Public Papers of Jimmy Carter, 1980-1981

Author: Jimmy Carter  | Date: May 20, 1980

Intergovernmental Maritime
Consultative Organization Convention Message to the Senate Transmitting Amendments to the Convention.
May 20, 1980

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit herewith, for the advice and consent of the Senate to acceptance, amendments to the Convention on the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization signed at Geneva March 6, 1948 (the IMCO Convention). The amendments were adopted on November 15, 1979, by the Assembly of the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) at its eleventh session.

These amendments are part of a series of amendments, negotiated with a view to bringing the Convention up-to-date givenchanges of membership and structure that have occurred since its entry into force in 1958. Other amendments in this series were transmitted to the Senate for advice and consent to acceptance on May 3, 1979.

Membership in IMCO has grown from 21 member States in 1958 to 113 member States in 1979. This expansion of membership gave rise to concern that the IMCO Council did not give adequate representation to member States within its existing structure. Three of the four amendments transmitted today address this problem; they increase the number of members on the Council, and the number of Council members required to constitute a quorum at Council meetings; and they provide for the distribution of Council membership among member States with interests in international shipping, international seaborne trade, and other special interests in maritime transport or navigation. These amendments will ensure adequate representation on the Council of the newly expanded membership.

The fourth amendment provides for a member State to give notification of its withdrawal from IMCO should an amendment to which it is strongly opposed be accepted by two thirds of the member States. Presently such acceptance triggers the automatic entry into force of an amendment for all member States. Under the proposed amendment, a member State would have the option of withdrawing from IMCO rather than subjecting itself to an amendment with which it did not agree.

Support for these amendments, as well as for those transmitted on May 3, 1979, will contribute to the interest of the United States in facilitating cooperation among maritime nations. To that end, I urge the Senate to give early and favorable consideration to the amendments and give its advice and consent to their acceptance.

The White House,
May 20, 1980.