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On March 13, 1975, representatives from the Department of State and other government agencies testified before the Subcommittee on International Trade and Commerce of the House Foreign Affairs Committee concerning U.S. policy toward the Arab boycott. Sidney Sober, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, described U.S. policy toward the boycott as follows:

our position is clear and it can be summarized as follows: the United States opposes the boycott. We do not support or condone it in any way. The Department has emphasized our opposition to the boycott to the Arab Governments on many occasions as it adversely affects United States firms, vessels and individuals. Where the commercial interests of American firms or individuals have been injured or threatened with injury, we have made representations to appropriate Arab officials.

Consistent with our policy of opposition to the boycott, as reflected in the Export Administration Act of 1969, the Department of State has refused hundreds of requests from U.S. companies for authentication of documents relating to the boycott, as being contrary to public policy.

A number of American firms with boycott problems have consulted with Department officials. These firms have been (A) reminded of their reporting responsibilities under the Export Administration Act and (B) encouraged and requested to refuse to take any action in support of restrictive trade practices or boycotts.

A fundamental factor which has to be faced is that Arab Governments regard the boycott as an important element in their position toward Israel, and one of the basic issues of the Arab-Israeli conflict to be dealt with as progress is made toward resolving that conflict. Indeed, this is one of the issues which we have very much in mind as we continue our diplomatic efforts to help the parties achieve a just and lasting peace. The problem has been how to change effectively the underlying conditions which led to imposition of the boycott. We believe we can best serve this objective not through confrontation but by continuing to promote with the parties directly concerned a peaceful settle ment of basic Middle East issues. We believe that our present diplomatic approach is the most effective way to proceed.

Gerald L. Parsky, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, referred to recent closer economic ties with Middle East countries through informal efforts with Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates and formal efforts through bilateral economic commissions with Egypt,

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Israel, Iran, and Saudi Arabia among others. He stated that these efforts worked toward discouraging the boycott by demonstrating the potential contribution of U.S. firms to their economies. He described Treasury Department policy as opposing any increased confrontation or alteration in the traditional U.S. policy of a free and open market for trade and investment, "in which capital flows are responsive to market forces unencumbered by governmental influence.”

Charles W. Hostler, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Commerce, expressed Commerce Department opposition to legislative proposals to prohibit U.S. firms from responding to boycott requests. He noted that when the Export Control Act of 1949 (63 Stat. 7) was extended by Congress on June 30, 1965, it was amended to include a statement that the policy of the United States is “(a) to oppose restrictive trade practices or boycotts fostered or imposed by foreign countries friendly to the United States; and (b) to encourage and request U.S. domestic concerns engaged in export to refuse to take any action or sign any agreement that would further such practices." He stressed that Congress had used the words "encouraged" and "requested” and had not "prohibited” firms from taking any action or supplying information that might have the effect of furthering boycott practices. The Department of Commerce, he said, supported that policy statement and believed that “American firms should not be restricted in their freedom to make economic decisions based on their own business interests, where no element of ethnic or religious discrimination in violation of U.S. law is involved." He noted that no other country had enacted or intended to enact antiboycott legislation. He urged that there be no change in the "antiboycott” provisions of the Export Administration Act (P.L. 91–184; 83 Stat. 841; 50 U.S.C. app. 2402).

Antonin Scalia, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Justice, discussed legal issues under civil rights and antitrust laws regarding the Arab boycott. He listed the following laws and regulations that might be applicable in dealing with the boycott:

(1) Regarding discrimination in employment: the Constitution itself; Executive Order 11478, prohibiting discrimination in the employment practices of Federal agencies; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but noting in particular $ 703(e) and $ 717; Executive Order 11246, containing Federal restrictions upon discrimination in private employment; the regulations of particular government agencies, for example, the regulations of the Federal Communications Commission, 47 CFR 21.307.

(2) Regarding discrimination in selection of contractors, Title VII and Executive Order 11246.

(3) Regarding discrimination by private firms in the treatment of customers, Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act; Title II of the same, relating to public accommodations; and Title VIII of the 1968 Civil Rights Act, relating to housing.

