No. 149.
Mr. Noyes to Mr. Evarts.

No. 180.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith, for transmission to the proper quarter, a circular from the president and secretary of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, informing those governments which are parties to the metric convention, that the bureau is prepared to make in their behalf comparisons of old with the new standard, and that, if the Government of the United States wishes to avail itself of this facility, it is desirable that the standard to be verified should be sent to the bureau early in the beginning of the year.

The president and secretary of the bureau request to be informed of the intentions of our government in relation to this matter.

I have, &c.,

[Inolosure in No. 180.—Translation.]

Mr. Minister: The International Committee on Weights and Measures, in its session of the 8th October last, unanimously adopted the following resolution:

Whereas the construction of the new metric prototypes requires more time than was originally supposed; and whereas the committee has had measuring bars and kilogrammes made of pure iridized platinum, which can be used as temporary standards; and whereas the work of construction is now at an end at the International Bureau, and the main apparatus will be in working order before the close of the year;

“Therefore the committee authorizes its bureau to inform the high governments that, by the beginning of next year, the International Bureau will be prepar [Page 312] make comparisons of the old standards of the mètre à trait with its temporary standards in the interest of the weight and measure service of the contracting States.”

Of course such comparisons cannot give the equations of the old standards as regards the definitive metric unit, which will he fixed hereafter by the sanction of the new prototypes now being manufactured; but in the present state of uncertainty as to the precise length of the metres serving as standards in the different countries, it will be of great utility to be able to have compared by the International Bureau, at least with one another, the old metric standards (à traits) of the different weight and measure services, by means of a single temporary standard belonging to the International Bureau.

The same is the case as regards standard kilogrammes, which the governments of the contracting States may desire to have compared by the International Bureau, by the aid of a temporary staudard kilogramme made of pure iridized platinum under the supervision ot the committee and belonging to the International Bureau.

In communicating this resolution to the governments of the high contracting parties, we have the honor to add that the discussion which has taken place in the committee with regard to this proposition has demonstrated that there would be great utility in thus furnishing to the weight and measure service of the contracting states at least, the relative equations of their present metric standards, until they can be placed in possession of the new prototypes.

If your government, Mr. Minister, desires to avail itself of this first advantage that the common establishment can procure to the states, that created it, it would be desirable for it to send its standards to the International Bureau by the beginning of next year, at which time it will be possible to begin the work of comparing.

We beg you to be kind enough to inform us whether your government decides to-send its metric standards to the International Bureau.

Be pleased to accept, Mr. Minister, the assurance of our highest consideration.

  • General IBANEZ,
  • Dr. Ad. Hirsch, Secretary.

His Excellency the Minister of the United States of America,