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Ad Hoc Committee on Statelessness and Related Problems, First Session: Summary Record of the Ninth Meeting Held at Lake Success, New York, on Tuesday, 24 January 1950, at 11 a.m.

Ad Hoc Committee on Statelessness and Related Problems, First Session: Summary Record of the Ninth Meeting Held at Lake Success, New York, on Tuesday, 24 January 1950, at 11 a.m.

3 February 1950

Chairman: Mr. CHANCE Canada
Members: Mr. CUVELIER Belgium
Mr. CHA China
Mr. LARSEN Denmark
Mr. RAIN France
Mr. KURAL Turkey
Sir Leslie BRASS United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Mr. HENKIN United States of America
Mr. PEREZ PEROZO Venezuela

Representative of a specialized agency:

Mr. WEIS International Refugee Organization (IRO)
Secretariat: Mr. HUMPHREY Representative of the Assistant Secretary-General
Mr. GIRAUD Human Rights Division
Mr. HOGAN Secretary of the Committee

(E/AC.32/2, E/AC.32/L.3)

Chapter III, article 4 (continued)

Paragraph 2 (continued)

1. The CHAIRMAN called upon the Committee to continue the discussion of article 4, paragraph 2. Paragraph 1 had already been adopted, yet the idea of the law of domicile did not seem to be quite clear to some members of the Committee.

2. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) said that in the United Kingdom domicile was interpreted in short, as the country in which the refugee had established his permanent residence. The United Kingdom law would not therefore in those matters apply to a refugee who was only staying in the country for a short time and who intended to settle in another country or to return to his country of origin. The United Kingdom itself would of course decide whether or not a refugee was domiciled in that country.

3. Mr. CHA (China) thought that it should be specified how long a refugee was required to reside in a country in order to be considered as domiciled there. Otherwise it would be difficult to know whether he was really domiciled in a reception country, as had been the case with certain Jews who had taken refuge in Shanghai before the war and had been considered at the time to be domiciled there but who had lost that right later under the Japanese occupation and had finally been repatriated to Poland or directed to Israel. The application of the law of domicile seemed therefore to raise serious difficulties.

4. The CHAIRMAN said that the case quoted by the representative of China was exceptional, as it had arisen as a result of military occupation. Under normal conditions it would suffice to leave the matter to the decision of the signatory countries and to rely on their good will when it came to applying the provisions of the convention.

5. If the Committee was to progress in its work, any over-subtle juridical discussion should be avoided. The concept of personal status, which could be interpreted differently by the various members of the Committee, should therefore be defined more precisely. That concept had been explained in the Secretary-General's Study on the Position of Stateless Persons (E/1112), which said on page 27 that personal status determined (a) a person's capacity; (b) his family rights; (c) the matrimonial regime in so far as that was not considered a part of the law of contracts; (d) succession and inheritance in regard to movable and in some cases to immovable property.

6. If it were possible to define those different aspects of personal status it would be to the advantage of the millions of persons for whom the convention was being drafted if those definitions could be included in the actual text of that instrument. That course would have the added advantage of cutting short the discussions which would inevitably arise especially in connexion with articles 4, 5, 6 and 7.

7. Mr. WEIS (International Refugee Organization) recalled the reasons which had led to the inclusion of paragraph 2, which certain members considered superfluous.

