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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                         (Geneva, Switzerland)
For Immediate Release                                       May 18, 1998


With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith a certified copy of the Convention (No. 111) Concerning Discrimination (Employment and Occupation), adopted by the International Labor Conference at its 42nd Session in Geneva on June 25, 1958. Also transmitted is the report of the Department of State, with a letter dated January 6, 1997, from then Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, concerning the Convention.

This Convention obligates ratifying countries to declare and pursue a national policy aimed at eliminating discrimination with respect to employment and occupation. As explained more fully in the letter from Secretary Reich, U.S. law and practice fully comport with its provisions.

In the interest of clarifying the domestic application of the Convention, my Administration proposes that two understandings accompany U.S. ratification.

The proposed understandings are as follows:

          "The United States understands the meaning and scope of
       Convention No. 111 in light of the relevant conclusions and 
       practice of the Committee of Experts on the Application of 
       Conventions and Recommendations which have been adopted 
       prior to the date of U.S. ratification.  The Committee's 
       conclusions and practice are, in any event, not legally 
       binding on the United States and have no force and effect 
       on courts in the United States.

          "The United States understands that the federal 
       nondiscrimination policy of equal pay for substantially 
       equal work meets the requirements of Convention 111.  The 
       United States further understands that Convention 111 does 
       not require or establish the doctrine of comparable worth 
       with respect to compensation as that term is understood 
       under United States law and practice."

These understandings would have no effect on our international obligations under Convention No. 111.

Ratification of this Convention would be consistent with our policy of seeking to adhere to additional international labor instruments as a means both of ensuring that our domestic labor standards meet international requirements, and of enhancing our ability to call other governments to account for failing to fulfill their obligations under International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions. I recommend that the Senate give its advice and consent to the ratification of ILO Convention No. 111.


                                   THE WHITE HOUSE,
                                   May 18, 1998.

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