37 Fordham L. Rev. 349 (1968-1969)
Interpreting Article II of the Outer Space Treaty

handle is hein.journals/flr37 and id is 367 raw text is: INTERPRETING ARTICLE II OF THE
A   RTICLE II of the Outer Space Treaty provides that outer space,
including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to
national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occu-
pation, or by any other means.' Even a perfunctory glance at this pro-
vision seems to suggest a number of fundamental questions which will
have to be resolved if man's spatial explorations are to take place within
a framework of law and order and with a minimum of friction. The first
question relates to the subject matter of appropriation, that is, what
can or cannot be appropriated. The second query involves the meaning
of national appropriation in contradistinction to nonnational, such
as, individual or international appropriation. The third inquiry centers
around the meaning of the concept of appropriation. Finally, the fourth
question, which is incidental to the third one, is whether there is any
room for the exercise of some form or degree of sovereign authority,
use or occupation which would be permissible despite the prohibition of
Article I.
With respect to the problem of subject matter, the prohibition of na-
tional appropriation relates clearly to outer space, including the moon
and other celestial bodies.2 The Treaty is silent on the question of what
is outer space, what it encompasses or what its boundaries are in relation
to airspace. The only statement contained in the Treaty is that the moon
and other celestial bodies are included in outer space. For this reason, the
* This article is an elaboration of the author's address before the 19th Congress of the
International Astronautical Federation on October 17, 1968, in New York City.
** Chairman of the Graduate Program of the School of Law and Professor of Law,
University of Mississippi, School of Law.
1. Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use
of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, Jan. 27, 1967, arL II,
T.I.A.S. 6347 [hereinafter cited as Treaty on Outer Space]. The Treaty on Outer Space was
signed by twenty-two countries, as of January 1, 1968, including Canada, Japan, the Union
of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It went into force
in the United States on October 10, 1967. Id. See Adams, The Outer Space Treaty: An In-
terpretation in Light of the No-Sovereignty Provision, 9 Harv. Int'l L.J. 140 (1968);
Dembling & Axons, The Evolution of the Outer Space Treaty, 32 J. Air L. & Com. 419
(1967); Gorove, The Outer Space Treaty, 23 Bull. Atomic Scientists 44 (Dec. 1967);
Vlasic, The Space Treaty: A Preliminary Evaluation, 55 Calif. L. Rev. 507 (1967).
2. Treaty on Outer Space art. I.

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