HEADQUARTERS AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE ORGANIZATION OF
The Organization of American States has maintained headquarters in the City of Washington, D.C., in the United States of America since its origins in 1890; is the public international organization with the longest uninterrupted presence in the United States; and intends to maintain its headquarters in Washington, D.C., pursuant to Articles 91 and 126 of its Charter; and
Article 138 of the Charter of the Organization provides that, "The Organization of American States shall enjoy in the territory of each Member such legal capacity, privileges, and immunities as are necessary for the exercise of its functions and the accomplishment of its purposes"; and
Article 139 of the Charter further provides that, "The representatives of the Member States on the organs of the Organization, the personnel of their delegations, as well as the Secretary General and Assistant Secretary General shall enjoy the privileges and immunities corresponding to their positions and necessary for the independent performance of their duties"; and
The President of the United States in Executive Order 10533 designated the Organization as a public international organization entitled to certain privileges, exemptions, and immunities provided for by the International Organizations Immunities Act of the United States, 22 U.S.C. Sections 288-288i (1945), as amended; and
The Organization and the Government of the United States are parties to an agreement on the privileges and immunities of the representatives, interim and alternate representatives, and advisers of the missions of the member states to the Organization, and of the permanent and alternate observers of non-member states, which entered into force on March 20, 1975; and
The Organization and the Government of the United States, in recognition of the close hemispheric ties and the harmonious relations that have always existed between the two parties, desire to formalize the status of the Organization in the United States; to extend to certain Organization officials privileges and immunities befitting their status; and to regulate conditions for the operation of the Organization in the United States;
THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES AND THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES HEREBY AGREE AS FOLLOWS:
PART ONE -- GENERAL PROVISIONS
ARTICLE I -- DEFINITIONS
"Organization" and "Organization of American States" mean the international organization established by the Charter of the Organization of American States, and include any and all organs, agencies, and entities encompassed by Article 52 of the Charter that (1) have a presence in the United States; (2) are dependent on the General Assembly of the Organization of American States for the determination of their regular operating budget; and (3) are dependent upon the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States for their permanent secretariat services. "Organization" and Organization of American States" do not include any other organ, agency, or entity encompassed by Article 52 except to the extent that this Agreement has been extended to such other organ, agency, or entity pursuant to Article XX of this Agreement.
"Charter" means the Charter of the Organization of American States adopted in Bogota, Colombia, in 1948, entered into force 1951, and amended by the Protocol of Buenos Aires in 1967 and by the Protocol of Cartagena de Indias in 1985.
"Permanent Council" means the Permanent Council provided for in Chapter XII of the Charter.
"Secretary General" means the Secretary General of the Organization elected pursuant to Article 113 of the Charter, or his duly authorized designee.
"General Secretariat" means the General Secretariat of the Organization provided for in Chapter XVII of the Charter.
"Headquarters" means the premises used for purposes of the Organization that are described in Annex A as well as such other premises as may from time to time be included therein by supplemental agreement pursuant to Article XVIII of this Agreement.
"Property of the Organization" means all real, personal, and other property, including, without limitation, funds and assets belonging to the Organization, by whomsoever held; funds and assets held or administered by the Organization in furtherance of its functions under the Charter, by whomsoever held, including, without limitation, the Organization's Retirement and Pension Fund; and, in general, all income of the Organization.
"Officials of the Organization" means (a) all persons considered to be staff members of the Organization under the General Standards To Govern The Operations Of The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States and (b) those persons elected or otherwise appointed in their personal capacity by the General Assembly of the Organization to perform official functions for the Organization.
"Appropriate United States authorities" means such federal, state, or local (including District of Columbia) authorities in the United States as may be appropriate in the context and in accordance with the laws and customs of the United States, including the laws and customs of any state or local government involved.
"The Government" means the federal Government of the United States.
"Secretary of State" means the Secretary of State of the United States or his duly authorized designee.
"IOIA" means the International Organizations Immunities Act of the United States, 22 U.S.C. Sections 288-288i (1945), as amended.
PART TWO -- STATUS OF THE ORGANIZATION
ARTICLE II -- LEGAL PERSONALITY
The Organization and the General Secretariat shall have legal personality and the capacity to contract, to acquire and to dispose of real and personal property, and to institute legal proceedings.
