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BEYOND ITS BORDERS
Stat. L. 980). Exploration the following season was from
43 bases at Little America and on the west coast of the Palmer Peninsula.
INTERESTS OF THE UNITED STATES After World War II, exploration was under the sponsorship of the Navy. Expeditions were sent out in 1946, 1947, and 1948. Large areas were photographed from the air, by both land-based and carrier-based aircraft.
The privately led Ronne Antarctic Research Expedi- tion of the Republic of Cuba (Malloy, 1910, v. 1, tion, partially Government supported, reoccupied the The lease at Guantanamo Bay, on the south coast near Palmer Peninsula base in 1947-48. Its work included Santiago, includes about 30 square miles of land and mapping and exploring the west coast of the Weddell water. The land boundaries of the area are thus desSea to and along the Lassiter Ice Shelf.
cribed in the agreement: U.S. Government operations in Antarctica were rec
From a point on the south coast 4.37 nautical miles to the eastward of ommenced in late 1954, and in late 1955 year-round
Windward Point Lighthouse, a line running north (true) a distance
of 4.25 nautical miles; bases were established in preparation for the Interna
From the northern extremity of this line, a line running west (true) a tional Geophysical Year (1957-58), a cooperative scien- distance of 5.87 nautical miles; tific effort of 11 nations.
From the western extremity of this last line, a line running southAfter the International Geophysical year, the United west (true) 3.31 nautical miles; States continued a multidisciplinary research program
From the southwestern extremity of this last line, a line running
south (true) to the seacoast. aimed at describing the continent and its surrounding
The outlines of this area are shown on U.S. Hydroseas. Today the program includes research in biology,
graphic Office Chart 1857. biomedicine, geology, geophysics, upper-atmosphere
An agreement between the United States and the physics, glaciology, meteorology, and oceanography.
United Kingdom effected by an exchange of notes Four permanent stations, including one at the geo
dated December 30, 1966, made available to the United graphic South Pole, are occupied year round, and
States the island of Diego Garcia and certain other operation of two research ships is supported. The Na
islands in the Indian Ocean for defense purposes (TIAS tional Science Foundation funds and manages the
6196). A supplemental agreement (TIAS 7481) was program, including aircraft operations and logistics
signed October 24, 1972. support provided by the U.S. Navy.
"TIAS" refers to "Treaties and Other International Although various nations have announced territorial
Acts Series" of the Department of State. claims to parts of the Antarctic continent, the United
Construction of a naval communications and support States has not done so. All nations with interests in
facility was started in 1971. A limited supply station the Antarctic territory signed a treaty December 1, 1959,
and airfield complex are nearing completion (1975). declaring the area south of 60° south latitude an
Appropriations provide for extension of the runway to international preserve for scientific research. Thus scien
12,000 feet, additional storage area and powerplant tific groups can move freely on the southern continent,
capacity, and a pier. Diego Garcia is at lat 7°21' S., disregarding boundaries.
long 72°29' E. Its area is 6,700 acres. National objectives, as stated by the President in
A convention with Nicaragua for the termination of 1970, are to maintain the Antarctic Treaty and ensure
the lease to the United States of the Corn Islands was that the continent will continue to be used only for
signed at Managua on July 14, 1970. (22UST663; TIAS peaceful purposes, to foster cooperative scientific research for the solution of worldwide and regional prob
7120.) This convention also provided for termination of
the agreement giving the United States the right to lems, and to protect the Antarctic environment and en
construct and maintain a canal between the Caribbean sure the equitable and wise use of living and nonliving
Sea and the Pacific Ocean by way of Lake Nicaragua. resources.
