[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[April 1, 1998]
[Page 484]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Message to the Senate Transmitting the Inter-American Convention Against 
April 1, 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 Inter-American Convention Against 
Corruption (``the Convention''), adopted and opened for signature at the 
Specialized Conference of the Organization of American States (OAS) at 
Caracas, Venezuela, on March 29, 1996. The Convention was signed by the 
United States on June 27, 1996, at the twenty-seventh regular session of 
the OAS General Assembly meeting in Panama City, Panama. In addition, 
for the information of the Senate, I transmit the report of the 
Department of State with respect to the Convention.
    The Convention was the first multilateral Convention of its kind in 
the world to be adopted. The provisions of the Convention are explained 
in the accompanying report of the Department of State. The report also 
sets forth proposed understandings that would be deposited by the United 
States with its instrument of ratification. The Convention will not 
require implementing legislation for the United States.
    The Convention should be an effective tool to assist in the 
hemispheric effort to combat corruption, and could also enhance the law 
enforcement efforts of the States Parties in other areas, given the 
links that often exist between corruption and organized criminal 
activity such as drug trafficking. The Convention provides for a broad 
range of cooperation, including extradition, mutual legal assistance, 
and measures regarding property, in relation to the acts of corruption 
described in the Convention.
    The Convention also imposes on the States Parties an obligation to 
criminalize acts of corruption if they have not already done so. 
Especially noteworthy is the obligation to criminalize the bribery of 
foreign government officials. This provision was included in the 
Convention at the behest of the United States negotiating delegation. In 
recent years, the United States Government has sought in a number of 
multilateral fora to persuade other governments to adopt legislation 
akin to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. This Convention 
represents a significant breakthrough on that front and should lend 
impetus to similar measures in other multilateral groups.
    I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration 
to the Convention, and that it give its advice and consent to 
ratification, subject to the understandings described in the 
accompanying report of the Department of State.

                                                      William J. Clinton

The White House,

April 1, 1998.