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Keith Gabriel Brennan
Papers relating to the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea

MSS 0131


Born 1915, Keith Brennan was educated at the University of Melbourne (LL.B.). One of his early jobs was associate to Mr. Justice Evatt. He spent the greater part of his life in senior positions in the Department of External Affairs and later as Australian Ambassador to Ireland and Switzerland. He also led the Australian Delegation to the Third U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea, 1976-1982. He retired in 1982. In Sept-Oct 1983 he was a guest lecturer in International Law at the University of Adelaide.

These papers relate largely to Keith Brennan's role as Australian representative at the Third U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea, 1974 - 82, and comprise copies of official documents and publications as well as extensive background papers, some personal correspondence subsequent to the Conference, and copies of lectures and addresses given by Brennan on the Conference. The collection also includes some minor papers relating to Brennan's role as Australian Ambassador to Ireland, 1972 - 74, notably in relation to the establishment of the Chair in Australian Studies at University College Dublin.

The Third U.N .Conference on the Law of the Sea was held by decision of the U.N. General Assembly on 17 December, 1970, and was preceded by the First U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea (which had drawn up four conventions subsequently known as the 1958 Convention) and the U.N. Committee on the Peaceful Uses of the Seabed. This latter Committee was increased in membership and given wider terms of reference to enable it to function as a Preparatory Commission for the Conference.

The original meeting of the Third U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea was held in 1973 and the first negotiating session in 1974. In all the Conference held 15 negotiating sessions1 and five intersessional meetings, and the final Convention on the Law of the Sea was opened for signature at Montego Bay, Jamaica, on 10 December, 1982.

The Law of the Sea Conference comprised three principal Committees:

First Committee - concerned with resources of the seabed beyond national jurisdiction.
Second Committee - concerned with the status of the waters and the rights and duties of states.
Third Committee - concerned with marine scientific research, protection of the marine environment, and the transfer of technology.

No draft text was prepared before the Conference was opened. A draft was prepared by office bearers of the Conference at the 3rd session and progressively refined by them over subsequent sessions. The first draft Convention was completed in August, 1980; however in 1981 the U.S. undertook a fundamental review of the Convention and subsequently proposed extensive amendments. While efforts were made to effect further compromises to meet the U.S. objections, the U.S., Turkey, Israel and Venezuela did not adopt the Convention.

1. Some known as 'Resumed 'meetings, so that in fact there were officially only 11 sessions, held from 1974 - 82.


A. Papers relating to law of the sea conference 1970 - 84

1. Official conference publications, distributed working papers, briefing documents and reports, 1970 - 82

1.1. U.N. General Assembly, 25th session, item 26 (c) of the provisional agenda. Report of the Secretary General on Question of Reservation Exclusively for Peaceful Purposes of the Seabed and the Ocean Floor, 27 August 1970. 1 v. Includes Comparative Table of Draft Treaties, working papers and draft articles, 28 January 1972. 1 v.

1.2. Reports of the Committee on Peaceful Uses of the Seabed 1970, 1973. General Assembly, Official Records, 25th and 28th sessions, 1970 supplement 21 (A/8021) and 1973 supplement 21 (A/9021). 2 v.

1.3. Report of the Australian Delegation to Committee on the Peaceful Uses of the Seabed and the Ocean Floor, 2nd - 6th sessions. July 1971 - April 1973. 5 v.

[2nd session, Geneva, 19 July - 27 August 1971
3rd session, New York, 28 February - 30 March 1972
4th session, Geneva, 17 July - 21 August 1972
5th session, New York, 5 March - 6 April 1973.
6th session, Geneva 2 July - 24 August 1973]

1.4. Third U.N. Law of the Sea Conference. Reports of the Australian Delegation, 2nd sessions, Venezuela 20 June – 29 August 1974 (xerox copy)

1.5. Official Records of the Conference, volumes I - XIV. 1974 - 80. 14 v.

1.6. List of Delegates, 5th - 9th sessions and at Informal Consultations January/February 1979. 1976 - 80. 12 v.

1.7. Rules of Procedure (adopted 1974). 1976 (as amended to 1975), 1981 (as amended to 1980). 3 v.

1.8. Second Committee Main Trends. 15 October 1974. 1 v.

1.9. Informal Composite Negotiating Text. 15 July 1977. 1 v.

1.10.Informal Composite Negotiating Text. Revision 1, 28 April 1979. 1 v.

1.11.Informal Composite Negotiating Text. Revision 2, 11 April 1980. 1 v

1.12.Draft Convention (Informal Text). 28 August 1980. 1 v.

1.13.Draft Convention. 28 August 1981. 1 v.

1.14.Convention as adopted 30 April 1982 and Associated Resolutions. 7 June 1982. 1 v.

