4. Mr. KOPAC (Czechoslovakia), Rapporteur of theDrafting Committee, introduced the draft preamble (A/CONF.97/15) drawn up by the Committee. The text had not been examined by the other committees. In preparing it, the Drafting Committee had taken account of the essential ideas in the two documents submitted to it.
5. The PRESIDENT invited the Conference to make two minor drafting alterations in the English text. Theintroductory phrase (underlined) should read "The States Parties to this Convention". The comma after the word "systems" in the third line of the third paragraph should be deleted.
6. Mr. NICHOLAS (United Kingdom) proposed, forthe sake of clarity, the replacement of the word "governing" in the first line of the third paragraph by the words "which govern" and of the word "which" in the second line by the word "and".
7. Mr. MEHDI (Pakistan) said that it was customary to use initial capitals when referring to the new international economic order and proposed that the reference to it in the first paragraph should be modified accordingly.
8. Mr. PLANTARD (France) and Mr. MEDVEDEV (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) said they had no objection to the use of capital letters in the English text; in French and Russian, however, it was more usual to use small letters.
9. The draft preamble, as amended, was adopted by 41 votes to none.
10. Mr. SZÁSZ (Hungary) said that he had voted in favour of the draft preamble on the understanding that while the principles of equality and mutual benefit were certainly applicable to the contractual relations between parties to a contract, relations among States were also governed by many other important principles, such as non-discrimination.
Articles 62 and 80 [became CISG article 71 and CISG article 68 ] (continued)
11. The PRESIDENT said that the changes made in article 62 [became CISG article 71 ] concerned the French version only.
12. Mr. VIS (Executive Secretary of the Conference) explained that the purpose of those changes had been to bring the French text into line with the English text. In paragraph 1, the words "lorsqu'il devient manifeste" had been replaced by the words "lorsqu'il apparaît", and in paragraph 2, the words "lorsque apparaissent les raisons prévues" had been replaced by the words "lorsque se rélèvent les raisons prévues".
13. Mr. GARRIGUES (Spain) considered article 62 [became CISG article 71 ] unsatisfactory. The grounds entitling a party to suspend the performance of his obligations were set forth in a very obscure manner. Those referred to in paragraph 1(a) and (b) of the article were merely examples and did not constitute an exhaustive list. A court called upon to give a decision in that type of situation would be forced to ask itself some highly subjective questions in order to assess the situation of the party whose conduct might be invoked by the other party to suspend the performance of his obligations. Far clearer, more precise and more satisfactory, in his view, was the text of the 1964 Convention, which stipulated that each party might suspend the performance of his obligations whenever, after the conclusion of the contract, the economic situation of the other party appeared to have become so difficult that there was good reason to fear that he would not perform a material part of his obligations.
14. Mr. PLANTARD (France) said that he would vote against article 62 [became CISG article 71 ]. It would be quite improper to allow a party who had undertaken to provide goods not to do so by the prescribed date because he considered that the situation of his contracting partner entitled him to act in that manner. It was essential that the necessary steps should be taken to ensure fulfilment of the contract, particularly in a period of economic and politicalinstability. The provisions of article 62 [became CISG article 71 ] were dangerous because they would jeopardize still further the situation of enterprises in difficulties.
15. Article 62 [became CISG article 71 ] was adopted by 29 votes to 5, with 12 abstentions.
16. Mr. MEHDI (Pakistan) explained that he had abstained because he considered that article 62 [became CISG article 71 ] placed too much emphasis on the assessment by one party of the other party's situation.
17. Mr. SAM (Ghana) said that he had abstained for the same reasons.
18. Mr. KOPAC (Czechoslovakia), Rapporteur of the Drafting Committee, introduced the text of article 80 [became CISG article 68 ] (A/CONF.97/L.23) prepared by the Drafting Committee, which had tried to improve the text referred to it by the Conference and to make it clearer. The first sentence remained unchanged. The second had been divided into two. By making what had become the third sentence begin with the word "Nevertheless", it had been intended to make it quite clear that that sentence related to exceptions to the situation envisaged in the second sentence only.
