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Public Papers - 1990

Message to the Senate Transmitting the Soviet Union-United States Maritime Boundary Agreement


To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit herewith, for the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, the Agreement Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Maritime Boundary, with Annex, signed at Washington, June 1, 1990. I also enclose for the information of the Senate the report of the Department of State with respect to this agreement and an illustrative chart of the maritime boundary.

In the agreement, the Parties agree that the line described in Article 1 of the Convention Ceding Alaska, signed March 30, 1867 (the 1867 Convention Line), is, as defined in the agreement, the maritime boundary between the United States and the Soviet Union. As such, it defines the limits within which each Party may exercise territorial sea jurisdiction or exclusive economic zone jurisdiction in those areas where their claimed 12 nautical mile territorial seas or 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zones would otherwise overlap or were otherwise in dispute. It also delimits, as between the Parties, such continental shelf jurisdiction beyond 200 nautical miles from their coasts as they may exercise in accordance with international law in the Arctic Ocean, Bering and Chukchi Seas, and a portion of the North Pacific Ocean.

I believe the agreement to be fully in the United States interest. It reflects the view of the United States that the maritime boundary should follow the 1867 Convention Line. The agreement resolves differences over where each Party has the right to manage fisheries and oil and gas exploration and development, as well as exercise other sovereign rights and jurisdiction, in these marine areas. Through its transfer of jurisdiction provisions, it also ensures that coastal state jurisdiction, in accordance with international law, is exercised by one or the other Party in all marine areas within 200 nautical miles of either or both coasts. Therefore, the agreement will permit more effective regulation of marine resource activities and other ocean uses and removes a significant potential source of dispute between the United States and the Soviet Union.

I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to this agreement and advise and consent to ratification.

George Bush

The White House,

September 26, 1990.

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