The Foreign Service Journal - May 2017
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MAY 2017



he treaty on outer space explora-

tion, completed at United Nations

headquarters on Dec. 8, 1966, was in

progress almost 10 years. It attests to

the doggedness of men in the State

Department and other agencies who

stuck to their tasks despite U-2, Congo

and Vietnam to produce

a peace treaty for an area

where there have been no


…The treaty also contains

other original U.S. proposals,

such as: outer space explora-

tion shall be conducted in

the interests of all countries;

international law and the U.N. Charter

extend into outer space; and outer

space is not subject to national appro-

priation. This last provision makes it

impossible to lay claim to any portion

of outer space, and hopefully ends any

danger of colonies and colonial wars in

space such as followed the exploration

of the NewWorld.

This interest in the international

regulation of outer space was just

part of the United States’ program of

cooperation in space. This program,

involving tracking, communications,

meteorology and scientific research,

today includes over 60 countries.

One of the first steps, taken in

mid-1958, was to separate the major

part of U.S. space research from

military auspices through the cre-

ation of the National Aeronautics and

Space Administration. NASA

meant that the United States

could cooperate with others

without fear of compromis-

ing its military programs, and

others could cooperate with

us without fear of compro-

mising their neutrality.

…The U.N. Committee on

the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space was

an American initiative. During the days

of Ambassador [Henry Cabot] Lodge

in the U.N., the Soviets refused mean-

ingful participation, though in recent

years they have been far more con-

structive. It is through the Committee

that the negotiations were conducted

which led to the present treaty.

While much of the treaty is

contained in earlier U.N. resolutions,

particularly those of 1963, a treaty

represents an enormous increase in

commitment over resolutions, being

legally as well as morally binding. This

is particularly true for the Soviets who

have proved far more reluctant to vio-

late treaties than U.N. resolutions.

The treaty contains three outstand-

ing provisions, which go beyond the

initial planning of the State Depart-

ment and represent the treaty’s most

significant contribution to peace.

One provision outlaws the orbiting of

nuclear and other weapons of mass

destruction and stationing them in

outer space; another forbids military

bases, weapons testing and military

maneuvers on celestial bodies; and the

third gives signatories the right to visit

each others’ facilities on the moon and

other celestial bodies.

…President [Lyndon] Johnson

recently declared that the outer space

treaty was “the most important arms

control development” since the Test

Ban. This was a safe statement as

there virtually hasn’t been any. One

wonders why progress could not

have been made on a comprehensive

nuclear test ban and why a nonprolif-

eration treaty still eludes us.

—Craig Eisendrath, Office of

U.N. Political Affairs, in

“The Outer Space Treaty” excerpted

from the May 1967 FSJ.

50 Years Ago

International Cooperation in Space

tion of the White House spokesperson,

the State Department spokesperson

is perhaps the most important in the

entire U.S. government because the State

Department spokesperson is basically

sending out what U.S. foreign policy is to

the whole world.”

—Gemma Dvorak,

Associate Editor

New Academic

Agreements Increase

Access to Education


cting Director of Office of Personnel

Management Kathleen McGettigan

has announced new academic agree-

ments with four schools in OPM’s ongo-

ing effort to expand educational benefits

to federal workers.

The four schools are: College for Amer-

ica at Southern New Hampshire Univer-

sity, Drexel University Online, George-

town University School of Continuing

Studies and the University of Maryland

Robert H. Smith School of Business.

The agreements provide tuition

discounts and scholarships to federal

employees and, in some cases, extend the