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G E N E R A L      S E C R E T A R I A T



SEPTEMBER 20, 1977

I. Effective today the following policy is in effect:


The Charter of the OAS, the General Standards to Govern the Operations of the General Secretariat, the Staff Rules, the Budgetary and Financial Rules, and the Standard Contracting System establish the framework for the standard of ethics and integrity that is expected from the staff of the General Secretariat. There is need for a document that puts all the existing rules and regulations on this matter in one statement, thus assisting each staff member to avoid real or apparent conflict between private interest and duty to the OAS.


The Charter provides guidelines as follows:

"In the performance of their duties, the Secretary General and the personnel of the Secretariat shall not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any authority outside the Organization, and shall refrain from any action that may be incompatible with their position as international officers responsible only to the Organization" (Article 124) (Also, Article 15 of the General Standards is similar).

The General Standards provide as follows:

"The staff members of the General Secretariat are international civil servants and, in the performance of their duties, are responsible only to the General Secretariat. In accepting appointment to a position in the General Secretariat, they shall agree to perform their duties and to regulate their conduct in conformity with the character, purposes and interest of the Organization." (Article 18).

The Charter also provides guidelines to the member states in regarding their relations with the Secretary General and the personnel of General Secretariat, as follows:

"The member states pledge themselves to respect the exclusively international character of the responsibilities of the Secretary General and the personnel of General Secretariat, and not to seek to influence them in the discharge of their duties." (Article 125)


Ethics has been described as a "voluntary assumption of self-discipline above and beyond the requirements of the law". In general usage the word "ethics" means the philosophy of human conduct, with emphasis on right and wrong which are moral questions."

Several articles in the General Standards deal with the principle of conduct which staff members are expected to observe. The most specific articles are the following:

"Staff members shall refrain from any action that may be incompatible with their position as international officers of the Organization. In this regard, they may not conduct any activity that the Secretary General considers undesirable from the standpoint of the efficient performance of their duties or of the prestige of the Organization." (Article 22).

"Staff members shall not act or express themselves publicly in any way that might hurt of adversely effect the member states." (Article 23).

"Staff members shall exercise the utmost discretion with respect to all matters of' official business. They shall not communicate to any person any restricted information except in the course of their duties or in accordance with the procedure from so doing established by the Secretary General. Nor shall they at any time use such information to private advantage. These obligations undertaken by staff members do not cease upon separation from Services." (Article 24).

"No staff member shall render services to any government or agency under conditions other than those specifically approved by the Secretary General. No staff member may accept a decoration from any government. Neither may he accept honors, awards, remunerations, favors, or gifts when, in the opinion of the Secretary General, this is incompatible with his status as an international civil servant or with the interests of the Organization." (Article 25).

"The acceptance by a staff member of nomination to an elective public office of a political character shall imply his resignation from his post in the General Secretariat." (Article 26).

"The acceptance by a staff member of appointment to a governmental post shall imply his resignation from his post in the General Secretariat." (Article 27).

"Before beginning work, every staff member shall sign a statement in which he undertakes to perform his duties in accordance with the provision of the Charter and of these standards, and other pertinent provisions." (Article 28).

"No staff member may seek the influence or support of the representative on an organ or other entity of the Organization, or of any government, in matters affecting the administration of or discipline in the General Secretariat. All questions regarding these matters shall be settled in accordance with the pertinent provisions of the regulations in force. (Article 29).


"Before beginning his duties, every staff member must sign the following statement:

"I solemnly undertake to perform loyally, discreetly, and conscientiously my duties as a member of the international staff serving the General Secretariat; to conduct myself in accordance with the interests of the Organization of American States; neither to seek not to accept instructions regarding my duties and obligations as a staff member from any particular government or from any authority other that, the General Secretariat; and, in all respects, to abide by the provisions of the Charter of the Organization of American States and to comply with the General Standards for the Functioning and Organization of the General Secretariat, and other pertinent provisions." (Staff Rule 101.7).


"Any staff member who causes financial damages to the Organization by malice, culpable negligence or failure to observe the General Standards, regulations and other administrative provision of the General Secretariat shall be responsible therefor and shall be required to pay appropriate compensation. (Staff Rule 101.3).


A. Staff members and members of their immediate families in the conduct of their personal financial affairs shall in no way attempt to benefit from the affiliation with the OAS or from special knowledge acquired as a result of it and shall avoid any appearance of benefiting from their association with the organization in their business dealings.

B. Investments in supplier companies are restricted by Staff Rule 101.4. Borrowing from or lending to customer or supplier companies is prohibited. The acceptance of gifts other than those of nominal value, or of excessive entertainment, is considered morally and ethically wrong. Misusing privileged information, revealing confidential data to outsiders and participation in civic or professional organizations that might involve divulging internal Secretariat data is against the existing rules and is not permitted.