19. Mr. PLANTARD (France) said that the tense used in the French version of the third sentence was incorrect and that the words "a connaissance" should be replaced by the words "avait connaissance".
20. Mr. ZIEGEL (Canada) congratulated the Drafting Committee on its improvements to article 80 [became CISG article 68 ]. However, he would like to introduce a minor change which would clarify the text without affecting the substance, namely, to replace, in the penultimate line of the English text, the words "the loss or damage" by the words "that loss or damage". That would make it still clearer that the limitations provided for in the third sentence applied to the second sentence only, not the first. Moreover, that wording would be closer to the original draft article, where the word "such" had been used, and to the wording in ULIS.
21. Mr. HONNOLD (United States of America) said he could not agree that the change would be purely a drafting one. Whatever the wording used in the previous texts, the Drafting Committee had had to base itself on the text adopted by the Conference in plenary. It was not only the loss or damage which had occurred before the conclusion of the contract that should be at the risk of the seller, but any subsequent losses. If the amendment proposed by Canada were adopted, it would be necessary to determine what damage had occurred before and what after the conclusion of the contract in order to ascertain how much of it was at the risk of the seller. For him, that would be an important change of substance.
22. Mr. HJERNER (Sweden) supported the Canadian amendment and apologized for reopening the discussion of substantive matters in so doing; he was totally opposed to the interpretation given by the United Statesto the amendment. With regard to the last part of article 80 [became CISG article 68 ], the text accepted by the First Committee was the same as the UNCITRAL draft article (A/CONF.97/5), which was in clear contradiction to the United States interpretation. If the text submitted by the Drafting Committee (A/CONF.97/L.23) was to lend itself to such an interpretation, it would mean that the Drafting Committee had, in finalizing the wording of article 80 [became CISG article 68 ], introduced into it a substantive amendment without receiving a mandate to do so from the First Committee.
23. Mr. ZIEGEL (Canada) said that he too was opposed to the interpretation of his draft amendment by the representative of the United States. Nevertheless, he withdrew it, so as not to delay the work of the Conference.
24. Mr. KHOO (Singapore), Chairman of the Drafting Committee, wished to inform the Swedish representative that, in working on the wording of article 80 [became CISG article 68 ] as adopted by the Conference at its preceding meeting, no member of the Drafting Committee had felt that the substance of the provision was being altered. However, the Drafting Committee had found it difficult to grasp, in the wording adopted by the Conference, what was intended to be an exception to the case for which provision was made in the second sentence of article 80 [became CISG article 68 ], as introduced by the words "except that". That was the sole reason why the Drafting Committee had thought the exception might best be qualified by introducing a third and separate sentence beginning with the word "Nevertheless . . .". The Drafting Committee had thus in no way exceeded its powers.
25. Mr. LEBEDEV (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) said that, at its preceding meeting, the Conference had adopted for article 80 [became CISG article 68 ] a text that had been distributed in English only. Nevertheless, his delegation thought that the wording submitted by the Drafting Committee (A/CONF.97/L.23) was closely in line with the Conference decision at the preceding meeting, as it had been interpreted by the Soviet delegation.
26. Mr. HJERNER (Sweden) said that he had not meant to say that the Drafting Committee had deviated from the decision taken by the Conference at the preceding meeting. The comments he had made related to the fact that, at an earlier stage, the words "such loss or damage", in the English version of the last sentence of article 80 [became CISG article 68 ], had become "the loss or damage". The French text remained unchanged.
27. Article 80 [became CISG article 68 ], as submitted by the Drafting Committee was adopted, subject to the tenses in the third sentence in the French version being brought into line.
