San Diego Law Review


Louls B. Sohn

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



It is generally accepted that the international regime for the exploration and exploitation of the sea-bed, to be agreed upon at the 1973 Law of the Sea Conference, will consist of a basic set of rules and of an international machinery for the implementation of these rules. Except for some early proposals limited to a simple secretariat for registering claims, and apart from some recent proposals for an all-embracing international organization dealing with all aspects of the law of the sea, most models of an international sea-bed authority are designed on lines similar to those of the specialized agencies of the United Nations. They contemplate, therefore, a structure centered on a plenary assembly, an executive council and a secretariat. Some of the models envisage, in addition, a tribunal, a variety of commissions, and even some operating enterprises. With respect to the prevailing model, there seems to be a general agreement that the Sea-Bed Authority's Assembly shall consist of all Member states; each Member State shall have one vote; and that most decisions shall be taken by a majority of the members present and voting. While some Governments might have preferred a system of weighted voting, similar to the one prevailing in the International Monetary Fund, other international financial institutions and some commodity arrangements, no official proposals of that kind have been made. There is less agreement on the composition and voting procedure of the Executive Council of the future International Sea-Bed Authority, and it is the purpose of the present paper to explore the proposals made so far and the possible ways of reconciling the apparent differences.