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Background: An Introduction to International Cultural Property Protection in the U.S.

I. Introduction 
IIA. The Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act  
IIB. Provisions of the Cultural Property Implementation Act  
III. Role of the United States Information Agency (USIA) 
IV. Role of Other U.S. Government Agencies

I. Introduction

The 1983 Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (Public Law 97-446, as amended, hereinafter the "Act") enables the United States Government to implement Articles 9 and 7(b)) of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. The Act authorizes the imposition of U.S. import restrictions on categories of cultural property originating in another country. Such action is intended to allow licit, documented trade and to reduce the incentive for pillage thereby protecting valuable historical information that resides in situ with archaeological and ethnographic material. Such information is essential in understanding the development of mankind. It is irretrievably lost unless its associated material is scientifically removed from context. 

Primary responsibility for support of the executive and advisory functions under the Act rests with the United States Information Agency (USIA) in Washington, D.C. USIA provides technical and administrative support to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, a presidentially-appointed committee of eleven persons. By law, the committee is comprised of individuals who are expert in archaeology or related fields; who are expert in the international sale of cultural property; and who are representatives of museums and the general public. The committee reviews foreign government requests for U.S. import restrictions on cultural property and submits its recommendations to the president's designee, the Director or Deputy Director of USIA, who considers the committee's recommendation before rendering his decision in consultation with the U.S. Departments of State and Treasury. 

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Revised: November 10, 1998
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