Message to the Senate Transmitting the United States-New Zealand Maritime Boundary Treaty

March 25, 1981

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit herewith, for the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, the Treaty between the United States of America and New Zealand on the Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between the United States of America and Tokelau. Also transmitted for the information of the Senate is the report of the Department of State with respect to the Treaty.

This Treaty is necessary to settle the overlapping claims of jurisdiction resulting from the establishment of a 200 nautical mile fishery conservation zone off the coasts of American Samoa in accordance with the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976, and the establishment by the Government of New Zealand of a 200 nautical mile zone around Tokelau.

In this connection, the status of three Tokelauan islands has also been resolved and the sovereignty of the United States over Swains Island has been confirmed.

The Treaty satisfies the interest of the peoples of Tokelau and New Zealand that the Tokelauan claim to sovereignty over three of these islands, inhabited by natives of Tokelau and administered by New Zealand, will not be encumbered by a conflicting but inferior claim by the United States. The Treaty protects United States interests by confirming United States sovereignty over Swains Island, which had been claimed by Tokelau, and by securing a maritime boundary in accordance with equitable principles. It further serves United States foreign policy interests in the area by promoting friendly relations with New Zealand and with Tokelau.

I am transmitting for the information of the Senate a document from the Government of New Zealand vesting the Tokelauan signatories with authority to sign the Treaty on behalf of New Zealand and a separate exchange of letters between the United States and New Zealand, signed on December 2, 1980, setting forth the understanding of each side that New Zealand is willing to make arrangements for United States fishermen to have access to the Tokelauan 200 mile zone.

I recommend that the Senate give early consideration to the Treaty and give its advice and consent to ratification.

Ronald Reagan
The White House,
March 25, 1981.