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substance of additional international guidelines for remote sensing that the United States would support, suggesting that these might be endorsed by the General Assembly and recommended to all states engaged in remote sensing of the natural environment.
Dept. of State Bulletin, Vol. LXXII, No. 1866, Mar. 31, 1975, pp. 419-424.
United States Working Paper on the Development of Additional Guidelines Possible Preambular Provisions:
Recalling the provisions of the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies,
Reaffirming that the common interest of mankind is served by the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes,
Considering that international cooperation in the continuing development of technology enabling mankind to undertake remote sensing of the natural environment of the Earth from outer space may provide unique opportunities for all peoples to gain useful understanding of the Earth and its environment,
Recognizing that the most valuable potential advantages to mankind from these technological developments, including among others preservation of the environment and effective management and control by states of their natural resources, will depend on the sharing of data and its use on a regional and global basis, Possible Operative Provisions:
I. Remote sensing of the natural environment of the Earth from outer space shall be conducted in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter, the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, and other generally accepted principles of international law relating to man's activities in outer space.
II. Satellites designed for remote sensing of the natural environment of the Earth shall be registered with the Secretary-General of the United Nations in accordance with the Convention on the Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space. States shall as appropriate inform the Secretary-General of the progress of such remote sensing space programs they have undertaken.
III. Remote sensing of the natural environment of the Earth from outer space should promote inter ia (a) international cooperation the solution of international problems relating to natural resources and the environment, (b) the development of friendly relations among states, (c) cooperation in scientific investigation, and (d) the use of outer space for the benefit and in the interest of all mankind.
IV. States undertaking programs designed for remote sensing of the natural environment from satellites shall encourage the broadest feasible international participation in appropriate phases of those programs.
V. States receiving data directly from satellites designed for remote sensing of the natural environment of the Earth shall make those data available to interested states, international organizations, individuals, scientific communities and others on an equitable, timely, and nondiscriminatory basis. To enhance the ability of all states, organizations and individuals to share in the knowledge gained from remote sensing of the natural environment from outer space, states should publish catalogues or other appropriate listings of publicly available data which they have received directly from such remote sensing satellites.
VI. States receiving data directly from such remote sensing satellites shall ensure in particular that data of a sensed area within the territory of any other state are available to the sensed state as soon as practicable, and in any event as soon as they are available to any state other than the sensing states. States owning such remote sensing satellites shall facilitate the direct reception of data from those satellites by other interested states when technically possible and on equitable terms.
VII. States engaged in such remote sensing programs shall within their capabilities endeavor to assist on an equitable basis other interested states, organizations and individuals to develop an understanding of the techniques, potential benefits and costs of remote sensing. Such assistance could include the provision of opportunities to learn what data are available, how to handle and interpret the data, and, where appropriate, how to apply the knowledge gained to meet national, regional and global needs.
VIII. States should cooperate with other states in the same geographical region in the use of data from such remote sensing programs, whether regional or global in nature, to promote the common development of knowledge about that region.
ix. States which undertake such remote sensing programs should encourage relevant international organizations to which they belong to assist other member states in acquiring and using data from those programs so that the maximum number of states can share in potential benefits which may result from the development of this technology.
Ambassador W. Tapley Bennett, Jr., in a statement made in Committee I (Political and Security) of the U.N. General Assembly on October 13, 1975, reaffirmed U.S. support for open sharing of data obtained by remote sensing and opposed contrary proposals made in the Legal Subcommittee. An excerpt from his statement follows:
The Legal Subcommittee . has before it two proposals which would restrict data dissemination, proposals which we believe would reverse the beneficial pattern of international cooperation which so many of us have been attempting to build for these many years. If adopted and applied, either of these would almost inevitably result in a monopoly on remote sensing data by highly industrialized states which have their own satellites.
For example, if the United States and other countries with such remote sensing satellites were to agree not to make available to third countries data of a sensed country without the latter's consent, we would in fact be able to share very little with anyone outside of the United States, although it would be our intention to continue to make the data available here. The natural swath of the satellite sensors commonly cuts across many national boundaries. The exercise of separating the billions of data bits along the lines of political boundaries is both financially prohibitive and scientifically disadvantageous. Absent such separation, in many parts of the world the consent of every country in a region might have to be obtained, through a time-consuming and complicated process which would insure at the very least that the data released to countries without satellites would be much delayed and probably that it would be prohibited completely. There would be little incentive to pursue such a process.
How, for example, could we or any other country continue to permit most other states to operate ground receiving stations under such a restrictive data-dissemination system? Normal coverage by a ground station is a circle approximately 3,000 kilometers in radius. For example, a station in the middle of South America could pick up data of at least part of every country on that continent. In other areas of the world it would be more; in some areas fewer. Under a restrictive data-dissemination proposal, we could not permit such a ground station to read out the data without the prior consent of all the countries in the region, because the operator of that ground station would be a third country; that is, neither the sensed nor the sensing country.
