Question of Palestine home
20 November 1987
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON RELATIONS WITH THE HOST COUNTRY*
46. At the 126th meeting of the Committee, the observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) drew the attention of the Committee to the amendment to the State Department authorization bill in the Senate of the United States Congress. This amendment aimed at rendering it unlawful for the PLO to establish and maintain office premises or other facilities in New York. In this connection he referred to the letter sent to the Senate on 29 January 1987 by Mr. George Shultz, Secretary of State of the United States, in which it was noted that "the PLO Observer Mission in New York was established as a consequence of General Assembly resolution 3237 (XXIX) of November 22, 1974, which invited the PLO to participate as an observer in the sessions and work at the General Assembly. The PLO Observer Mission represents the PLO in the U.N.; it is in no sense accredited to the U.S. The U.S. has made clear the PLO Observer Mission personnel
are present in the United States solely in their capacity as invitees of the United Nations within the meaning of the Headquarters Agreement. It was recognized in the letter that the United States was "under an obligation to permit PLO Observer Mission personnel to enter and remain in the United States to carry out their official functions at U.N. Headquarters". The observer for the PLO welcomed any move which would prevent the entry into force of this amendment and asked for clarification of the situation.
47. The representative of Senegal informed the Committee of the discussions on this matter in the Committee on the Exercise of Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and with the Secretary-General of the Organization. He also asked the representative of the host country to convey to the "Executive Branch" the concerns expressed in order to resolve the problem as soon as possible and in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and the Headquarters Agreement.
48. The representative of the United States sympathized with the concerns expressed by previous speakers and noted that it was premature to speculate as to what would emerge from the conference. He stated that in the opinion of the Executive Branch closing of the PLO Mission would not be consistent with the host country's obligations under the Headquarters Agreement. This position had been stressed at various levels of the Government to the legislative branch. He hoped that good sense would prevail and an acceptable compromise on a variety of issues would be reached. The issue would be monitored closely and the Committee would be informed in due course.
49. The Legal Counsel stated that the Organization shared the legal opinion which had been expressed in the letter of Secretary of State Shultz of 29 January 1987. The core point of the letter was that the United States was "under an obligation to permit PLO Observer Mission personnel to enter and remain in the United States to
carry out their official functions at United Nations".
50. The representative of the Soviet Union shared the serious concern expressed by the observer for the PLO and the representative of Senegal. The amendment in question would violate the obligations of the United States under the Charter of the United Nations and the Headquarters Agreement. He also shared the hope expressed by the representative of the host country that this amendment would not become law.
51. The representative of France also shared the concern expressed in the Committee with regard to the situation concerning the PLO Observer Mission to the United Nations. There seemed to be unanimity in the Committee on the subject. He expressed the wish that the issue would be resolved satisfactorily.
52. The representative of Bulgaria also expressed his support for the serious concern voiced by the observer of the PLO. He shared the hope of the representative of the host country that the particular amendment would not become law.
53. He further drew the Committee's attention to reports in the United States press that the United States legislative branch was considering additional restrictive measures with respect to the staff of a number of countries.
54. The representative of Iraq stated that generally the members of the Committee were of the opinion that the position taken by the Executive Branch through none other than the Secretary of State was the one that governs the issue under consideration.
* The present document is a mimeographed version of the report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country to the General Assembly. The report will subsequently be issued in final form as
Official Records of the General Assembly, Forty-second Session
Supplement No. 26