ARTICLE III -- RIGHT TO HOLD CURRENCY
Without being restricted by financial controls, regulations, or moratoria of any kind, the Organization may hold funds, gold, or currency of any kind and operate accounts in any currency. The Organization shall be free to transfer its funds, gold, or currency to and from the United States or within the United States and to convert any currency held by it into any other currency.
In exercising its rights under this Article, the Organization shall pay due regard to any representations or relevant laws and regulations of the United States insofar as the Organization considers that effect can be given to such representations, laws, and regulations without detriment to the interests of the Organization.
ARTICLE IV -- GENERAL PRIVILEGES
The Organization shall enjoy immunity from suit and every form of judicial process. Such immunity can only be waived by the Organization expressly, with respect to the particular matter in issue, and in writing.
Property of the Organization shall be immune from search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation and any other form of interference, whether by executive, administrative, judicial, or legislative action. No waiver of immunity relative to property of the Organization shall extend to any measure of execution unless that waiver expressly states that it is a waiver of immunity from execution upon such property.
The archives of the Organization, and in general all documents belonging to it or held by it, shall be inviolable wherever located.
The Organization and property of the Organization shall be:
ARTICLE V -- EMPLOYMENT AUTHORITY
The Organization shall have exclusive jurisdiction over the resolution of any and all disputes and matters arising out of, related to, or deriving from employment in, by, or with the Organization. In all such disputes, the Internal Law of the Organization provided for in Article XII below shall apply.
ARTICLE VI -- OFFICIAL TRAVEL DOCUMENT
The Organization may issue an Official Travel Document to officials of the Organization. That Document shall be recognized and accepted as a valid travel document by the appropriate United States authorities if it shows the bearer's origin, identity, and nationality, if any; if it is clearly identified as an official Organization document intended for international travel; and if it bears a notation that the bearer is traveling on official business of the Organization.
There shall be no charge to holders of the Organization's Official Travel Document for applications for visas required for official purposes, when accompanied by a certificate from the Organization that the visa is requested for travel on the business of the Organization. Such applications shall be dealt with as speedily as possible.
ARTICLE VII -- COMMUNICATIONS
ARTICLE VIII -- SETTLEMENT OF PRIVATE DISPUTES
Without prejudice to the immunities conferred by the IOIA or this Agreement, the Organization shall make provisions for appropriate modes of settlement of disputes for which jurisdiction would exist against a foreign government under Section 1605(a)(2)-(6) of the United States Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 ("FSIA"), as amended, and as to which the Organization is a party and asserts immunity under Section 1 of Article IV of this Agreement. In all such cases, each party shall bear its own attorneys fees and no damages in excess of actual damages shall be recoverable, except as otherwise expressly agreed by the parties. Federal, state, and local laws of the United States shall otherwise apply to the resolution of disputes pursuant to such modes of settlement; provided, however, that disputes between the Organization and officials of the Organization shall be resolved only in accordance with the Internal Law of the Organization provided for in Article XII, below, and only by institutions established or recognized by the Organization for that purpose.
In the event that the parties to a dispute to which this Article applies cannot agree upon a mode of settlement, the following provisions shall apply:
PART THREE -- HEADQUARTERS
ARTICLE IX -- INVIOLABILITY
The Headquarters shall be inviolable. The Headquarters, their furnishings, and other property thereon and all means of transportation belonging to the Organization shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment, or execution. The service and execution of legal process, including the seizure of private property, may take place within the Headquarters only with the consent of and under conditions approved by the Secretary General. Federal, state, or local officials of the United States, whether administrative, judicial, military, or police, shall not enter the Headquarters, except with the consent of and under conditions agreed to by the Secretary General. The consent of the Secretary General may be assumed in the case of fire or other similar disaster that threatens the public safety and requires prompt protective action, for the limited purpose of taking such protective action as may be necessary.
The inviolability, privileges and immunities conferred by this Agreement upon the Headquarters shall immediately cease to apply to any part thereof that the Organization ceases to occupy and use in the performance of its official functions.
ARTICLE X -- POSSESSION, USE AND ENJOYMENT
The appropriate United States authorities shall take whatever action may be necessary to assure that the Organization shall not be dispossessed of the premises in the United States comprising the Headquarters.
