Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



Over 150 nations have been engaged in the negotiation of a multilateral Convention on the Law of the Sea at the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea for more than five years. The negotiations have included virtually every possible issue involving relations between nations with respect to the oceans, such as fishing, national jurisdiction, navigation, environment, scientific research, seabed exploitation, and transfer of technology.' The current product of that negotiation is the Informal Composite Negotiating Text (ICNT), a 198-page document containing 303 treaty articles plus seven annexes. Although the participating nations agree on much of the text, significant differences still remain on a number of key issues which could destroy prospects for agreement on the entire text. It is the thesis of this article that the cumulative interests of the United States in the entry into force of an internationally acceptable Convention on the Law of the Sea are strong. However, the alternatives to a treaty, although not optimal, are also acceptable...

How would these major interests be affected by the entry into force of a Convention on the Law of the Sea as contrasted with the no-convention alternative? This article will review the United States interests in relation to that question, concluding that the cumulative effect of the individual interests makes it important that the United States vigorously pursue a convention.