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followed in Nassau from August 13 to 27, 1975, designed to permit U.S.-based fishermen access to the Bahamian spiny lobster resource. When these failed to produce agreement, the U.S. Government proposed that the two Governments immediately enter into discussions to find a mutually acceptable method for peaceful settlement of the dispute and, without prejudice to such discussions, it proposed that the issue be submitted immediately to the International Court of Justice. The U.S. Delegation to the Nassau talks delivered a note to the Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas on August 27, 1975, reading in principal part as follows:
The Embassy is instructed to express the regret of the United States Government that these discussions have failed to result in an agreement between the two Governments concerning the fishing for spiny lobster on the Continental Shelf off the coast of the Bahamas by fishermen in the United States who have previously fished for this resource as a freedom of the high seas.
The United States Delegation to these discussions was fully authorized to make proposals and consider counterproposals in an effort to reach a mutually acceptable agreement that would allow fishermen in the United States to continue fishing, subject to appropriate agreed measures in conformity with the interests of both countries, including those to ensure that such fishing would be consistent with good conservation practices and that there would be no competition for that portion of the optimum sustainable yield Bahamian fishermen harvest.
The United States Government is unable to understand the failure of the Bahamian Delegation to make any proposals, and the unwillingness of the Bahamian Delegation actively to negotiate on the basis of an accommodation of the respective rights and interests of the two Governments.
Without questioning the validity of the Bahamian claim of jurisdiction over spiny lobster as a living resource of the Continental Shelf, the United States Government believes that the Bahamian Government has an obligation under international law to take into account the interests of fishermen that previously fished for spiny lobster in the area, and to negotiate reasonable arrangements regarding United States flag vessels to that end. The United States Government believes that such arrangements would strengthen the interests of both countries in the conservation and effective utilization of the stocks, and would not in any sense be incompatible with the interests or jurisdiction of the Bahamas.
The United States Government does not regard the discussions which have taken place as satisfying the international obligations of the Bahamian Government. Nevertheless, the United States Government will continue to make every effort to reach an amicable resolution of these issues.
Accordingly, the United States Government proposes that the two Governments immediately enter into discussions regarding the use of accepted methods for the peaceful settlement of disputes, such as negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other mutually acceptable peaceful means. Without prejudice to such discussions, the United States Gorernment wishes to state at this time that it is prepared to agree to submit the issue immediately to the International Court of Justice, which is an appropriate forum for considering the questions involved on an immediate basis, and urges the Bahamian Government to give this proposal urgent and favorable consideration.
Finally, the United States Government must request the Bahamian Government to ensure that its authorities use all restraint necessary to avoid further complications in this mat
Dept. of State File L/OES. For a discussion of U.S. proposals advanced at the Nassau talks, see ante, Ch. 7, $ 4, pp. 404-406; Dept. of State Bulletin, Vol. LXXIII, No. 1890, Sept. 15, 1975, pp. 414415.
On September 16, 1975, Assistant Secretary of State William D. Rogers testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee urging that the Senate give its advice and consent to the treaty between the United States and Colombia concerning the status of Quita Sueño, Roncador and Serrana, signed September 8, 1972. He reaffirmed the Department's view that the subject of the treaty involved no “dispute" on the part of the United States suitable for submission to the International Court of Justice.
Under the treaty the United States would renounce all claims to sovereignty over three uninhabited outcroppings of coral reefs in the Caribbean, and the two Governments would agree upon fishing rights of their nationals and vessels in the area. The Government of Colombia ratified the treaty in March 1974.
On November 6, 1973, Senator J. W. Fulbright, then Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee informed Secretary Kissinger by letter that the Committee questioned the wisdom of using a bilateral treaty with Colombia as the vehicle for abandoning U.S. claims. He noted that the areas in question were also the subject of claims by Nicaragua and stated that the Committee thought the matter could be more appropriately settled by the World Court.
At the Foreign Relations Committee hearings on September 16,
1975, Assistant Secretary Rogers explained the background of the treaty and its purpose as follows:
The three outcroppings covered by the treaty are located between 380 and 460 miles from the mainland of Colombia. The United States claim to sovereignty dated only from the latter part of the nineteenth century. The Guano Islands Act of 1856 automatically asserted our sovereignty following the discovery of the reefs by an American citizen in 1869. They had—and have—no military significance, but commercial interests did extract some guano. In 1890, Colombia protested the extraction of guano by United States nationals, claiming that Colombia had inherited sovereign title to them from Spain. In 1928, the United States and Colombia recognized the existence of their dual claims and agreed to maintain the status quo.