28. Mr. ROGNLIEN (Norway) said that he regretted that article 80 [became CISG article 68 ] had not been put to a final vote. If it had been put to a vote in that wording he would have voted against it. A provision on the passing of risk had to be based on purely practical considerations and, in particular, the passing of risk should not take place while goods were in transit. In such a case, the original seller would have to take out an insurance policy covering at least theperiod in which he himself bore the risk. The cost of such insurance would be included in the cost to the buyer in the form of a corresponding increase in the price of the goods. It would therefore fall to the buyer -- or successive buyers -- to take out additional insurance because the risk would in fact pass while the goods were in transit. In short, the buyer would pay the cost of insurance twice over. He considered that the provision would hardly ever be used in practice, except perhaps by buyers who were unfamiliar with the type of trade to which the kind of provision in article 80 [became CISG article 68 ]applied.
CONSIDERATION OF THE REPORT OF THE FIRST COMMITTEE TO THE PLENARY CONFERENCE (continued)
(A/CONF.97/11/Add.2, p. 11,A/CONF.97/L.20)
29. Mr. SHAFIK (Egypt) recalled that he had withdrawn the amendment to article 63 [became CISG article 72 ], paragraph 2, submitted by him in document A/CONF.97/L.20.
30. Article 63 [became CISG article 72 ] (A/CONF.97/11/Add.2) was adopted by 44 votes to none, with 2 abstentions.
(A/CONF.97/11/Add.2, p. 13)
31. Article 64 [became CISG article 73 ] (A/CONF.97/11/Add.2) was adopted by 47 votes to none.
Section II. Damages and interest
32. The PRESIDENT asked the Conference to decide on the heading of section II of chapter V: "Damages and interest".
33. Mr. LOEWE (Austria) said that he had previously had occasion to say that, in his opinion, the proper place for article 73 bis [became CISG article 78 ] was not among the provisions relating to "damages" since the section heading, in French at least, covered only one type of debt by one party to another but not the interest to be paid on amounts due under any heading. The English heading: "Damages and interest" was complete however. Either the French title should be altered or, as he himself would prefer, article 73 bis [became CISG article 78 ] should become a separate section which would follow article 73 [became CISG article 77 ].
34. The PRESIDENT recalled that the Conference had received a proposal to delete article 73 bis [became CISG article 78 ] (A/CONF.97/L.18). Consideration of the heading for section II could therefore be left until a decision had been taken on article 73 bis [became CISG article 78 ].
35. It was so decided.
(A/CONF.97/11/Add.2, p. 13)
36. Article 70 [became CISG article 74 ] (A/CONF.97/11/Add.2) was adopted by 48 votes to none, with 2 abstentions.
(A/CONF.97/11/Add.2, p. 13)
37. Article 71 [became CISG article 75 ] (A/CONF.97/11/Add.2) was adopted by 46 votes to none, with 1 abstention.
(A/CONF.97/11/Add.2, p. 13;A/CONF.97/L.11)
38. Mr. BENNETT (Australia), introducing on behalf of the sponsors (Australia, Greece, Mexico, Norway and Turkey) an amendment to article 72(1) [became CISG article 76(1) ] (A/CONF.97/L.11), said that it was very similar to the amendment that had been submitted to the First Committee under the symbol A/CONF.97/C.1/L.245. The earlier proposal had referred to the time of receipt of payment, but there was no such reference in the new proposal, which was thus a simpler one.
39. The purpose of article 72 [became CISG article 76 ] was to provide a formula for assessing the amount due if the contract was declared avoided, in addition to any further damages recoverable under article 70 [became CISG article 74 ]. The formula proposed (A/CONF.97/11/Add.2) was based on two factors: the price fixed by the contract, which did not create any difficulty, and the current price "at the time [the party] first had the right to declare the contract avoided". It was the second factor that was not satisfactory, first, because its application was uncertain and secondly because it would encourage the parties to be too precipitate in declaring the contract avoided. The formula envisaged in article 72 [became CISG article 76 ] should undoubtedly be such as to prevent speculation on the price, but the need to do so did not arise until the goods had been taken over, and its was at that stage that the problem of speculation could be settled, in a more limited fashion than was done in the proposed text. It would be preferable to approach the problem in that more restrictive way and to refrain from establishing a generally applicable provision that was not wholly satisfactory. In the case of goods taken over before the contract was declared avoided, in order to reduce the risk of speculation that would then exist, the price applicable should be the current price at the time they were taken over. However, if the goods had not been delivered at the time the contract was declared avoided, it was not essential to reduce the risk of speculation and the most satisfactory method would then be to take the current price at the time of the actual declaration of avoidance. In such a situation, the application of that formula would be less uncertain and would not make for unduly hasty avoidance of the contract.