Staff Rule 101.4 lists the policies of the General Secretariat as follows:

"(a) Staff members shall not engage in any, continuous or recurring occupation or employment outside the Organization nor accept remuneration for private work without prior written authorization by the Secretary General.

(b) No staff member may participate in the management of an industry or business, or have any financial interest therein, if by reason of his official position with the Organization it is possible for him to benefit from such association or financial interest.

(c) A staff member who has occasion to deal in his official capacity with any matter involving a business concern in which he holds a financial interest shall disclose the extent of that interest to the Secretary General.

(d) The mere holding of shares of stock in a company shall not constitute a financial interest within the meaning of this rule, unless such holding constitutes a substantial control over that company's business.

(e) Except in the normal course of their duties, or with prior authorization by the Secretary General, staff members shall not engage in any of the following acts, if the purposes, activities or interests of the Organization are involved:

(i) Issue statements to the press, radio, or other public information media;

(ii) Deliver addresses or lectures;

(iii) Take part in film, theater, radio, or television productions;

(iv) Publish articles, books, or other material.

(f) When the authorization referred to in the preceding paragraph is granted, the staff member concerned must make it clear in each case that the opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the General Secretariat or of the Organization.

(g) Staff members shall not accept any gratuity or favor from any commercial firm or individual doing, or seeking to do, business with the Organization."

C. No staff member nor any member of a staff member's immediate family nor any affiliate of a staff member shall knowingly engage in any foreign exchange transactions which are not within the laws of the country concerned. Moreover, no staff member, nor any member of a staff member's immediate family nor any affiliate of a staff member shall knowingly engage in foreign exchange trading for speculative purpose.


"All rights, including title, copyright, and patent rights in any work produced bye staff member as part of his official duties, by any other individual or entity being paid by the General Secretariat, or working in cooperation with it, shall be vested in the Organization." (Staff Rule 101.5)


"Staff members may exercise the right to vote and join political parties, but they may not participate in political activities that, in the judgment of the Secretary General, are incompatible with or detrimental to the independence and impartiality inherent in their status as international employees. Contributions to a political party or to a particular candidate shall not be considered as prescribed activities." (Staff Rule 101.6)


"(a) No appointment to the staff of the General Secretariat shall be granted to the following relatives of a staff member: spouse, son or daughter, father or mother, brother or sister, uncle or aunt, nephew or niece, first cousin, father or mother-in-law, son or daughter-in-law, brother or sister-in-law, stepson, or stepdaughter.

(b) If two staff members marry, the benefits and entitlements that accrue to them shall be modified to conform with the pertinent provisions of these rules. Moreover, every attempt will be made to see that such staff members do not work in the same department." (Staff Rule 104. 7).


The Budgetary and Financial Rules (BFR) have been established in accordance with the Charter and the General Standards. Compliance with accepted accounting rules and controls is expected at all times. The books of account, the approved budget, evaluation of projects, and the like must truly reflect the transactions they record.

Rule IV.5 of the Budgetary and Financial Rules establishes the following:

"Every staff member who is delegated one or more functional financial responsibility is personally accountable for complying with the pertinent requirements in each case. Therefore, he shall be free to refuse to sign any document pertaining to his financial responsibility if, in his opinion, it fails to comply with the rules and procedures of the General Secretariat and, if appropriate, to submit it to higher authority for their consideration.

Officers or other staff members having custody of or responsibility for funds shall be bonded to the extent deemed appropriate by the Secretary General.

It will be considered a grave offense subject to disciplinary actions under due process for any staff member willfully, maliciously or by negligence to fail to comply with the regulations and procedures of the Secretariat, and cause:

a. fraudulent obligation to be entered;

b. a false certification to be issued;

c. an unjustified disbursement to be made; or

d. the unreasonable retention of monies of the Organization.

e. use of any currency not in the best interest of the Organization."



The General Secretariat strives to comply strictly with all rules and regulations that may be applicable to its activities. These rules and ratios may in certain instances appear ambiguous or difficult to interpret. Staff members who have any questions about how to comply with them may consult the Department of Legal Affairs for advice at any time.


Every staff member already in the employ of the General Secretariat on the date that these policies go into effect shall furnish the Director of the Office of Personnel with a signed statement that he or she has no financial or economic interests and is engaged in no financial or economic activities requiring disclosure. This statement appears as Part I of Exhibit A.

The same statement shall be signed by every person hired after the effective date of these policies, and this condition shall be incorporated into his or her letter of acceptance of employment.


