U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
BACKGROUND NOTES:  BELGIUM, NOVEMBER 1994
PUBLISHED BY THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS


November 1994

Official Name: Kingdom of Belgium


PROFILE


Geography

Area:  30,519 sq. km. (11,799 sq. mi.); about the size of
Maryland.
Cities:  Capital--Brussels (pop. 950,000).  Other cities--
Antwerp (466,000), Ghent (230,000), Liege (196,000).
Terrain:  Varies from coastal plains in northwest through
low hills to the Ardennes Mountains in the southeast.
Climate: Cool, temperate, and rainy, without extreme
temperatures.

People

Nationality:  Noun and adjective--Belgian(s).
Population (1994 est.):  10 million.
Annual growth rate:  3.5%.
Linguistic groups:  Dutch 58%, French 32%, legally bilingual
region of Brussels, German.
Religion:  Roman Catholic 75%.
Education:  Years compulsory--to age 18.  Literacy--98%.
Health:  Infant mortality rate--9/1,000.  Life expectancy--
70 yrs. men; 77 yrs. women.
Work force (1994 est.) 4.3 million:  Services and
transportation--44%.  Industry and construction--34%.
Public service--20%.   Agriculture--2%.

Government

Type:  Parliamentary democracy under a constitutional
monarch. Independence:  1830.
Constitution:  1993 (revised).
Branches:  Executive--king (chief of state), prime minister
(head of government), Council of Ministers (cabinet).
Legislative--bicameral parliament (Senate and House of
Representatives); regional assemblies with Executives for
Regional Affairs for Flanders, Brussels, and Wallonia (to be
replaced by regional legislatures in 1995; community
assemblies with Executives for Cultural Affairs for major
linguistic communities.   Judicial--Court of Cassation.
Subdivisions:  3 regions (Flanders; Wallonia; Brussels-
Capital); 3 cultural/cultural communities (Francophone,
Flemish, German); 10 provinces; 589 communes.
Political parties:  Flemish Christian Democrats (CVP),
Francophone  Christian Democrats (PSC), Francophone
Socialists (PS), Flemish Socialists (SP), Flemish Liberal
(VLD), Francophone Liberal (PRL), Volksunie (VU),
Francophone Democratic Front (FDF), Flemish Ecologists
(AGALEV), Vlaams Blok (VB), Francophone Ecologists (ECOLO),
Front National (FN).
Suffrage:  Universal and compulsory at 18.

Economy

GDP (1994 est.):  $226 billion.
Annual growth rate (1994 est.):  1.8%.
Per capita income (1994 est.):  $20,600.
Natural resources:  Coal.
Agriculture (2% of GDP):  Products--livestock, including
dairy cattle, grain, sugar beets, nursery products, flax,
tobacco, potatoes, other vegetables, fruits.
Industry (28% of GDP):  Types--machinery, iron and steel,
coal, textiles, chemicals, glass, pharmaceuticals,
manufactured goods.
Trade (1994 est.):  Exports--$115 billion:  iron and steel,
transportation equipment, tractors, diamonds, petroleum
products.  Imports--$117 billion:  fuels, chemical products,
grains, foodstuffs.  Trading partners--European Union 75%;
U.S. 5%.
Official exchange rate (1994 average) 33 Belgian
francs=U.S.$1.  n


PEOPLE

At the crossroads of Europe, Belgium has witnessed a
constant ebb and flow of different peoples and cultures over
its long history.  It comprises cultural elements of Celtic,
Roman, German, French, Dutch, Spanish, and Austrian origins.
Immigrants who came to Belgium from Southern Europe, Turkey,
and North Africa after World War II have further contributed
to the country's cultural mix.

Today, Belgians are divided linguistically into Dutch
speakers, called Flemings, and French speakers, called
Walloons, with a nominally bilingual population in Brussels.
Some 67,000 German speakers live in the east; about 900,000
foreigners reside in Belgium as well.  Population density is
the second highest in Europe, after the Netherlands.

HISTORY

Belgium has existed essentially in its present form since
1830, when an uprising led to independence from The
Netherlands.  The country's name goes back to a Celtic
tribe, the Belgae, whom Julius Caesar described as the most
courageous tribe in all of Gaul.  The Belgae were
overwhelmed, however, by Caesar's legions around 50 BC, and
for 300 years the area was a Roman province.  Some scholars
believe that the southern part of Belgium was the
northernmost area of true Roman cultural penetration, beyond
which Latin never really took hold.  The proto-Dutch
language, spoken by the Frankish invaders who swept through
the Roman Empire in the 4th century AD, took hold north of
that line.

