The Consensus of many who attended the Law of the Sea Conference in Caracas this past summer includes the following: (1) the chances of reaching agreement are at best fair when the conference reconvenes in Geneva in mid-March 1975; (2) if agreement is not reached in 1975, the chances of reaching agreement in subsequent years is even less likely; and (3) scientific research issues received a somewhat more sympathetic hearing in Caracas than during the three years of preparatory meetings that led to the conference.
I do not wish to mislead anyone by the last statement. If a vote had been taken at Caracas, the agreed-upon regime would have included both an economic zone and an International Seabed Authority. The economic zone would extend 200 miles seaward of national boundaries and encompass 37% of the ocean, an area approximately equal to the emerged land mass of the earth. Within the 200-mile economic zone it would be necessary to receive explicit permission from the coastal nation to conduct any scientific research. The primary mission of the internationally controlled International Seabed Authority is the regulation of mining manganese nodules in the ocean beyond the economic zone. It is possible that this authority would have been voted at least token control over research on the deep seabed.