Ratifications were exchanged, and the convention en
tered into force on April 25, 1971. MILITARY AND NAVAL BASE LEASES
Great Com Island is in lat 12° 10' N., long 83°05' W. The United States has leased land from foreign gov- Little Corn Island is about 7 miles to the northeast. ernments at strategic locations and established naval "UST" refers to "U.S. Treaties." Volumes have been or air bases at those points.
published on a calendar-year basis beginning January The Navy has maintained a base at Guantanamo on 1. 1950 the island of Cuba since shortly after the SpanishAmerican War. In February 1903, Cuba signed agree
TRUST TERRITORY OF THE PACIFIC ISLANDS ments to lease or sell coaling or naval stations to the The Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands embraces United States in accord with a clause in the constitu- three groups of islands in the western Pacific Ocean:
BOUNDARIES OF THE
claim jurisdiction for its own protection. It is generally conceded that jurisdiction over a belt of water along the coast I marine league 53 (about 342 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 for
bidden. the Carolines, Marianas, and Marshalls. The 2,000 The general rule regarding territorial waters has islands, of which approximately 100 are inhabited, many exceptions and "now has no legal basis except cover less than 700 square miles of land in some 3 mil- the so-called 'common consent of nations.'" (Encyclolion square miles of ocean. These islands lie north of paedia Britannica, 1910, v. 14, p. 698.)
. the equator stretching from 1° to 20° north latitude and Bays or arms of the sea, if in large part surrounded from 130° to 172° east longitude. They vary in size by the territory of a single nation, are usually confrom large islands, such as Babelthaup (153 square sidered entirely within the jurisdiction of that nation, miles) in the Palaus and Ponape (129 square miles) in even though the entrances are more than 2 leagues the eastern Carolines, to small atolls of less than 1 across. square mile of area (fig. 13).
The Hague tribunal in September 1910 decided in a Elevation above sea level is only a few feet on the special case submitted to it (regarding fisheries in the low-lying coral atolls, but may reach 2,000 to 3,000 feet North Atlantic) that for bays contiguous to the territory
on islands of volcanic origin. This area was controlled of the Dominion of Canada by the Japanese under a mandate from the League of the 3 marine miles are to be measured from a straight line drawn Nations before World War II, and since that time has
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 been administered by the United States under a trustee
marine miles are to be measured following the sinuosities of the coast. ship agreement with the United Nations. Administration
(Charles, 1913, p. 69.) of the trust territory is under the Office of Territorial
This decision does not now apply to other localities Affairs, Department of the Interior. A report is submitted but may be considered a precedent for future agree annually by the United States to the Trusteeship Coun- ments (Hyde, 1922, p. 251-270). A joint commission cil of the United Nations. Under terms of the agreement, acting under the treaty with Great Britain of June 5, the United States has authority to establish military 1854 (Malloy, 1910, v. 1, p. 668), agreed on proper locabases in the territory and to close all or any part of it tions for the mouths of 105 rivers emptying into the for security reasons.
Atlantic between the 36th parallel and northern LabraThe inhabitants number about 107,000. They are dor, and they defined these locations by straight lines classified as Micronesians, a term derived from the between well-known points (Moore, 1898, v. 1, p. 473small size of the islands. The United States has ac- 494). Although the treaty was abrogated in 1866, the cepted obligations to the United Nations for the politicalpositions selected for the river mouths may still be reeconomic, social, and educational advancement of the
garded as well chosen. inhabitants of the trust territory.
When the 3-mile limit was adopted, it was thought A covenant to establish a commonwealth of the
to be the extreme range of cannon that could be used Northern Marianas Islands was approved by a ple for coast defense. Today with aircraft as the principal
a biscite on June 17, 1975, by a favorable vote of more
weapon for coast defense, a distance of 3 miles no than 75 percent. The covenant will be implemented longer has any significance except as a time-honored after the adoption of a constitution and its approval by accepted figure.
. Congress and the signing by the President. It will be
In section 1 of the treaty between the United States effective on the termination of the trusteeship agree- and Great Britain signed January 23, 1924, it was dement with the United Nations for the Marianas District
clared (see map. p. 45). Saipan, Tinian, Rota, and some that 3 marine miles extending from the coast-line outwards and smaller islands make up the Northern Marianas. The measured from low-water mark constitute the proper limits of territorial relation of the commonwealth to the United States would be similar to that of Puerto Rico.
That treaty gave the United States certain conditional rights of search or seizure over private vessels flying
the British flag when within 1 hour's sailing distance TERRITORIAL WATERS AND THE
from the coast of the United States or its possessions CONTINENTAL SHELF
(43 Stat. L. 1761). Similar treaties have been effected "Territorial waters" is the term applied to the part
53 Texas claimed jurisdiction over the Gulf of Mexico for 3 leagues of the open sea over which a bordering nation may from land.