Throughout most of the Middle Ages, life in the area
centered on the quasi-independent trading and manufacturing
towns--Ghent, Bruges, Antwerp, Liege, and others--that rose
out of the rubble left by the Viking ravages of northern
Europe.  After centuries of war and many accidents of
dynastic succession, the area that had come to be known as
the Lowlands--comprising the approximate modern territories
of Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg--came into the
possession of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor in the early
1500s.

The arrival of Protestantism polarized the Lowlands into two
hostile camps.  In the religious wars, the split became geo-
graphic and political as the Protestants succeeded in
establishing the United Provinces of the Netherlands in the
north.  The remaining Catholic territory after these wars is
roughly equivalent to modern Belgium.

After two centuries of Spanish rule, the Austrian Hapsburgs
gained control of the country after the Treaty of Utrecht
(1713).  Napoleon annexed it to France in 1794.  After his
defeat in 1815, Belgium was awarded to The Netherlands.
However, after 15 years of chafing against Dutch
administrative and economic reforms, the Belgian people
revolted and declared the independent state of Belgium in
1830.  A progressive, almost republican constitution, was
created, and the state was successfully launched with
Leopold I, a German prince, as the first King of the
Belgians.

For 84 years, Belgium remained neutral in an era of intra-
European wars until German troops overran the country during
their attack on France in 1914.  King Albert, the
constitutional commander-in-chief of the armed forces,
rallied what remained of his troops and, after joining the
French Army, was able to retain a tiny corner of Flemish
Belgium near the sea throughout the war.  Some of the
fiercest battles of World War I were fought on "Flanders'
Fields."

The inter-war years saw an unprecedented blooming of Flemish
culture in northern Belgium and a sharpening of ethnic
rivalry between the northern Dutch-speaking Flemings and the
southern French-speaking Walloons.  Partly as a result, in
1936, Belgium reverted to its former policy of neutrality,
trying not to provide Nazi Germany with an excuse to invade.
As in 1914, this failed, and Belgium was occupied by the
Germans in 1940. While the cabinet and other political
leaders established a government-in-exile in London, the
King remained in Belgium for the entire war.  The King's
controversial behavior during the German occupation forced
him, in 1951, to abdicate in favor of his son, Baudouin, who
reigned until his death in 1993.  The current King is
Baudouin's brother, Albert II.


GOVERNMENT

Belgium is a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional
monarch.  Although the king (chief of state) is technically
the source of all executive authority, the Council of
Ministers (cabinet) actually makes all governmental
decisions.  The Council of Ministers, led by the prime
minister (head of government), holds office as long as it
retains the confidence of the parliament.  Parliamentary
elections are held at least every 4 years.  There is
universal suffrage, with obligatory voting and a complicated
system of proportional representation.

The bicameral parliament consists of the Senate and the
House of Representatives.  Constitutional reforms passed in
1993 will reduce the size of both bodies after the next
national elections, in November 1995.  Of the current 183
senators, 106 (71 after  1995) are elected by direct vote,
51 (40) are elected by provincial councils, and 26 (10) by
fellow senators.  Prince Philippe, heir to the throne, also
is a member of the Senate.  The 212 (150) members of the
House of Representatives, traditionally the dominant body,
are all directly elected.

In 1970 and 1980, the constitution was amended to provide
for creation of "community" and regional assemblies and
executive boards.  Currently, Belgium consists of three
linguistic "communities" (francophone, Dutch-speaking, and
German-speaking) and three regions (Flanders, Wallonia, and
Brussels-Capital).  In 1989 and 1993,  new rounds of
constitutional amendments gave these bodies significant
powers that had formerly been the domain of the national
government.  For Flanders and Wallonia, regional and
community assemblies are currently composed of the members
of the House of Representatives and of the directly elected
Senators from each regional cultural entity.  For the
Brussels-Capital region, members of the regional assembly
are elected directly in special elections.  Beginning with
the next national elections, regional and community councils
will be directly elected.  The regional councils will in
turn elect the regional governments from among their
members.

The Belgian judiciary is modeled on the French system.  The
highest court is the Court of Cassation; its chief justice
is appointed by the king.  The courts rule on the
constitutionality of acts by all levels of authority
concerning equality, nondiscrimination, and freedom of
education.  In addition, advisory opinions on major
legislation are rendered by the Council of State, a special
legal group.

