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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 11, 1998


With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, adopted and opened for signature at the conclusion of the Seventeenth Session of the Hague Conference on Private International Law on May 29, 1993. Thirty-two countries, including the United States, have signed the Convention, 17 countries have ratified it, and one country has acceded to it. The provisions of the Convention are fully explained in the report of the Department of State that accompanies this message.

The Convention sets out norms and procedures to safeguard children involved in intercountry adoptions and to protect the interests of their birth and adoptive parents. These safeguards are designed to discourage trafficking in children and to ensure that intercountry adoptions are made in the best interest of the children involved. Cooperation between Contracting States will be facilitated by the establishment in each Contracting State of a central authority with programmatic and case-specific functions. The Convention also provides for the recognition of adoptions that fall within its scope in all other Contracting States.

The Convention leaves the details of its implementation up to each Contracting State. Implementing legislation prepared by the Administration will soon be transmitted for introduction in the Senate and the House of Representatives. Once implementing legislation is enacted, some further time would be required to put the necessary regulations and institutional mechanisms in place. We would expect to deposit the U.S. instrument of ratification and bring the Convention into force for the United States as soon as we are able to carry out all of the obligations of the Convention.

It is estimated that U.S. citizens annually adopt as many children from abroad as all other countries combined (13,621 children in Fiscal Year 1997). The Convention is intended to ensure that intercountry adoptions take place in the best interests of the children and parents involved, and to establish a system of cooperation among Contracting States to prevent abduction of, and trafficking in children. We have worked closely with U.S. adoption interests and the legal community in negotiating the provisions of the Convention and in preparing the necessary implementing legislation.

I recommend that the Senate give its advice and consent to ratification of this Convention, subject to the declaration described in the accompanying report of the Department of State.


                              THE WHITE HOUSE,
                              June 11, 1998.

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