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$ 104 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1969 (22 U.S.C. 2179). See Dept. of State Bulletin, Vol. LXXIII, No. 1883, July 28, 1975, p. 128.
On December 23, 1975, President Ford approved the Metric Conversion Act of 1975 (P.L. 94–168; 89 Stat. 1007; 15 U.S.C. 205), "To declare a national policy of coordinating the increasing use of the metric system in the United States and to establish a United States Metric Board to coordinate the voluntary conversion to the metric system.” The Act notes that the United States was an original signatory to the 1875 Treaty of the Meter (TS 378; 20 Stat. 709; entered into force for the United States August 2, 1878) and that although the use of metric measurement standards in the United States had been authorized by law since 1866 (14 Stat. 339), the United States was the only industrially developed nation which had not established a national policy of committing itself and taking steps to facilitate conversion to the metric system.
The Act gives the U.S. Metric Board authority, inter alia, to consult and cooperate with foreign governments and intergovernmental organizations, in collaboration with the Department of State, in coordinating increased use of metric measurement units or engineering standards based on such units. Such consultation is to include efforts, as appropriate, to gain international recognition for metric standards proposed by the United States, and, during the U.S. conversion, to encourage retention of equivalent customary units, usually by way of dual dimensions, in international standards or recommendations.
See also H. Rept. No. 94_369 and S. Rept. No. 94-500, 94th Cong., 1st Sess. For statement of President Ford upon signing the Act, see Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Vol. 11, No. 52, Dec. 29, 1975.
Educational and Cultural Affairs
International Expositions and Exhibitions
On April 11, 1975, the Government of the United States and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York signed an agreement providing for indemnification of the Metropolitan Museum for loss or damage to a collection of its art works which were to be sent for exhibition in the Soviet Union. The agreement had been authorized by Public Law 93-476 (88 Stat. 1444), approved by the President on October 26, 1974. See the 1974 Digest, Ch. 12, § 2, p.
641. It paved the way for the sending of 100 European and American paintings from the Metropolitan to the Hermitage Museum in Leningrad and the Pushkin Museum in Moscow for exhibition during 1975. An exhibition of Soviet works of art at museums in the United States had previously been agreed upon, with the Soviet side assuming indemnification responsibility. The exchange of exhibitions was arranged in accordance with the provisions of Article IX of the 1973 General Agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union on Contracts, Exchanges and Cooperation (TIAS 7649; 24 UST 1395; entered into force June 19, 1973) and an agreement between the Metropolitan Museum and the Soviet Ministry of Culture, finalized February 14, 1975.
Under the indemnification agreement the Department of State would provide indemnification of the Metropolitan Museum for loss or damage over $25,000 which might be suffered by any of the 100 items agreed upon for shipment from the time they left the Metropolitan until their return. Any claim by the Metropolitan had to be submitted by February 29, 1976. If the Department of State concurred in its validity, it would be referred to a panel of experts for an opinion as to the amount of loss or damage. If the panel concurred in the amount claimed, the Department would certify the amount over $25,000 to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate for appropriation. In the case of disagreement on the amount, the Department and the Metropolitan-or if they could not agree, the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution would select an expert appraiser whose determination of amount would be binding and would be certified to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate for appropriation. The agreement also provided for subrogation of the Department to the rights of the Metropolitan and prohibited the Metropolitan, without the Department's approval, from settling any claim to which the Department had subrogation rights or from waiving any claim.
Dept. of State File No. P75 0066-0895.
William K. Hitchcock, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, on June 24, 1975, issued a determination that certain works of art from the Hermitage Museum and the State Russian Museum in Leningrad, imported from the Soviet Union pursuant to a loan agreement between the Ministry of Culture of the Soviet Union and the Armand Hammer Foundation, for temporary exhibition without profit within the United States, were of cultural significance. He also determined that their temporary exhibition or display at appointed dates in 1975 and 1976 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Knoedler Gallery in New York, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston was in the national interest.
See Fed. Reg., Vol. 40, No. 125, June 27, 1975, pp. 27270-27271. The determination was made pursuant to the Act of Oct. 19, 1965 (P.L. 89-259; 79 Stat. 985; 22 U.S.C. 2459), which renders immune from seizure under judicial process certain objects of cultural significance imported into the United States for temporary display or exhibition "if before the importation of such object the President or his designee has determined that such object is of cultural significance and that the temporary exhibition or display thereof within the United States is in the national interest. ..." Functions under the Act were delegated by E.O. 11312, Oct. 14, 1966 (31 Fed. Reg. 13415, Oct. 18, 1966), and delegation of authority No. 113 of Dec. 23, 1966 (32 Fed. Reg. 58, Jan 5, 1967). The agreement for the loan of the paintings was made in accordance with Art. IX of the General Agreement between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on Contracts, Exchanges, and Cooperation, signed June 19, 1973 (TIAS 7649; 24 UST 1395; entered into force June 19, 1975).
