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The United States continued its active participation during 1975 in the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, its subcommittees ,12 and the General Assembly's consideration of outer space matters.


At its 14th session, held in New York, February 10March 7, the Legal Subcommittee formed separate working groups to continue consideration of its three principal agenda items: (1) a draft treaty relating to the moon, (2) elaboration of principles governing the use by states of artificial earth satellites for direct television broadcasting, and (3) legal implications of remote sensing of the earth from space. Although some progress was made on each of these subjects, important differences on the main issues remained. The Subcommittee therefore concluded that it should continue consideration of these topics at its next session. In addition to the three major subjects, the Subcommittee also briefly discussed matters relating to the definition and/or delimitation of outer space and outer space activities, but no substantive proposals were put forward.

The working group on a draft moon treaty decided to concentrate its efforts on formulas that could lead to consensus on the exploration and exploitation of the moon's natural resources. It was unable to reach agreement on the interpretation of the principle that resources of the moon are the common heritage of mankind or on the timing of the establishment of a possible international regime to govern the exploitation of such resources. As a result, the two articles drafted by the working group contained alternate language reflecting the differing points of view. Two longstanding issues--whether the treaty should apply to other celes

12 The 37 members of the Outer Space Committee are Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chad, Chile, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, France, German Democratic Republic, Federal Republic of Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Sweden, U.S.S.R., United Kingdom, United States, and Venezuela. The two subsidiary bodies which met in 1975, each of which has the same membership as the parent Committee, are the Legal Subcommittee and the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee.

tial bodies and the extent to which launching states should publish in advance information on their moon missions--were left unresolved and largely undiscussed.

With respect to direct television broadcasting by satellite, the working group generally agreed on 14 topics to be covered by draft principles: (1) purposes and objectives, (2) applicability of international law, (3) rights and benefits, (4) international cooperation, (5) state responsibility, (6) consent and participation, (7) spill-over, (8) program content, (9) unlawful/ inadmissible broadcasts, (10) duty and right to consult, (11) peaceful settlement of disputes, (12) copyright, neighboring rights, and protection of television signals, (13) notification to the UN system, and (14) disruption. Although draft texts were developed on all of these, only three principles were accepted by general consensus. Those three provide that states are responsible for activities carried out by them or under their jurisdiction; disputes should be resolved by prompt consultation between concerned parties or by established procedures for peaceful settlement; and states shall take all necessary measures to prevent disruption between services with due regard to priority for communications relating to the safety of life. There were important disagreements on numerous issues under the other 11 topics. The key issue remained the question of prior consent by states in the reception area of a television broadcasting satellite for the establishment and program content of a direct television broadcasting system.

For the first time the question of legal principles relating to remote sensing by satellite of the earth's natural resources and environment received detailed discussion and debate. The working group on remote sensing had before it the draft principles previously submitted by France and the U.S.S.R., a draft treaty submitted by Brazil and Argentina at the 29th General Assembly for consideration by the Legal Subcommittee, and a working paper on guidelines for remote sensing of the natural environment submitted by the United States on February 19, 1975.

on February 19, 1975. These guidelines reflected the U.S. position that all states have the right to acquire remote sensing data by satellites and that a policy of open availability of data, as practiced under the experimental NASA LANDSAT program, is the most practical and advantageous for all countries. Among the principal points discussed by the working group was whether prior consent of a sensed state should be required for the acquisition and distribution of remote sensing data whenever operational remote sensing systems might be established in the future. Although no agreements were reached, the working group identified from the proposals discussed common elements in five areas: the purpose of remote sensing, the applicable elements of international law, the impor

tance of international cooperation, the need to encourage international participation, and the use of remote sensing to protect the earth's natural environment.


The Scientific and Technical Subcommittee devoted a large part of its 12th session, held in New York, April 21-May 2, to the organizational and financial aspects of remote sensing of the earth by satellites. In the general debate the U.S. Representative outlined the significant role played by the United States in the field of remote sensing for peaceful purposes, cited many examples of its cooperation with other countries in various fields of space research and application, and emphasized that the various LANDSAT ground stations established under bilateral agreements with other countries could serve as useful steps toward regional data processing, storage, and dissemination centers.

The report adopted by the Subcommittee featured the various aspects of NASA'S LANDSAT program, expressed the hope that countries in other regions of the world would establish similar ground stations, and urged interested countries to explore regional cooperation. There was recognition that the U.S. experimental LANDSAT program, because of its availability to all countries, might become a model for operational patterns in the future.

