Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.


Narrative History re Outer Space Treaty of 1967 plus

Website Reference (if available):

Document Download (if available):

This is provided by our State Department, and can also be
viewed at the link provided along with this document.

Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies

Bureau of Arms Control

Signed at Washington, London, Moscow, January 27, 1967
Entered into force October 10, 1967

Go to: Treaty Text, Signatory List


The Outer Space Treaty, as it is known, was the second of the so-called “nonarmament” treaties; its concepts and some of its provisions were modeled on its predecessor, the Antarctic Treaty. Like that Treaty it sought to prevent “a new form of colonial competition” and the possible damage that self-seeking exploitation might cause.

In early 1957, even before the launching of Sputnik in October, developments in rocketry led the United States to propose international verification of the testing of space objects. The development of an inspection system for outer space was part of a Western proposal for partial disarmament put forward in August 1957. The Soviet Union, however, which was in the midst of testing its first ICBM and was about to orbit its first Earth satellite, did not accept these proposals.

Between 1959 and 1962 the Western powers made a series of proposals to bar the use of outer space for military purposes. Their successive plans for general and complete disarmament included provisions to ban the orbiting and stationing in outer space of weapons of mass destruction. Addressing the General Assembly on September 22, 1960, President Eisenhower proposed that the principles of the Antarctic Treaty be applied to outer space and celestial bodies.

Soviet plans for general and complete disarmament between 1960 and 1962 included provisions for ensuring the peaceful use of outer space. The Soviet Union, however, would not separate outer space from other disarmament issues, nor would it agree to restrict outer space to peaceful uses unless U.S. foreign bases at which short-range and medium-range missiles were stationed were eliminated also.

The Western powers declined to accept the Soviet approach; the linkage, they held, would upset the military balance and weaken the security of the West.

After the signing of the Limited Test Ban Treaty, the Soviet Unions position changed. It ceased to link an agreement on outer space with the question of foreign bases. On September 19, 1963, Foreign Minister Gromyko told the General Assembly that the Soviet Union wished to conclude an agreement banning the orbiting of objects carrying nuclear weapons. Ambassador Stevenson stated that the United States had no intention of orbiting weapons of mass destruction, installing them on celestial bodies or stationing them in outer space. The General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution on October 17, 1963, welcoming the Soviet and U.S. statements and calling upon all states to refrain from introducing weapons of mass destruction into outer space.

The United States supported the resolution, despite the absence of any provisions for verification; the capabilities of its space-tracking systems, it was estimated, were adequate for detecting launchings and devices in orbit.

Seeking to sustain the momentum for arms control agreements, the United States in 1965 and 1966 pressed for a Treaty that would give further substance to the U.N. resolution.

On June 16, 1966, both the United States and the Soviet Union submitted draft treaties. The U.S. draft dealt only with celestial bodies; the Soviet draft covered the whole outer space environment. The United States accepted the Soviet position on the scope of the Treaty, and by September agreement had been reached in discussions at Geneva on most Treaty provisions. Differences on the few remaining issues — chiefly involving access to facilities on celestial bodies, reporting on space activities, and the use of military equipment and personnel in space exploration — were satisfactorily resolved in private consultations during the General Assembly session by December.

On the 19th of that month the General Assembly approved by acclamation a resolution commending the Treaty. It was opened for signature at Washington, London, and Moscow on January 27, 1967. On April 25 the Senate gave unanimous consent to its ratification, and the Treaty entered into force on October 10, 1967.

The substance of the arms control provisions is in Article IV. This article restricts activities in two ways:

First, it contains an undertaking not to place in orbit around the Earth, install on the moon or any other celestial body, or otherwise station in outer space, nuclear or any other weapons of mass destruction.

Second, it limits the use of the moon and other celestial bodies exclusively to peaceful purposes and expressly prohibits their use for establishing military bases, installation, or fortifications; testing weapons of any kind; or conducting military maneuvers.

After the Treaty entered into force, the United States and the Soviet Union collaborated in jointly planned and manned space enterprises.

Treaty Text: View it in the Star Wars section of Key Documents You Should Read on this website.

Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies

Signed at Washington, London, Moscow, January 27, 1967
Ratification advised by U.S. Senate April 25, 1967
Ratified by U.S. President May 24, 1967
U.S. ratification deposited at Washington, London, and Moscow October 10, 1967
Proclaimed by U.S. President October 10, 1967
Entered into force October 10, 1967

Here’s more:

DONE in triplicate, at the cities of Washington, London and Moscow, this twenty-seventh day of January one thousand nine hundred sixty-seven.