8. Paragraph 2 added nothing to paragraph 1: its purpose was to develop and explain the general principle contained in that paragraph. Certain difficulties had been encountered in the application of that principle, which had already been stated in the 1933 Convention, principally in the matter of family rights and the law respecting successions. That was why the list in paragraph 2 was incomplete: it provided solely for cases in which the application of the principle might give rise to disputes. Thus it had seemed advisable to lay down that the rules of substance, form and competence of the law of domicile or the law of residence applied to the law of marriage, since it was above all in that sphere that the legislations of the various countries differed most. The problem did not arise in regard to the celebration of marriage, which in all countries was governed by the local law. On the other hand the question of the right to contract marriage raised difficulties: countries which had so far applied the national law in that respect did so only in so far as it did not conflict with their public policy. It might therefore happen that the same consideration of domestic public policy might be raised in deciding the capacity of the refugee to contract marriage under the law of his country of domicile or residence. Moreover, the dissolution of marriages raised a question of competence: the courts of many countries refused to decree a dissolution of marriage if the national law of the person concerned was not obliged to recognize the validity of their ruling. Such difficulties would be definitely eliminated if paragraph 2, which provided for the application of the principle contained in paragraph 1 for the aforesaid cases, were adopted by the Committee. Paragraphs 3 and 4 merely laid down exceptions to the general rule contained in paragraph 1.

9. Mr. RAIN (France) felt that it would be dangerous for the Ad Hoc Committee to follow the course advocated by the Chairman and to undertake the task of defining personal status in civil law. Indeed, it was unlikely that such a definition would be in harmony with the various legislations of the States signatories. Furthermore, the notion of personal status applied not only to refugees but also to other aliens and to nationals. Such a notion should not, therefore, be defined in a convention dealing solely with refugees but rather in an instrument dealing with international private law general.

10. Mr. LARSEN (Denmark) agreed with the French representative on that point. The same difficulty of definition arose in respect of the word "domicile" and indeed would arise in connexion with many other juridical expressions in the convention, each one having a generally recognized meaning in different legislation. No definition of those terms could be satisfactory for all countries at one and the dame time. It would be for each State which signed the convention to interpret the expressions used in it within the framework of its own legislation and in the light of the concepts that were most akin to its own juridical system. It would be dangerous for the convention to contain definitions which were too rigid, for most of its rules might then run counter to the rules of the existing legislations of the various States signatories.

11. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) associated himself with the views expressed by the French and Danish representatives. He did not consider that the members of the Committee were competent to work out definitions of that kind.

12. The CHAIRMAN made it clear that he had not meant to propose that the convention should contain definitions in the strict meaning of that word. He had only wanted the convention to list the factors which determined the personal status of refugees within the framework of the convention.

13. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) said that in the United Kingdom the capacity to contract marriage was governed by the law of the country of domicile of the person concerned. On the other hand, the form of the celebration of marriage was governed by the legislation of the country where that celebration was to take place. He wondered whether the place of the celebration of marriage would always be a place of residence of the refugee concerned.

14. Mr. GUERREIRO (Brazil) objected to the inclusion in the convention of the details listed in paragraph 2. Many States might be reluctant to sign a convention which would oblige them to change the traditional principles according to which their legislation settled legal disputes. Such countries would find it necessary to make numerous reservations concerning the application of the convention. In Brazil, for instance, the obstacles to marriage were a matter of public policy which applied to all persons whose marriage was celebrated in the country. In matters of succession, too, the transfer of real estate was carried out in accordance with the legislation of the country where the real estate was, and not in accordance with that of the refugee's country of domicile.

15. It would be preferable, therefore, if the convention merely set forth the general principle contained in paragraph 1 and left it to each legislation to apply that principle to the particular cases which might arise.

16. Mr. RAIN (France) recalled that the text adopted for paragraph 1 had been taken form the 1933 Convention, which did not state that the rules concerning substance, form and competence of the law of the country of domicile should apply to the various hypothetical cases listed in paragraph 2 of the draft under discussion. The objections raised by the United Kingdom and the Brazilian representatives clearly indicated the delicate character of that problem; it did not seem that it could be solved by a committee which was not composed of experts in international law.

17. It seemed that in every country the rules of form governing the celebration of marriage were those of the country where the celebration took place, while the dissolution of marriage was governed by the rules of jus soli. There was no reason, therefore, for any reference to be made to the rules concerning form and competence, which were not mentioned in the 1933 Convention and which had not given rise to any difficulty in practice. Consequently the words "form and competence" should be deleted from paragraph 2.