The appropriate United States authorities will, to the extent requested by the Secretary General, exercise their powers with respect to public services to ensure that the Headquarters shall be supplied on equitable terms with the necessary public services, including electricity, water, gas, mail, telephone, telegraph, fire protection, snow removal, collection of refuse, drainage, and similar services. In case of any interruption or threatened interruption of any such services, the appropriate United States authorities will consider the needs of the Organization as being of equal importance with like needs of similar international organizations.
The appropriate United States authorities shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that the amenities of the Headquarters are not prejudiced and that the purposes for which the Headquarters is required are not obstructed by any use made of the land in the immediate vicinity of the Headquarters. The Organization on its part shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that the amenities of the land in the vicinity of the Headquarters are not prejudiced by any use made by the Organization of the Headquarters or of the land in the immediate vicinity of the Headquarters.
The Organization shall notify the Secretary of State prior to purchasing or otherwise acquiring any property that it may wish to request be added to Annex A.
ARTICLE XI -- DISPOSITION
If the Organization ceases to use for its Headquarters all or part of the Main Building or the Administration Building; or if the Organization ceases to use the Administration Building as an office building for its sole use; or if the seat of the General Secretariat and the Permanent Council is removed from Washington, D.C.; or if for any other reason the Organization decides to convey or otherwise dispose of its interests in the Main Building or the Administration Building, then:
ARTICLE XII -- LAW AND AUTHORITY IN THE HEADQUARTERS
The right of the Organization to expel or exclude persons from the Headquarters shall include, but not be limited to, the right to expel or exclude persons for violations of the Internal Law of the Organization and the federal, state, and local criminal laws of the United States. Persons who violate the federal, state, or local criminal laws of the United States may be subject to criminal penalties or to detention under arrest only in accordance with the provisions of applicable federal, state, and local United States laws; this provision shall not be construed, however, to limit the Organization's authority to levy fines or other assessments under its Internal Law for infringements thereof.
PART FOUR -- PERSONS AFFILIATED WITH THE ORGANIZATION
ARTICLE XIII -- OFFICIALS
Except as provided in Section 3 of this Article, officials of the Organization shall:
This Article shall not be construed to prevent the United States from requiring reasonable evidence to establish that persons claiming the rights granted by this Article are entitled to such rights, or the reasonable application of quarantine and health regulations.
ARTICLE XIV -- EXPERTS
Persons, other than officials of the Organization, who are experts performing missions for the Organization shall be accorded the following privileges and immunities provided they have been notified to and accepted by the Secretary of State as provided for in Section 3 of this Article:
In the event that the Organization wishes an expert on a mission for the Organization to receive the benefits of this Article, it shall so notify the Secretary of State. The expert shall be presumed to have been accepted by the Secretary of State until such time as the Organization is advised otherwise.
ARTICLE XV -- OTHER PERSONS
The appropriate United States authorities shall take appropriate steps to facilitate transit to or from the Headquarters of (a) persons invited to the Headquarters by the Organization on official business, and (b) representatives of the press or of radio, film, or other information agencies who have been accredited by the Organization in its discretion after consultation with the Government.
At the request of the Secretary General to the Secretary of State, the appropriate United States authorities will consult with the Organization concerning the possibility of admitting to the United States persons abroad who wish to visit the Headquarters and who are not covered by Section 1 of this Article.
ARTICLE XVI -- CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH PRIVILEGES ARE GRANTED
Any and all privileges and immunities granted to officials of the Organization or to experts in this Agreement are granted in the interests of the Organization and not for the personal benefit of the individuals themselves. The Secretary General shall have the right and the duty to waive the immunity of any official or expert in any case where, in the Secretary General's opinion, the immunity would impede the course of justice and can be waived without prejudice to the interests of the Organization. In the case of the Secretary General, the Permanent Council shall have the right to waive immunity.
Without prejudice to their privileges and immunities under this Agreement, it is the duty of all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities to respect the federal, state, and local laws and regulations of the United States.
The Organization shall make provisions for appropriate modes of settlement of disputes involving any official of the Organization who by reason of the official's position enjoys immunity, if immunity has not been waived in writing by the Secretary General.
