In a statement released yesterday, House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) called for the U.S. to violate its own laws and ratified international treaties governing the U.S. role as host to the United Nations.
In the statement, which focused on sanctioning officials from the Iranian government, Ros-Lehtinen said the U.S. should deny Iranian and Syrian officials access to the U.S. for the upcoming U.N. General Assembly:
And with the U.N. General Assembly convening in New York in weeks, the U.S. must unequivocally deny all Iranian and Syrian regime officials access to U.S. soil.
It’s impossible to read this statement as anything but a call from the top foreign policy official in the House of Representatives for the U.S. violate its own laws, specifically those enacted by the Congress in 1947 that established New York City as the host of the international body.
The U.S. and the U.N. signed the “Headquarters Agreement,” also known as U.S. Public Law 80 – 357, in June 1947 and both Houses of Congress subsequently passed the measure and the President signed it into law.
Article IV of the Headquarters Agreement outlines several provisions with regard to travel to New York by representatives of Member States:
Article IV — Communication and Transit
The federal, state or local authorities of the United States shall not impose any impediments to transit to or from the headquarters district of (1) representatives of Members or officials of the United Nations [...]
The provisions of Section 11 shall be applicable irrespective of the relations existing between the Governments of the persons refereed to in that section and the Government of the United States.
(a) Laws and regulation in force in the United States regarding the entry of aliens shall not be applied in such a manner as to interfere with the privileges referred to in Section 11. When visas are required for persons referred to in that Section, they shall be granted without charge and as promptly as possible.
While Ros-Lehtinen has long been an opponent of the U.N. — she introduced a bill this week that would withdraw much of the U.S. funding for the organization — her call yesterday demonstrates that her anti-U.N. ideology trumps even respect for established U.S. law.