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generally speaking, extended to the dwellings and the archives of the missions. The official residences of envoys are “in a sense and for some points only considered as though they were outside of the territory of the receiving States."65 “These can not be entered, searched, or detained under process of local law or by local authorities” 56 except by consent of the country represented.

Similar rules apply to men-of-war, which, when sailing or at anchor in foreign waters, are subject only to the laws of the nations whose flags they fly.

The seizure by a Coast Guard vessel of a ship flying the United States flag, while 34 miles from the coast, was held legal by the United States Supreme Court, which stated 07 that

The high sea is common to all nations and foreign to none; and every nation having vessels there has power to regulate them and also to seize them for a violation of its laws.

Our navigation laws govern American merchant vessels on the high seas.


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The Coast Guard is authorized to arrest American vessels subject to forfeiture under our law, no matter what the place of seizure and no matter what the law violated.

Buildings for the use of diplomatic missions of the United States are owned by this government in the following-named capitals: Tirana, Albania; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; Peiping (Peking), China; San Jose, Costa Rica; Habana, Cuba; Prague, Czechoslovakia; London, England; Paris, France; Mexico City, Mexico; Tangier, Morocco; Oslo, Norway; Panama City, Panama; Teheran, Persia; San Salvador, Salvador; and Bangkok, Siam. Several acres of land on which buildings are to be erected is owned by the United States in Tokyo, Japan.

Buildings or land are also owned by the United States in Aden, Arabia; Ottawa, Canada; Amoy, Shanghai, and Mukden, China; Matanzas and Santiago, Cuba; Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Calcutta, India; Yokohama and Nagasaki, Japan; Seoul, Chosen; Bluefields, Corinto, and Managua, Nicaragua; Lima, Peru; Tahiti, Society Islands; Penang, Straits Settlements; and Constantinople, Turkey.

By an act approved May 7, 1926, $10,000,000 was appropriated for the purchase or construction of buildings for use of the United States in foreign countries.

Land for radio stations, etc., is held under long-time leases at Port au Prince, Haiti, for 99 years, and at Yokohama, Japan, for 999 years.58

65 Oppenheim, L., International law, a treatise, vol. 1, p. 631, 1928. 56 Moore, J. B., op. cit., vol. 4, p. 646.

67 274 U. S. 511, 513, 531. In this decision there are numerous references to other cases of the same kind.

68 See Certain lands owned by the United States : 57th Cong., 2d sess., H. Doc. 425, 1903; also 60th Cong., 1st sess., H. Doc. 375, 1907.



“ Territorial waters” is the term applied to the part of the open sea over which a bordering nation may claim jurisdiction for its own protection. It is generally conceded that jurisdiction over a belt of water along the coast 1 marine league 59 (about 312 statute miles) wide, measured from the low-water line, may be thus claimed, but the passage of neutral vessels engaged in peaceful pursuits through this area may not be forbidden.

The general rule regarding territorial waters has many exceptions and“ now has no legal basis except the so-called 'common consent of nations.'

Bays or arms of the sea, if in large part surrounded by the territory of a single nation, are usually considered entirely within the jurisdiction of that nation, even though the entrances are more than 2 leagues across.

The Hague tribunal in September, 1910, decided in a special case submitted to it (regarding fisheries in the North Atlantic) that for bays contiguous to the territory of the Dominion of Canada the 3 marine miles are to be measured from a straight line drawn across the body of water at the place where it ceases to have the configuration and characteristics of a bay. At all other places the 3 marine miles are to be measured following the sinuosities of the coast.61

This decision does not now apply to other localities but may be considered a precedent for future agreements.62

A joint commission acting under the treaty with Great Britain of June 5, 1854,63 agreed on proper locations for the mouths of 105 rivers emptying into the Atlantic between the 36th parallel and northern Labrador, which they defined by straight lines between well-known points.64 Although the treaty was abrogated in 1866, the positions selected for the river mouths may still be accepted as well chosen.

When the 3-mile limit was adopted it was thought that it was the extreme range of cannon that could be used for coast defense, but now that the

of modern

guns is more than 20 miles efforts have been made to increase that limit.

In section 1 of the treaty between the United States and Great Britain signed January 23, 1924, it was declared

to Texas claimed jurisdiction over the Gulf for 3 leagues from land. See p. 37. * Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed., vol. 14, p. 698, 1910.

61 Charles, Garfield, Treaties, conventions, etc., between the United States of America and other powers : 620 Cong., 3d sess., S. Doc. 1063, p. 69, 1913; also 67th Cong., 4th sess., S. Doc. 348, p. 2635, 1923, which replaces S. Doc. 1063 of 1913.

62 For numerous references to decisions regarding territorial waters, see Hyde, C. C., International law, vol. 1, pp. 251-270, Boston, 1922.

68 See Malloy, W. M., op. cit., vol. 1, p. 668.

es See Moore, J. B., op. cit. (History of arbitration), vol. 1, pp. 473–494, 1898, for report of commissioners.

that 3 marine miles extending from the coast-line outwards and measured from low-water mark constitute the proper limits of territorial waters.