18. On the other hand, it would be well to add the words "in particular" after the words "shall be governed" in the same paragraph; that would indicate the connexion, to which the IRO representative had drawn attention, between paragraphs 2 and 1 of article 4.

19. Lastly, he would like the Secretariat to state whether it considered that the law of succession was part of family law and whether it should therefore be understood that the rules of substance of the law of the country of domicile or of the country of residence applied both to family law, particularly to the celebration and dissolution of marriage, and to the law of succession. If that were the case, he would propose no further amendments to the text of paragraph 2.

20. Mr. ROBINSON (Israel) pointed out that the Committee would encounter the same difficulty in regard to each one of the following articles. It would have to choose between an ideal convention, which would gain only a few signatures, and a less satisfactory document which would be ratified by a greater number of States. If the Committee did not want the convention to become a dead letter, it must place a limit upon its ambitions, particularly In the drafting of paragraph 2, which embraced a wide field of civil rights.

21. In practice, all details of form in the matter of marriage were governed in civilized countries by the jus loci. There was no reason, therefore, why the explanation given on that point in paragraph 2 should not be omitted. The principle of locus regit actum in reality merely sanctioned a privilege granted by the State which determined the validity of the proceedings to the State where the legal instruments had been drawn up. The matter should therefore be left to the various States concerned.

22. There could be no question about the application of the rules concerning substance of the law of the country of domicile or residence, since the principle of paragraph 1 had been adopted.

23. The rules of competence, however, raised serious problems concerning qualification and very difficult questions involving public policy. For example, certain countries recognized civil divorce only and it was for that reason that the French delegation was proposing the inclusion of an article concerning the validity of the rulings of religious authorities in the matter.

24. The Committee was not in a position to solve such complicated questions. Its aim was to bring immediate relief to refugees. It could not linger over detailed discussions of the problems of substance, form and competence. All it could say was that personal status, and family law in particular, would be governed by the law of the country of domicile or residence. It was not even advisable to mention the law respecting successions, which was linked with the law of property as much as, if not more than, it was with the question of personal status.

25. Mr. WEIS (International Refugee Organization) thought if a clear, balanced text which was not open to differences of interpretation was to be drawn up, the rules concerning competence should at least be mentioned. That question would undoubtedly raise special difficulties in those countries which applied their national laws to foreigners. It would be for those countries, however, in full knowledge of the facts, either to accept all the consequences of the provisions of the convention or to make reservations on that point.

26. Mr. RAIN (France) thought that the Committee could make its choice forthwith and decide whether, on the one hand, the rules concerning substance, form and competence, or only some of those rules, should be mentioned in paragraph 2; and, on the other hand, whether it was necessary to quote only family law, or else the law respecting successions, as an example. As French legal tradition had always considered the law respecting successions to form part of the personal status, the French delegation saw no objection to those laws being mentioned in paragraph 2.

27. Mr. ROBINSON (Israel) considered that the best procedure would be to abide by paragraph 1, as adopted, and to agree that the Secretariat study (E/1112) was an adequate expose of the concept of personal status. It was for the contracting parties to decide finally upon the elements of that status, in the light of the interpretation given by the Secretariat and of the records of the Committee meetings, without, however, being bound by those texts. In the circumstances, the details in paragraph 2 were superfluous and he proposed that the paragraph should be deleted.

28. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) argued that the definition given in the Secretariat study gave only a very vague idea of the concept of personal status. Each of elements mentioned in paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d) was again sub-divided into numerous sub-elements. The law of the United Kingdom varied according to whether it was to be applied to one or another of those sub-elements. It therefore appeared that any attempt to define the concept of personal status must, in practice, encounter insurmountable difficulties.

29. Mr. KURAL (Turkey) supported the Israel representative's suggestion. The general principle of paragraph 1 having been adopted, it seemed unnecessary to enumerate certain examples of the application of that principle. In point of fact the concept of personal status would be determined by the laws and customs of each country, with due regard to the preparatory work of the convention.

