THE NATIONS: Four Miles Out

One of the muddiest expanses in the ill-charted sea of international law is the question of territorial waters—the extent to which a coastal nation controls the sea around it. Some nations, e.g., Spain, Italy, Iran, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Brazil, claim a six-mile limit; others, e.g., the Scandinavians, claim four. Most countries accept the limit of three marine miles, a tradition that goes back to the 18th Century, when a good cannon on the shore could heave a ball three miles to sea.* But many governments have added qualifications which extend their claims beyond three miles, and they never...

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