The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 31, 2002

Message to the Senate of the United States

I transmit herewith, for Senate advice and consent to ratification, the Protocol to Amend the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to International Carriage by Air Signed at Warsaw on October 12, 1929, done at The Hague September 28, 1955 (The Hague Protocol). The report of the Department of State, including an article-by-article analysis, is enclosed for the information of the Senate in connection with its consideration of The Hague Protocol.

The Warsaw Convention is the first in a series of treaties relating to international carriage by air. The Hague Protocol amended certain of the Warsaw Convention articles, including several affecting the rights of carriers of international air cargo. A recent court decision held that since the United States had ratified the Warsaw Convention but had not ratified The Hague Protocol, and the Republic of Korea had ratified The Hague Protocol but had not ratified the Warsaw Convention, there were no relevant treaty relations between the United States and Korea. This decision has created uncertainty within the air transportation industry regarding the scope of treaty relations between the United States and the 78 countries that are parties only to the Warsaw Convention and The Hague Protocol. Thus, U.S. carriers may not be able to rely on the provisions in the Protocol with respect to claims arising from the transportation of air cargo between the United States and those 78 countries. In addition to quickly affording U.S. carriers the protections of those provisions, ratification of the Protocol would establish relations with Korea and the five additional countries (El Salvador, Grenada, Lithuania, Monaco, and Swaziland) that are parties only to The Hague Protocol and to no other treaty on the subject.

A new Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air, done at Montreal May 28, 1999 (the "Montreal Convention") is pending on the Senate's Executive calendar (Treaty Doc. 106-45). I urge the Senate to give its advice and consent to that Convention, which will ultimately establish modern, uniform liability rules applicable to international air transport of passengers, cargo, and mail among its parties. But the incremental pace of achieving widespread adoption of the Montreal Convention should not be allowed to delay the benefits that ratification of The Hague Protocol would afford U.S. carriers of cargo to and from the 84 countries with which it would promptly enter into force.

I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to The Hague Protocol and that the Senate give its advice and consent to ratification.

July 31, 2002.

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