Reading Room Document
Retaliation for Soviet Attack on Korean Airliner
This opinion advised the State Department that states with bilaterial aviation treaties with the Soviet Union could suspend them in the wake of the Soviet Union’s attack on a commercial plane flying from the United States to South Korea. The opinion reasoned that the Soviet Union had violated international law, including the United Nations Charter, but that the suspension of the Charter or other human rights treaties “may not be lawful or practical” in response to another country’s breach. The opinion canvassed past examples of other forms of reprisal, like suspending other treaties or enacting economic sanctions, but noted some uncertainty about the scope of reprisals recognized under international law.
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