40. Mr. ROGNLIEN (Norway), speaking as a cosponsor of the amendment to article 72(1) [became CISG article 76(1) ] (A/CONF.97/L.11), explained that its main purpose was to remedy the present provision under which the price to be assessed would be the price prevailing at the time when the party who declared the contract avoided had for the first time had the right to do so. That would be difficult to apply and would open the door to a great deal of litigation which it was the very purpose of article 72 [became CISG article 76 ] to avoid by providing for abstract damages. A party would in many cases have the right to avoid the contract some time before it would have become clear that the right existed. Particular difficulties would arise in cases of anticipatory breach. It was important not to forget that, in practice, parties would not readily be precipitate in avoiding a contract which they had entered into in good faith, andthey should not be encouraged to do so. In the event of non-delivery of goods, for example, the buyer undoubtedly had the right to declare the contract avoided, but he would usually wait quite some time before doing so because he would be interested in obtaining the goods. In such a case, it was incumbent upon the seller to inform the buyer that he would not perform his obligations. After being so informed the buyer would under article 73 [became CISG article 77 ] have the duty to mitigate the loss by taking appropriate measures, and would consequently have nothing to gain by speculating in price movements thereafter. In cases of non-delivery, therefore, it seemed reasonable, for the purposes of article 72 [became CISG article 76 ], to take the time when the contract was actually avoided and not the time when the buyer had first had the right to declare it avoided. Where the goods delivered did not conform, it was proposed to assess the abstract damages in accordance with article 72 [became CISG article 76 ] on the basis of the price prevailing at the time when the goods had been taken over. Any further loss would be covered by article 70 [became CISG article 74 ], either as an alternative or additional remedy.
41. Mr. LOEWE (Austria) called attention to a typographical error in the second line of the French text of article 72(1) [became CISG article 76(1) ] (A/CONF.97/11/Add.2). There should be a comma rather than a hyphen between the words "petit" and "si".
42. Furthermore, he was not convinced that the amendment (A/CONF.97/L.11) would eliminate all possibility of speculation. Under the text prepared by the Drafting Committee, a dispute might in fact arise as to the date on which a party would be able to declare the contract avoided, but it would be settled by a tribunal. The amendment proposed, on the other hand, introduced a subjective criterion, and the date of taking over of goods, while an objective criterion, could be completely arbitrary.
43. Mr. HONNOLD (United States of America) said that he wished to congratulate the authors of the amendment, which it appeared to him would considerably improve the text of the Convention. The text would gain in clarity because the essential date was that of avoidance of the contract, of which the aggrieved party was compelled to notify the other party. It was also more equitable because it discouraged speculation. The worst abuse would be to allow a purchaser of raw materials, which were subject to sharp price fluctuations, to wait until prices had fallen before declaring the contract avoided.
44. Mr. FOKKEMA (Netherlands) said that he was opposed to the amendment. In ULIS, the decisive date was the time of avoidance of the contract. In addition, two methods were provided for to combat speculation. One was ipso facto avoidance, and the other the short period of time allowed a party to declare the contract avoided. With regard to the draft amendment, where there had actually been speculation, the court might consider that there had been no fundamental breach of the contract, and that the period of time allowed was notreasonable The period of time would then be shorter than the one provided for by ULIS.
