Mexico: Accession to Sea-bed Treaty

State Mexico
Treaty Sea-bed Treaty
Action Type Accession
Depositary Government of the United States of America
Date 23 March 1984
Note

The instrument of accession to the Treaty by Mexico was accompanied by a declaration, an English translation of which reads as follows:

“In depositing its instrument of accession 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, the Government of Mexico makes the following declaration:

“1.  In the view of the Mexican Government, no provision of the Treaty, including Article 1 thereof, can be interpreted as meaning that a State has the right to emplace nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, or arms or military equipment of any type, on the continental shelf of Mexico.

“2.  Consequently, the Government of Mexico reserves the right to verify, inspect, remove, or destroy any military weapon, structure, installation, device, or equipment placed on its continental shelf, including nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction.

“3.  The well-known position of the Government of Mexico in all international disarmament negotiations has been that disarmament must be general and complete everywhere possible.  In this respect, although the Government of Mexico would have preferred a treaty that more clearly prohibits the emplacement of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction anywhere in the world, it is acceding to this Treaty limiting such prohibition to the seabed, the ocean floor and in the subsoil thereof, for it considers it to be a step toward achieving the universal prohibition mentioned above through the establishment of worldwide denuclearized zones.

“4.  Having signed and ratified the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Government of Mexico considers that the provisions it contains pertaining to the stipulations of the Treaty are fully applicable to it.”

 

The views of the Government of the United States of America with regard to the declaration by Mexico are contained in the Secretary of State’s note to the Ambassador of Mexico to Washington, dated February 26, 1985, which reads as follows:

“Excellency:

“I have the honor to refer to your note of March 23, 1984, and the accompanying statement on the occasion of the deposit on March 23, 1984, of the Government of Mexico’s instrument of accession 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 (Seabed Treaty), done at Washington, London, and Moscow on February 11, 1971.

“It is the understanding of the Government of the United States of America that the Seabed Treaty addresses only nuclear weapons and any other types of weapons of mass destruction, and instrumentalities for launching, storing, testing, or using such weapons.  With respect to such weapons, the United States agrees that no State Party may place such weapons on the continental shelf of Mexico.

“With respect to emplacement of ‘arms or military equipment of any type’ referred to in the aforesaid declaration of the Government of Mexico, it is the understanding of the United States that the Treaty does not deal with arms or military equipment other than the types specified therein.  Furthermore, it is the position of the United States that general principles of international law do not support the view expressed in that portion of the aforesaid declaration.  The only rights the coastal State may exercise with respect to the continental shelf, whether located within the exclusive economic zone or beyond, are those accepted in international law and reflected in the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea.  These carefully limited rights pertain to economic activities, marine scientific research, natural resource management, marine pollution control, and similar matters rather than to matters of the type specified by the Government of Mexico in its declaration.  Unrelated high seas freedoms remain vested in the international community and are not subject to coastal State control.

“The Government of the United States of America draws the attention of the Government of Mexico to the provisions of Article III of the [S]eabed Treaty that address verification and inspection rights.  The United States assumes that Mexico would exercise those rights in a manner consistent with [the] Seabed Treaty.  Article III provides that all States Parties may ‘verify through observations the activities of other States Parties to the Treaty’ beyond the 12-mile seabed zone.  That Article also provides that inspection of a questionable seabed activity shall be conducted only after consultation with the State Party responsible for the activity, when known.  If the State Party responsible for the activity is unknown, inspection ‘may be undertaken by the inquiring State Party which shall invite the participation of the Parties in the region of the activities, including any coastal State, and of any other party desiring to cooperate.’

“With respect to the removal or destruction of items located on the seabed, it is the position of the Government of the United States of America that the Seabed Treaty does not address removal or destruction of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction or related equipment found on the seabed.

“In performance of the depositary duties of the Government of the United States of America under the Seabed Treaty, the text of the Mexican statement was transmitted to States signatory and acceding to the Treaty at Washington, under cover of circular note dated August 7, 1984.  Similar circulation is being given to the present note.

“Accept, Excellency, the renewed assurances of my highest consideration.”

 

The views of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany with regard to the declaration by Mexico are contained in a note from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Washington to the Department of State, dated October 15, 1985, which reads as follows:

“The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany presents its compliments to the Government of the United States and, with reference to the declaration contained in the instrument of accession deposited by the Government of Mexico on 23 March 1984 to the Treaty on the Prohibition of the Emplacement of Nuclear Weapons and other Weapons of Mass Destruction on the Sea-Bed and the Ocean Floor and in the Subsoil thereof, done at Washington, London and Moscow on 11 February 1971, has the honor to communicate the following:

“In the view of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, the aforementioned declaration relates above all to matters that are not dealt with in the Treaty to which it refers.  The declaration is not acceptable to the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany to the extent that it lays claim to rights to which a coastal State is not entitled under general international law.”

 

The views of the Government of Australia with regard to the declaration by Mexico are contained in a note from the Australian Embassy in Washington to the Department of State, dated June 12, 1987, which reads as follows:

“The Australian Embassy presents its compliments to the United States Department of State and, with reference to the declaration contained in the instrument of accession deposited by the Government of Mexico on 23 March 1984 to the Treaty on the Prohibition of the Emplacement of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction on the Sea-bed and the Ocean Floor and in the Subsoil thereof, done at Washington, London and Moscow on 11 February 1971, has the honour to communicate to it as a depositary of the Treaty the following:-

“The Australian Government takes the view that the declaration made by Mexico is incompatible with international law to the extent that it lays claim to rights over the continental shelf which a coastal state is not entitled to exercise under the Treaty itself or under international law as reflected in the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea.

“The Australian Embassy avails itself of this opportunity to express to the United States Department of State the assurances of its highest consideration.”

Other Actions Accession on deposit with London — 23 March 1984
Accession on deposit with Moscow — 23 March 1984