1958 Report Of The U.S. Delegation To The United Nations Conference On International Commercial Arbitration - ARIA Vol. 19 No. 1 2008
Originally from American Review of International Arbitration - ARIA
I. Introduction and Summary
The United Nations Conference an International Commercial Arbitration
was held at United Nations Headquarters, New York from May 20 to
June 10, 1958.
The movement for a conference of governments on commercial arbitration
originated with the International Chamber of Commerce, a non- governmental
organization having consultative status with the Economic and Social Council.
In 1953 the ICC prepared a draft convention on the enforcement international
arbitral awards as a replacement for the most effective existing
multilateral convention on this subject, the convention on the Execution
of Foreign Arbitral. Award" signed at. Geneva September 26, 1921. The ICC
proposals embodied advanced concepts of arbitration law. In particular,
the ICC postulated the idea of a supranational law of arbitration which
would free arbitral awards entirely from control by national laws. Under
t his concept the award would be subject only to the will of the parties
as expressed in the agreement to arbitrate and to the canons or standards
for enforcement provided by multilateral convention.
In 1954 ECOSOC established an ad hoc committee of experts to study the
question of the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards, as presented by the
ICC. The United States voted in favor of establishment of the committee of
experts as a gesture of support for arbitration generally but it did not
seek representation on the committee. The ad hoc committee, which was
composed or representatives of Australia, Belgium, Ecuador, Egypt, India,
Sweden, The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and The United Kingdom,
met in March 1955. After detailed consideration of the ICC Proposals, it
formulated a draft convention of its own, which differed in material respects
from that sponsored by the ICC and represented much less of a departure from
the substantive principles of the Geneva Convention.
ECOSOC thereupon sought the views of governments as to the desirability
of calling an international conference to conclude a convention
along the lines of the draft prepared by the committee of experts. When
a reasonable number of governments expressed approval ECOSOC, by Resolution
604(XXI), adopted May 3, 1956, formally decided to summon a conference to
consider such a convention, and, use. "other possible measures for increasing the
effectiveness of arbitration in the settlement of private law
disputes" . The United States abstained from voting on this resolution.
The Conference devoted the bulk of its time and attention to the
framing of a convention on the recognition and enforcement of foreign
arbitral awards. Although based upon the ECOSOC draft, the new convention
goes substantially beyond it in number of particulars. The most important
is the addition of provisions for recognition of the validity of contracts
or agreements far submission of existing and future disputes to arbitration.
The Conference also gave brief and rather sketchy consideration to other possible
measures for the more effective use of arbitration in the settlement of private law disputes.