That treaty gave the United States certain conditional rights of search or seizure over private vessels flying the British flag when within one hour's sailing distance from the coast of the United States or its possessions. This distance is popularly referred to as the “ 12-mile limit.” Similar treaties have been effected with several other nations. Section 581 of the tariff act of 1922 65 provides for the boarding of any vessel within 4 leagues of the coast of the United States in order to inspect, search, or seize the vessel, where a violation of United States law is evident.


The right of a state or nation to the control of the air space above it is not well established, but it is generally conceded that a state or nation may make such regulations or restrictions as it deems proper for the control of airships above its territory, and this right has often been exercised.66


The following information regarding the administration of outlying possessions of the United States has been obtained from the departments named. The list does not include a number of small islands, mostly uninhabited, that have not been formally placed under the control of any department but are visited from time to time by ships of the Navy. The Governor of the Canal Zone reports to the President direct.

administrative control of the principal outlying possessions of the United States,

January, 1930

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Canal Zone ---- Independent.


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Samoa (Ameri- | Navy...

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Governor, Juneau,

Governor, Balboa Information obtainable

Heights, Canal from purchasing off.

cer, Washington, D.C.
Island Govern. Governor, Agana, | Send mail care of post-

niaster, San Francisco.
Governor, Honolu-

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Island Govern- Governor, Pago Pa- Send mail care of post-
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, master, San Francisco.

Administered as a part

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Island Govern. Governor,





Philippine Is

War.. lands. Porto Rico.---

do. Virgin Islands Navy-.


Thomas, Virgin

of the United

a The control of the Virgin Islands was placed under the Interior Department by Executive order of Feb. 27, 1931.

85 42 Stat. L. 979.

60 For references to published data on this subject, see Hyde, C. C., op. cit., vol. 1, pp. 324-334, and 70th Cong., 2d sess., S. Doc. 221, 1929.

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FIGURE 6.-Relative size of possessions of the United States, plotted on a scale of

1 to 12,000,000. Figures indicate square miles. Continental United States on the same scale would be represented by a square 945 inches on each side, covering an area about four and a quarter times the combined area of all the outlying possessions




In 1776, when the thirteen colonies declared their independence of England, many of them possessed unoccupied territory, much of which was entirely detached and lay west of the Appalachian Mountains. Thus Georgia included the territory from its present eastern limits westward to the Mississippi River. North Carolina possessed a strip extending from latitude 35° to 36° 30', approximately, and running westward to the Mississippi, which included the area of the present State of Tennessee. In like manner Virginia possessed what is now Kentucky, and a number of States, including Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Virginia, laid claims to areas in what was afterward known as the territory northwest of the River Ohio, a region now contained mainly in the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. These claims were to a greater or less extent conflicting. Authority over some areas was claimed by several States, and most of the boundary lines were very ill defined.

67 For a discussion of these changes sec Paxson, F. L., History of the American frontier, 1763–1893, chaps. 5 and 6, Cambridge, 1924. 56th Cong., 1st sess., S. Doc. 148, 1900, contains copies of organic acts for the Territories from 1787 to 1900 compiled from United States statutes. It contains a copy of the ordinance of 1787 and notes regarding it, also extracts from State papers relating to United States territory in general,

The ownership of these western lands by individual States was opposed by those States that did not share in their possession, mainly on the ground that the resources of the General Government, to which all contributed, should not be used for the protection and development of this region, the advantages of which would inure to the benefit of only a favored few.

Moved by these arguments, as well as by the conflicting character of the claims, which must inevitably lead to trouble among the States, Congress passed, on October 30, 1779, the following resolution:

Whereas the appropriation of the vacant lands by the several States during the continuance of the war will, in the opinion of Congress, be attended with great mischiefs: Therefore,

Resolved, That it be earnestly recommended to the State of Virginia to reconsider their late act of assembly for opening their land office; and that it be recommended to the said State, and all other States similarly circumstanced, to forbear settling or issuing warrants for unappropriated lands, or granting the same during the continuance of the present war.

This resolution was transmitted to the different States. The first to respond to it by the transfer of territory to the General Government was New York, whose example was followed by the other States. These transfers were the origin of the public domain. The cessions were made on the dates given below : 48

New York, March 1, 1781.

Virginia, March 1, 1784, finally confirmed by the legislature December 30, 1788. The deed of cession by Virginia gives no limits further than to specify that the lands transferred “include only those lying northwestward of the River Ohio."

Massachusetts, April 19, 1785.

Connecticut, September 13, 1786. The Connecticut act of cession reserved an area in the northeastern part of Ohio, known as the Western Reserve.69 On May 30, 1800, Connecticut gave to the United States jurisdiction over this area, but without giving up its property rights in it.

68 F'or interesting references to these cessions see Hibbard, B. H., A history of the public-land policies, New York, 1924. See also Sherman, C. E., Original Ohio subdivisions : Ohio Cooperative Topog. Survey Final Rept., vol. 3, Columbus, 1925.

09 See Western Reserve Univ. (Cleveland] Bull., August, 1923, pp. 37–57, for a history of this reserve.

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