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I would think, going back to motor vehicles and the danger of accidents and how to deal with those risks, we ought to make a serious effort by way of insurance first. I would like to see that tried seriously before we go into the other possibility of legislation making the United States liable.
Senator CASE. You could make the United States liable and then insure the United States. Why isn't that a simpler way to do it?
Mr. MEEKER. I believe there is a statute which provides that the United States is its own insurer.
Senator CASE. Well, if it is a statute, then we can change the statute. I do not question you because you are terribly well informed, as I am not surprised, but I do make this point. There is some argument that New Ỹork City gets some benefit from the presence of all these people.
There is very little argument, if any, that John Jones, whose youngster is killed by some drunken diplomat—whether it is by an American diplomat abroad or some foreign diplomat here-gets anything in any way commensurate with this.
Senator CLARK. If the Senator will yield, this is not unlike the business of insurance of airplane passenger of these foreign airlines under the Warsaw Convention and the Hague Protocol we had recently.
Senator CASE. Except in some sense the individual has the right to go or not by airplane,, and he takes the risk of this when he does it, as opposed to somebody just being on the sidewalk and being run over by some one.
Senator CLARK. Nevertheless, there is an adequate protocol that provides for damages.
Senator CASE. I should always start out by recognizing that your replies are helpful. Thank you.
Senator CHURCI. We have a decision to make. I would like to get this record complete at one hearing if it is possible. The Senate is now in session. We have permission to sit. Perhaps if we just run through a series of questions that I am going to ask you mainly for completing the record, because the printed copy of these hearings will then be distributed to all other members of the committee, then at an appropriate time it will, perhaps, be possible to take this matter up in executive session without bringing you back again.
I remember when we commenced this hearing I stated that some of these questions may touch on tender ground, and if you prefer to answer them is executive session please indicate that and we will accommodate you.
THIRD STATES AND DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY Moving through them rather rapidly, the duties of the third states with respect to transiting diplomatic personnel are, for the first time, spelled out in article 40. What has been the practice in this respect up until now?
Mr. MEEKER. We have generally recognized the status of diplomats in transit through the United States from, say, France to Mexico, so that article 40 does not seems to us to make any great difference in the situation.
Senator CHURCH. Suppose that Communist China were to send her Ambassador to France through the United States en route to Paris. What would be the effect of the convention? I realize that as things now stand Red China would not be a party to the convention and, therefore, the terms of the convention would not be applicable.
But assume that action of the General Assembly or some such occurrence were to make Red China a party to the convention. What then would be the effect of the provision?
Mr. MEEKER. Well, article 40, paragraph 1, provides that the diplomatic agent may pass through a third state which has granted him a passport visa if a visa was necessary, so this would give the United States the option of deciding whether to give that visa or not.
There was an occasion back in 1950 when we did admit a Chinese Communist delegation to this country to come to the United Nations for some meetings of the Security Council and the General Assembly.
Senator CHURCH. The United States, however, would be left in control of the situation and could refuse to grant the visa if the Government were so to decide ?
Mr. MEEKER. It could.
Senator CHURCH. And not be in violation of any provision of the convention?
Mr. MEEKER. That is correct, because the convention is conditional on the granting of a visa which remains in the power of the United States to decide.
Senator CHURCH. What does article 5, subsection 3 provide ? Mr. MEEKER. Well, that provision enables, for example, the head of a Latin American mission in Washington, an Ambassador, shall we say, of Bolivia, to be also the representative of Bolivia to the Organization of American States.
Senator CHURCH. Is that a departure from current practice?
Mr. MEEKER. No. In some cases the Latin American ambassadors have served in dual capacities.
IMMUNITY OF MILITARY PERSONNEL
Senator CHURCH. Does the accreditation of military attachés differ in any way from other diplomatic agents?
Mr. MEEKER. Well, in article 7 there is a provision which specifically states that in the case of military, naval, or air attachés, the receiving state may require their names to be submitted before their arrival for its approval. That is different from the situation with respect to other diplomatic agents who are not heads of mission.
Senator CHURCH. Does the United States have any objection to this change?
Mr. MEEKER. No. We do it with some countries today at the present time.
Senator CHURCH. There is a provision in article 6, is there not, that permits several states to join in accrediting the same person to be the head of the mission for more than one country.
Mr. MEEKER. There is.
Senator CHURCH. How many states have, in fact, followed that practice here in Washington, for example?
Mr. MEEKER. Mr. Mitchell informs me that in the case of Western Samoa, which has become independent, that the same person, namely, the New Zealand Ambassador, represents the interests of Western Samoa as well as New Zealand. It is a fairly rare occurrence.
SIZE OF DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS
Senator CHURCH. As a matter of fact, to some extent, the size of the embassy frequently seems to be in reverse proportion to the size of the country, especially with some countries that are receiving very large amounts of American aid.
This convention makes a provision, does it not, for the receiving country to determine whether the size of the mission is reasonable and normal.
Mr. MEEKER. Yes; it does.
Senator CHURCH. What standards are used ? It seems to me there is a conspicuous lack of conforming standards where many of these missions are concerned here in Washington. What is the practice of the State Department in that respect! Has the State Department ever
? objected to the size of a mission on the part of any government, although that government may be small and the mission very large ? Also is there any correlation between what that government is receiving in amounts of American aid and the size of the mission sent to Washington ?
Mr. MEEKER. Except in the case of a few Eastern European countries, we have not undertaken to impose limits on the size of missions. I am looking here at the current edition of the diplomatic list, the blue book, having in mind the question of which countries have the biggest embassies.