Recognizing the need for further information on the organizational and financial aspects of remote sensing, the Subcommittee's report recommended that the UN Secretariat prepare a further series of studies and reports on the cost-effectiveness of remote sensing, a possible coordinating function for the United Nations in future remote sensing activities, existing and planned national and regional remote sensing facilities, and the organizational and financial requirements of an international remote sensing system. In addition, the Subcommittee recommended that the Secretary General be requested to explore the feasibility of using existing facilities to establish on an experimental basis an international center for training and assisting personnel from developing countries in the most effective use of remote sensing information. Finally, the report recommended that the Secretary General survey the needs of users in this field, using the UNDP and other UN bodies as appropriate.

The Subcommittee discussed and agreed to the proposed 1976 space applications program, and recommended that further information and clarification be obtained on a possible future UN conference on space matters.


At its 18th session, held in New York, June 9 - 20, the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space reviewed the reports of its two subcommittees and approved their recommended programs of future work.

Regarding the use of satellites for direct television broadcasting, the Committee expressed satisfaction with the progress of its Legal Subcommittee.

However, the Committee made no significant progress in resolving the critical differences between the adherents of the prior-consent concept and the adherents (including the United States) of the freedom-of-information concept, as affirmed in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Committee devoted most of its attention to remote sensing. The principal issue was the future mandate of the Legal Subcommittee which, the Committee finally agreed, should (1) continue its detailed legal consideration of remote sensing of the earth from space with a view to identifying further common elements among the views of states, and (2) proceed to drafting principles where common elements were identified. Noting with satisfaction the work of its Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, the Committee confirmed that further studies of the organizational and financial aspects of remote sensing should progress together with consideration of the legal aspects, and endorsed the Subcommittee's recommendations concerning future studies and actions by the Secretary General.

The Committee noted the work of the Legal Subcommittee on developing a draft moon treaty, but there was no real progress in resolving the differences in this area.

The Committee noted and endorsed the other recommendations of its subcommittees, but was unable to reach agreement on the question of convening a UN conference on space matters. The Committee voiced the opinion that the practice of rotating meetings of the Legal Subcommittee between New York and Geneva should be maintained.


At six meetings between October 10 and 15, 1975, the First Committee of the 30th General Assembly considered its two agenda items on outer space, "International cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space" and "Preparation of an international convention on principles governing the use by states of artificial earth satellites for direct television broadcasting." Representatives of 51 states spoke on various outer

space issues, devoting particular attention to remote sensing The statements reflected a growing recognition among many states of the potential contributions that analysis of remote sensing data could make to their own national economic development plans, and a significant number noted that care should be taken to avoid measures that might interfere with their ability to benefit from remote sensing technology.

Regarding direct television broadcasting, the U.S. Representative, Ambassador Bennett, on October 13 explained a U.S. proposal for consultations to help resolve the problem of prior consent:

"In his August statement on international law before the American Bar Association meeting in Montreal, Secretary of State Kissinger suggested that any system for direct television broadcasting by satellite should be accompanied by full consultations among the countries concerned. . . we are proposing that before direct television broadcasting is undertaken, states within the reception area should be notified of the intention to broadcast. Those who broadcast should be prepared, on a reciprocal basis, to assume an obligation to give formal notification to states within the likely broadcast area. In addition, those who broadcast should agree to consult fully with the governments of the states in the intended reception area if the latter so request, with the intention of making good-faith efforts to reconcile problems that may be raised.

"We believe that this approach would offer protection for any state which has legitimate concerns about direct television broadcasting into its territory, without establishing an international scheme based on prior consent. We do not envisage establishment through these procedures of a right of any state to prohibit others from undertaking broadcasting. We do envisage that such notification and consultation requirements would go substantively beyond the technical consultations now provided for within the ITU."

On October 15 the First Committee unanimously approved a draft resolution sponsored by 42 states including the United States. The resolution recommend ed that the Legal Subcommittee, as matters of high priority, (1) continue consideration of a draft moon treaty, (2) continue consideration of the elaboration of principles governing direct television broadcasting by satellites, (3) continue detailed legal consideration of remote sensing with a view to identifying further common elements among the views of states, and (4) proceed to the drafting of principles where such common elements are identified. The resolution noted

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