Principal Government Officials

Chief of State--King Albert II
Prime Minister--Jean-Luc Dehaene (CVP)
Vice Premier, Minister of Communications and Public
Enterprises--Elio Di Rupo (PS)
Vice Premier, Minister of Foreign Affairs--Frank
Vandenbroucke (SP)
Vice Premier, Minister of Justice and Economic Affairs--
Melchior Wathelet (PSC)
Vice Premier, Minister of the Budget--Herman Van Rompuy
(CVP)
Ambassador to the United States--Andre Adam
Ambassador to the United Nations--Alexis Reyn

The Belgian embassy is at 3330 Garfield Street NW.,
Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-333-6900; Fax 202-333-3079)


POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The most significant factor in Belgian politics is the
division of the Belgian people into two major language
groups--Flemish (Dutch) speakers and French speakers.  All
major institutions are divided by language.  Regional and
linguistic interests and concerns affect all important
national decisions. Constitutional reform efforts since the
early 1960s sought to mitigate conflicts between language
groups by granting increasing autonomy to the linguistic
regions and communities. The 1988-89 round of constitutional
reform resulted in the devolution of significant powers to
regional and community assemblies and executive boards.

Another package of constitutional reforms and amendments
passed in 1993 officially transformed Belgium into a federal
state and further increased the competencies of the Flemish,
Walloon, and Brussels-Capital regional governments.  The
regions received policy-making authority in foreign trade,
agriculture, and other areas.  In addition, the package
reduced the size of the national Senate and Chamber of
Deputies, assured direct elections of regional legislative
assemblies, and set conditions for Francophones living in
the Brussels "periphery" in Flanders to vote and participate
in the political deliberations of the Walloon Regional
Government and the Francophone Community.  The 1993 accords
also mandated budget savings, transferred additional revenue
competencies to the regions, and split the province of
Brabant into Flemish and Walloon components.

In his 1994 state of the union address, Prime Minister
Dehaene cited improving Belgium's economic situation as his
coalition's top priority.  Issues of particular interest
included reducing unemployment, financing social security,
and attracting foreign investment.  The government's current
program of economic austerity is unpopular among some
sectors of society but is necessary if Belgium is to meet
requirements for European Monetary Union membership which
state that a nation's budget deficit cannot be more than 3%
of GDP.  Despite the federalization of Belgium in 1993, the
government continues to face the issue of devolution of
central authority.  Particularly contentious is a proposal
by some Fleming politicians and economic leaders to
federalize social security and health care and to give the
regions even greater fiscal autonomy.

Political Parties

Belgium has the traditional range of political parties
normally found in most modern European democracies, from
"Greens" through socialist and Christian democratic to
conservative (in Europe, conservative parties are frequently
referred to as "Liberal" parties).  In Belgium, however, the
three parties that represent the main ideological tendencies
(socialist, Christian democratic, conservative), plus the
"Greens" have split along linguistic lines into entirely
separate parties--e.g., Flemish socialists and Francophone
socialists.  In addition to the mainstream parties, Flemish
and Francophone extreme-right parties also exist and pulled
about 8% of the aggregate vote in local and provincial
elections in 1994.

Traditionally, the Roman Catholic Church was the basis for
the Christian democratic parties (known as the CVP in
Flanders and the PSC in Wallonia).  Recently, the Christian
democrats generally have promoted broad principles of social
unity without overt reference to ecclesiastical ties.  The
two parties draw support for their moderate policies from
all social classes, including members of the Catholic Trade
Union Federation, Belgium's largest labor organization.

The socialist parties in Belgium (the PS in Wallonia and the
SP in Flanders) are pragmatic and moderate on most issues.
Both socialist parties have concentrated on social welfare
and industrial democracy within the framework of Belgium's
free enterprise economy.  The parties are closely associated
with the Belgian Federation of Labor, the country's second
largest trade union organization.

The conservative/Liberal parties (the PRL in Wallonia and
the VLD in Flanders) promote free enterprise, individualism,
and small business.  Liberals favor reducing government
spending and removing regulations and believe that the state
should encourage private initiative.  They advocate
moderate, gradual social reform and appeal mainly to the
middle class, particularly small entrepreneurs,
professionals, and shopkeepers.