45. Mr. PLANTARD (France) said that he was not convinced of the justification for the draft amendment, especially where avoidance of the contract was declared on the basis of lack of conformity arising out of an inherent defect. For example, in the case of spare parts supplied to the purchaser which, when installed, proved defective, the defect would constitute a fundamental breach of the contract, and the amount of damages to be paid would not be calculated on the basis of the price at the time of delivery, but on that at the time when the purchaser became aware of the inherent defect, and was therefore in a position to declare avoidance of the contract. Article 72 [became CISG article 76 ] as submitted by the Drafting Committee thus appeared preferable.
46. Mr. ZIEGEL (Canada) explained that his delegation would abstain from voting on the draft amendment, which had already been submitted twice and rejected, because it considered that, at the current stage, the decision of the majority should be accepted. In addition, there was not a great difference between article 72 [became CISG article 76 ] and the draft amendment. He recalled that articles 45 and 60 [became CISG article 48 and CISG article 64 ] provided that the aggrieved party must act within a reasonable period of time, and that article 73 [became CISG article 77 ] provided that measures must be taken to limit the loss. Taking into account all those provisions, the aggrieved party was not allowed much time to reach a decision.
47. Mr. KUCHIBHOTLA (India) said he supported the draft amendment, which limited the risk of speculation, fixed a precise date and reduced the number of sources of dispute.
48. The PRESIDENT put draft amendment A/CONF.97/L.11 to the vote.
49. Draft amendment A/CONF.97/L.11 was adopted by 24 votes to 10, with 11 abstentions.
50. Article 72 [became CISG article 76 ], as amended, was adopted by 39 votes to 2, with 8 abstentions.
(A/CONF.97/11/Add.2, p.13;A/CONF.97/L.16, L.17 and L.18)
51. Mr. NICHOLAS (United Kingdom) recalled that his delegation had submitted three draft amendments (A/CONF.97/L.16, L.17 and L.18), all of which stemmed from the same idea, namely that the Convention should not deal with the payment of interest. In a spirit of conciliation, it had withdrawn its proposals to enable the other delegations to finalize a text. However, that text was neither satisfactory nor applicable. Its authors had indicated that one of its main qualities was its great flexibility. As regarded flexibility, however, the text contained such ambiguities that it would inevitably give rise to controversies and disputes, and thus to divergent interpretations, depending on national legislations. Any provision on that point had to be clear but many representatives had called attention to a number of expressions whose meaning required clarification. Ifeven legal experts had difficulty in grasping the meaning of the text, what could be expected of bankers and financial experts? He announced that he was withdrawing the draft amendment in document A/CONF.97/L.18, and requested that, if article 73 bis [became CISG article 78 ] was not adopted, the draft amendments in documents A/CONF.97/L.16 and L.17 should be put to the vote.
52. Mr. MANTILLA-MOLINA (Mexico) said that he fully shared the point of view of the representative of the United Kingdom. In addition, the article, in its very principle, raised difficulties for the Islamic countries, and would therefore engender reservations, or even prevent some countries from acceding to the Convention. His delegation would thus vote in favour of deleting article 73 bis [became CISG article 78 ].
53. Mr. LEBEDEV (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) said that, in his opinion, the existing text of the article, and particularly paragraph 2, was incompatible with the objective sought, namely to develop, in clear and precise terms, a formula for the calculation of damages. The wording, instead of settling the situation in a uniform and clear manner, introduced uncertainties in the guise of flexibility. His delegation was favourable to paragraph 1 of the article, but could under no circumstances support the whole article.
54. Mr. SAM (Ghana) associated himself with the remarks by the two preceding speakers. Some of the expressions used, such as "main financial centre" or "interest . . . at a rate corresponding [to the actual credit costs]" required clarification. In view of the difficulties encountered at the preceding meeting in establishing a link between articles 41 and 75 and article 73 [became CISG article 45 and CISG article 86 and CISG article 77 ], and those currently being encountered with regard to interpretation of the whole question of interest, it would appear preferable to endorse the proposal of the United Kingdom delegation, and he appealed to all the representatives to do so.