30. Only paragraphs 3 and 4, therefore, giving the exceptions to the general rule, should be retained.

31. Mr. WEIS (International Refugee Organization) emphasized that main object of paragraph 2 was to prevent any future application of national law in the matter of marriage or succession of refugees.

32. Mr. RAIN (France) agreed with the representatives of Israel and Turkey that it would be best to be content with paragraph 1, already adopted, and to give up the idea of enumerating some of the rights referred to in that paragraph.

33. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) pointed out that main purpose was to regulate the position of those countries where aliens were subject to their own national law, for in other countries there could be no difficulty with regard to the enforcement of paragraph 1. In his opinion, it would be sufficient if it could be understood that the law respecting family matters was to be governed by the law of the country of domicile or of residence, and there was no need to mention the rules concerning substance, form and competence.

34. Mr. RAIN (France) pointed out that under paragraph 1 the law of the country of domicile or of residence was to apply in every case and in every country. None of the difficulties referred to by the representative of the United Kingdom could therefore arise in the future, even in those countries where their own national law was applied to aliens. Paragraph 1 not, of course, provide the solution for every problem which might conceivably arise. As had been pointed out by the representative of Belgium, a marriage might be celebrated outside the country of domicile; that was a point that needed clarification. In any event, however, there could be no further question of applying national law to the personal status of refugees and there was no distinction to be made between the various countries.

35. Mr. ROBINSON (Israel) felt that to prevent any misunderstanding it should be specified that the juridical scope of paragraph 1 would vary according to whether a country applied national law to aliens or the law of their country of domicile. In the latter case, the convention could be put into effect without the Government concerned having to adopt special measures. On the other hand, countries which applied national law to aliens would have to take steps to bring their legislation into line with the provisions of the convention. The object of paragraph 1 was to ensure unification of legislations on that point; it should not, therefore, give rise to any difficulties.

36. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) suggested that it might satisfy the delegations of France and the United Kingdom if it were specified in paragraph 1 that the personal status of refugees should be governed not by their national law but by the law of their country of domicile or of residence.

37. Mr. RAIN (France) saw no need to amend the wording of paragraph 1, which, to him, was perfectly clear. Obviously, the question of the application of national law could no longer arise in the United Kingdom or in any other country which was a party to the convention. There was therefore no reason to anticipate any difficulty on that point. The only question left for the Committee to decide was whether to retain a paragraph 2 listing cases covered by the general principle set forth in paragraph 1. He personally felt that there was no need for it.

38. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) explained, in order to prevent any possible misunderstanding, that his suggestion was merely to draft article 4 in such a way that its provisions would apply only to those States which at present applied national law to the personal status of refugees. The article would not affect States which applied the law of the country of domicile or of residence.

39. Mr. LARSEN (Denmark) pointed out that there were various criteria whereby legal disputes respecting international private law could be solved. There were, inter alia, lex loci, national law, the law of the country of domicile and the law of the country of residence. With regard to refugees, the Committee had decided that their personal status would be governed by the law of their country of domicile or, failing that, by the law of their country of residence. That being the case, all other criteria had been abandoned. Consequently, in those States where the law of the country of domicile or of residence was applied, refugees would receive the dame treatment as other aliens; in other countries, they would be granted a special status.

40. He proposed the following amended wording for paragraph 1, to make that fact clear:

"In countries where the personal status of a person is governed by the national law of his country, the personal status of refugees shall be governed by the law of their country of domicile or, failing such, by the law of their country of residence."

41. Mr. WEIS (International Refugee Organization) considered that suggestion excellent. He again urged the Committee to agree to the following wording: " ... shall be governed by the rules concerning substance, form and competence of the law".

42. The CHAIRMAN thought that the easiest way out of the difficulties in which the Committee was involved lay in its defining exactly what was meant by "personal status".

43. He did not think that all the laws in force in the countries concerned could be amended; the fact that all questions relating to the personal status of refugees would be governed by the law of their country of domicile or of residence must be accepted. The States signatories to the convention must therefore be trusted to carry out their obligations in the spirit of the convention.

44. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) noted that the Danish representative's suggestion had been favourably received by the representative of the United States and had been regarded as highly satisfactory by the representative of the IRO. He was therefore prepared to support that suggestion.

45. Mr. RAIN (France) noted with regret that the Committee had adopted a somewhat curious method in drafting the convention. It did not hesitate to impose on certain States a rule which differed from the rule they normally applied, yet it made no attempt to ensure uniformity, desirable though that was, in the application of the same rule by the States which were already applying it. The Committee was, in fact, trying to bring about the application of a new rule in countries having a French legal tradition.

46. The French idea had not met with a favourable reception so far, either on questions of principle or on those of application; in every case it had had to yield to other ideas. It would be recalled that he had accepted the idea that the personal status of refugees should be governed by the law of the country of domicile or of residence - which represented a considerable concession on his part, as members of the Committee were well aware. In return for that concession, he would appreciate it if nothing was said to imply that the provisions of article 4 concerned only those countries which, like France, were at present applying the law of national status.

47. The IRO representative wished it to be specified that the personal status of refugees would be governed by the rules concerning the substance, form and competence of the law involved. He himself thought that it would be better to refrain from making rigid stipulations and to refer merely to the question of substance, without mentioning the questions of form and competence. In his opinion, a State on the territory of which an act was performed by a refugee could not be compelled to adapt its rules of form and competence to those of the country of domicile or of residence.

48. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) fully appreciated the position of the representative of France and could not but agree with it. There could be no question of drawing a distinction between the countries which applied the law of the country of domicile or of residence and those which did not apply it.

49. It was clear that to amend paragraph 1 of article 4 as had been suggested would be tantamount to compelling certain countries to make considerable changes in their legislation. It would therefore be better to retain the text of paragraph 1 as adopted.

50. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) was not opposed to retaining paragraph 1 in its existing form, although that depended, in his opinion, on the action taken on paragraph 2.

51. The CHAIRMAN though that the consensus of opinion was that the text of paragraph 1, as adopted at the previous meeting, should be retained. He therefore proposed that that should be done.

It was so decided.

52. Mr. CUVELIER (Belgium) proposed the closure of debate, in view of the fact that all view had been expressed at length and that every member of the Committee had been able to form a definite opinion on the question.

53. He reminded the Committee that the provisions of paragraph 2 did not appear in the 1993 and 1938 Conventions; the paragraph appeared to raise some difficulties, while there was no obvious need for it. It would be wise, therefore, to delete it, particularly as it added practically nothing to the provisions of paragraph 1.

54. The CHAIRMAN called for a vote on the deletion of paragraph 2.

The proposal to delete paragraph 2 was adopted unanimously.

55. Mr. WEIS (International Refugee Organization) asked whether it would be possible to include in the Committee's report a paragraph explaining that paragraph 2 had been deleted because, in the opinion of the Committee, paragraph 1 fully covered the points raised in paragraph 2 and also because the law differed considerably various States, particularly with regard to the questions referred to in paragraph 2. The report might then state that the Committee had unanimously agreed that the questions dealt with in paragraph 2 ought not to be governed by the rules concerning the substance, form and competence of the national law, even in the countries in which such questions were usually governed by that law.

Paragraph 3

56. The CHAIRMAN read out the text of paragraph 3.

57. Mr. RAIN (France) proposed that a new paragraph 2, reproducing the substance, if not the text, of paragraph (b) of article 3 in the French proposal (E/AC.32/L.3, page 4) should be inserted between paragraphs 1and 3.

58. The provisions of that paragraph appeared in the 1933 Convention and there had never been any difficulty in their application. It would seem that all countries should recognize the validity of the acts of religious authorities to whom refugees were amendable, if performed in countries admitting the competence of such authorities.

59. The proposed new paragraph was wholly consonant with paragraph 3 of the Secretariat draft, both paragraph being based upon the same article of the 1933 Convention.

