Register Notice: September 11, 1987; 52(176):34614-34616
Import Restrictions on Archaeological Material From El Salvador
AGENCY: U.S. Customs
Service, Department of the Treasury.
EFFECTIVE DATE: September 11, 1987.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Legal aspects: Samuel Orandle, Entry Procedures and Penalties Division (202- 566-5765); Operational aspects: Louis Alfano, Commercial Compliance Division (202-566-8651).
The value of cultural property, whether archaeological or ethnological in nature, is immeasurable. Such items often constitute the very essence of a society and convey important information concerning a people's origin, history, and traditional setting. The importance and popularity of such items regrettably makes them targets of theft, encourages clandestine looting of archaeological sites, and accompanying illegal exporting and importing.
There has been growing concern in the U.S. regarding the need for protecting endangered cultural property. The appearance in the U.S. of stolen or illegally exported artifacts from other countries where there has been recent pillaging has, on occasion, strained our foreign and cultural relations. This situation, combined with the concerns of the museum, archaeological, and scholarly communities, was recognized by the President and Congress. It became apparent that it was in the national interest for the U.S. to join with other countries to control illegal trafficking of such articles in international commerce.
The U.S. joined international efforts and actively participated in deliberations resulting in the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (823 U.N.T.S. 231 (1972)). U.S. acceptance of the 1970 UNESCO Convention was codified into U.S. law as the "Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act" (Pub. L. 97-446, 19 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.). The spirit of the Convention was enacted into law to promote U.S. leadership in achieving greater international cooperation towards preserving cultural treasures that are of importance not only to the nations whence they originate, but also to greater international understanding of mankind's common heritage. In 1983, the U.S. became the first major art importing country to implement the 1970 Convention.
It was with these goals in mind that Customs issued interim regulations to carry out the policies of the Act. The interim regulations, which were set forth in Sec. 12.104, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 12.104), were published in the Federal Register as T.D. 85-107 on June 25, 1985 (50 FR 26193), and took effect immediately. After consideration of comments received on the interim regulations, final regulations were issued as T.D. 86-52, published in the Federal Register on February 27, 1986 (51 FR 6905), and took effect on March 31, 1986.
Under section 303(a)(3) of the Cultural Property Implementation Act (19 U.S.C. 2602(a)(3)), the Government of El Salvador, a State Party to the 1970 UNESCO Convention, requested the U.S. Government to impose import restrictions on certain endangered archaeological material to assist El Salvador in protecting its cultural patrimony. Notice of receipt of the request was published by the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) in the Federal Register on April 8, 1987 (52 FR 11414).
On April 21, 1987, the request was referred to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, which conducted a review and investigation, and submitted its report in accordance with the provisions of 19 U.S.C. 2605(f) to the Deputy Director, USIA, on July 16, 1987. The Committee found the situation in El Salvador to be an emergency and recommended that the U.S. Government impose emergency import restrictions. The Deputy Director, pursuant to the authority vested in him under Executive Order 12555 and USIA Delegation Order 86-3, considered the Committee's recommendations and made his determination that emergency import restrictions be applied.
The Commissioner of Customs, in consultation with the Deputy Director of the USIA, has drawn up a list of covered archaeological material from the Cara Sucia archaeological region in El Salvador. The materials on the list are subject to the 1970 UNESCO Convention and Sec. 12.104, Customs Regulations. As provided in 19 U.S.C. 2601 et seq., and Sec. 12.104a, Customs Regulations, listed material from this region may not be imported into the U.S. unless accompanied by documentation certifying that the material left El Salvador legally and not in violation of the laws of El Salvador.
In the event an importer cannot produce the certificate, documentation, or evidence required in Sec. 12.104c, Customs Regulations, at the time of making entry, Sec. 12.104d provides that the district director of Customs shall take custody of the material until the certificate, documentation, or evidence is presented. Section 12.104e provides that if the importer states in writing that he will not attempt to secure the required certificate, documentation, or evidence, or the importer does not present the required certificate, documentation, or evidence to Customs within the time provided, the material shall be seized and summarily forfeited to the U.S. in accordance with the provisions of Part 162, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 162).
Illustrative List of Categories of Prehispanic Archaeological Objects From the Cara Sucia Archaeological Region
The following descriptions are illustrative and representative but are not intended to be exhaustive or restrictively typical.
Other Ceramic Objects
Dated: September 4, 1987.
Michael H. Lane,
[FR Doc. 87-20905
Filed 9-10-87; 9:43 am]