U.S.-People's Republic of China
On April 15, 1975, the United States and the People's Republic of China exchanged notes amending the agreement of October 28, 1974 (TIAS 8154; 26 UST 2131), regarding the holding of the "Exhibition of the Archeological Finds of the People's Republic of China" to provide for the holding of the exhibition at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, and to extend the period of the agreement until August 28, 1975. The 1974 agreement had provided for display of the exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Nelson Gallery-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, for the period ending June 7, 1975.
Pursuant to Public Law 93–287 of May 21, 1974 (88 Stat. 143; see the 1974 Digest, p. 640), the United States guaranteed in the original agreement that it would indemnify the Chinese for any loss or damage to items in the exhibit on the basis of the agreed valuations, the basis to be reduced by half if the loss or damage was caused by crash of an aircraft, war or warlike operations, or strong earthquakes. Following the three showings, the objects in the exhibit were returned to Peking. With the consent of the Chinese, the one slightly damaged object was repaired and the Chinese side waived any indemnity.
Dept. of State File L/T.
The United States and the Arab Republic of Egypt concluded an agreement by exchange of notes on October 28, 1975 (TIAS 8171;
26 UST; entered into force October 28, 1975), to facilitate the sending by the Government of Egypt of exhibitions to the United States of the "treasures of Tutankhamun" and other items of Pharaonic art. The exhibitions would be held in six museums in the United States beginning in late 1976 and would remain at each museum for a period of four months. The Government of the United States undertakes, consistent with the laws of the United States, to respect the rights of the Cairo Museum and the Government of Egypt in the objects to be exhibited and to protect those objects against any form of sequestration or other judicial process.
The agreement envisages that the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York will act as agent on behalf of the participating U.S. museums and will conclude an agreement with the Cairo Museum which would include a list of the objects to be exhibited, with their individual valuations, as well as financial arrangements and provision for insurance of the objects from the time of their departure from the Cairo Museum to their return to that museum.
Federal Laws and Regulations
The Department of Commerce issued new regulations, effective August 15, 1975, concerning official United States Government recognition of and participation in international expositions held in the United States. The regulations, which constitute a new Section 1202, added to Chapter XII of Title 15 of the Code of Federal Regulations, implement Public Law 91–269 of May 27, 1970 (84 Stat. 271; 22 U.S.C. 2801–2807), to establish an orderly proce dure for Federal Government recognition of, and participation in, international expositions to be held in the United States. The regulations establish procedures for carrying out the Act and for implementing the obligations undertaken by the United States as a member of the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) under the Paris Convention of 1928 relating to International Exhibitions, as amended (TIAS 6548, 6549; 19 UST 5927, 5974; entered into force for the United States June 24, 1968).
Under the new regulations, applications for Federal recognition of an international exposition are to be filed with the Director, Office of Expositions and Special Projects, U.S. Travel Service, Department of Commerce, and are to be accompanied by 15 specified exhibits. The Director evaluates applications, holding public hearings if he desires, and makes recommendations to the Secretary of Commerce. A report is transmitted to the President by the Secretary of Commerce, with respect to the purposes and financing of the exposition, and by the Secretary of State, with respect to the qualifications of the exposition for recognition by the BIE. If the President concurs, BIE registration is sought. If Federal participation in the exposition, as well as Federal recognition is desired, a plan is drawn up for Presidential approval and submission to Congress. A specific authorization by Congress is required for Federal participation in a recognized international exposition.
See Fed. Reg., Vol. 40, No. 158, Aug. 14, 1975, pp. 34107-34110.
On December 20, 1975, President Ford signed into law the Arts and Artifacts Indemnity Act, Public Law 94–158 (89 Stat. 844; 20 U.S.C. 971–977). It authorizes the Federal Government, under certain circumstances, to provide for the indemnification of certain art, artifacts, and other objects to be exhibited abroad and, under special circumstances, objects from abroad coming to the United States. The Act authorizes the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities to make agreements for the purpose of indemnification. A condition which the bill requires to be met is that the Secretary of State or his designee certify that the proposed exhibition of objects would be "in the national interest."
On signing the Act, the President made a statement as follows:
. In approving S. 1800, I note that the legislative history links the determination of national interest specifically to exhibits and exchanges which would be in the “foreign policy interests of the United States," and "in the interests of the people of the United States” so that the indemnification program does not become simply an insurance relief mechanism. I believe that such linkage is essential to justify involvement of the Federal Government in this kind of an indemnification program, and I am therefore directing the Secretary of State to establish appropriate criteria for his certifications to assure that the intent of the legislation in this regard is properly and carefully carried out.
Another concern about S. 1800 grows out of the provisions designating the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities as an agency for the purpose of administering the indemnification program. Under existing law, the Council is essentially an advisory body. This bill, however, would assign executive functions to the Council. Thus, its members must be officers of the United States. In this regard, four of the current statutory members of the Council-the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, the Director of the National Gallery of Art, the member designated by the Chairman of the Senate Commission on Art and Antiquities, and the member designated by the Speaker of the House—are not appointed in the manner pre