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United States Acceptance of the Jurisdiction of the
Court A Declaration signed by the President of the United States on August 14, 1946, accepting on behalf of this country the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice under article 36, paragraph 2, of the Statute of the Court, was deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations on August 26, 1946, pursuant to Senate Resolution 196 of the 79th Congress, Second Session. As a result of this action the United States acquires the reciprocal right and obligation as respects other states accepting the same obligation, to proceed legally, or be proceeded against, without special agreement, in disputes of a legal character of specified categories.
The United States Declaration sets forth the limitations on the acceptance of jurisdiction contained in the Senate resolution, most of which are contained in the Charter of the United Nations and the Statute of the Court. In addition, the Declaration incorporates two further limitations added by the Senate. These are, first, that the United States shall have the right to determine whether any case falls within its domestic jurisdiction, and second, that the Declaration shall not apply to disputes involving multilateral treaties unless all the parties to the treaty affected by the decision are also parties to the case before the Court, or the United States specially agrees to jurisdiction. Subject to these conditions, the United States has now accepted the jurisdiction of the Court in all legal disputes falling within the categories set forth in article 36, paragraph 2, of the Statute. These are:
(a) the interpretation of a treaty; (6) any question of international law; (c) the existence of any fact which, if established, would constitute
a breach of an international obligation; (d) the nature or extent of the reparation to be made for the breach
of an international obligation. In the absence of the acceptance of such general jurisdiction, the possibility of referring any case to the Court would depend upon the willingness of the parties to a dispute to conclude a special agreement in each case, or upon provisions in treaties or conventions in force. By refusing to enter into such an agreement, in cases where there was no applicable treaty provision, a state could, in effect, remain the judge of the law in its own case.
The United States, by accepting the jurisdiction of the Court in specified categories of legal cases, has terminated this situation so far
as it is concerned and has given its participation and support to the movements for establishing general world-wide acceptance of compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice. In taking this action the United States has followed the recommendation of the San Francisco conference that the Members of the United Nations make declarations as soon as possible accepting the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court.
The initiative for United States acceptance came from the Congress and was taken pursuant to Senate Resolution 196 of the 79th Congress, Second Session, by which the Senate, two thirds of the Senators present concurring, gave its advice and consent.
The President and the Secretary of State fully supported the acceptance of jurisdiction, and the Acting Secretary of State and the Legal Adviser of the Department of State testified in favor thereof. Such action was warmly supported by numerous associations and individuals who appeared or presented statements at the hearings on the Resolution.
In depositing the Declaration, the Honorable Herschel V. Johnson, Acting United States Representative to the United Nations, stated:
“One of the most elemental functions of the United Nations in the preservation of world peace is the development of procedures of pacific settlement. In these procedures, the role and function of law is clear. We feel that international law is already sufficiently developed to serve as a guide and basis in international relations. We feel further that the best way of assuring its further development, and the only way of enabling it to fulfill its function, is by referring to a responsible international tribunal all disputes properly justiciable by such a tribunal.
“We accordingly look forward to a great development of the rule of law in international relations through a broad acceptance of the function of the Court in the spirit of the Charter.”
New Parties to Statute The four states which became new Members of the United Nations during the Second Part of the First Session of the General Assembly also automatically became parties to the Statute of the International Court of Justice. In addition, Switzerland made inquiry of the United Nations on October 26, 1946 as to the conditions under which she might become a party to the Statute of the Court while remaining a non-member of the United Nations. Under article 93, paragraph 2, of the Charter such conditions are to be determined in each case by
the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council. Acting pursuant to this article, the Security Council recommended, and the General Assembly approved, the following conditions for Switzerland:
"Switzerland will become a party to the Statute on the date of the deposit with the Secretary-General of the United Nations of an instrument, signed on behalf of the Government of Switzerland and ratified as may be required by Swiss constitutional law, containing: "(a) Acceptance of the provisions of the Statute of the Interna
tional Court of Justice; “(6) Acceptance of all the obligations of a Member of the United
Nations under Article 94 of the Charter; and "(c) An undertaking to contribute to the expenses of the Court
such equitable amount as the General Assembly shall assess from time to time after consultation with the Swiss Government."
Access of Non-Member States to Court The International Court of Justice, during its first session and while engaged in drafting its rules of procedure, had occasion to make inquiry of the Security Council as to the conditions under which states other than parties to the Statute may appear before the Court. Article 35 of the Statute of the Court provides that the Court shall be open to parties to the Statute, and that “The conditions under which the Court shall be open to other states shall . be laid down by the Security Council
The Security Council referred this question to its Committee of Experts.
In this Committee the United States favored a proposal that the Security Council adopt a resolution along the lines of the League of Nations Council Resolution of May 17, 1922, laying down general conditions under which any non-member state night obtain access to the Court. The United States opposed a proposal that certain states be excluded from the Court, taking the position that the Court was a judicial organ and that access to it should not be curtailed for political reasons. This position prevailed.
Under the resolution adopted by the Security Council on the proposal of the Committee of Experts, the Court shall be open to a state not a party to the Statute upon the filing by such state of a declaration accepting the jurisdiction of the Court in accordance with the Charter, the Statute, and Rules of the Court, upon undertaking to comply in good faith with the Court's decisions, and upon accepting
the obligation of a Member of the United Nations under article 94 of the Charter. Declarations filed under this resolution may be for a particular case or cases or may be general. General declarations may also accept the Court's compulsory jurisdiction in accordance with article 36, paragraph 2, of the Statute but would not have jurisdictional effect vis-a-vis states parties to the Statute in the absence of explicit agreement on the part of such states.
VII. United States Representation in the
HE UNITED STATES is represented at the headquarters of
the United Nations by a permanent Delegation whose structure is determined by the United Nations Participation Act and whose relationship to the Department of State resembles that of a large United States Embassy. At its head is the United States Representative to the United Nations, who holds the rank of Ambassador and serves also as United States Representative in the Security Council.
He has a Deputy who represents him on the Security Council in his absence. The United States Representatives to the Economic and Social Council and the Trusteeship Council are also members of the permanent Delegation.
Under the general supervision of the United States Representative to the United Nations, the Representatives of this country in the Councils and Commissions carry out the policies of the United States on behalf of the President and the Secretary of State.
In addition to the civilian members of the permanent Delegation, deputies appointed by and responsible to the Joint Chiefs of Staff represent the United States on the Military Staff Committee.
The Delegation has a small permanent staff of advisers and assistants. Special advisers are temporarily assigned from time to time by the Department of State or other Government agencies to assist the Representatives during sessions of the Councils and Commissions.
The Security Council and Military Staff Committee are so organized as to be able to function continuously. The Economic and Social Council holds three regular sessions a year and such special sessions as are required. The Trusteeship Council has not yet organized itself.
The United States is represented in the General Assembly by five Representatives and an appropriate number of Alternates, who serve for the duration of the session and are appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.
The Participation Act specifically provides that nothing in its terms shall preclude the President or the Secretary of State from represent