The Volksunie (VU), a Flemish nationalist party, favors
independence for Flanders.  The party has lost support in
the last few years, principally to the more extreme Vlaams
Blok (VS), an extreme-right party, which has emerged as the
greatest threat to the VU as well as other traditional
Flemish parties.  In the 1994 municipal and provincial
elections, the VB's anti-immigrant, anti-central Belgian
Government message attracted support beyond its traditional
ultra-right base from mainstream voters disenchanted with
traditional parties. Its support is centered in the city of
Antwerp, where it received more votes than any other party
in the 1994 municipal election.

Two Francophone far-right parties, the National Front (FN)
and Agir, made notable gains in certain Walloon cities in
the 1994 municipal and provincial elections.  The Walloon-
independence movement's impact on Belgian politics is
negligible.  The Democratic Front of Francophones (FDF)
defends the interests of the Francophone majority in
metropolitan Brussels.

The Belgian "Green" parties, AGALEV in Flanders and ECOLO in
Wallonia, continue to attract support from young voters as
well as others disenchanted with the traditional parties.
In addition to increased environmental protection, the two
"green" parties support nuclear and conventional disarmament
and integration of immigrants into Belgian society.

In May 1988, Flemish and Francophone Christian Democrats and
Socialists and the Flemish nationalist Volksunie formed a
government whose centerpieces were a package of
constitutional reforms that would allow the devolution of
significant powers to regional and community executives and
assemblies and agreement on maintaining the fiscal reform
program.  A compromise among the parties led to new
provisions for dealing with linguistic tensions.

The first two phases of constitutional reform were completed
by July 1989.  In September 1991, a crisis erupted
ostensibly over the issue of Flemish refusal to approve the
issuance of arms export licenses to Walloon firms.  In
reality, the government collapsed because of its inability
to reach agreement on devolution of power on issues such as
state reform, regionalization of international trade and
agriculture, and the Francophone community's inability to
pay its teachers.

The government stayed on in a caretaker capacity through the
November 1991 national elections and the eventual formation
of a new government coalition in March 1992.  That
coalition, under the leadership of Prime Minister Jean-Luc
Dehaene, was still center-left in its composition.
Christian Democrats and Socialists agreed on a limited
government program and launched a well-publicized community-
to-community dialogue to try to jump-start constitutional
reform.

Although the dialogue broke off in July 1992 without
agreement on any substantive issues, the government
succeeded in crafting a "grand compromise" when it
reconvened in September 1992.  That agreement, which was
ratified by parliament in July 1993, included additional
austerity measures in a broad package of institutional and
state reforms.

Currently, Belgian legislators are attempting to focus their
attention on economic initiatives such as reducing
unemployment and bringing the budget deficit under control.
However, tensions still remain within the government over
waning support for traditional parties, as evidenced by the
1994 provincial and municipal election results, and
continuing calls for the federalization of social security.
The next general elections must be called no later than
November 1995.

The government coalition assembled in 1992, under the
leadership of Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene, was still
center-left in its composition.  Christian Democrats and
Socialists agreed on a limited government program and
launched a well-publicized community-to-community dialogue
to try to initiate constitutional reform and proceed to the
third phase.  The dialogue broke off in July without
agreement on any substantive issues.  Flemish and
Francophone positions on voting rights for Francophones
living in the Brussels periphery hardened.  The dialogue's
failure vitiated the budgetary discussions and produced a
budget that did not satisfy any of the parties involved.

National Security

As a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO), Belgium participates in the collective security
efforts of the Alliance, and its army, navy, and air force
are included in NATO's integrated military structure.
Belgium is host to both NATO Headquarters in Brussels and
the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe, located at
Casteau, near the southern town of Mons.

The Belgian armed forces are in transition, the result of
the end of the Cold War and reduced defense funding as
Belgium strives to meet economic targets for entry into the
European Economic and Monetary Union.  Defense Minister
Delcroix released a restructuring plan in July 1992 that
will convert the military to an all-volunteer force and
reduce its size by roughly 45%, from 85,000 to 45,000, by
1997.  Under the plan, defense funding will remain frozen at
the 1993 figure of approximately $3.2 billion.  Conscription
ended in January 1994.

The Belgian Government has publicly stated that it will
continue to meet all its alliance and other international
defense commitments and, in this connection, it is to
undertake consultations with NATO as part of finalizing
Belgium's defense restructuring plans.


