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[Senate Treaty Document 105-58]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



105th Congress                                              Treaty Doc.
                                 SENATE

 2d Session                                                      105-58
_______________________________________________________________________


 
   TREATY WITH GUATEMALA FOR RETURN OF STOLEN, ROBBED, EMBEZZLED OR 
                  APPROPRIATED VEHICLES AND AIRCRAFT

                               __________

                                MESSAGE

                                  from

                   THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

                              transmitting

 TREATY BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE 
   GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF GUATEMALA FOR THE RETURN OF STOLEN, 
 ROBBED, EMBEZZLED OR APPROPRIATED VEHICLES AND AIRCRAFT, WITH ANNEXES 
AND A RELATED EXCHANGE OF NOTES, SIGNED AT GUATEMALA CITY ON OCTOBER 6, 
                                  1997





August 31, 1998.--Treaty was read the first time, and together with the 
accompanying papers, referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations and 
            ordered to be printed for the use of the Senate


                         LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL

                              ----------                              

                                  The White House, August 31, 1998.
To the Senate of the United States:
    With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the 
Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the Treaty Between 
the Government of the United States of America and the 
Government of the Republic of Guatemala for the Return of 
Stolen, Robbed, Embezzled or Appropriated Vehicles and 
Aircraft, with Annexes and a related exchange of notes, signed 
at Guatemala City on October 6, 1997. I transmit also, for the 
information of the Senate, the report of the Department of 
State with respect to the Treaty.
    The Treaty is one of a series of stolen vehicle treaties 
being negotiated by the United States in order to eliminate the 
difficulties faced by owners of vehicles that have been stolen 
and transported across international borders. It is the first 
of these newly negotiated treaties to provide for the return of 
stolen aircraft as well as vehicles. When it enters into force, 
it will be an effective tool to facilitate the return of U.S. 
vehicles and aircraft that have been stolen, robbed, embezzled, 
or appropriated and taken to Guatemala.
    I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable 
consideration to the Treaty, with Annexes and a related 
exchange of notes, and give its advice and consent to 
ratification.

                                                William J. Clinton.