1.15. U.N. Convention on Law of the Sea. 7 October 1982. 3 v. (3 copies)

1.16. Final Act and Resolutions of the Law of the Sea Conference. List of signatories on 10 December 1982. 1 v.

1.17. U.S. Proposals for Amendments to Draft Convention. n.d. [1982].l v. [This came to be known as the "Green Book".]

1.18. Statement by Keith Brennan s Australian representative at the signing ceremony, Montego Bay. 7 December 1982. 9 p. (typescript)

1.19. Scientific Research Aspects of Single Negotiating Text, Document 67. n.d. 1 v. Author not identified.

1.20. Suggestions for Compromise Position on Marine Scientific Research. 12 January 1976. 1 v. Author not identified.

1.21. Third U.N. Law of the Sea Conference. Papers, drafts and reports from the 10th and 11th sessions, related mainly to pioneer investors

2. Papers and addresses by Brennan on law of the sea, 1980 - 84

2.1. Swiss Society of Friends of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Address by Brennan on 'Man and the Ocean - Revolution by Diplomacy'.  Zurich, 24 April 1980.  1 cm.

2.2. University of Tasmania, Public Policy Seminar, 15 October 1981. Lecture by Brennan on 'Recent International Developments Regarding the Law of the Sea and Antarctica', and related correspondence. June - November 1981. 3 cm.

2.3. Australian Centre for Maritime Studies. Address by Brennan on "The Third U.N. Conference on Law of the Sea", October 1981.  Also copies of Maritime Studies Newsletters, July and August 1982, in which address was published. 1981 - 82. 1 cm.

2.4. American Society of International Law: Panel Discussion on Law of the Sea, 22 April 1982.Comments by Brennan at discussion and related correspondence. January - April 1982. 2 cm.

2.5. Columbia University Seminar, "Law of the Sea Treaty: is it Seaworthy?" 23 February 1982. Notes on remarks at seminar by Brennan.

2.6. International Law Association, Australian Chapter. Address by Brennan on "Results of the Law of the Sea Conference" 19 June 1982, and related correspondence. March 1982 - February 1983. 1 cm.

2.7. Seventh International Symposium on Ocean Affairs, Tokyo, 21 - 22 October 1982. Address by Brennan on "The Evolution of the Sui Generis Concept of the Exclusice Economic Zone" and related­ correspondence. June - October 1982. 3 cm.

2.8. University of Chile Institute of International Studies, Conference on Antarctic Resources Policy, 6 - 9 October 1982. Address by Brennan on "Criteria for Access to the Resources of Antarctica" and papers of Brennan as a conference participant, including correspondence, copies of addresses given, and group photograph of conference participants. January 1982 - April 1983. 8 cm.

2.9. Eighth Royal Australian Navy Legal Conference, 19 - 20 January 1983. Address by Brennan on "The History of the Third U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea" and conference programme. January 1983.  2 cm.

2.10. Australian Institute of International Affairs. Address by Brennan on "The Third U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea". 9 February 1983. 1 cm.

2.11. "The Law of the Sea - The U.S. Position and its implications", Adelaide 15 March 1983. [Occasion of address/lecture not indicated.]

2.12. N.Z. Institute for International Affairs, seminar on The Antarctic - Preferred Futures, Constraints and Choices, Wellington 17 - 18 June 1983. Address by Brennan on "International Constraints", background papers and copies of addresses by others. 1983. 8 cm.

2.13. University of Adelaide International Law Lectures. Series of addresses by Brennan on Law of the Sea and related correspondence. September - October 1983. 2 cm.

2.14. Comments on address by Professor J .A.R. Nafziger to the Australian Institute of International Affair’s on "The Development of International Law - Obstacles and Hopes". 29 August 1983. 2 cm.

2.15. Reprints of "Australia and the Law of the Sea - The International Seabed" by Brennan, prepared as Chapter 17 of International Law in Australia, ed .K.W. Ryan (2nd edition, Law Book Co. 1984).

2.16. Reprints of address "Criteria for access to the Resources of Antarctica" as published in Antarctic Resources Policy, ed. F. Orrego Vicuna (Cambridge University Press 1983).

2.17. Copies of letter sent to principal Australian newspapers re the U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea, 16 July 1982. 1 cm.

2.18. Article "The U.S. and the Law of the Sea Conference - An Australian View" prepared by Brennan for the special Las Vegas edition of The Australian, 11 October 1982.  4 cm. (Multiple copies of article and issues of the paper in which it appeared.)

2.19. "Foreign Policy Article." Draft article on the U.S. response to Law of the Sea Conference and Convention, prepared for the publication Foreign Policy, together with extensive background papers and correspondence, 1979 - 84. 10 cm.

2.20. "Articles, speeches etc. [on Law of the Sea] by others". 1975 - 82. 10 cm.

2.21. Typescript of an address on the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, with notes for addresses delivered in Australia and Cambridge

B. Papers relating to Brennan's position as ambassador to Ireland, 1972 - 74

Correspondence relating to establishment of the Chair in Australian Studies at University College, Dublin. January - August 1974. 2 cm.

Invitations, acceptances, guest lists, and related correspondence re official functions at the Australian Embassy. February 1972 - June- 1973.  1 cm.

Despatch to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, 21 February 1974, relating to the Sunningdale Agreement and related correspondence and articles on the 'Boland Case'. 1974 and background papers (Acts, reports, newspaper cuttings) 1945 - 74. 2 cm.

[The Boland Case was an appeal against the decision on the Sunningdale declaration relating to the status of Northern Ireland.]

C. Miscellaneous papers

Letter on Nuclear Disarmament by Brennan to Editor Southern Cross, and related articles and statements. 1982 - 83.  1 cm.

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