Viewing cable 07USUNNEWYORK1160
Title: USE OF RECIPROCITY IN THE UN CONTEXT

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
07USUNNEWYORK11602007-12-13 13:51:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL USUN New York
VZCZCXYZ0018
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUCNDT #1160 3471351
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 131351Z DEC 07
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3320
INFO RUEHAE/AMEMBASSY ASMARA PRIORITY 1279
C O N F I D E N T I A L USUN NEW YORK 001160 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR IO/UNP; L/DL; DS/OFM AND AF/E 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/12/2012 
TAGS: OFDP UN ER
SUBJECT: USE OF RECIPROCITY IN THE UN CONTEXT 
 
 
¶1.  (C)  The Permanent Mission of Eritrea to the United 
Nations has been seeking to sell its current office space in 
New York and use the proceeds of sale to purchase alternate, 
smaller office premises along with a new official residence. 
The Department denied Eritrea's requests of February 2003, 
March 2004, and June 2006 on grounds of reciprocity, but the 
replies did not cite reciprocity as a basis because the 
United Nations has long taken the position that application 
of reciprocity is inconsistent with U.S. treaty obligations. 
The Eritrean PermRep has long suspected that reciprocity is 
indeed in play, and so wrote to the Chairman of the UN's 
Committee on Relations with the Host Country in November 2006 
to ask that the issue be placed on the Committee's agenda. 
The Chairman has not done so, preferring to give the USG time 
to address the issue internally.  The Eritrean Mission has 
now tabled a generic request for property purchase, and if 
approval is not given, will take the issue to the Committee. 
 
¶2.  (U)  For more than 20 years, the USG has not asserted 
reciprocity in the UN context.  This has arisen in a number 
of contexts over the years including the application of the 
Foreign Missions Act.  In 1983, the full Host Country 
Committee asked the United Nations Legal Counsel to render a 
legal opinion on the legality of the Act.  This opinion 
examined, inter alia, the issue of reciprocity.  The UN 
Office of Legal Affairs took the view that "(T)he Charter of 
the United Nations and the Headquarters Agreement therefore 
do not permit selective treatment of the representatives of 
Member of the United Nations on the basis of reciprocity" 
(1983 UN Juridical Yearbook). 
 
¶3.  (C)  If the Department denies the Eritrean property 
purchase request, the Eritrean PermRep is likely to tell the 
Committee that the USG is using reciprocity as a rationale 
for denial, citing, as necessary, the position of the 
Eritrean Government on property purchase by foreign 
governments in Asmara.  In the ensuing discussion, Committee 
members will undoubtedly cite the above mentioned legal 
opinion which dealt specifically with Section 205 of the 
Foreign Missions Act.  A U.S. defense that property purchase 
is a privilege rather than a right is unlikely to convince 
the Committee that despite the OLA opinion, it is permissible 
to apply reciprocity in real property cases.  The Committee 
will then almost certainly either ask the host country to 
abide by the decision and permit Eritrea to purchase 
property, or vote to send the issue to the full General 
Assembly with a view to deciding whether or not the matter 
should be referred, under Article 96 of the Charter, to the 
International Court of Justice.  In view of this long 
standing legal opinion and U.S. practice of refusing to 
invoke reciprocity over the last 20 years or more, USUN 
requests that Department consider implications of this issue 
being referred to ICJ and prospects for U.S. position 
prevailing there. 
Khalilzad