                          LETTER OF SUBMITTAL

                              ----------                              

                                       Department of State,
                                        Washington, August 6, 1998.
The President,
The White House.
    The President: I have the honor to submit to you the Treaty 
between the Government of the United States of America and the 
Government of the Republic of Guatemala for the Return of 
Stolen, Robbed, Embezzled or Appropriated Vehicles and Aircraft 
(the ``Treaty''), with Annexes and a related exchange of notes, 
signed at Guatemala City on October 6, 1997. I recommend that 
the Treaty with Annexes and related exchange of notes be 
transmitted to the Senate for its advice and consent to 
ratification.
    The Treaty establishes procedures for the return by either 
Party of vehicles and aircraft that are registered, titled or 
otherwise documented in the territory of the other Party; 
stolen robbed, embezzled or appropriated in the territory of 
either Party or from one of its nationals; and found in the 
territory of the first Party. The United States currently has 
only one such treaty in force, the 1981 Convention between the 
United States of America and the United Mexican States for the 
Recovery and Return of Stolen or Embezzled Vehicles and 
Aircraft (``U.S.-Mexico Treaty''). The treaty with Guatemala is 
one of several treaties that have recently been negotiated with 
countries in Central America, the Caribbean, and Central 
Europe, and contains many provisions similar to those in the 
1981 U.S.-Mexico Treaty. It is the first of these newly 
negotiated treaties to provide for the return of stolen 
aircraft as well as vehicles. The Treaty with Guatemala 
incorporates an important improvement in one aspect over the 
U.S.-Mexico Treaty in that it sets more restrictive deadlines 
for action by the Party receiving a request for the return of a 
vehicle or aircraft. As with the U.S.-Mexico Treaty, this 
Treaty will not require implementing legislation.
    Article 1 defines certain terms for purposes of the Treaty.
    Article 2 sets forth the agreement of the Parties, in 
accordance with the Treaty's terms, to return vehicles or 
aircraft that are registered, titled, or otherwise documented 
(or, in the case of aircraft, manufactured) in the territory of 
the other Party; stolen, robbed, embezzled or appropriated in 
the territory of either Party or from one of its nationals; and 
found in the territory of the first Party.
    Article 3 provides for the establishment of Central 
Authorities and designates Central Authorities for purposes of 
the Treaty. For the United States, the Central Authority is the 
Secretary of State, or such persons as may be designated by the 
Secretary of State. For the Republic of Guatemala, the Central 
Authority is the Minister of Government, or such persons as may 
be designated by the Minister of Government. The article 
provides that the Central Authorities shall communicate 
directly with one another or through the diplomatic channel.
    Article 4 requires the authorities of a Party who have 
impounded, seized, found, or otherwise taken possession of a 
vehicle or aircraft that they have reason to believe is 
registered, titled, or otherwise documented (or, in the case of 
aircraft, manufactured) in the territory of the other Party to 
take it to a storage area and to take reasonable steps to 
safeguard it, including preventing the obliteration or 
modification of identifying information such as vehicle 
identification numbers and aircraft registration or tail 
numbers. The article also prohibits such authorities from 
operating, auctioning, dismantling, or otherwise altering or 
disposing of the vehicle or aircraft unless one of several 
enumerated conditions is met, e.g., no request for the return 
of the vehicle or aircraft is received within 60 days of 
receipt of a notification made pursuant to Article 5.
    Article 5(1) requires that whenever the police, customs, or 
other competent authorities of a Party impound, seize, find, or 
otherwise take possession of a vehicle or aircraft that they 
have reason to believe is registered, titled, or otherwise 
documented (or, in the case of aircraft, manufactured) in the 
territory of the other Party, the first Party shall, within 30 
days of having taken possession of it, notify in writing 
theCentral Authority of the other Party that its authorities have 
custody of the vehicle or aircraft. Article 5(2) provides that, in the 
case of vehicles, such notification will include all identifying 
information about the vehicle listed in Annex 1, appended to the 
Treaty. Article 5(3) provides that, in the case of aircraft, such 
notification will include all identifying information about the 
aircraft listed in Annex 2 appended to the Treaty. These Annexes 
contain the information the Parties agreed would be sufficient to 
develop a reliable and complete identification of the vehicle or 
aircraft.
    Article 6 prescribes the form and content of requests for 
return of vehicle and aircraft under the Treaty. Article 6(1) 
provides that after a Party has received a notification 
pursuant to Article 5, it may submit a request for the return 
of the vehicle or aircraft. Article 6(2) requires the request 
to be transmitted under seal of the Central Authority of the 
Requesting Party and to follow the form appended in Annex 3 
(for vehicles) and Annex 4 (for aircraft). The request must 
include certified copies of the documents listed in Article 
6(3) (for vehicles) or Article 6(4) (for aircraft). Article 
6(5) provides that the Central Authorities will register with 
each other, within one week of the Treaty's entry into force, 
the signature of the officials responsible for handling 
requests for the recovery and return of a vehicle or aircraft 
and for certifying documents and provides for subsequent 
registrations as required by any changes in officials.
    Article 6(6) states that no further legislation or 
authentication of documents shall be required by the Requested 
Party. It also requires all of the documents referred to in 
Article 6 to be accompanied by an appropriate translation. An 
exchange of notes accompanying the Treaty memorializes the 
understanding of the Parties that the Government of Guatemala 
will consider that an ``appropriate translation'' will include 
forms in which the standard language in title or registration 
documents originating in the United States has been translated 
into Spanish in generic fashion, with appropriate blanks to be 
filled in with the particular information regarding the 
specific vehicle or aircraft whose return is requested.
    Under Article 7, a Party that has learned outside of the 
Article 5 notification process that the authorities of the 
other Party may have impounded, seized, found, or otherwise 
taken possession of a vehicle or aircraft that may be 
registered, titled, or otherwise documented (or, in the case of 
