THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (New York, New York)
TO THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES:
I transmit herewith, for Senate advice and consent to ratification, the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air, done at Montreal May 28, 1999 (the "Convention"). The report of the Department of State, including an article-by-article analysis, is enclosed for the information of the Senate in connection with its consideration of the Convention.
I invite favorable consideration of the recommendation of the Secretary of State, as contained in the report provided herewith, that the Senate's advice and consent to the Convention be subject to a declaration on behalf of the United States, pursuant to Article 57(a) of the Convention, that the Convention shall not apply to international carriage by air performed and operated directly by the United States for noncommercial purposes in respect to its functions and duties as a sovereign State. Such a declaration is consistent with the declaration made by the United States under the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to International Carriage by Air, done at Warsaw October 12, 1929, as amended (the "Warsaw Convention") and is specifically permitted by the terms of the new Convention.
Upon entry into force for the United States, the Convention, where applicable, would supersede the Warsaw Convention, as amended by the Protocol to Amend the Warsaw Convention, done at Montreal September 25, 1975 ("Montreal Protocol No. 4"), which entered into force for the United States on March 4, 1999. The Convention represents a vast improvement over the liability regime established under the Warsaw Convention and its related instruments, relative to passenger rights in the event of an accident. Among other benefits, the Convention eliminates the cap on carrier liability to accident victims; holds carriers strictly liable for proven damages up to 100,000 Special Drawing Rights (approximately $135,000) (Special Drawing Rights represent an artificial 'basket' currency developed by the International Monetary Fund for internal accounting purposes to replace gold as a world standard); provides for U.S. jurisdiction for most claims brought on behalf of U.S. passengers; clarifies the duties and obligations of carriers engaged in code-share operations; and, with respect to cargo, preserves all of the significant advances achieved by Montreal Protocol No. 4.
I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to this Convention and that the Senate give its advice and consent to ratification, subject to a declaration that the Convention shall not apply to international carriage by U.S. State aircraft, as provided for in the Convention.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
THE WHITE HOUSE, September 6, 2000.
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