Territorial Waters (Three-Mile Limit)

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Germany – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th December 1954.

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Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington 12:00 am, 8th December 1954

The limitation of territorial waters has not been the subject of formal agreement between Her Majesty's Government and any other State. Her Majesty's Government regard the three-mile limit as sanctioned in international law by long usage and custom. Her Majesty's Government have accordingly always refused to accept in principle claims to territorial waters of more than three miles, and have reserved the right to uphold any British interests prejudiced by such claims.

As regards the second part of the Question, Her Majesty's Government have confirmed their refusal to accept the extension of territorial waters outside a three-mile limit to the International Law Commission. This panel of distinguished jurists appointed by the United Nations—is now engaged on codifying international law on the régime of the territorial sea. The Commission's report will in due course be submitted to the United Nations General Assembly for approval.