For example, Canada has a pretty sizable Embassy: Cameroun has exactly 6 people, Burundi has 4; the Central African Republic has exactly 1; the Republic of China has a fairly sizable Embassy ; Colombia has an Embassy of rather modest size; the United Kingdom has a very large Embassy; so does France, so does the Soviet Union; Ghana has a rather small Embassy of 6 or 7; Guatemala appears to have about 10 people; Guinea has 3; India has a fairly large Embassy:
Senator CLARK. How large is "fairly large,” Mr. Meeker?
Mr. MEEKER. India appears to have perhaps 35 or 40 people in the diplomatic list.
Senator CLARK. How many does the United Kingdom have?
Mr. MEEKER. The United Kingdom has more than that. Mr. Mitchell says it has sometimes had as many as 70 or 80 on the diplomatic list at one time.
Senator CLARK. You double that for the number of clerks?
Mr. MEEKER. You would increase it above that because the people on the “white list” who are not in the “blue list” would be even more numerous than those who are on the “blue list.”
Senator CHURCH. Your answer to my question is that the State Department has as a matter of history never imposed any limitation on the size of any Embassy other than one or two Communist countries behind the Iron Curtain.
Mr. MEEKER. That is correct.
Senator Case. It would be very ticklish and tricky to say to one country that it cannot have, just as a matter of ipse dixit, as many people as it wants.
Mr. MEEKER. This is what has motivated us to take a rather liberal view about it because considering our interests abroad almost invariably we want to be able to have a mission which is larger than the corresponding one here. There are activities we want to carry out which we think are in the national interest, and we do not want to be precluded by limitations on the numbers.
Senator CHURCH. With respect to article 20, the right to fly the flag, have there been restrictions on this in the past? Has every U.S. Ambassador been permitted to fly the flag on his car, for example?
Mr. MEEKER. I know of no restrictions on that.
FACILITIES FOR DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS
Senator CHURCH. Article 21 provides that each receiving state shall facilitate or assist the sending state in acquiring or obtaining premises or accommodations. What exactly does this involve? Let us take a country where it is not possible to secure private ownership of real property. If the sending state wants premises and accommodations in areas zoned for residential purposes, for example, what are the obligations of the receiving state? How does this work?
Mr. MEEKER. Well, the article does not impose any obligation on the receiving state to provide premises in places where the local laws and regulations do not allow it.
We have construed this kind of obligation to mean that in the case of a smaller country, like some of the African countries, if they have experienced difficulty in obtaining suitable quarters for chancery and residence purposes, we have, through our Office of Protocol, made efforts to try to find suitable places. We have there two or three people who have worked on this a good deal. They have talked with real estate firms and owners of buildings. In that way we do try to assist them, but always within the framework and context of applicable laws.
Senator CHURCH. Article 22 relates to the inviolability of mission premises and the duty of the receiving state to protect them. There have been a number of violations of U.S. Embassies in numerous countries in recent years. These violations would be obvious violations of the convention; would they not?
Mr. MEEKER. They would, and also of international law before the convention.
Senator CHURCH. Yes. Would this be a case that could be brought under the provisions of the convention to the International Court of Justice? Let us assume that an American Embassy were attacked and that the American ambassador attempted to secure protection from the local authority. No adequate protection was given. The Embassy was seriously damaged.
Would the United States then, under the provisions of this convention, charge the other government with a failure to abide by the provisions of the convention and take the matter to the World Court and seek damages? Could the United States do that?
Mr. MEEKER. It could if the receiving state had accepted the optional protocol on compulsory jurisdiction, and we had also.
Senator Case. What would you go to the Court for, damages or an order to stop it?
Mr. MEEKER. You might go to the Court for two kinds of relief. One, damages, and this, as a practical matter, would probably not be necessary because our experience has been that the host country a day or two after the riot takes place not only offers to but does begin the job of repair and reconstruction.
The other relief that a sending state might seek would be a judgment of duty, judgment on the duty of protection and on the inadequacy of what was offered in the particular case.
Senator Case. That is in the nature of a parliamentary opinion. Mr. MEEKER. Yes.
Senator CHURCH. How general is the act of waiving diplomatic immunity? I know that our Ambassador to Canada, Livingston Merchant, said we would waive immunity of U.S. diplomatic personnel for traffic tickets. We are back again on traffic. Has any mission in Washington done this?
Mr. MEEKER. Apparently there have been waivers in some instances. This is a subject on which the Vienna Convention does not make any change.
VIOLATIONS OF DIPLOMATIC PRIVILEGES
Senator CHURCH. The conference, I understand, acknowledged there were violations in the use of the diplomatic bag, but not sufficient to justify an inclusion in the convention of the provision that requires submission of the bag for inspection if any suspicion existed that it was being used improperly.
To what degree is the diplomatic bag being violated, in the opinion of the State Department?
Suppose there was a suspicion, for example, that jewels or narcotics or something of that kind were actually being transported into the United States under the protection of the diplomatic bag. What would the United States do about it?
Mr. MEEKER. In the case of personal baggage of a diplomat, of course, there is article 36, paragraph 2, which says that that baggage shall be exempt from inspection unless there are serious grounds for presuming that it contains articles not covered by the exemptions.
Now, in the case of the diplomatic bag, the pouch, this is a different subject. I think that we do not know, of course, precisely, we cannot know exactly, what is in the diplomatic bag. If we did receive information from some source, either at point of origin or point of destination, that it was being used for improper purposes, narcotics or other illegal importation or exportation, we would undoubtedly undertake some discussions with the government concerned.
I think it is difficult for us to know just because of the inviolability of the pouch. But sometimes information does come, and our law enforcement agencies are quite alert to things which go on in this country, information which they pick up here and, of course, they also pick up either directly or indirectly a good deal of information abroad.