Letter from the Department of State to the BLM

 


United States Department of State 
Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor 
Washington, D.C. 20520-7802 

May 14, 1998 

Mr. Patrick Shea 
Director 
Bureau of Land Management 
U.S. Department of Interior 
1849 C Street, N.W. 
Washington, D.c. 20240 

Dear Mr. Shea: 

I want to thank you and your colleagues from Interior and Justice for meeting with my deputy, Gare Smith, and other State Department officials to discuss the request of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission that the U.S. defer the planned confiscation proceedings in the Dann case. 

As you indicated, this is a complex and sensitive case that has been under reciew for several years. It is also clear that you and your colleagues consider the case to be strictly a domestic issue and one that has already been decided by the courts. 

As your office considers how to proceed on the case, however, I hope that you will keep in mind the larger foreign policy issues discussed at the meeting. The Inter-American Commission is the principal body authorized by the Charter of the Organization of American States to promote human rights among all member states, including the U.S. As a matter of foreign policy we support its aims and want to avoid steps that might undercut its credibility and undermine U.S. ability to promote human rights among our Latin American neighbors. Just recently, the President underscored the importance of respecting regional human rights institutions and advancing human rights at the Summit of the Americas, in Santiago. 

My staff has faxed you a copy of the Inter-American Commission request for a stay of the proceedings against the Danns. I would like to discuss the issue further with you when you have had an opportunity to review the Commission letter. 

                                                                                                             Sincerely, 

                                                                                                             John Shattuck 

Cc. David Ogden 
      Chief of Staff 
      Office of the Attorney General 
      Justice Department 
      905 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. 
      Washington, D.C. 20530
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