The Court delivered a unanimous Advisory Opinion on the question concerning the Applicability of the Obligation to Arbitrate under Section 21 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement of 26 June 1947. It delivered this Advisory Opinion, after the application of an accelerated procedure, in response to a request submitted by the General Assembly of the United Nations under resolution 42/229 B, adopted on 2 March 1988.
In its decision, the Court gave its opinion that the United States of America is under an obligation, in accordance with section 21 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement, to enter into arbitration for the settlement of a dispute between itself and the United Nations.
The Court was composed as follows: President Ruda Vice-President Mbaye; Judges Lachs, Nagendra Singh Elias, Oda, Ago. Schwebel, Sir Robert Jennings, Bedjaoui, Ni, Evensen, Tarassov, Guillaume and Shahabuddeen.
Judge Elias appended a declaration to the Advisory Opinion.
Judges Oda, Schwebel and Shahabuddeen appended separate opinions.
The General Assembly's request had arisen from the situation which had developed following the signing of the Anti-Terrorism Act adopted by the United States Congress in December 1987, a law which was specifically aimed at the Palestine Liberation Organization and inter alia declared illegal the establishment or maintenance of an office of the Organization within the jurisdiction of the United States. The law thus concerned in particular the office of the PLO Observer Mission to the United Nations, established in New York after the General Assembly had conferred observer status on the PLO in 1974. The maintenance of the office was held by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to fall within the ambit of the Headquarters Agreement concluded with the United States on 26 June 1947.
Alluding to reports submitted by the Secretary-General of contacts and conversations he had pursued with the United States Administration with a view to preventing the closure of the PLO office, the General Assembly put the following question to the Court:
" In the light of facts reflected in the reports of the Secretary-General, is the United States of America, as a party to the Agreement between the United Nations and the United States of America regarding the Headquarters of the United Nations, under an obligation to enter into arbitration in accordance with section 21 of the Agreement?"