Page images

with the Peruvians, programs to control production and provide alternatives to small poor coca producers, along the pattern in Bolivia. These new initiatives in Peru are creating a balanced program for controlling cocaine traffic at its source. For fiscal year 1980 we are requesting a total of $1.7 million to continue support of this effort.

Of this total, in the field of crop control and reduction we are requesting $800,000 for programs in the Hunaco-Tingo Maria regions. These projects will be based upon studies now underway, and will require farmers to plow under illegal coca plantings and strictly limit the legal ones to legitimate requirements. Programs will be implemented to provide farmers affected with incentives and alternative means for income. Complementing this effort, the Agency for International Development (AID) recently signed an agreement with Peru which includes a clause prohibiting coca production in the project area.

Approximately $500,000 is planned to support Peruvian narcotics control agencies. These funds will help defray operational costs and provide limited equipment support, primarily for communications and transport purposes. Funds are also designated for a modest demand reduction program, primarily in the field of preventive education.

Mr. Chairman, the challenge of controlling the international illicit traffic and abuse of narcotics remains with us. The U.S. Government's international narcotics control programs, however, have demonstrated clear success in reducing the impact of that problem upon the people of this country, particularly in regard to heroin abuse.

Not all foreign governments have as yet been as successful as the United States in reducing the availability of drugs within their borders, and they still require our assistance. They have, however, demonstrated a growing awareness of the problem, and with that awareness has come an increasing commitment of resources to combatting it. We are confident that the assistance which we continue to provide the international effort is paying dividends which benefit not only our own citizens, but those of other countries as well.

The program which I have outlined for you today reflects the changing trends in international drug trafficking. Over the next 2-year period we will not relax our cooperative efforts with Mexico against heroin in order to insure a continued downard trend in its abuse. We will simultaneously place increased emphasis upon the heroin traffic from Asia, and redouble our efforts to enlist the full coordinated support of the entire international community in those efforts. Closer to home, we will continue to increase our commitment of resources to limiting the socially and economically destructive aspects of illicit cocaine and marihuana trafficking within this hemisphere. I am optimistic that over the next few years we will see the same kind of success against these drugs as we have seen against heroin in the past 2 years.




In this alternative procedure the death notification cable form the next of kin or legal representative that if financing quired to dispose of the remains as desired, he or she could got nearest national bank or other lending institution and obtaini that would be guaranteed by the U.S. Government.

The loan transaction would be between the lending institute the next of kin or legal representative, with the U.S. Governme ing as guarantor for the repayment of the loan in the event t rower defaulted within a stipulated time frame and the len exhausted his available legal remedies and has been unable to recovery of the debt. We would anticipate that the interest rate be the going rate at the time the loan was executed. The lending tution would not be required to establish the credit-worthines borrower.

Having obtained the loan, the next of kin or legal repres would transmit the funds to the Department through commercial nels and the Department in turn would authorize the consular to proceed with the arrangements for the disposition of the according to the next of kin's or legal representative's instructi short, the Department would handle the case as it now hand fund cases involving transmittal of funds abroad. This alternative procedure would of course require a gu arrangement between the U.S. Government and the lending tions that might agree to participate.


National banks or lending institutions are readily accessible t Americans, at least during the 5 normal workdays. There woni minimum of administrative paperwork and few additional I would be required of either the Department or its consular abroad. The cost to the U.S. Government would be limited to co defaulted loans, and the Government itself would not get into the

collecting aspect of the transaction.


Assuming that national banks and other lending institutions agree to participate in this alternative procedure, the major shor ing would be the difficulty or impossibility of the next of kin's the urgency involved in death cases, this lack of availability m representative's obtaining a loan on weekends or holidays. In a serious impediment. Also, the default rate could be high.


This guaranteed bank loan alternative would involve minim ministrative costs to the U.S. Government. Assuming that next of kin or legal representatives might take advantage of s loan guarantee program and that 40-50 percent of them might def (the present rate of default on repatriation loans) the total add costs of the program to the U.S. Government could amount to as

as $500,000 to $625,000.



As an alternative procedure, a private insurance company, either a nonprofit organization or a standard insurance company, might market a policy covering the disposition of remains of deceased Americans abroad. The policy might be designed to cover local burial, cremation and disposal of the ashes, or preparation and shipment of the body to the United States. The Department would give the policy maximuni publicity through the international travel industry. The policy might be sold at airports as are flight accident insurance policies now. This alternative has been discussed with several private insurance companies, which promised to take the proposal under advisement and come back to the Department of State with their views.


