Statement by James B. Donovan, Deputy Legal Adviser to the Permanent Representative of the United States, on Agenda Item 161: Report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country (A/65/26), in the Sixth Committee, General Assembly

James B. Donovan
Deputy Legal Advisor United States Mission to the UN 
New York, NY
November 15, 2010


Madame Chairperson,

The United States, as always, is proud to serve as host country to the United Nations; remains proud of its record in this respect; and is grateful to those delegations whose remarks have positively recognized the host country’s efforts. Along with the honor of hosting the United Nations and the world’s largest and most diverse diplomatic community comes a broad range of treaty obligations and commitments under international law. Since 1946, the United States Government has fulfilled those obligations and commitments in every respect, and we remain committed to doing so in the future.

We believe that the Committee on Relations with the Host Country is a valuable forum in which to discuss relevant issues relating to the presence of this large, diverse, and dynamic diplomatic community in New York City, one of the largest, most diverse and most dynamic cities in the world. The Committee’s meetings provide the host country with an opportunity to assess the United Nations community’s concerns and to address them.

The host country values greatly the cooperation and the constructive spirit of the members of the Committee in its work and the assistance provided by the United Nations Secretariat in this regard. We also appreciate the interest and participation in meetings of numerous observer delegations. The ability of delegations that are not members of the Committee to participate in the Committee’s meetings has helped make the Committee’s deliberations open and more representative of the UN diplomatic community. The Committee’s limited but representative membership has made it efficient and unusually responsive – especially given the fact that it is the only such Committee in any of the various UN host countries that reports to the General Assembly.

The Committee’s deliberations this past year focused on improving immigration procedures at New York area airports, mitigating delays in visa issuance, and ensuring the safety and security of UN missions. We continue to regard our efforts in these areas as ongoing and increasingly successful.

Madame Chairperson,

The United States would like to express our particular appreciation for the efforts of the Chairman of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country, Ambassador Minas Hadjimichael. We also wish to thank the United Nations Legal Counsel, Patricia O’Brien and Assistant Secretary General for Legal Affairs, Stephen Mathias, for their assistance and guidance in the Committee’s work. We wish to recognize the efforts of Mr. Surya Sinha, Secretary of the Committee. Finally, we also extend our appreciation to Ms. Marjorie Tiven, New York City’s Commissioner for the United Nations, Consular Corps and Protocol for her assistance in issues affecting the United Nations diplomatic community.

Thank you, Madame Chairperson.


PRN: 2010/293