Country Date 1 of
Signature Date of
Deposit 1 of
Ratification Date of
Deposit 1 of
Afghanistan 01/27/67 03/21/88
Antigua and Barbuda 01/01/81
Argentina 01/27/67 03/26/69
Australia 01/27/67 10/10/67
Austria 02/20/67 02/26/68
Bahamas, The 08/11/76
Bangladesh 01/17/86
Barbados 09/12/68
Belgium 01/27/67 03/30/73
Benin 06/19/86
Bolivia 01/27/67
Botswana 01/27/67
Brazil 01/30/67 03/05/69
Brunei 01/18/84
Bulgaria 01/27/67 03/28/67
Burkina Faso 03/03/67 06/18/68
Burma 05/22/67 03/18/70
Burundi 01/27/67
Byelorussian S.S.R.2 02/10/67 10/31/67
Cameroon 01/27/67
Canada 01/27/67 10/10/67
Central African Republic 01/27/67
Chile 01/27/67 10/08/81
China, People’s Republic of 12/30/83
China (Taiwan)4 01/27/67 07/24/70
Colombia 01/27/67
Cuba 06/03/77
Cyprus 01/27/67 07/05/72
Czechoslovakia 01/27/67 05/11/67
Denmark 01/27/67 10/10/67
Dominica 11/08/78
Dominican Republic 01/27/67 11/21/68
Ecuador 01/27/67 03/07/69
Egypt 01/27/67 10/10/67
El Salvador 01/27/67 01/15/69
Ethiopia 01/27/67
Fiji 07/14/72
Finland 01/27/67 07/12/67
France 09/25/67 08/05/70
Gambia, The 06/02/67
German Democratic Republic 01/27/67 02/02/67
Germany, Federal Republic of 01/27/67 02/10/71
Ghana 01/27/67
Greece 01/27/67 01/19/71
Grenada 02/07/74
Guinea-Bissau 08/20/76
Guyana 02/03/67
Haiti 01/27/67
Holy See 04/05/67
Honduras 01/27/67
Hungary 01/27/67 06/26/67
Iceland 01/27/67 02/05/68
India 03/03/67 01/18/82
Indonesia 01/27/67
Iran 01/27/67
Iraq 02/27/67 12/04/68
Ireland 01/27/67 07/17/68
Israel 01/27/67 02/18/77
Italy 01/27/67 05/04/72
Jamaica 06/29/67 08/06/70
Japan 01/27/67 10/10/67
Jordan 02/02/67
Kenya 01/19/84
Korea, Republic of 01/27/67 10/13/67
Kuwait 06/07/72
Laos 01/27/67 11/27/72
Lebanon 02/23/67 03/31/69
Lesotho 01/27/67
Libya 7/03/68
Luxembourg 01/27/67
Madagascar 08/22/68
Malaysia 02/20/67
Mali 06/11/68
Mauritius 04/07/69
Mexico 01/27/67 01/31/68
Mongolia 01/27/67 10/10/67
Morocco 12/21/67
Nepal 02/03/67 10/10/67
Netherlands 02/10/67 10/10/69
New Zealand 01/27/67 05/31/68
Nicaragua 01/27/67
Niger 02/01/67 04/17/67
Nigeria 11/14/67
Norway 02/03/67 07/01/69
Pakistan 09/12/67 04/08/68
Panama 01/27/67
Papua New Guinea 10/27/80
Peru 06/30/67 02/28/79
Philippines 01/27/67
Poland 01/27/67 01/30/68
Romania 01/27/67 04/09/68
Rwanda 01/27/67
Saint Christopher-Nevis 09/19/83
Saint Lucia 02/22/79
San Marino 04/21/67 10/29/68
Saudi Arabia 12/17/76
Seychelles 01/05/78
Sierra Leone 01/27/67 07/13/67
Singapore 09/10/76
Solomon Islands 07/07/78
Somalia 02/02/67
South Africa 03/01/67 09/30/68
Spain 11/27/68
Sri Lanka 03/10/69 11/18/86
Swaziland 10/22/68
Sweden 01/27/67 10/11/67
Switzerland 01/27/67 12/18/69
Syria 11/19/68
Thailand 01/27/67 09/05/68
Togo 01/27/67
Tonga 06/22/71
Trinidad and Tobago 07/24/67
Tunisia 01/27/67 03/28/68
Turkey 01/27/67 03/27/68
Uganda 04/24/68
Ukrainian S.S.R.2 02/10/67 10/31/67
Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics 01/27/67 10/10/67
United Kingdom 01/27/67 10/10/67
United States 01/27/67 10/10/67
Uruguay 01/27/67 08/31/70
Venezuela 01/27/67 03/03/70
Vietnam 06/20/80

Yemen, People’s Democratic
Republic of (Aden)
Yugoslavia 01/27/67
Zaire 01/27/67
Zambia 08/20/73
Total 3 91 62 36

1 Dates given are the earliest dates on which countries signed the agreements or deposited their ratifications or accessions — whether in Washington, London, Moscow, or New York. In the case of a country that was a dependent territory which became a party through succession, the date given is the date on which the country gave notice that it would continue to be bound by the terms of the agreement.

2 The United States regards the signature and ratification by the Byelorussian S.S.R. and the Ukrainian S.S.R. as already included under the signature and ratification of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

3 This total does not include actions by the Byelorussian S.S.R. and the Ukrainian S.S.R. (See footnote 2.)

4 Effective January 1, 1979, the United States recognized the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole government of China.

This site is managed by the Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State.
External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.
Copyright Information Disclaimers