Brazil: Signature of Sea-bed Treaty

State Brazil
Treaty Sea-bed Treaty
Action Type Signature
Depositary Government of the United States of America
Date 3 September 1971
Note

Brazil issued a statement and understanding upon signature of the Treaty, the Department of State translation of which reads as follows:

“Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as prejudicing in any way the sovereign rights of Brazil in the area of the sea, the seabed, and the subsoil thereof adjacent to its coasts.  It is the understanding of the Brazilian Government that the word ‘observation’ as it is used in Article III (1) of the Treaty refers only to observation that is incidental to the normal course of navigation in accordance with international law.”

The instrument of ratification of the Treaty by Brazil was accompanied by a statement and understanding which read as follows:

“The Brazilian Government wishes to state that nothing in the present Treaty shall be interpreted as in any way prejudicing the sovereign rights of Brazil in the area of the sea, the seabed and its subsoil adjacent to the Brazilian coast, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.  It is the understanding of the Brazilian Government that the word ‘observation’ in Article III, Paragraph 1 of the Treaty refers only to observation that is incidental in the normal course of navigation, in accordance with international law.”

The views of the Government of the United States of America with regard to the Brazilian statement and understanding are contained in the Department of State’s note of March 16, 1989, which reads as follows:

“The Department of State refers to the Note of the Brazilian Embassy of May 10, 1988 enclosing a statement and understanding on the occasion of the deposit on May 10, 1988, of [an] instrument of ratification of Brazil of 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, done at Washington, London, and Moscow on February 11, 1971.

“The Government of the United States of America draws the attention of the Government of Brazil to the provisions of Article III of the Seabed Treaty that address verification and inspection rights of States Parties.  The United States expects all States Parties to exercise their rights and fulfill their obligations in accordance with the Seabed Treaty.

“Article III provides that all States Parties may ‘verify through observation the activities of other States Parties to the Treaty’ beyond the 12-mile seabed zone, so long as such observation does not interfere with the activities of other States Parties and is conducted with due regard for rights recognized under international law.  It is the view of the Government of the United States of America that, under customary international law and Article III of the Treaty, these observations may be undertaken whether or not they are incidental to a so-called ‘normal course of navigation,’ and that such activity is not subject to unilateral coastal state restriction.”

The views of the Federal Republic of Germany with regard to the Brazilian statement and understanding are contained in a note from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Department of State, dated May 18, 1989, which reads as follows:

“The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany presents its compliments to the Department of State and, referring to the note of the Department of State of May 27, 1988, communicating the deposit on May 1[0], 1988, of [an] instrument of ratification of Brazil to 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 of 1971, has the honor, addressing the statement of the Government of Brazil on this occasion, to state the following:

“The right of each state party under article III para. 1 of the aforementioned treaty to verify through observation the activities of other states parties is limited only insofar as it shall not interfere with such activities or activities of other state parties and as it shall be conducted with due regard to recognized rights under international law.  The understanding of the Government of Brazil of the term ‘observation’ does not represent, in the view of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, an adequate interpretation of that term.

“The Embassy would be grateful if the text of this note could be communicated to the Government[s] of State parties to the treaty.”

Other Actions Ratification on deposit with London — 10 May 1988
Signature on deposit with London — 3 September 1971
Signature on deposit with Moscow — 3 September 1971
Ratification on deposit with Moscow — 4 August 1988
Ratification on deposit with Washington — 10 May 1988