Except for the publicity provided by the Department, this procedure would entail no additional costs whatever for the U.S. Government. All financial aspects would be kept in the private sector, among the insuring firm, the policy holder and the next of kin, with the U.S. Government through the Department merely acting as conduit for trans

mitting information.

[ocr errors]


Only persons who purchased a policy would be covered, thus leaving
Some persons uncovered, depending on marketing techniques and at-

tractiveness of the policies.


This alternative procedure would entail no significant additional cost to the U.S. Government. No additional positions and no additional

appropriated funds would be required.


$3 for the initial application. If an additional $3 were charged and this The present charge for a passport is $10, plus an execution fee of surcharge were placed in a special "disposition of remains account," enough funds would be generated to defray the cost of preparing and returning the bodies of all Americans who die abroad each year and whose families wish the bodies or ashes to be returned.

the surcharge would generate about $9,900,000 annually. As noted earlier, of the 6.584 Americans who died abroad (excluding Canada) Approximately 3,300,000 fee passports are issued each year so that in 1977, the bodies of 1,702 were returned for burial in the United States. The ashes of 366 were returned. Our posts estimate that an additional 173 bodies might have been returned had Government funds been available for this purpose, thus making 2,241 at most whose bodies or ashes would have been returned in 1977. To this figure should be mated increase in the number of American deaths abroad each year added about 100 bodies (for calendar 1979) to account for the esti

due to the greater number of Americans traveling internationally, and

another 100 (necessarily a rough estimate) for Americans who die in Canada, for a total of 2,441. At an average cost of $3,000 for returning embalmed bodies, the total cost of returning all bodies of Americans

next of kin has made a decision, he or she deposits the funds with the Department, which then authorizes the consular officer to proceed with making arrangements in accordance with the next of kin's wishes. If the next of kin decides to have the remains shipped to the United States, the consular officer arranges with the local funeral director to embalm the body, or otherwise prepare it for shipment if embalming is not available, provide an appropriate coffin, procure required documentation, and ship the remains by commercial transportation to a funeral establishment in the United States with which the family or legal representative has already made arrangements for receipt of the remains. The consular officer also prepares a report of death, based on the death certificate issued by local authorities, and transmits it to the next of kin; takes temporary possession of the deceased's personal effects; and requests proof of entitlement and instructions from the next of kin or other legal claimant as to the disposition of these effects.

If the next of kin or legal representative was in the company of the deceased at the time of death, it is his or her responsibility to arrange for preparation of the body, purchase of a casket and shipment of the body to the United States if not buried locally or cremated. In these circumstances, the consular officer renders as much facilitative assistance as possible.

At present all expenses relating to the disposition of remains are the responsibility of the next of kin or other legal representative of the estate, as are all expenses for handling the deceased's effects.




Laws and regulations regarding the disposition of remains of a deceased person vary from country to country. In most Western European countries where embalming is available, these regulations are comparable to those in the United States. On the other hand, most countries in Africa and Asia and some in Latin America, where embalming and refrigeration facilities are either nonexistent or arailable only in the larger metropolitan areas, and where there is a danger of spreading infectious diseases, require burial (or cremation) of the body within 24 or 48 hours. For this reason, the next of kin, the Department and the consular officer must act quickly in making decisions, in transferring funds and in arranging for embalming and other preparations for shipment of the body if the deadlines set for local burial are to be met.


While the cost of local burial or cremation in most foreign countries is usually below the cost for comparable services in the United States. the cost of embalming or otherwise preparing a body for shipment, of purchasing a casket and lead or zinc container, and of transporting the body to the United States is generally much higher than the cost of a funeral here. This cost problem is compounded by the need for the next of kin to obtain funds for disposition of the remains without delay. Funeral directors in foreign countries, except in very unusual circum: stances, will not grant credit for their services; they insist on having cash in hand before they will make any arrangements for local burial, cremation, or preparation and shipment of a body. Because of the high expense involved, this attitude is especially troublesome when the next of kin opts for embalming and shipment of the remains. The problem of obtaining funds quickly for transfer abroad is especially difficult when the death notification cable is received over a weekend when banks and other credit institutions are closed.

