Argentina: Ratification of Sea-bed Treaty

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

At the time of signature of the Treaty by Argentina, the Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of the Embassy of the Argentine Republic addressed a note to the Secretary of State, dated September 2, 1971, an English translation of which reads as follows:

“Mr. Secretary:

“I have the honor to address Your Excellency on the occasion of signing the 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, in order to inform you that I have received specific instructions from my Government to make the following declaration of interpretation:

“On signing the 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, the Government of the Argentine Republic expressly states that it adheres strictly to the statements with respect to the meaning and scope of the treaty made by the representatives of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United States of America, and Argentina at the 492d Plenary Session of the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament, at which time the definitive version of the treaty was presented.

“With respect to article IV, 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 obligations assumed under the present treaty and the positions of States with respect to other existing international conventions.  We have repeatedly stressed that the provisions of the sea-bed treaty are designed solely to accomplish the purpose that the treaty is designed to serve – namely, to prevent the extension of the race in nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction to the sea-bed.  The treaty is not intended to solve numerous questions of international law, including the law of the sea, to confirm or annul obligations assumed by States under other international agreements, or to prejudge 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 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 connection 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 the treaty might affect law-of-the-sea issues.’

“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 the continental shelf.  We have stated, and emphatically repeated, 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, paras. 48 et seq.; CCD/PV.454, paras. 10, 11; CCD/PV.475/Add.1, para. 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 positions of States, or to prejudice or influence future decisions on those questions, or to confirm or annul 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 disclaimer clause – by whose letter and spirit we abide strictly, we wish expressly to record the view that we interpret the references to freedoms of the high seas as in no way implying a pronouncement or judgment 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 true interpretation of the treaty, and it is with that understanding that the Government of the Argentine Republic signs the instrument.”

“I respectfully request Your Excellency to transmit the text of this declaration of interpretation to the other signatories of the treaty.

Accept, Mr. Secretary, the assurances of my highest and most distinguished consideration.”

 

The Argentine instrument of ratification of the Treaty includes a declaration, an English translation of which reads as follows:

“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 the continental shelf.  We have stated, and emphatically repeated, 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, paras. 48 et seq.; CCD/PV.454, paras. 10, 11; CCD/PV.475/Add.1, para. 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 positions of States, or to prejudice or influence future decisions on those questions, or to confirm or annul 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 disclaimer clause – by whose letter and spirit we abide strictly, we wish expressly to record the view that we interpret the references to freedoms of the high seas as in no way implying a pronouncement or judgment 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 (CCD/PV.492, paras. 51 and 52).

“This declaration constitutes the true interpretation of the treaty, and it is with that understanding that the Government of the Argentine Republic ratifies the Instrument.”

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