Treaty Series No. 673

Convention between the United States of America and Other Powers, Signed at Sevres, October 6, 1921 64

International Convention for the Amendment:

Of the convention signed at Paris, May 20, 1875, to insure the international unification and improvement of the metric system;
Of the regulations annexed to the said convention;
Concluded between: Germany, Argentine Republic, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Spain, the United States of America, Finland, France, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Rumania, the Serb-Croat-Slovene State, Siam, Sweden, Switzerland, and Uruguay.

The undersigned plenipotentiaries of the countries above enumerated, having met in conference in Paris, have agreed on the following:

Article 1

Articles 7 and 8 of the Convention of May 20, 1875, are superseded by the following provisions:

Article 7. After the Committee shall have proceeded with the work of coordinating the measures relative to electric units and when the general conference shall have so decided by a unanimous vote, the Bureau will have charge of the establishment and keeping of the standards of the electric units and their test copies and also of comparing with those standards the national or other standards of precision.

The Bureau is also charged with the duty of making the determinations relative to physical constants, a more accurate knowledge of which may be useful in increasing precision and further insuring uniformity in the provinces to which the above mentioned units belong (article 6 and 1st paragraph of article 7).

It is finally charged with the duty of coordinating similar determinations effected in other institutions.

Article 8. The international prototypes and standards and also their test copies shall be deposited in the Bureau; access to the deposit shall be solely reserved for the international committee.

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Article 2

Articles 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 17, 18, and 20, of the regulations annexed to the convention of May 20, 1875, are superseded by the following provisions:

Article 6. The annual appropriation for the international bureau consists of two parts, one of which is fixed, the other complementary.

The fixed part is, in principle, 250,000 francs, but on the unanimous vote of the Committee may be raised to 300,000 francs. It is borne by all the states and autonomous colonies that adhered to the meter convention before the Sixth General Conference.

The complementary part is made up of contributions from the states and autonomous colonies that joined the convention after the aforesaid General Conference.

The Committee is charged with the duty of drawing up on the motion of the director the annual budget, but without exceeding the amount computed in accordance with the provisions of the two paragraphs above. The budget is made known every year by means of a special financial report to the governments of the High Contracting Parties.

If the committee find it necessary either to increase beyond 300,000 francs the fixed part of the annual appropriation or to modify the computation of the contributions as determined by article 20 of these regulations, it should lay the matter before the governments so as to enable them to issue in good time the needed instructions to their delegates to the next general conference in order that the said conference may deliberate to good purpose. The decision will stand only in the case that no opposition shall have been expressed before or in the conference by any of the contracting states.

If a state should let three years go without paying its contribution, that contribution shall be divided among the other states proportionally to their own contribution. The additional sums thus paid by the states to make up the whole of the appropriation of the Bureau shall be regarded as an advance to the delinquent state and shall be reimbursed to them if that state should make good its arrears.

The advantages and prerogatives conferred by adhering to the Meter Convention are suspended in the case of states that have been delinquent three years.

After three more years the delinquent state shall be expelled from the Convention and the reckoning of the contributions restored in accordance with the provisions of article 20 of these regulations.

Article 8. The International Committee mentioned in article 3 of the convention shall be composed of 18 members all from different states.

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At the time of the renewal by halves of the International Committee, the outgoing members shall be first those who may have been provisionally elected to fill vacancies between two sessions of the conference; the others will be drawn by lot. Outgoing members may be reelected.

Article 9. The International Committee organizes itself by electing by its own secret vote its chairman and secretary. Those appointments are notified to the governments of the High Contracting Parties.

The chairman and the secretary of the Committee and the director of the Bureau must belong to different countries.

Once organized, the Committee cannot hold other elections or make other appointments until three months shall have elapsed after the notice of a vacancy calling for a vote shall have been given to all the members.

Article 10. The International Committee directs all the metrological works that the High Contracting Parties shall decide to have carried on jointly.

It is also charged with the duty of seeing to the conservation of the international prototypes and standards.

It may, lastly, institute the cooperation of specialists in questions of metrology and coordinate the results of their work.

Article 11. The Committee shall meet at least once every two years.

Article 12. The balloting in the Committee is by a majority vote: in case of a tie vote the chairman has the casting vote. Decisions are only valid if the members present are at least one half of the elected members forming the Committee.

Subject to that condition absent members have a right to delegate their votes to present members who must prove that they have been so delegated. This also applies to appointments by secret ballot.

The director of the Bureau has a vote in the Committee.

Article 15. The International Committee will draw up a detailed set of regulations for the organization and work of the Bureau and will fix the dues to be paid for the extraordinary works provided by articles 6 and 7 of the convention.

Those dues will be applied to improving the scientific equipment of the Bureau. A certain amount may be drawn annually for the retirement fund from the total dues collected by the Bureau.

