United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: Ratification of Biological Weapons Convention

Action type
Government of the United States of America
26 March 1975

The ratification by the United Kingdom states that the Convention is ratified “in respect of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Dominica and Territories under the territorial sovereignty of the United Kingdom, as well as the State of Brunei, the British Solomon Islands Protectorate and, within the limits of the United Kingdom jurisdiction therein, the Condominium of New Hebrides.”

In addition, a note from the British Minister, dated March 26, 1975, addressed to the Secretary of State, declares “that the provisions of the Convention shall not apply in regard to Southern Rhodesia unless and until the Government of the United Kingdom informs the other depositary Governments that it is in a position to ensure that the obligations imposed by the Convention in respect of that territory can be fully implemented.”

By note dated June 11, 1997, the Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland informed the Secretary of State as follows:

“I am instructed by Her Britannic Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to refer to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction done at London/Moscow/Washington on 10 April 1972 (hereinafter referred to as the “Convention”) which applies to Hong Kong at present.

“I am also instructed to state that, in accordance with the Joint Declaration of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Question of Hong Kong signed on 19 December 1984, the Government of the United Kingdom will restore Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China with effect from 1 July 1997.  The Government of the United Kingdom will continue to have international responsibility for Hong Kong until that date.  Therefore, from that date the Government of the United Kingdom will cease to be responsible for the international rights and obligations arising from application of the Convention to Hong Kong.

“I should be grateful if the contents of this Note could be placed formally on record and brought to the attention of the other Parties to the Convention.

“I avail myself of this opportunity to renew to Your Excellency the assurances of my highest consideration.”

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