Young, Elizabeth
October 1971
Foreign Affairs;Oct71, Vol. 50 Issue 1, p136
This article discusses problems that arise from the ungoverned status of the seas and seabeds, as of October 1971. What prospects then are there for sea or seabed arms control? Arms-control negotiations are, necessarily, carried on within the existing legal framework, which here distinguishes with inappropriate precision between the high seas on the one hand and the seabed on the other. No government is at present proposing arms limitations in or on the sea as such. The General Assembly of the United Nations last fall approved a Treaty on the Prohibition of the Emplacement of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction on the Seabed and the Ocean Floor and in the Subsoil Thereof. A treaty for the complete demilitarization of the seabed has already been proposed by the Soviet Union and its allies, but was not accepted by the U.S. or the other Western powers, many of whom have enormously long coastlines and make extensive military use of the sea bottom for surveillance. Discussing the current seabed treaty at the United Nations the French delegate declared that France would prefer a treaty for the total demilitarization of the seabed, which recognized the defensive rights of a coastal state on its adjacent shelf, and this seems to he a fairly common view.


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