Where a civil action is pending in any court of the United States against any official of the Organization relating to activities as to which there is no immunity under this Agreement or under the IOIA, or as to which immunity has been waived, the Organization shall require that official to appoint an agent prior to leaving the United States to take up another assignment, to retiring, or to separating from the Organization. That agent shall be authorized to receive process relating to the civil action on behalf of such official and, in the event of a final judgment against such official, to receive salary, pensions, and other remuneration due to such official from the Organization, so that such salary, pensions, and other remuneration may be available to satisfy such judgment. In the event that any such official as to whom the Organization has continuing financial obligations fails to appoint such an agent, the Organization shall have authority to appoint an agent for him and shall do so. Any agent appointed pursuant to this section shall be resident in Washington, D.C., or in any other jurisdiction within the United States that the Secretary General deems appropriate.
The Organization shall cooperate at all times with the appropriate United States authorities to facilitate the administration of justice, to secure the observance of police regulations, and to prevent the occurrence of any abuse of the privileges, immunities and facilities mentioned in this Agreement, including any abuses involving personal domestic staff of officials of the Organization.
At the request of the appropriate United States authorities, the Secretary General shall assist such authorities with arrangements for registering the arrival and departure of persons who have been granted visas valid only for transit to and from the Headquarters and for sojourn therein and in its immediate vicinity.
Except as otherwise provided in this Agreement, the Government retains full control and authority over the entry of persons or property into the territory of the United States and the conditions under which persons may remain or reside therein.
PART FIVE -- MATTERS RELATING TO THIS AGREEMENT
ARTICLE XVII -- SCOPE AND CONSTRUCTION
This Agreement shall be construed in light of its primary purpose to enable the Organization at its Headquarters to discharge its responsibilities and fulfill its purposes under the Charter fully and efficiently.
Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed as in any way limiting the privileges and immunities conferred on the Organization by the IOIA.
Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed as in any way limiting the right of the United States to safeguard its own security, or its right completely to control the entrance of aliens into any territory of the United States.
ARTICLE XVIII -- CONSULTATIONS AND IMPLEMENTATION
The Secretary General shall communicate regarding the application of the provisions of this Agreement and other questions affecting the Headquarters of the Organization with the Secretary of State, and with such other United States authorities as the Secretary of State shall advise the Secretary General are appropriate.
The Secretary General and the appropriate United States authorities may enter into such supplemental agreements as may be necessary to fulfill the purposes of this Agreement. Such supplemental agreements may include amendments to the Annexes to this Agreement.
ARTICLE XIX -- SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES
Any dispute between the Organization and the Government concerning the interpretation or application of this Agreement or any supplemental agreement relating to the Headquarters, which is not settled by negotiation or other agreed mode of settlement, shall be referred for final decision to a tribunal of three arbitrators, one to be named by the Secretary General, one to be named by the Secretary of State, and the third to be chosen by the two arbitrators named by the Secretary General and the Secretary of State.
ARTICLE XX -- EXTENSION OF THE AGREEMENT TO CERTAIN ENTITIES
The provisions of this Agreement may be extended to any organ, agency, or entity encompassed by Article 52 of the Charter but not satisfying the requirements set forth in the first sentence of Section 1 of Article 1 above by the agreement of the Secretary General, the Secretary of State, and the ranking official of the organ, agency, or entity in question.
All provisions of this Agreement, including its annexes, shall apply to any organ, agency, or entity to which this Agreement is so extended; provided, however, that the parties may agree on how any particular term in a provision of this Agreement will be understood so that the provision will be appropriate to the organ, agency, or entity in question.
ARTICLE XXI -- EFFECTIVE DATE AND DURATION
This Agreement shall enter into force upon an exchange of notes between the Organization and the Government confirming that all necessary requirements for entry into force have been fulfilled.
This Agreement shall cease to be in force if the seat of the Permanent Council and the General Secretariat of the Organization is removed from the United States, except for such provisions as may be applicable in connection with the orderly termination of the operations of the Organization at its seat in the United States and the disposition of its property therein.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned, being duly authorized representatives of the parties, have signed this Agreement and have affixed their seals hereto.
DONE at Washington in duplicate, this fourteenth day of May, 1992.
