Cablegate: Usunesco: Plans to Recognize Le Corbusier's Work

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: Twenty Le-Corbusier-designed buildings have
been chosen to represent the architect's work in a possible
nomination for World Heritage site status, according to Le
Corbusier Foundations officials who spoke at a June 21
informal UNESCO meeting. (A Le Corbusier-designed building
on Harvard University's campus is not included in the
package.) The World Heritage Site nomination process,
however, does not easily accommodate the planned 2007
nomination. The French Ambassador recommended discussing
this issue with reps of countries standing for election to
the World Heritage Committee (WHC). End summary.

2. At a 21 June meeting attended by representatives of the
Argentinean, Belgian, German, French, Indian and Swiss
UNESCO representatives, representatives of the Le Corbusier
Foundation explained the current status of the plans for a
"serial nomination" in 2007 for World Heritage Site status
that would recognize a twenty Le-Corbusier designed
buildings worthy of World Heritage Site status and
representative of the architect's life's work. The
buildings are located in France, Switzerland, India,
Belgium, Germany and England. The organizers dropped their
original plans to include a Le Corbusier designed building
located on Harvard University's campus, but expressed hope
that perhaps this building might someday be included as an
"extension" site.

3. French Ambassador to UNESCO Jean Gueguinou said that Le
Corbusier's work obviously deserved recognition as a UNESCO
World Heritage site. Gueguinou then succinctly stated the

--when the nomination is made in 2007, WHC rules will limit
the total number of new sites to 40 per year. Each country
may nominate a maximum of two sites, but one of them must be
a natural site.

--Therefore, for the nomination to succeed, each of the
countries containing a building on the organizer's list
would be required to select that building as their one
cultural site for nomination. This would be highly unlikely
-- Countries may nominate only sites that are listed on
their "Tentative List." (Note. World Heritage Convention
procedures anticipate that each signatory will maintain a
list of sites in its territory that it considers worthy of
"World Heritage" status. These lists are called "Tentative
Lists." End note.)

--Some countries, such as India and Argentina, might have
different priorities for their Tentative Lists, Gueguinou
noted. The Argentine and Indian reps noted agreement.

--The German and Belgian reps noted that the Le Corbusier
sites are not on the their respective Tentative Lists and
would not likely be included, due to internal political
processes. Moreover, Germany has already more or less
decided on which sites to nominate through the year 2010.

4. Gueguinou emphasized that a solution should be found to
the many procedural difficulties, given the obvious merit of
a Le Corbusier nomination. He expressed the hope that the
World Heritage Center, the Paris-based UNESCO-housed
administrative support body for the 1973 World Heritage
Convention, would help find a solution. The World Heritage
Center representative at the meeting, apparently already
persuaded that the Le Corbusier work deserved recognition,
said that the World Heritage Center had a certain
flexibility in interpreting the rules, but stopped well
short of saying that the current rules could accommodate the

5. Gueguinou and the Le Corbusier Foundation reps floated
an idea to the effect that France and Switzerland could
nominate Le-Corbusier buildings on their territories, with
other Le Corbusier locations considered as "extension"

6. Gueguinou noted that 12 of the 21 States who are
represented on the World Heritage Committee, the policy-
making body established by the 1973 World Heritage
Convention, stand for election in October. He encouraged
discussion of the procedural problems in Le Corbusier
nomination with reps of the countries standing for election.
He also reiterated his feeling that the World Heritage
Center should be able to help find a way to accommodate the
nomination. Finally, he suggested that the interested
parties reconvene in November, after the UNESCO General
Conference and the World Heritage Committee elections, to
continue to make plans to promote the nomination

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