June 15, 1981
To the Senate of the United States:
I transmit herewith the Inter-American Convention on Commercial Arbitration, adopted by the First Specialized Conference on Private International Law of the Organization of American States at Panama City on January 30, 1975, for the purpose of receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification. This Convention was signed on behalf of the United States on June 9, 1978.
The provisions of the Inter-American Convention are explained in the report of the Secretary of State which accompanies this letter. In broad terms, the Inter-American Convention is designed to facilitate the settlement of international commercial disputes by arbitration rather than by court proceeding where the parties so desire, by providing that courts will enforce in appropriate cases both the agreement to arbitrate and any resulting arbitral award.
This Convention is similar in purpose and effect to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards, adopted at the United Nations on June 10, 1958, which the United States ratified in 1970. The Inter-American Convention has, however, been ratified by a greater number of Member States of the Organization of American States than the New York Convention. We are thus hopeful that ratification of the Inter-American Convention by the United States and by OAS Member States will make possible greater recognition and enforcement of arbitral agreements and arbitral awards among the countries of the Western Hemisphere.
New legislation will be required as part of Title 9 (Arbitration) of the United States Code in order to implement the provisions of the Convention within the United States. The United States' instrument of ratification will be executed only after the necessary legislation has been enacted.
There is substantial support for ratification among members of the legal and business community concerned with international trade and investment. You will find enclosed as an attachment to the report of the Secretary of State letters recommending ratification of this Convention by the United States which have been received from the American Arbitration Association, the American Bar Association, the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America, the American Foreign Law Association, and a number of state and local bar associations. We are aware of no opposition to ratification.
I recommend that the Senate give its advice and consent to ratification of this Convention, subject to the three reservations which are described in the accompanying report of the Secretary of State.
The White House,
June 15, 1981.