Such a system, in our view, would exacerbate the divisions between the rich and poor, the technologically advanced and the less advanced, and the large and the small, in ways that the vast majority of states have been calling out to reverse, not to perpetuate. We do not believe such a policy is in the interest of the international community.
This result would be contrary to the spirit of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which urges that such activities be undertaken in the interests and for the benefit of all countries, and would run squarely against the conclusions of the very body that we last year requested to examine the organizational aspects of this question. I refer in particular to paragraph 27 (iii) of the report of the 12th session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee.
Dept. of State Bulletin, Vol, LXXIII, No. 1898, Nov. 10, 1975, p. 677. The report of the 12th session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee is at U.N. Doc. A/AC.105/150.
The United States Government, in response to requests from the Secretary-General of the United Nations dated August 13, 1974, and May 15, 1975, furnished the following comments regarding the convening of a U.N. Conference on Space Applications:
1. The United States would support the convening of a United Nations Conference on Space Applications to be held in the next few years if, after careful consideration of the international meetings already scheduled each year on this subject, there is a consensus in the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space that a United Nations Conference is necessary.
Our concern that there be demonstrated need for an additional conference stems from awareness that a considerable number of international conferences, seminars, and other meetings on this subject take place every year. For example, we have identified 24 such meetings on space applications in 1974 alone. These meetings have covered remote sensing from space (environment, resources, agriculture, forestry, hydrology, etc.), navigation and maritime satellites, direct satellites broadcasting, and space meteorology. They have taken place in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. We anticipate that the number of such meetings held annually will increase. In these circumstances, we believe that the Outer Space Committee will wish to make sure that a conference is the best use of the limited funds available to promote the beneficial applications of space techniques throughout the world.
2. If the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space should conclude that another international conference is desirable, we believe it should have the following specific objectives:
(a) To consider how space applications may assist developing countries in pursuing programs of economic and social development.
(b) To explore the ways in which developing countries may pursue the benefits of space applications through international cooperation.
3. We believe that it would require at least 18 months following General Assembly endorsement of an Outer Space Committee recommendation to prepare properly for a United Nations Conference. This suggests that the Conference might be held in 1977 or 1978. We believe that the site should be the United Nations Headquarters in New York, unless an alternate location which would minimize the cost to the United Nations can be found.
4. If a Conference on Space Applications were convened, the United States would plan to participate. The extent of our participation would depend to a considerable degree on our perception of the value of the meeting and on the availability of the necessary human and financial resources.
U.N. Doc. A/AC.105/142/Add. 3, June 9, 1975, p. 4.
Draft Moon Treaty On June 11, 1975, Ambassador W. Tapley Bennett, Jr., U.S. Representative on the U.N. Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, in a statement to the Committee, urged early resolution of the remaining issues with respect to a draft Moon treaty. He stated in relevant part:
Obviously the key remaining obstacle to completion of this treaty centers on the question of natural resources of the Moon and other celestial bodies. In spite of the extensive efforts made, it seems that we are prevented from completing this treaty because of factors not directly related to the exploration and use of outer space. There are a number of elements valuable to all countries in the already agreed provisions of this draft treaty, such as the proposed measures to protect the environment of the Moon and other celestial bodies, the publication of greater amounts of information derived from exploration of celestial bodies, and the endorsement of enhanced cooperation among the countries undertaking such exploration. Because the unmanned exploration of the planets is in fact continuing even now, whereas the possibilities for commercial exploitation of resources seem still in the distant future, my delegation would consider it unnecessary to delay completion of the Moon treaty just because of provisions which would not realistically have significance for some time to come. We would hope that delegations may find it possible to reconcile their views in the near future.
Dept. of State Bulletin, Vol. LXXIII, No. 1883, July 28, 1975, pp. 140–145.
On January 24, 1975, the United States signed the Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space. The Convention, which had been formally accepted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on November 12, 1974 (Resolution 3235 (XXIX)), was opened for signature at the United Nations on January 14, 1975. Ambassador John Scali, U.S. Representative to the United Nations, made a statement on signing the Convention which reads in part as follows:
The new Registration Convention is another step in developing a cooperative and mutually beneficial legal order for the conduct of outer space activities.
It secures three objectives sought by the United States and other like-minded nations.
First, the Convention will encourage every country launching objects into orbit around the Earth or into other sustained space transit to maintain an orderly record of their launches.
Second, it establishes an international Register of manmade space objects in orbit, to be kept by the Secretary-General and to which there will be full and open access. This Register will contain information concerning each object launched into space or beyond, including the name of the launching state or states, an appropriate designator for, or the registration number of the object, the location and date of launch, basic orbital parameters, and a description of the general function of the object.
Third, the Convention will provide for cooperative assistance by countries which have space monitoring and tracking facilities in the event that a country is unable to identify the nation of origin of a manmade space object which lands in its territory and causes damage.