Argentina: Ratification of Sea-bed Treaty

State Argentina
Treaty Sea-bed Treaty
Action Type Ratification
Depositary Government of the United Kingdom
Date 21 March 1983

Statement on signature (translation):

"The Government of the Argentine Republic wishes specially to place on record that it strictly abides by the statements made by the Representatives of the Soviet Socialist Republics, the United States of America and Argentina in regard to the meaning and scope of the Treaty at the 429th Plenary Session of the Conference of the Disarmament Committee when the final draft of the Treaty was submitted for consideration.

When referring to Article IV of the Treaty the Representative of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics stated:  'As we have said before, we attach great importance to this Article of the Draft Treaty, which concerns the problem of the relationship between the obligation assumed under the present Treaty and the position of States with respect to other existing international conventions.  We have repeatedly stressed that the provisions of the Seabed Treaty are designed solely to accomplish the purpose that the Treaty is designed to serve, namely, to prevent the extension to the seabed of the race in nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.  The Treaty is not intended to solve numerous obligations assumed by States under other international agreements, or to prejudice possible future solutions in that sphere.  In our view, Article IV of the draft Treaty fully serves that end.'

The Representative of the United States of America in turn stated:  'A number of changes have been made in Article III in order to take into account the views of certain Delegations concerning means of avoiding any implication of prejudice to differing positions on Law of the Sea issues.  In that connexion I want to emphasize again a point which has been fundamental to these negotiations:  All the provisions of this Treaty, including those relating to verification through observation as well as other verification activities, are designed to ensure that the Treaty will accomplish its arms limitation purposes, the provisions of the Treaty are not intended to affect any of the various outstanding problems regarding the Law of the Sea.  While the United States has taken this position from the very beginning and has felt that previous drafts were responsive to this need, we have continued to work with other Delegations to find formulations which all could accept as being entirely neutral on these issues.  We believe that Article III as now drafted, together with the Article IV disclaimer which remains unchanged, should remove any remaining doubt as to the possibility that theTreaty might affect Law of the Sea issues.' On the same occasion the Representative of the Argentine Republic stated:  'One of the constant anxieties which have guided our action has been to avoid, by all the means available to us, the risk that the draft might, by virtue of its sphere of application, affect the position of various States on questions relating to International Maritime Law and most particularly to the territorial sea and continental shelf.  We have stated, and emphatically repeat, that a document of this nature could not and should not, either directly or indirectly, attempt to solve or even interfere in the complex problems pertaining to the Law of the Sea (CCD/PV.445, paragraph 48 et seq., CCD/PV.454, paragraphs 10 and 11 and CCD/PV.475/Add.1, paragraph 16).  For that reason we have taken due note of the statements made by the co-sponsors of the Draft that this is not the aim of the Treaty and that its provisions are in no way designed to, nor do they seek to, undermine, strengthen or affect the position of States, or to prejudice or influence future decisions on those questions, or to support or revoke existing or future obligations assumed under international instruments.  On the basis of those assertions, to which we attach the value of a formal commitment or undertaking, and by virtue of the provisions of Article IV - the so-called 'Safeguard Clause' - by whose letter and spirit we abide strictly, we wish expressly to record the view that we interpret the references to the freedoms of the high seas as in no way implying a pronouncement on the different positions relating to questions connected with International Maritime Law.  In the same context, we understand that the reference to the rights of exploration and exploitation by coastal States over their continental shelves is included solely because those could be the rights most frequently affected by verification procedures.  In other words, we preclude henceforward any possibility of strengthening, through this document, certain positions concerning continental shelves to the detriment of others based on different criteria.'

These statements constitute the authentic interpretation of theTreaty and it is on this understanding that the Argentine Government signs the instrument."

The above declaration by the Argentine representative was confirmed on ratification.

Other Actions Signature on deposit with London — 3 September 1971
Signature on deposit with Moscow — 3 September 1971
Ratification on deposit with Moscow — 21 March 1983
Ratification on deposit with Washington — 21 March 1983
Signature on deposit with Washington — 3 September 1971