Any staff member who has any reason to believe that his or her outside interests or activities make it impossible to sign the statement referred to in paragraph B shall furnish the Secretary General with a Confidential Statement of Employment and Financial Interests. The information to be provided in this Statement should cover only those matters that the staff member reasonably believes are or may be in conflict with the policies. The form to be used in preparing the Statement appears as Part II of Exhibit A.

In addition, the Secretary General, the Assistant Secretary General, the Executive and Assistant Secretaries, D-level personnel and the other staff members specified by the Secretary General in his memorandum of July 6, 1977, shall file with the Director of the Office of Financial Services a complete Confidential Statement of Employment and Financial Interests covering all the matters referred to in that Statement.

If a staff member's circumstances change in such a way that the Statement on file is no longer substantially accurate, he or she shall file a revised Statement before January 31st of the following year.

The Secretary General may ask a staff member for such additional financial information or verification that he considers reasonable and necessary to reach a decision on possible conflict of interest.


If a staff member or any member of his or her immediate family, or anyone with whom the staff member has a business or financial relationship incurs any liability to any entity that try any business with the OAS, or has any interest in or security of any such entity, the staff member shall notify the Director of Personnel, who shall act on the matter in consultation with the Assistant Secretary for Management. If the matter is deemed a possible conflict of interest by the Director of Personnel, the staff member shall either (1) immediately disqualify himself from working on any matter that concerns the entity directly or indirectly, or (2) eliminate the conflict by divesting himself of the interest, at the option of the staff member.


A completed Confidential Statement of Employment and Financial Interests will be considered private and secret. Both the original document and all copies of it shall remain in the custody of the Director of the Office of Financial Services, separate from the personnel files maintained in the Office of Personnel. The Director of the Office of Financial Services will review the statements and shall bring to the attention of the Secretary General those, which in his opinion, represent a potential conflict of interest. If the Secretary General considers it appropriate, he will discuss the matter with the staff member and may ask that he either disqualify himself from working on any matter in which a conflict may exist or eliminate the possible conflict by divesting himself or the interest. Neither the document nor any copy of it may be given or shown to other officials or staff members of the General Secretariat except on the express written instructions of the Secretary General, and then only when it constitutes evidence in a disciplinary case related to an alleged violation of one of the provisions of the present Administrative Memorandum. In such cases, the staff member concerned shall be notified, in writing, of the name, of the person to whom the information is being released and the reason for so doing.

Neither the document nor any copy of it shall be given to

anyone outside of the General Secretariat under any circumstances without the consent of the staff member concerned. Judicial orders issued by a civil court or tribunal are included in this provision.

All staff members who, by virtue of the nature of their duties, have knowledge of or access to the information contained in any Confidential Statement of Employment and Financial Interests are forbidden to reveal it, make it known, or allow other persons to examine it in any way or to any degree. Violation of this express prohibition by any staff member of the General Secretariat shall be grounds for suspension or dismissal.


A staff member who learns of any questionable, fraudulent, or illegal on occurrence, or one that is in violation if these policies, should report it to the pertinent Department or Office Director and to the Director of Personnel. If the occurrence involves a high official of the General Secretariat, the matter should be reported to the Assistant Secretary for Management or the Secretary General.

II. Present staff members must submit either Statement of Adherence to the Norms of Ethics (Part I of Exhibit A) or the Confidential Statement of Employment and Financial Interests (Part II of Exhibit A), according to the instructions given in paragraph B and C of the section entitled "Compliance with Rules and Regulations", BEFORE October 1, 1977.

III. This Administrative Memorandum shall supersede all prior orders that may be in conflict with it.




I have read and am familiar with the statement, "Policies with Respect to Ethics of Conduct and Conflicts of Interest". (Administrative Memorandum No. 58 Rev. 1, dated September 20, 1977.

I hereby declare that I am abiding by these norms and that no disclosure relating to a possible conflict of interest is necessary on my part.


He le�do y estoy familiarizado con la declaraci�n de "Principios y Normas Respecto a Etica y Conflicto de Intereses" (Memor�ndum Administrativo No. 58 Rev. 1, fechado 20 de septiembre de 1977.

Por la presente declaro mi adhesi�n a estas normas y dejo constancia de que no tengo conflicto de inter�s alguno que declarar.








For use by staff members as required by chapter entitled "Compliance with Rules and Regulations" Paragraph C. "Filing Supplementary Financial Statement by designated staff members".


The information to be listed does not require a showing of the amount of financial interest, indebtedness, or value of real property.

In the event any of the required information, including holdings placed in trust, is not known to you but is known to another person, you should request that other person to submit the information on your behalf and should report such request in Part IV of your statements.

The interest, if any, of a spouse, minor child, or other members of your immediate family shall be reported in this statement as your interest. If that information is to be supplied by others, it should be so indicated in Part