ECONOMY

Belgium, as a highly developed market economy, belongs to
the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD). In recent years, with a geographic area about equal
to that of Maryland, and population of 10 million, Belgium's
GDP level has placed it in the top 20 for all countries of
the world.  In 1994, per capita GDP was about $20,600

Densely populated Belgium is located at the heart of one of
the world's most highly industrialized regions.  The first
country to undergo industrialization on the continent of
Europe in the early 1800s, Belgium developed an excellent
transportation infrastructure of ports, canals, railways,
and highways to integrate its industry with that of its
neighbors. One of the founding members of the European Union
(EU), Belgium strongly supports deepening the powers of the
EU to integrate European economies.  Belgium supports
establishment of a single EU monetary policy and currency
before the end of the century.

With exports equivalent to about two-thirds of GDP, Belgium
depends heavily on world trade.  It exports twice as much
per capita as Germany and five times as much as Japan.  Its
trade advantages are derived from its central geographic
location and a highly skilled, multilingual, and productive
work force.

Belgium has virtually no exploitable natural resources.  Its
industrial sector can be compared to a complex processing
machine importing raw materials and semi-finished goods that
are further processed for re-export.  Most traditional
industrial sectors are represented, including steel,
textiles, refining, food processing, chemicals,
pharmaceuticals, automobiles, electronics and machinery
fabrication.

The early 1980s saw the country facing a difficult period of
structural adjustment caused by declining demand for its
traditional products, deteriorating economic performance,
and neglected structural reform.  Consequently, the 1980-82
recession shook Belgium to the core:  Unemployment mounted,
social welfare costs increased, personal debt soared, the
government deficit climbed to 13% of GDP, and the national
debt, although mostly held domestically, mushroomed.

Against this grim backdrop, in 1982, Prime Minister Martens'
center-right coalition government formulated an economic
recovery program to promote export-led growth by enhancing
the competitiveness of Belgium's export industries.

By 1984, annual industrial growth exceeded 5%.  Production
in the steel and metal-working industry increased.  The
expansion of high-tech industry, particularly in Flanders,
and the service sector continued at a steady pace.  By 1985,
the government attained a surplus in its trade and current
accounts.

Economic growth rose from 2% in 1984 to a peak of 4% in
1989.  In May 1990, the government linked the franc to the
German mark, primarily through closely tracking German
interest rates.  Consequently, as German interest rates rose
after 1990, Belgian rates have increased and have
contributed to a decline in the economic growth rate (1.8%
in 1994).

Other economic problems include an unemployment rate which
stands at 10.3% in 1994.  The government's continuing
economic austerity program emphasizes reducing the
government deficit, which currently amounts to almost 7.2%
of GDP.  Belgium aims to reduce its deficit to no more than
3% of GDP by 1996 in order to join the EU's Economic and
Monetary Union in 1997.  To reduce its dependence on trade
with other EU members (about 75% of its total trade),
Belgium also seeks to diversify and expand trade with non-
traditional partners such as China and countries of the
Middle East and Central and Eastern Europe.

Foreign Investment played an important part in Belgian
economic growth in the 1960s and continues to be a key
element.  The Belgian Government encourages new foreign
investment as a means to promote employment.  With regional
devolution, Flanders and Wallonia now court potential
investors avidly, offering a host of incentives and
benefits.

The total U.S. direct investment by more than 1,200 American
companies operating in Belgium was estimated at about $11
billion in 1994.  The American Chamber of Commerce
calculated that U.S. companies provide about 1 out of every
11 jobs in Belgium.  Because of their strong export
orientation, these jobs were more resilient in the economic
crisis than was employment geared to the domestic market.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

The Concert of Nations sanctioned the creation of Belgium in
1830 on the condition that the country remain strictly
neutral.  Before each of the World Wars, Belgium tried
unsuccessfully to follow this policy.  After World War II,
recognizing the need for a better means of ensuring
security, Belgium became one of the 12 founding members of
NATO in 1949.  Brussels became the host city for NATO
headquarters when NATO left Paris in 1967.  Brussels is host
to the European Commission and has become a magnet for many
other international organizations and for the regional
corporate headquarters of many U.S.-based firms.

Belgium remains a strong proponent of NATO and of close
cooperation with the United States within the alliance.  It
is a staunch advocate of Europe's continued economic and
political integration.  Belgium supports the idea of
eventually expanding NATO and the European Union but
believes that such expansion must be handled very carefully.