The present treaty is an effort to settle the issue definitively: Colombia desires to perfect its claim to sovereignty. The interests of the United States are narrow but distinct-to establish permanently the rights of American nationals and vessels to continue fishing there, and to continue the maintenance of the navigational aids.
The treaty amicably settles a long standing difference between the United States and Colombia over these three small Caribbean reefs. The settlement was sought and reached in a spirit of cooperation and good will on both sides. Its terms accord with the interests and desires of both parties.
The three areas covered by the treaty are 140 and 210 miles from Nicaragua. In 1928, Colombia and Nicaragua concluded a treaty recognizing Colombia's sovereignty over islands in the San Andres Archipelago but not including Quita Sueño, Roncador and Serrana. That treaty recognized that sovereignty over these three was in dispute between Colombia and the United States. As a consequence, Colombia considers that Nicaragua implicitly denied having any claim to those areas. We understand that Nicaragua, for its part, rejects this view and maintains that it has a claim to the three outcroppings based upon their relationship to the Nicaraguan Continental Shelf.
The U.S.-Colombian treaty does not refer to, nor does it affect, nor is it intended to affect the merits of any Nicaraguan claim or difficulty with Colombia. We have so stated formally to the Nicaraguan Government. To the extent that a dispute may lie between Colombia and Nicaragua, it is for them—not us—to determine the best manner of laying it to rest. We desire only to relinquish any rights we may have gained under the earlier 1928 agreement with Colombia and to withdraw from any quarrel about the islets.
Senate Resolution 74 [93d Congress), the Cranston Resolution, expresses the sense of the Congress that the United States
should submit to the World Court those outstanding territorial disputes involving the United States “where such disputes cannot be resolved by negotiation." After its introduction, it was amended to include these islets in the list of "disputes.” The Resolution's author, Senator Cranston, took exception on the floor to the inclusion. He said he agreed with the self-evident proposition that there was in this case no "dispute" to which the United States was a party. It would clearly seem that the areas here in question are not within the intent of the Resolution. Our differences with Colombia have been resolved. We have settled our interest in the outcroppings by negotiation. This is the course of action which the Resolution commends. We have nothing to submit to the World Court here. Surely, we are not called upon to expand the Court's business by artificially keeping alive a controversy which in fact we have settled.
Dept. of State File L/ARA.
For the text of the treaty, see S. Ex. A, 93d Cong., 1st Sess.; Dept. of State Bulletin, Vol. LXVII, No. 1736, Oct. 2, 1972, p. 387. For a discussion of the Cranston Resolution, see the 1973 Digest, p. 458.
The Government of the United States in a note dated January 11, 1975, made public by the Department of State on January 13, 1975, charged the North Vietnamese and the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Viet-Nam authorities with “flagrant violation" of the Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Viet-Nam, signed at Paris on January 27, 1973 (TIAS 7542; 24 UST 1; entered into force January 27, 1973), and the Act of the International Conference on Viet-Nam, signed at Paris on March 2, 1973 (TIAS 7568; 24 UST 485; entered into force March 2, 1973). The note, which was addressed by the Department of State to the non-Vietnamese participants in the International Conference on Viet-Nam, the members of the International Commission of Control and Supervision, and Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim of the United Nations, deplored "the Democratic Republic of VietNam's turning from the path of negotiation to that of war" and added that the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam “must accept the full consequences of its actions.” In addition the note reiterated support for the Republic of Viet-Nam's call to the Hanoi-Provisional Revolutionary Government side to reopen the talks in Paris and Saigon which are mandated by the Agreement.
The text of the Department's note reads in principal part as follows:
When the Agreement was concluded nearly two years ago, our hope was that it would provide a framework under which the Vietnamese people could make their own political choices and resolve their own problems in an atmosphere of peace. Unfortunately this hope, which was clearly shared by the Republic of Viet-Nam and the South Vietnamese people, has been frustrated by the persistent refusal of the Democratic Republic of VietNam to abide by the Agreement's most fundamental provisions. Specifically, in flagrant violation of the Agreement, the North