(4) Regarding the Federal antitrust problem, the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C.1-7).

Mr. Scalia's statement contained the caveat that no Justice Department views were being expressed as to whether any reported incident with respect to the Arab boycott constituted a violation of law, but that such incidents were under investigation.

The Arab boycott list of American companies was published in The New York Times, Feb. 27, 1975, p. 16. President Ford's statement was issued as White House Press Release, Feb. 26, 1975. See also The New York Times, Feb. 27, 1975, p. 20, and statements released by Depts. of State, Treasury, Commerce, and Justice, respectively. Assistant Secretary Sober's statement may be found at Dept. of State Bulletin, Vol. LXXII, No. 1867, Apr. 7, 1975, pp. 451-453.

In a letter to Senator J. Glenn Beall, Jr., dated April 16, 1975, Ambassador Robert J. McCloskey, Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations, explained the legal basis for U.S. application of most-favored-nation treatment to countries which enforce the Arab boycott against American firms. He pointed out that the United States grants most-favored-nation status by a blanket provision in U.S. law, by bilateral international agreements, and by multilateral agreements, particularly the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. The following is an excerpt from his letter:

Section 251 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (19 U.S.C. 1881) provides that any duty or other import restriction or dutyfree treatment proclaimed in carrying out any trade agreement negotiated pursuant to U.S. law shall apply to products of all foreign countries. Exceptions to this statutory extension of the most-favored-nation principle include, among others, most Communist countries and countries found to be discriminating against American goods. As long as an Arab country enforces the boycott equally against all countries, it will not have engaged in the sort of discrimination against U.S. firms which would preclude its eligibility for Section 251 treatment.

The typical bilateral agreement provides that each party will automatically grant the other party any trade concession which the former gives to any third country. In other words, the agreement does not provide for the harmonization of the two parties' trade restrictions, but rather that each party will enjoy whatever trade advantages the other chooses to grant to any of its trading partners. Thus an Arab country enforcing the boy. cott against firms of all countries would not be in violation of its MFN obligations to the U.S. for that reason alone.

Finally, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) provides that each party will grant MFN privileges to all other parties. Israel and some Arab States that adhere to the boycott are parties. However, GATT contains a clause that exempts from the treaty's requirements any action taken by a party "which it considers necessary for the protection of its essential security interests . . . (iii) taken in time of war or other emergency in international relations" (Art. XXI(b)). The Arab States take the position that the boycott is within this exception, and maintain that application of the boycott equally against all countries does not conflict with their obligations under GATT.

The following Arab States that enforce the boycott have bilateral MFN agreements with the United States: Egypt; Iraq; Lebanon; Oman; Saudi Arabia; Syria; and Yemen Arab Republic. In addition, Egypt and Kuwait are parties to GATT; and as to Algeria, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, GÁTT is being applied de facto.

Dept. of State File No. P75 0065–2378.

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The Department of State announced on March 27, 1975, that the Environmental Protection Agency had been designated as the U.S. information center in the global system established by the United Nations for speedy distribution of environmental data. The U.N. International Referral Service for Sources of Environmental Information was conceived at the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Environment and has a central office at the headquarters of the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) in Nairobi. Its worldwide network operates through national focal points in each participat. ing country which coordinate efforts for identifying sources of environmental information. These sources are to be contributed to a computerized international directory compiled by UNEP. Pertinent sources from this data bank will be supplied upon request to researchers, scholars, managers, technicians and others who need them.

A committee established by the Department of State provides policy guidance for the service. In addition to the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal agencies represented on the committee are the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Health, Education and Welfare, Housing and Urban Development, Interior and State; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Council on Environmental Quality, the National Science Foundation, and the Library of Congress.

Dept. of State Bulletin, Vol. LXXII, No. 1869, p. 517.

Environmental Impact

On October 17, 1975, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, in Sierra Club et al. v. Coleman and Tiemann, 405 F. Supp. 53, granted a preliminary injunction to halt construction action on the Darien Gap Highway through Panama and Colombia by the Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway

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