FOR THE ORGANIZATION FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE OF AMERICAN STATES: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
The premises referred to in Article I, Section 1 consist of the following premises in the city of Washington, D.C., used for the purposes of the Organization:
(a) the premises known as the Main Building and associated land and buildings, bounded on the East by Seventeenth Street, N.W., on the West by Eighteenth Street, N.W., on the North by C Street, N.W., on the South by Constitution Avenue, N.W., and on the Southwest by Virginia Avenue, N.W.;
(b) the premises known as the Administration Building and associated land, bounded on the East by Eighteenth Street, N.W., on the West by Nineteenth Street, N.W., on the North by Virginia Avenue, N.W., and on the South by Constitution Avenue, N.W.;
(c) the premises known as the General Secretariat Building and associated land located at 1889 F Street, N.W.;
(d) the premises known as the Inter-American Defense Board Building and associated land located at 2600 16th Street, N.W.; and (e) the premises known as the Residence, located at 2329 California Street, N.W.
OFFICIALS OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
The Secretary General
SMALL CLAIMS PROCEDURES
Disputes subject to arbitration under Article VIII of the Headquarters Agreement Between the Government of the United States and the Organization of American States ("the Agreement") and involving small claims shall be resolved in accordance with the following procedures unless otherwise agreed by the parties:
I. CLAIMS SUBJECT TO THESE PROCEDURES
A small claim shall be a claim for no more than $2,000, or any larger amount established pursuant to Article VIII(2)(b) of the Agreement. To determine the amount of a claim, all claims arising out of the same operative facts, transaction, or contract, shall be treated as one claim.
II. POOL OF ARBITRATORS
The Secretary General of the Organization shall maintain a List of Approved Arbitrators consisting of active or retired attorneys and judges willing to serve as arbitrators for the same daily honorarium paid to members of the Organization's Administrative Tribunal, prorated on an hourly basis, with a maximum of one day's honorarium per case. The Secretary General will periodically add and delete names to the list, as necessary. The Secretary of State will be notified of the name and qualifications of each person to be included in the list and shall have the right to object to the inclusion of any such person within ten days of receipt of such notice.
III. PREREQUISITES TO ARBITRATION
Prior to filing a Small Claim as provided below, the Complainant must notify the Organization in writing of the claim and must include in that notice a demand for satisfaction. This Notice and Demand shall be addressed to the Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs unless otherwise required by contract, and must be received within six months of the date the claim arose (as determined by the Arbitrator in the event of a dispute). If the Complainant does not receive a response satisfactory to him within sixty days from the actual receipt of the Notice and Demand by the Organization, the Complainant shall have 180 days from the expiration of that sixty-day period to file a Small Claim as provided below. In the event, however, that the Complainant did not have notice of the requirement to file a Notice and Demand within six months of the date the claim arose, the Complainant shall be entitled to file the Notice and Demand within the earlier of (i) six months from the date on which the Complainant is notified of that requirement or (ii) the statute of limitations that would apply under applicable federal, state, or local law if the Organization were not immune from suit.
IV. APPOINTMENT OF ARBITRATOR
In the event arbitration is initiated, the Complainant shall select a single arbitrator from the List of Approved Arbitrators, which shall be made available to the Complainant by the Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs of the Organization. The Complainant shall notify the Organization of the choice at the time the Small Claim is filed.
V. PAYMENT OF ARBITRATOR
Except as provided in Paragraph VI.C.8, below, the Organization will pay the cost of the arbitrator and provide administrative services. The maximum fee for any arbitration will be one day's honorarium.
VI. ARBITRATION PROCEDURES
A. Format of Filings
All pleadings submitted in the arbitration shall be presented on standard 8 1/2 x 11 inch white bond paper and filed in duplicate. They shall be presented in double-spaced typewritten format and shall not exceed ten pages in length, exclusive of exhibits. Pleadings not in conformance with these requirements shall not be accepted, but shall be returned to the party filing them and treated as if never filed.
A Small Claim shall be served upon the Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs of the Organization together with a nonrefundable filing fee of U.S. $50* and a letter stating the Complainant's choice for; arbitrator. The Assistant Secretary shall not accept any Small Claim that is not accompanied by the filing fee and the name of an arbitrator selected from the List of Approved Arbitrators.
C. Pre-Hearing Filings and Procedures
D. Hearing Procedures
E. The Decision
UNITED STATES PERMANENT MISSION TO THE
May 29, 1996
October 28, 1997
UNITED STATES PERMANENT MISSION TO THE
No. 02-A March 19, 2001
Dr. Cesar Gaviria
Secretary General of the
Organization of American States
* The Secretary General may increase the filing fee by up to the same percentage as any increase in the jurisdictional amount for small claims effected pursuant to Article VIII(2)(b) of the Agreement.