Third Workl by being too closely identifiedihe Wens criticism of the present seabed mining package. They arc also keenly aware of their impotence al the March-April session. The Soviets, therefore, will do jusi enough for the United States tolaim for the retention of their perquisites in lhc seabed mining area. They are likely lu operate in the background, preferringake then new. known through the offices of the President of the Conference rather than to engage directly in any North-Soulh dogfight All ihe while, however, the Soviei delegation will be apply ineperhaps publicly as well aslhc USto keep Us proposals for change i" hate minimumbtairi ratification by the US Senate

Original document.

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