Favorite Treaty Reservation, Ever!
The NYTimes has a piece today on how Idaho’s refusal to implement the Hague Child Support Treaty is causing problems for the U.S. and for Idaho as a whole. I hope to have more to say about this treaty later. For now, in looking at the treaty, I wanted to point readers to one of the more amusing U.S. treaty reservations I’ve ever run across. In giving its advice and consent, the U.S. Senate made two reservations, one of which follows:
(2) In accordance with Articles 44 and 62 of the Convention, the United States of America makes a reservation that it objects to the use of the French language in communications between the Central Authority of any other Contracting State and the Central Authority of the United States of America.
The treaty actually allows a country to “object” to the use of either French or English and there is no doubt a serious purpose for allowing this kind of objection. But there is something great about an official objection “to the use of the French language”. Indeed, I am glad to see that the U.S. was not the only country to object to French for communications under this treaty. It is joined by the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Hellenic Republic, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, Hungary, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Slovenia, the Slovak Republic, the Kingdom of Sweden and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in this objection.
As a long-suffering student of the language, I’ve often wanted to “object” to the use of French. I am glad the U.S. Senate (and all those other countries in Europe) share my Francais-phobia.