HC Deb 08 March 1929 vol 226 c730W
Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, when the Committee of the League of Nations was appointed to examine into the question of territorial waters; what are its terms of reference; who are the British representatives; and whether instructions have been given them as regards resisting any proposals for extending the present recognised three-mile limit?


A Committee of Experts was appointed by a Resolution of the Assembly of the League of Nations on 22nd September, 1924, with the following terms of reference:

  1. (1) to prepare a provisional list of the subjects of international law the regulation of which by international agreement would seem to be most desirable and realizable at the present moment;
  2. (2) after communication of the list by the Secretariat to the Governments of States, whether Members of the League or not, for their opinion, to examine the replies received; and
  3. (3) to report to the Council on the questions which are sufficiently ripe and on the procedure which might be followed with a view to preparing eventually for conferences for their solution.

The British experts, Mr. Brierly and Dr. McNair, were unofficial, like the other experts. The Committee presented, inter alia, a report by Mr. Schucking, the German expert, on Territorial Waters, which was referred to the Governments of the Members of the League for consideration. A Committee of five persons appointed by the Council, and including Sir Cecil Hurst, Legal Adviser to the Foreign Office, is at present engaged in preparing the work of the First Conference on the Codification of International Law. Among the subjects with which it is proposed that this Conference should deal is the question of Territorial Waters, but the Conference has not yet been convened and no British representatives have accordingly been appointed. His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom have replied to a questionnaire on Territorial Waters sent out by the Preparatory Committee, that they regard the limit of territorial waters as three miles.