55. Mr. MONACO (International Institute for the Unification of Private Law [UNIDROIT]) said that he considered that paragraph 1 of article 73 bis [became CISG article 78 ] should be retained because the rate to be applied should be the one generally applied in commercial relations. Paragraph 2, on the other hand, was unclear, and questions relating to the concept of actual costs, which was ambiguous and difficult to clarify, should be left aside.
56. Mr. SEVÓN (Finland) said that his delegation had already shown great flexibility and thought it unfortunate that the same spirit of conciliation did not prevail on so important a question. He recalled that the current text of article 73 bis [became CISG article 78 ] had been adopted in the First Committee by a large majority, and said that, if a compromise could not be reached once more on that point, his delegation's position regarding the text as a whole would be affected.
57. Mr. DABIN (Belgium) said he thought it would be regrettable to delete the entire article, since the question of interest would be of fundamental concern to all who applied the Convention. Acknowledging that the texthad been drafted in great haste, and that it was rather late to envisage setting up a Working Group, he said that, while paragraph 2 was the less satisfactory of the two, paragraph 1 -- especially in its reference to short term commercial credit -- was also open to criticism. Why, indeed, was a notion as restrictive as that of commercial credit introduced, when the Convention would also cover goods to be manufactured or produced; and was not "short-term" a concept which was open to various interpretations, according to the financial centres or to the practice of the countries concerned? Again, why should the Convention, which would be an international instrument, refer to the rate "prevailing in the main financial centre in the State where the party in default has his place of business", and not to the rate prevailing on international markets? He would suggest that paragraphs 1 and 2 of the article should be put to the vote separately.
58. Mr. LOEWE (Austria) proposed that the Belgian request for division be voted upon, since his own delegation would find it difficult to adopt only one or other of the paragraphs. If the motion for division was carried, and had that result, the Austrian delegation would be obliged to modify its position with regard to the draft Convention as a whole.
59. Mr. HJERNER (Sweden) observed that as far as paragraph 2 of article 73 bis [became CISG article 78 ] was concerned, the previous speakers had been critical not so much of its substance as its drafting, which seemed to them to leave room for uncertainty. Most of those speakers appeared to consider that there was no place in the Convention for such an obscure text.
60. Expressing the view that to make no provision whatever in the Convention for the question of interest would be a great mistake, he said that such an omission would do nothing to facilitate its application, and would lead to a great amount of litigation by making it necessary in each case to refer to national legislations in order to determine which law was applicable to interest, and whether the problem posed was one of procedure or of substance. Some national legislations fixed a legal rate of interest whose application to contracts for the international sale of goods was not satisfactory. Article 73 bis [became CISG article 78 ] would at least make it possible to avoid those difficulties. It was true that an element of uncertainty always remained wherever banking techniques were involved; but article 73 bis in its current form at least had the merit of bringing a certain element of uniformity into the question of interest rates. In that connection, it was not exactly true that financial circles had not been consulted as far as the provision was concerned. Article 73 bis [became CISG article 78 ] as drafted was to a great extent inspired by the text proposed by the Working Group on International Negotiable Instruments, whose membership included financial and banking experts.
61. He was opposed to a separate vote on the two paragraphs of the article; its text struck a balance between the views of delegations which wished the rate prevailingwhere the debtor had his place of business to be taken into account in the calculation of interest, and those ofdelegations which preferred that the rate where the creditor had his place of business should be taken into account. To adopt only one of the two paragraphs of the article would be to upset that compromise.
62. If the Conference rejected article 73 bis [became CISG article 78 ], there would be a significant gap in the Convention. In view of the fact that the problem was basically one of drafting as far as most delegations were concerned, it might, after all, be desirable to set up reworking group with the task of preparing a clearer text.
63. Mr. LOEWE (Austria) said he thought that a vote should first be taken on the proposal for the deletion of article 73 bis [became CISG article 78 ]; if that proposal failed to secure the required two-thirds majority, the motion for division should then be put to the vote.
64. The PRESIDENT pointed out that the representative of the United Kingdom had withdrawn his proposal (A/CONF.97/L.18) for the deletion of article 73 bis [became CISG article 78 ].
