Protection of Foreign OfficialsInternationally
Protected Persons and Official Guests18 U.S.C. §§ 112, 878,
1116, 1117 and 1201
These statutes have a common origin in a 1791 Act of Congress
punishable the offering of violence to the person of an ambassador or other
public minister. See S. Rep. 1179, 88th Cong., 2d Sess. 1964,
reprinted in 1964 U.S. Code & Cong. and Adm. News 3170, 3171. As the
conduct of international diplomacy became more complex, and the United
assumed international obligations to afford protection to foreign officials,
diplomats and other foreign visitors, the statutes were enacted or amended
scope to effectuate such protection. In 1972, Title 18 was amended to make
punishable under Federal law the murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, assault,
intimidation of a "foreign official" or "official guest." See Pub.
92-539 (1972). The amendment was considered necessary by Congress to give
to "international obligations of the United States to resident diplomatic,
consular and other foreign government personnel and their families within
borders [of the United States]," and to extend similar protection to private
foreign citizens visiting the United States pursuant to official
See S. Rep. No. 1105, 92d Cong., 2d Sess (1972), reprinted in
U.S. Code Cong. and Adm. News 4316.|
In 1976, these statutes were again amended to afford similar
protections to "internationally protected persons." See Pub. L.
(1976). The express legislative purpose of the 1976 amendment was to
the Organization of American States Convention to Prevent and Punish the
Terrorism Taking the Form of Crimes Against Persons and Related Extortion
Are Of International Significance (OAS Treaty), and the United Nations
"Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against
Protected Persons, Including Diplomatic Agents" (U.N. IPP Treaty). Thus,
constitutional basis for these statutes is, in large measure, Congress'
"define and punish offenses against the law of nations." See U.S.
Art. 1, § 8, cl. 10.
[cited in USAM 9-65.800]