60. Mr. CUVELIER (Belgium) supported the French representative's proposal. He thought that the Secretariat should explain why in its draft it had departed from the text proposed by the French representative, although that text appeared in the article of the 1933 Convention which had been the basis for paragraph 3 of the Secretariat draft.

61. The CHAIRMAN explained, after consultation with the representative of the Assistant Secretary-General, that the Secretariat had considered that the provisions of paragraph 3 covered all acquired rights including those resulting from the acts of religious authorities to whom the refugees were amendable, if performed in countries admitting the competence of such authorities.

62. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) agreed with the representatives of France and Belgium. He had no objection to the addition of the proposed new paragraph. He thought, however, that paragraphs (b) and (c) of article 3 of the French draft might be combined into a single paragraph stating that "rights acquired under former national law of the refugee shall be respected ... ". Some such formula would ensure the respect of all acquired rights, including those which had been acquired by church marriages.

63. Mr. RAIN (France) shared the Secretariat's opinion. He would not press for the addition of the paragraph he had proposed; he simply asked that the Committee's report should mention the fact that the provisions of article 3, paragraph (b), of the French draft had not been included in the draft convention, not because there was any intention to rescind those provisions but because they were covered by the general terms of paragraph 3 of the Secretariat draft.

64. Mr. ROBINSON (Israel) proposed that the words appearing between brackets in paragraph 3, namely "matrimonial system, legal capacity of married women etc.", should be deleted.

It was so agreed.

65. Mr. ROBINSON (Israel) pointed out that the wording of paragraph 3 should be brought into conformity with the wording of paragraph 1 by replacing, in the English text only, the words "failing such" by the phrase "if they have no domicile".

It was so agreed.

66. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) wondered whether the words "more particularly rights attaching to marriage" were absolutely necessary. They seemed to indicate a desire to attach particular importance to rights attaching to marriage.

67. The CHAIRMAN thought that those rights were indeed of particular importance and that special reference should be made to them.

68. Sir Leslie BRASS (Untied Kingdom) pointed out that the rights referred to in paragraph 3 must have been acquired in such conditions that they would normally be recognized by the law of the country of domicile or by that of the country of residence.

69. Mr. CHA (China) drew attention to the fact that the word "refugee" appeared in the plural in paragraph 1 and in the singular in paragraph 3. It would be advisable to bring the two texts into conformity by using the plural in both cases.

It was so agreed.

70. The CHAIRMAN proposed that paragraph 3 should be adopted, together with the various amendments which had been proposed.

It was so agreed.

Paragraph 4

71. The CHAIRMAN read paragraph 4.

72. Mr. HENKIN (United States of America) pointed out that paragraph 4 referred to "the reception country", whereas the paragraphs which had been previously adopted referred to the country of domicile or of residence. Since the same thing was intended in each case, the words "the reception country" should be replaced by the phrase "the country of domicile, or, if they have no domicile, of residence".

It was so agreed.

73. Mr. CUVELIER (Belgium) drew attention to the fact that the text of paragraph 4 was more general than that of the comment which accompanied it. The comment spoke of wills made by refugees in their country of origin, whereas paragraph 4 referred to "wills made by refugees in countries other than the country of domicile ... .".

74. Thus in the case of a Polish refugee who had spent some time in Germany and had then taken up permanent residence in Belgium, a will made in Poland would, according to the comment, be valid in Belgium whereas according to paragraph 4 it would be valid if it had been made either in Poland or in Germany.

75. Mr. Cuvelier thought that that question should be clarified.

76. Mr. LARSEN (Denmark) considered that it was reasonable to include in the article relating to the personal status of refugees a provision guaranteeing the validity of wills made by them before their arrival in the countries which became their country of domicile or of residence. On the other hand he did not see why that provision should be drafted in such terms as to grant the refugees, after heir arrival in the country of domicile or of residence, the privilege of making wills in other countries in accordance with the laws of those countries and of having those wills recognized as valid in the reception countries; privileges of that nature were never granted to aliens and there was consequently no reason why they should be given to refugees.