Article 17. A regulation drawn up by the Committee will determine the maximum staff for each category of the personnel of the Bureau.

The director and his assistants shall be elected by secret ballot by the International Committee. Their appointment shall be notified to the governments of the High Contracting Parties.

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The director will appoint the other members of the personnel within the bounds laid by the regulation mentioned in the first paragraph above.

Article 18. The director of the Bureau shall have access to the place where the international prototypes are deposited only in pursuance of a resolution of the Committee and in the presence of at least one of its members. The place of deposit of the prototypes shall be opened only by means of three keys, one of which shall be in the possession of the Director of Archives of France, the second in that of the chairman of the Committee, and the third in that of the director of the Bureau.

The standards of the class of national prototypes alone shall be used for the ordinary comparing work of the Bureau.

Article 20. The scale of contributions spoken of in article 9 of the convention is established for its fixed part on the basis of the appropriation referred to in article 6 of the present regulations and on that of the population; the normal contribution of each state cannot be less than 5 to a thousand nor more than 15% of the whole appropriation, regardless of the population. In order to establish that scale, it shall first be found which states are in the conditions required for the minimum and maximum, and the remainder of the quota shall be distributed among the other states in the direct ratio of their population.

The quota thus reckoned stands for the whole time included between two consecutive general conferences and can only be modified in the meanwhile in the following cases:

If one of the adhering states allows three successive years to pass without making its payments;
When, on the contrary, a state which had been previously delinquent for more than three years pays up its arrears, and the occasion arises to return to the other governments the advances made by them.

The complementary contribution is computed on the same basis of population and is like that which the states that have long been parties to the convention pay under the same conditions.

If after adhering to the convention a state declares it would like to extend the benefits thereof to one or more of its colonies that are not autonomous, the number of the population of the said colonies would be added to that of the state in reckoning the scale of contributions.

When a colony that is recognized as autonomous shall desire to adhere to the convention, it will be regarded with respect to its admission [Page 173] into the convention and as the mother country may decide, either as a dependency of that mother country or as a contracting state.

Article 3

Any state may adhere to this convention by giving notice thereof to the French Government which shall notify all the participant states and the chairman of the International Committee of Weights and Measures.

Any new accession to the convention of May 20, 1875, will necessarily involve adherence to this convention.

Article 4

The present convention shall be ratified. Each power shall within the shortest possible time send its ratification to the French Government which will see to its being notified to the other signatory countries. The ratifications shall remain deposited in the archives of the French Government. The present convention will go into effect for each signatory country on the date of the deposit of its instrument of ratification.

This copy, dated as above, may be signed until March 31, 1922.

In witness whereof, the following plenipotentiaries, whose powers have been found to be in good and due form, have signed the present convention.

  • For Germany:
    • Forster
    • Kösters
  • For Argentina:
    • M. T. de Alvear
    • Luis Bemberg
  • For Austria:
    • Mayrhauser
  • For Belgium:
    • Ern. Pasquier
  • For Brazil:
    • Franc. Ramos de Andrade Neves
  • For Bulgaria:
    • Savoff
  • For Canada:
    • Hardinge of Penshurst
    • J. E. Sears, Jr.
  • For Chile:
    • M. Amunategui
  • For Denmark:
    • K. Prytz
  • For Spain:
    • Severo Gomez Nuñez
  • For the United States:
    • Sheldon Whitehouse
    • Samuel W. Stratton
  • For Finland:
    • G. Melander
  • For France:
    • P. Appell
    • Paul Janet
    • A. Perot
    • J. Violle
  • For Great Britain:
    • Hardinge of Penshurst
    • J. E. Sears, Jr.
    • P. A. MacMahon
  • For Hungary:
    • Bodola Lajos
  • For Italy:
    • Vito Volterra
    • Napoleone Reggiani
  • For Japan:
    • A. Tanakadate
    • Saishiro Roshida
  • For Mexico:
    • Juan F. Urquidi
  • For Norway:
    • D. Isaachsen
  • For Peru:
    • G. Tirado
  • For Portugal:
    • Armando Navarro
  • For Rumania:
    • St. Hepites
    • C. Statescu
  • For the Serb-Croat-Slovene Slate:
    • M. Bochkovitch
    • Celestin Kargatchin
  • For Siam:
    • Damras
  • For Sweden:
    • K. A. Wallroth
    • Ivar Fredholm
  • For Switzerland:
    • Raoul Gautier
  • For Uruguay:
    • J. C. Blanco
  1. Original in French only; English translation supplied by editor. Ratification advised by the Senate, Jan. 5, 1923; ratified by the President, Sept. 19, 1923; ratification of the United States deposited with the Government of the French Republic, Oct. 24, 1923; proclaimed, Oct. 27, 1923.