65. The PRESIDENT invited the Conference to vote on the motion division.
66. The motion for division was rejected by 35 votes to 4, with 7 abstentions..
67. Mr. SHAFIK (Egypt), explaining his delegation's abstention from voting on the division motion, recalled the rejection by the First Committee of his proposal that the Convention should provide explicity for the possibility of making reservations with regard to article 73 bis [became CISG article 78 ]. Since that proposal had not been adopted, his delegation had been unable to take part in a vote which could lead to the retention of all or part of article 73 bis [became CISG article 78 ].
68. The PRESIDENT put article 73 bis [became CISG article 78 ] to the vote.
69. There were 24 votes in favour, 17 against and 10 abstentions. Having failed to obtain the required two-thirds majority, article 73 bis [became CISG article 78 ] was not adopted.
70. Mr. GARRIGUES (Spain) explained that his delegation had voted against article 73 bis [became CISG article 78 ] because of what it saw as a contradiction between its two paragraphs. It believed that only actual credit costs should be taken into account in the calculation of interest rates.
71. Mr. MEHDI (Pakistan) said that his delegation had abstained because it could not accept paragraph 2 of the article, the effect of which would be to entitle one party to claim interest as a kind of penalty.
72. Mr. HJERNER (Sweden) noted that, although article 73 bis [became CISG article 78 ] had not obtained the required two-thirds majority, a clear majority had pronounced in its favour. It therefore appeared to him indispensable to set up a working group in an attempt to remove the outstanding uncertainties in the text of paragraph 2. Pointing out that the matter was essential to the satisfactory application of the Convention, he required that his proposal for the creation of a working group be put to the vote.
73. Mr. SHORE (Canada) urged delegations to exercisemoderation in order to ensure the success of the Conference; he feared that a prolonged debate on article 73 bis [became CISG article 78 ] might widen the gap between the different points of view.
74. The PRESIDENT put to the vote the Swedish proposal for the creation of a working group to draw up a new text for article 73 bis [became CISG article 78 ].
75. The proposal was adopted by 16 votes to 12, with 16 abstentions.
76. Mr. VIS (Executive Secretary of the Conference) said that, in view of the decision which had just been taken to establish a working group, the Conference might not be able to finish its work by the end of the current week. Delegations should thus make the necessary arrangements for the possible continuation of its work for a further week.
77. Mr. STALEV (Bulgaria) expressed the belief that if -- as had not always been the case so far -- all delegations exercised moderation, the Conference should be able to complete its work by the original deadline. He would therefore propose that the time allowed to each speaker, and the number of speeches on each question, be limited.
78. Mr. HERBER (Federal Republic of Germany) said he warmly supported the Bulgarian proposal. It was indeed essential at the current stage of the Conference for delegations to avoid reopening issues which had already been settled. He therefore suggested that three minutes be allowed to each speaker, and that the number of speeches concerning each proposal be limited to two in favour and two against.
79. Mr. DABIN (Belgium) said he strongly supported the Bulgarian proposal.
80. Mr. PLANTARD (France) said he doubted whether such a step would be effective. Experience had on many occasions shown that to limit the time allowed to each speaker and the number of speeches only led to difficulties at a later stage, and to a deterioration in the atmosphere of the discussion.
81. Mr. KHOO (Singapore) said that he could not support the Bulgarian proposal either. Any limitation of the number of speeches would inevitably be somewhat arbitrary, and would deprive delegations of the possibility of listening to what might be highly pertinent arguments.
82. The PRESIDENT put to the vote the proposal that each speaker be allowed three minutes.
83. The proposal was adopted by 34 votes to 4, with 6 abstentions.
84. The PRESIDENT put to the vote the proposal that the number of speeches on each question be limited to two in favour and two against.
85. The proposal was rejected by 19 votes to 16, with 11 abstentions.
86. The PRESIDENT announced that the working group set up to prepare a new text for article 73 bis [became CISG article 78 ] would comprise the following countries: Canada, Egypt, Singapore, Sweden, United Kingdom and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.