San Diego Law Review


F. David Froman

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



On July 18, 1976, the 40,000-ton Soviet naval vessel Kiev, sporting a 600-foot flight deck and a complement of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, steamed into the Mediterranean after completing its transit of the Turkish Straits. The Montreux Convention, which governs transit of the Turkish Straits, limits the aggregate tonnage of all foreign naval forces in transit through the Straits to 15,000 tons. Only in the case of capital ships does it allow Black Sea powers to exceed this limit. Although the Convention's definition of capital ships includes cruisers, it specifically excludes aircraft carriers. Nevertheless, Instanbul's military port authorities accepted the Soviet classification of "antisubmarine cruiser" and allowed the Kiev to pass. Did the Kiev's transit violate the Convention? In attempting to answer that question, this Comment will first focus upon the Turkish Straits in their historical perspective. It will then review the Montreux Convention and its relevant provisions, measuring the Kiev and its transit against the standards established by those provisions. Finally, it will assess the future of the Montreux Convention and the prospects for its revision.