MAGNITUDE OF THE PROBLEM In calendar year 1977, the most recent period for which accurate and complete statistics are available, 6,584 American citizens died in foreign countries, exclusive of Canada. Of that number, the remains of 4.516 were buried locally; the bodies of 366 were cremated and the ashes returned to the United States; and the remains of 1,702 were embalmed or otherwise prepared and transported to the United States. Almost all of those whose bodies were buried locally were permanent residents of the locality, most of them naturalized American citize who had returned to their native countries to live out their lives in retirement, usually beneficiaries of a social security check or some other annuity from the United States. The large proportion of local burial of American citizens who die in Greece, Italy, Mexico, Israel, and Poland reflects this social phenomenon. Many native-born Americans have also chosen to retire abroad and when they die, many of them are buried locally, for example, in Mexico, Spain, Germany, France, and Italy. The expense of preparing and shipping to the United States the bodies of these two categories of people has little or no bearing on the next of kin's choice of burial place. Almost all of the 1,702 American citizens who died abroad in 1977 and whose bodies were returned to the United States were tourists, businessmen or their dependents, contract workers, students or seamen. It should be noted that some countries, for example, Saudi Arabia, where thousands of American workers and their dependents reside, require by contract that companies doing business there return the bodies of their deceased employees and their dependents to the United States at the companies' expense.

In reply to a recent Department query, approximately 250 U.S. diplomatic and consular posts abroad estimated that of the 4,516 American citizens who died in their consular districts in 1977 and whose bodies were either buried or cremated and disposed of locally, the bodies of only 173 might have been returned to the United States had U.S. Government loans been available for this purpose.


The cost of disposition of remains varies widely from country to country depending on charges for embalming, caskets, lead and zinc containers, local fees for death certificates, burial permits, burial plots, cremation charges, transit permits, export licenses and air freight


* Funeral directors in Canada normally make arrangements directly with their American enunterparts for the shipment of deceased Americans' bodies to the United States. Our Embassy and consular posts in Canada rarely become involved in any way in the disDuration of the remains of American citizens who die in that country and hence no Prllahle statistics are available on this subject. None of the figures cited in this report, iberefore, includes any data on American deaths in Canada.

charges. It should be noted that the costs cited below were those prevailing as of April-May 1978. Due to the decline of the dollar in world markets since then, today's costs would be higher in some countries.


The cost of a medium-priced local burial, with a moderately priced casket, in the 10 foreign countries where the largest number of American citizens died in 1977 was as follows: West Germany $1,400, Mexico $1,075, U.K. $1,000, Norway $740, Israel $700, Italy $700, Ireland $550, France $500, Greece $500, and Spain $400. The lowest cost for a burial was $100. in Niger and the highest $1,700 in Argentina.


Cremation facilities are not available in many countries, and in some countries cremation of a human body is illegal. In those countries where cremation is permitted and facilities are available, the costs range from $1,180 in Switzerland to $80 in Burma. The average cost of cremation worldwide is about $550.

The cost of shipping the ashes of a cremated body to the United States depends in large part on the weight of the container, (cardboard box, wooden box, cast iron urn, brass urn, et cetera) and the distance from the point of origin to destination in the United States. The cost of shipment of ashes in a strong wooden box from any place in the world to any place in the United States is less than $100.


There are three major factors in determining the cost of returning a body from a foreign country for burial in the United States: Embalming or other preparation of body charges; purchase of the required metal container and casket; and airfreight charges. This last, airfreight charge, is fixed by the Civil Aviation Board and interna tional air transport agreements. Distance and weight determine the cost of shipping a body from abroad. A shipment to New York weighing 220 kilograms (440 lbs.) cost the following in the spring of 1978 from the 10 countries where the largest number of American citizens clied last year: West Germany $1,112, France $1,000, Italy $889, Israel $810, Greece $750, Norway $680, United Kingdom $608, Spain $600, Ireland $500 and Mexico City $300. According to the Chief of the Tariff's Division, Office of International Air Transport Rates and Fares, Civil Aeronautics Board, who at the request of the Department recently reviewed international airfreight rates for shipping human remains, these rates are reasonable and do not warrant a revision at the present time. Rates for shipping human remains within the United States were also recently reviewed, found to be somewhat high and reduced accordingly.

The greatest variation in costs among foreign countries is for embalming and other preparations of the remains for shipment, including cost of the casket, ranging from $300 in India and Nepal to $2,987 in Zaire as of May 1978. In most Western European countries these costs range between $1,200 and $2,000, e.g., France $1,500, West Germany $1,800, Greece $1,200, and Spain $1,620. On the other hand, the cost of these services in Italy is $750 and in the United Kingdom, $608.

« PreviousContinue »