77. The text of paragraph 4 should therefore stress the fact that it applied only to wills made before arrival in the country of domicile or of residence.

78. The CHAIRMAN pointed out that if provision were made only for wills drawn up in the country of origin, paragraph 4 would be of academic interest only; there was every reason to believe that the country of origin wold not be prepared to allow the heirs to take possession of the property left to them, even if it was still in existence.

79. Mr. LARSEN (Denmark) explained that his intention had been to point out a serious difficulty which would certainly arise if paragraph 4 remained unaltered. Some countries, such as Denmark, did not allow the testator to disinherit his children; the children must be assured of their rightful share, and the testator could dispose freely of the remaining portion only. Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, allowed the testator to dispose of the whole of his estate as he pleased. Thus, a refugee in Denmark who wished to disinherit his children could go to the United Kingdom in order to make his will; it would conform to the laws of that country and Denmark would be obliged to recognize it as valid.

80. Mr. Larsen found such a situation unacceptable and therefore felt it imperative to amend the text of paragraph 4.

81. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) found some difficulty in grasping the precise purpose of paragraph 4. The subject was a complicated one and had been dealt with in a number of law books. The validity of a will depended on several factors, such as the nature of the property willed - whether it was movable or immovable - the provisions made by the testator and the laws of the countries concerned - either the country in which a will had been drawn up or the country in which the property was situated or the country of the testator's domicile.

82. Since it appeared difficult to resolve the question in a simple paragraph, Sir Leslie proposed the deletion of paragraph 4.

83. Mr. ROBINSON (Israel) thought it would be useful to know why the Secretariat had thought fit to introduce paragraph 4.

84. Mr. GIRAUD (Secretariat) explained that the purpose of paragraph 4 was to guarantee the validity of a will made by a refugee in his country of origin if he died in his country of reception without making another will.

85. In reply to the objections raised, Mr. Giraud said that the Secretariat had intended to refer to the form of a will rather than to its provisions. For example, the will of a Russian refugee in France would be recognized as valid with respect to form; the validity of its provisions, however, would have to be determined according to local law or, in the case of landed property, according to the law of the country in which the property was situated.

86. Mr. CUVELIER (Belgium) felt that if the only purpose of paragraph 4 was to recall the principle locus regit actum, the paragraph was wholly unnecessary, inasmuch as the principle was generally recognized and respected, as the Israel representative had pointed out.

87. Mr. RAIN (France) feared that the text of paragraph 4 did not lend itself to the interpretation which the Secretariat representative had put upon it.

88. The Secretariat drew a distinction between the form and the substance of a testament, which Mr. Rain found unduly subtle. A refugee who had made a will in his country of origin or in transit thought that his will was valid with respect to both form and substance, and that it would so remain. That was what the text of paragraph 4 said; that was, in fact, what should be said. The only amendment necessary was to make it clear that the provision applied to wills made before arrival in the country of reception, which would rule out the possibility suggested by the Danish representative.

89. Mr. LARSEN (Denmark) fully supported the French representative's suggestion. Paragraph 4 could easily be amended so as to state clearly what the Secretariat had really intended it to say.

90. Sir Leslie BRASS (United Kingdom) doubted very much whether he would be able to accept paragraph 4 either in its existing form or as amended by the French representative.

91. Mr. CHA (China) was in the same position as the United Kingdom representative, for he questioned the effectiveness and necessity of paragraph 4.

92. The CHAIRMAN proposed that the discussion should be adjourned to enable the Secretariat to prepare an amended text along the lines indicated by the French representative.

93. Mr. CUVELIER (Belgium), speaking on a point of order, observed that the Committee was adopting isolated articles without prejudging their place in the draft convention. Although he accepted in principle the order suggested in the Secretariat draft, he reserved the right to propose certain changes after all the articles had been adopted and before the adoption of the draft convention as a whole.

The meeting rose at 1 p.m.