BOUNDARIES OF THE
Kingdom v. Norway, held that there are no rules of a "technically precise character' by which the validity of a nation's seaward boundary under international law could be measured.
In 1953, Congress by Public Law 31, the Submerged Lands Act, gave to the States jurisdiction over the sea
bed and natural resources under territorial waters (67 with several other nations. Section 581 of the tariff act Stat. L. 29). The law confirmed the seaward boundary of 1922 (42 Stat. L. 979) provides for the boarding of any of the original coastal States as being 3 geographical vessel within 4 leagues of the coast of the United (nautical) miles distant from the coastline, "coastline" States in order to inspect, search, or seize the vessel, being defined as mean low tide or the seaward limit of where a violation of U.S. law is evident.
inland waters. It also gave permission to any coastal The interest in the sovereignty of off-shore areas has State, admitted since the formation of the Union, to greatly increased because of extensive fishing opera- extend its boundaries to the 3-mile line. The law protions and shrimp and oyster cultivation and the pres- vided that in no event can the term "boundaries" be ence of minerals below the submerged lands. Only in interpreted as extending more than 3 geographic miles the last few years has it been practical to extract oil into the Atlantic or the Pacific, or more than 3 leagues from beneath the ocean floor at any great distance into the Gulf of Mexico. from the shore.
Public Law 212, the Outer Continental Shelf Act, By treaty between the United States and Mexico passed the same year (67 Stat. L. 462), asserted Federal signed November 23, 1970, and entered into force jurisdiction over the seabed and its resources between April 18, 1972 (TIAS 7313), the international boundary the outer limits of the territorial waters and the outer between the two countries was extended 12 nautical limits of the Continental Shelf. This law provided that miles into the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. it shall be construed "in such a manner that the characSee Texas, page 127, and California, page 153.
ter as high seas of the waters above the outer ContinOn September 28, 1945, the President issued two ental Shelf, and the right to navigation and fishing proclamations. One reserved and set aside the natural therein shall not be affected." resources of the Continental Shelf under the high seas In 1954, the United States joined with other United and placed these resources for administrative purposes, Nations members in requesting the inclusion of the pending legislative action, under the jurisdiction and matters of the Continental Shelf and fishing conservacontrol of the Secretary of the Interior. The other procla- tion on the agenda of the General Assembly. The Asmation provided for establishment by executive orders, sembly decided not to deal with these questions until on recommendation of the Secretary of State and the after they had been studied by the International Law Secretary of the Interior, of fishing-conservation zones Commission. in areas of the high seas contiguous to the United An article on the Law of the Sea, as established in States. The proclamation stated that the territorial limits the 1958 Geneva Convention, states: of the United States are not extended, and the State
For the purposes of these articles, the term "Continental Shelf" Department (in its Bull. 327, Sept. 30, 1945) said, "Gen
is used as referring (a) to the seabed and subsoil of the submarine
areas adjacent to the coast but outside the area of the territorial sea, erally, submerged land which is contiguous to the con
to a depth of 200 meters or, beyond that limit, to where the depth of tinent and which is covered by no more than 100
the superjacent waters admit of the exploitation of the natural refathoms (600 feet) of water is considered as the Con
sources of the said area; (b) to the seabed and subsoil of similar subtinental Shelf."
marine areas adjacent to the coast of islands. In 1952, a Congressional committee reported on the While the United States has never taken the position study of the seaward boundaries of the United States. that its seaward boundaries extend more than 3 miles The report acknowledged that the subject was very from its coastline, the provisions of the Submerged complicated and thoroughly discussed the problems Land Act gave the Gulf Coast States reason to believe involved. It recommended that the study be continued that they might extend their seaward boundaries 3 at the following session of Congress, and that Congress leagues into the Gulf of Mexico. Legal proceedings should establish criteria for fixing the seaward bound- were initiated in the Supreme Court to determine if aries of the inland waters, following which a commis- any of the States had a valid claim to the submerged sion should be delegated to fix the line on the ground lands more than 3 geographic miles from the lowby actual survey. Several formulas have been pro- waterline of its coast. The cases against the five Gulf posed for defining the seaward limit of inland waters Coast States were consolidated, and a decision was (Boggs, 1940, chap. 10). However, the International handed down on May 31, 1960, in the case of United Court of Justice, in its decision of the case of United States v. Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas (363
THE CHANGES MADE THEREIN
U.S. 1), and Florida (363 U.S. 121). The Texas boundary
47 was confirmed as 3 marine leagues. Texas had been an independent nation for 10 years before its annexa
THE PUBLIC DOMAIN AND tion to the United States. The congressional resolution admitting Texas as a State accepted the boundaries as described by the Republic of Texas, which stated that they were 3 leagues from land. The annexation resolution was the deciding factor in the ruling of the claims were to a greater or lesser extent conflicting. Court.
