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




By decision of the Secretary General, the following procedures regarding invitations to meetings and conferences received by the General Secretariat shall take effect as of the date of this memorandum.


The General Secretariat receives a large number of invitations to be represented at meetings and conferences of other organizations. The Office of the Secretary General shall reply to all invitations regardless of the office or individual to which they are addressed. The Liaison and Coordination Unit, Office of International Cooperation, Secretariat for Development Cooperation, shall support the Office of the Secretary General in this function.

The following policies and procedures shall be observed in responding to invitations:


1. All invitations, to whomever addressed, shall be considered as invitations to the General Secretariat. As a consequence, officers designated to attend meetings shall represent the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States and not an individual office or unit.

2. Replies to all invitations, regardless of the office or individual to which they may be addressed, will be signed by the Secretary General or, in his absence, the Assistant Secretary General. These are the only officers authorized to designate representatives of the General Secretariat in meetings.

In cases where no representative of the Secretariat is to be designated, the reply may be by a third-person note, which may be reviewed and dispatched by the Secretariat for Development Cooperation.

In cases where the General Secretariat shall be represented by a staff member of an Office of the General Secretariat in a member state or of the European Regional Office, the reply shall be by a third-person note, reviewed by the Secretariat for Development Cooperation and initialed by an authorized staff member of the Office of the Secretary General.

In both these cases the procedures set forth below must be followed.

3. Among the points to be considered in arriving at a judgement on representation in a meeting are the following:

a. Any formal agreement with the sponsoring organization for cooperative relations and reciprocal representation at meetings;

b. The appropriateness of OAS General Secretariat participation, in light of the meeting's objectives and agenda;

c. The relationship of the topics of discussion to present OAS activities and areas of special interest;

d. The role of the OAS General Secretariat at meetings --participant, presenter of a paper, observer, reporter, sponsor, co-sponsor-- and the availability of staff to provide the representation requested;

e. The program or area of the General Secretariat which would benefit and/or contribute the most in the event of participation;

f. The appropriateness of designating staff located in one of the Offices Away from Headquarters to participate, given the site and agenda of the meeting;

g. The availability of budgeted funds to cover the estimated transportation and per diem costs.


1. All invitations addressed to the Secretary General or received by an individual or office of the General Secretariat shall be forwarded to the Liaison and Coordination Unit, Office of International Cooperation, Secretariat for Development Cooperation, for circulation to possible interested parties, in order to secure recommendations regarding the response. No reply shall be made by the individual recipient or unit.

2. The Liaison and Coordination Unit will circulate the invitation along with OAS Form 577. The form will be initialed by the responsible officer and returned to the Unit within the time specified. (See attachment.)

3. After the time for consultation has expired, the Liaison and Coordination Unit will prepare the reply for the signature of the Secretary General, taking into consideration the recommendations received. Should no recommendation be received by the Unit within the established time period, the Unit will prepare a reply declining the invitation.

4. The Liaison and Coordination Unit will periodically provide information on meetings and conferences, officers designated as representatives and dates, to the Offices of the Secretary General, the Assistant Secretary General, and the Executive and Assistant Secretaries.

5. Where a recommendation is made that a staff member of an Office Away from Headquarters represent the General Secretariat, or where travel away from a duty station is involved, the recommendation shall be accompanied by the number of the account to which the travel is to be charged. The Secretariat for Development Cooperation has no funds for such travel.

6. For meetings to be held in Geneva,, the European Regional Office is authorized to represent the General Secretariat without specific authorization from Headquarters, as part of its general observer function with respect to the international organizations located in Geneva.

7. Upon conclusion of General Secretariat representation at each meeting, the OAS representative shall prepare a summary report on the meeting, to include the agenda, a summary of decisions taken on points of specific relevance to the General Secretariat, copies of relevant documents, and such recommendations for follow-up as may be considered appropriate. This report shall be submitted through channels to the Secretary General with a copy to the Assistant Secretary for Development Cooperation for the Liaison and Coordination Unit.


The preceding policies and procedures do not repeal those put into effect by the Secretary General's Memorandum of July 19, 1973. They are in accordance with Executive Order 75-15 (sections A.3 and B.2 of Appendix), Executive Order 71-3 (section I.B and I.D), and Administrative Memorandum 45 (section 4.e). The procedure established by this memorandum, however, modifies Chapter I of the Correspondence Handbook.


The policies and procedures set forth in this memorandum shall become effective immediately.




Assistant Secretary for Management


Date: December 11, l980

Original: English

Attachment: OAS Form 577