The Commission primarily obtains assurances regarding the protection and preservation of cultural property by negotiating formal, bilateral agreements between the United States and foreign governments. Negotiations with the governments of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and adjacent parts of the former Soviet Union are conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State.
Twenty-five bilateral agreements are currently in effect – with Albania, Armenia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Ukraine.
The Commission is seeking agreements with four other countries: Azerbaijan; Greece; the Russian Federation; and Turkey.
The bilateral agreements generally pledge the signatory countries to:
Help protect and preserve properties, including places of worship, monuments, cemeteries, and related archives that are important to the cultural heritage of their residents and former residents.
Cooperate with the U.S. and Americans in identifying these properties, particularly endangered and significant properties.
Ensure equal treatment of all cultural groups in property preservation and access policies.
Cooperate in ensuring the protection and preservation of sites related to groups that are not able to ensure protection and preservation of the sites on their own.
Establish a joint commission with the U.S. to address issues.
The agreements focus on communal properties of groups that were victims of genocide during World War II and are no longer able to protect and preserve properties without assistance.
The Commission is the U.S. Government’s Executive Agent for implementing the agreements.