aircraft, manufactured) in the territory of the first Party, 
may, through a written communication to the Central Authority 
of the other Party, seek official confirmation of this and may 
request the other Party to provide notification pursuant to 
Article 5. The other Party must either provide the notification 
or explain, in writing, why notification is not required. The 
first Party may also, in appropriate cases, submit a request 
for return of the vehicle or aircraft.
    Article 8(1) requires the Requested Party to determine, 
within 30 days of receiving a request for return of a stolen, 
robbed, embezzled or appropriated vehicle or aircraft, whether 
the request meets the requirements of the Treaty and to notify 
the Requesting Party of its determination. Article 8(2) 
requires the Requested Party, within 15 days of its 
determination that a request for return meets the requirements 
of the Treaty, to make the vehicle or aircraft available to the 
owner or the owner's authorized representative. The vehicle or 
aircraft must remain available for the owner or the owner's 
authorized representative to take delivery for at least 90 
days. The Requested Party is also required to take necessary 
measures to permit the owner or the owner's authorized 
representative to take delivery of the vehicle or aircraft and 
return with it to the territory of the Requesting Party. Where 
the Requested Party determines that a request for return does 
not meet the requirements of the Treaty, under Article 8(3) it 
must provide written notification to the Requesting Party, 
including the grounds for its decision. Article 8(4) provides 
that if the reasons for which the request was denied can be 
remedied, the Requested Party must notify the Requesting Party 
that it has been given a single opportunity to resubmit the 
request within sixty days of the notification of denial.
    Article 9 sets forth several circumstances under which a 
Requested State either has no obligation to return a vehicle or 
aircraft for which return has been requested or can defer the 
surrender of the vehicle or aircraft. Article 9(1) provides 
that if a vehicle or aircraft whose return is requested is 
being held in connection with a criminal investigation or 
prosecution, its return will be effected when its presence is 
no longer required for that investigation or prosecution. 
However, the Requested Party is required to take all 
practicable measures to ensure that substitute pictorial or 
other evidence is used wherever possible in such investigation 
or prosecution so that the vehicle or aircraft may be returned 
as soon as possible.
    Article 9(2) states that when the ownership or custody of a 
vehicle or aircraft for which return is requested is the 
subject of a pending judicial action in the territory of the 
Requested Party, its return shall be effected at the conclusion 
of the judicial action. However, the Requested Party will have 
no obligation to return the vehicle or aircraft if such 
judicial action results in a decision that awards the vehicle 
or aircraft to a person other than the person identified in the 
request for return as the owner of the vehicle or aircraft or 
the owner's authorized representative.
    Article 9(3) provides that a Party will have no obligation 
to return a vehicle or aircraft for which return is requested 
if the vehicle or aircraft is subject to forfeiture under its 
laws because it was used in its territory for the commission of 
a crime with the consent or complicity of the owner, or 
represents the proceeds of such a crime. The Requested Party is 
required to give the owner or the owner's authorized 
representative reasonable notice and an opportunity to contest 
such forfeiture in accordance with its laws.
    Article 9(4) requires the Requested Party to notify the 
Central Authority of the Requesting Party in writing within 30 
days of receipt of a request for return if the return of a 
stolen, robbed, embezzled or appropriated vehicle or aircraft 
is postponed pursuant to Article 9.
    Under Article 9(5), a Party will have no obligation to 
return a stolen, robbed, embezzled or appropriated vehicle or 
aircraft if no request for return is received within 60 days of 
receipt of a notification made pursuant to Article 5.
    Article 10(1) prohibits the Requested Party from imposing 
any import or export duties, taxes, fines, or other monetary 
penalties or charges on vehicles or aircraft returned in 
accordance with the Treaty, or on their owners or authorized 
representatives, as a condition for the return of such vehicles 
or aircraft.
    Article 10(2) and 10(3) apportion the expenses associated 
with the return of vehicles and aircraft under the Treaty. 
Article 10(2) provides that reasonable expenses incurred in the 
return, including towing costs, storage costs, maintenance 
costs, transportation costs, and costs of translation of 
documents required under the Treaty will be borne by the person 
seeking its return and will be paid prior to the return of the 
vehicle or aircraft. Under Article 10(3), the expenses of 
return in particular cases may include the costs of any repairs 
or reconditioning of a vehicle or aircraft that were necessary 
to permit the vehicle or aircraft to be moved to a storage area 
or maintained in the condition in which it was found. However, 
the person seeking the return of the vehicle or aircraft will 
not be responsible for the costs of any other work performed on 
the vehicle or aircraft while it was in the custody of the 
authorities of the Requested Party.
    Article 10(4) provides that if the Requested Party complies 
with the provisions of the Treaty with respect to recovery, 
storage, safekeeping, and, where appropriate, return of a 
vehicle or aircraft, no person will be entitled to compensation 
from the Requested Party for any damages sustained while the 
vehicle or aircraft is in the custody of the Requested Party.
    Article 11 provides that the mechanisms for the recovery 
and return of stolen, robbed, embezzled or appropriated 
vehicles or aircraft under this Treaty shall be in addition to 
those available under the laws of the Requested Party, and that 
nothing in the Treaty shall impair any rights for the recovery 
of stolen, robbed, embezzled or appropriated vehicles or 
aircraft under applicable law.
    Article 12 states that any differences regarding the 
interpretation or application of the Treaty will be resolved 
through consultations between the Parties.
    Article 13(1) states that the Treaty will be subject to 
ratification and will enter into force on the date of exchange 
of instruments of ratification. Article 13(2) provides that 
either Party may terminate the Treaty upon a minimum of 90 days 
written notification.
    The Department of Justice joins the Department of State in 
favoring approval of the Treaty, with Annexes and related 
exchange of notes, by the Senate as soon as possible.
    Respectfully submitted,
                                                Madeleine Albright.