Authority over some areas was claimed by several Florida was likewise granted a width of territorial sea States, and most of the boundary lines were very ill extending 3 leagues into the Gulf of Mexico. The Court defined. stated in its decision that Congress had approved The ownership of these western lands by individual Florida's 1868 constitution, submitted in compliance States was opposed by those States that did not share with the 1867 Reconstruction Acts, which specified a in their possession, mainly on the ground that the reboundary at a distance of 3 leagues from the shoreline. sources of the General Government, to which all conThis has no bearing on the Atlantic boundary, which tributed, should not be used for the protection and is limited by the Submerged Lands Act to 3 geographi- development of this region, the advantages of which cal miles. See Louisiana, page 106 .
would inure to the benefit of only a favored few. The other three States were denied more than a 3- Moved by these arguments, as well as by the conmile belt of territorial sea. In brief, the Court could find flicting character of the claims, which must inevitably nothing in the enabling acts admitting them to the lead to trouble among the States, Congress passed, on Union which would justify their claims to water areas October 30, 1779, the following resolution: lying off their shores.
Whereas the appropriation of the vacant lands by the several States The determination of the position of the seaward limit during the continuance of the war will, in the opinion of Congress, be of inland waters (the seaward limit of the marginal
attended with great mischiefs: Therefore, sea depends on this) is a complicated matter. It in
Resolved, That it be earnestly recommended to the State of Virginia volves the use of coastal charts, tidal data, and a com
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 plex set of criteria. Shalowitz (1962) gives a complete similarly circumstanced, to forbear settling or issuing warrants for discussion of the legal and technical matters involved. unappropriated lands, or granting the same during the continuance
of the present war.
This resolution was transmitted to the different States. THE PUBLIC DOMAIN AND
The first to respond to it by the transfer of territory to THE CHANGES MADE THEREIN
the General Government was New York, whose ex
ample was followed by the other States. These transCESSIONS BY THE STATES
fers were the origin of the public domain. The cesIn 1776, when the Thirteen Colonies declared their
sions were made on the dates below (Hibbard, 1924; independence of England, many of them possessed un
Sherman, 1916-33, v. 3): occupied territory, much of which was entirely de- New York, March 1, 1781. tached and lay west of the Applachian Mountains.
Virginia, March 1, 1784, finally confirmed by the Thus Georgia included the territory from its present
legislature December 30, 1788. The deed of eastern limits westward to the Mississippi River. North
cession by Virginia gives no limits further than Carolina possessed a strip extending from lat 35° to
to specify that the lands transferred "include 36°30' N., approximately, and westward to the Missis
only those lying northwestward of the River sippi; this strip included the area of the present State of
Ohio." Tennessee. In like manner Virginia possessed what is
Massachusetts, April 19, 1785. now Kentucky, and a number of States, including Penn- Connecticut, September 13, 1786. The Connecticut sylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and
act of cession reserved an area in the northeastVirginia, laid claims to areas in what was afterward
ern part of Ohio, known as the Western Reserve known as the territory northwest of the River Ohio, a
(Western Reserve Univ., 1923, p. 37–57). On May region now contained mainly in the States of Ohio,
30, 1800, Connecticut gave to the United States Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. These jurisdiction over this area, but without giving
up its property rights in it. 5 For a discussion of these changes, see Paxson (1924, chap. 5, 6). U.S. Cong. (1900) contains copies of organic acts for the Territories from 1787
South Carolina, August 9, 1787. to 1900 compiled from U.S. statutes. It contains a copy of the ordinance North Carolina, February 25, 1790. of 1787 and notes regarding it; also contains extracts from State papers relating to U.S. territory in general.
Georgia, April 24, 1802.