Treaty at a Crossroads
By Captain George V. Galdorisi, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Sea Service leaders want it. It has been supported by every President since—and including—Ronald Reagan. When will the Law of the Sea treaty be ratified?
Twenty-five years ago, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)—a treaty that represented the largest international negotiation ever undertaken—was opened for signature. It received overwhelming support from the nations that had participated during ten years of negotiations. President Ronald Reagan, however, after a comprehensive review, had objections to one part concerning deep seabed mining. He, nevertheless, was firm in stating on 29 January 1982 that “The United States remains committed to the multilateral treaty process for reaching agreement on the Law of the Sea.” That process continued under his successor, President George H. W. Bush, and resulted in successfully fixing all the objections in an agreement that prevails over the seabed mining provisions of UNCLOS.