An active player on the world stage, Belgium has worked hard
through such forums as the UN and the Conference on Security
and Cooperation in Europe to help shape and define the post-
Cold-War world.  Belgium maintains a "special" relationship
with its former colonies and protectorates in Central Africa
which is characterized by a three-pronged policy of support
for democraticization and human rights, prevention and
management of conflicts, and support for economic and social
development.  It also contributes generously to
international peace-keeping and humanitarian relief
operations.

Belgium belongs to the UN, NATO, European Union (EU),
Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union (BLEU), Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), INTELSAT,
Council of Europe, Western European Union, Belgium-
Netherlands-Luxembourg Economic Union (Benelux), General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and many other
multilateral organizations.


U.S.-BELGIAN RELATIONS

The United States and Belgium enjoy a strong bilateral
relationship and often work together closely in multilateral
fora.  Militarily, Belgium is committed to sharing the
burden of maintaining a strong collective defense.  Belgium
and the U.S. both advocate the creation of a European
defense pillar to work in tandem with the Atlantic alliance.
Belgium made significant contributions to the allied efforts
in the Gulf war, and the nation works with the U.S. in
supporting several international arms control initiatives.

Politically, the shared commitment of the two nations to
promoting peace, democracy, and human rights has led to a
number of positive joint efforts.  Belgium has contributed
personnel and material to a number of international peace-
keeping operations, including the U.S.-led effort  to
restore democracy to Haiti.  Belgium has also been actively
engaged in Western efforts to encourage political and
economic reform in central and eastern Europe and the former
Soviet Union.  In addition, Belgium is a frequent supporter
of the U.S. in U.S. dialogue  with the European Union.

The United States and Belgium enjoy a strong and mutually
beneficial economic and trade relationship.  Belgium is
currently the 9th largest market for U.S. goods and
services.  The two nations are intensifying efforts to
combat terrorism, narcotics trafficking, and other forms of
international crime.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Ambassador--Alan J. Blinken
Deputy Chief of Mission--Lange Schermerhorn
Permanent Representative to the U.S. Mission to NATO
(USNATO)--Ambassador Robert E. Hunter
Deputy Permanent Representative and Deputy Chief of Mission,
USNATO--Robert Pearson
Ambassador to the U.S. Mission to the EU (USEU)--Stuart E.
Eizenstat
Deputy Chief of Mission, USEU--Earl Anthony Wayne

The U.S. embassy in Belgium is located at 27 Boulevard du
Regent, 1000 Brussels (tel. 02/513-38-30, fax 02/511-27-25).
The European Logistical Support Office (ELSO), at
Noorderlaan 147, Box 12A, 2030 Antwerp (tel. 03/542-47-75,
fax 03/542-65-67).

The U.S. mission to NATO (USNATO) is at NATO Headquarters,
on the Autoroute de Zaventem, 1110 Brussels (tel. 02/242-52-
80, fax 02/242-06-96). The U.S. mission to the EU is located
at 40 Boulevard du Regent, 1000 Brussels (tel. 02/513-44-50,
fax 02/511-20-92).


TRAVEL INFORMATION

The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program
provides Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets.
They can be obtained by telephone at (202) 647-5225 or by
fax at (202) 647-3000; to access the Consular Affairs
Bulletin Board by computer modem, dial (202) 647-9225.
Travel Warnings are issued when the Department recommends
that Americans avoid travel to a certain country.  Consular
Information Sheets exist for all countries and include
information on immigration practices, currency regulations,
health conditions, areas of instability, crime and security
information, political disturbances, and the addresses of
the U.S. embassies and consulates in the subject country.

Travelers can check the latest information on health
requirements and conditions with the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.  A
hotline at (404) 332-4559 provides telephonic or fax
information on the most recent health advisories,
immunization recommendations or requirements, and advice on
food and drinking water safety for regions and countries.  A
booklet entitled Health Information for International Travel
(HHS publication number CDC-94-8280, price $7.00) is
available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S.
Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, tel. (202)
512-1800.

Information on travel also may be obtained from this
country's embassy and/or consulates in the U.S. (see
"Principal Government Officials").

(###)

Published by the U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Public Affairs -- Office of Public Communication -
- Washington, DC
November 1994 -- Managing Editor:  Peter A. Knecht

Department of State Publication 8087
Background Notes series -- This material is in the public
domain and may be reprinted without permission; citation of
this source is appreciated.

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government
Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402.
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