Delegates of the United States to the Fourth International Conference of American States to the Secretary of State.1
Sir: We have the honor to transmit to you the following report of the proceedings of the Fourth International Conference of American States, which has just concluded its labors and at which we have been present as delegates of the United States, including certain documents hereinafter enumerated.
Leaving New York on board the U. S. Army transport Sumner on Thursday, June 16, we reached Buenos Aires on Friday, July 8, 1910.
We were met on landing by the minister of the United States, Hon. Charles H. Sherrill, and his staff, by Mr. Bartleman, the consul general, by several of the ministers from other American Republics accredited to the United States, and by Argentine officials.
July 9, the day fixed by the governing board of the Bureau of the American Republics for the opening of the conference, being the national festival of the Argentine Republic, we found on reaching Buenos Aires that the inaugural session had been postponed until [Page 26] Tuesday, the 12th, on which day it took place in the presence of the minister of foreign affairs, Dr. de la Plaza, who took the chair, and of others of the Argentine cabinet, of the ministers of foreign powers accredited to this Republic, all of whom had seats on the floor, and of a goodly number of spectators in the galleries.
The minister of foreign affairs delivered an interesting speech, cordially welcoming to Buenos Aires the delegates of the various countries represented at the conference, alluding to the work of this and of previous conferences and referring in eulogistic terms to the Monroe doctrine, in which he said the people of the Argentine Republic had always been firm believers. The chairman of the delegation of the United States, at the general request of the other delegates, replied to the speech of the minister, after which Dr. Bermejo, chief justice of the supreme court and president of the Argentine delegation, was selected permanent president, and Señor Epifanio Portela, minister of that country to the United States, secretary general of the conference; Hon. P. C. Knox and Dr. de la Plaza, respectively Secretary of State of the United States and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Argentine Republic, being elected honorary presidents.
Dr. Bermejo, upon taking the chair, made a speech, the copy of which, together with those of the two previously referred to, is attached to this report. (Appendix C.)
All the Republics of America, except Bolivia, were represented, and the flag of each in succession was displayed for a day over the building in which the conference met. Notwithstanding the absence of a delegation from Bolivia, the flag of that country was flown in its turn.
A list of the names of the delegates and of the officials of the conference is annexed. (Appendix F.)
The sessions of the conference were held in the new palace of justice, a large and imposing building recently erected for the law courts on one of the principal squares of the city. In addition to the large central hall in which the formal sessions took place a number of smaller rooms were conveniently arranged for the meetings of committees, and the president was good enough to announce at the first session that all telegrams and cablegrams sent by the delegates would be forwarded to their destination free of charge by the Argentine Government. Luncheon and other refreshments were also provided for the delegates and their friends throughout the duration of the conference, and every arrangement was made for their convenience and comfort.
The first session for the transaction of business was held on the 14th of July and was chiefly devoted to the rearrangement of the subjects to be assigned to the committees, as provided in article 6 of the program (Appendix A), particularly in respect to sections 3 and 4 thereof, a general feeling having manifested itself in favor of increasing the number of the committees as conducive to the more rapid dispatch of business. After some discussion the president appointed a committee to consider the subject, and upon its recommendation a resolution providing for 14 committees, instead of 7, was adopted. (Appendix N.)
The following is a list of the committees upon which this delegation was represented, with the name of its member upon each, from which you will observe that committee No. 1 (rules and credentials) [Page 27] is the only one of the 14 whereon there was no delegate from the United States. A complete list of the membership of all the committees will be found in Appendix G.
- Second committee.—Subjects of the program: II. Commemoration of the independence of the American Republics; V. Mr. Carnegie’s generosity; XIII. Appreciation of the Pan American Scientific Congress at Santiago; XIV. Celebration of the opening of the Panama Canal. Mr. White (seven members).
- Third committee.—Subject III of the program: Reports of delegations as to the action of their respective Governments upon the resolutions and conventions of the Third Conference. Mr. White (20 members).
- Fourth committee.—Subject IV of the program: Report of the Director of the International Bureau of the American Republics. Mr. Reinsch (20 members).
- Fifth committee.—Subject VI of the program: Pan American Railway. Mr. Moore (20 members).
- Sixth committee.—Subject VII of the program: Establishment of more rapid steamship service between the American Republics. Mr. Nixon (seven members).
- Seventh committee.—Subject VIII of the program: Uniformity in consular documents and the technical requirements of customs regulations, and also in census and commercial statistics. Col. Crowder (20 members).
- Eighth committee.—Subject IX of the program: Recommendations of the Pan American sanitary congresses in regard to sanitary police, quarantine, etc. Mr. Kinley (20 members).
- Ninth committee.—Subject X of the program, in part: Patents and trade-marks. Mr. Quintero (seven members).
- Tenth committee.—Subject X of the program, in part: Copyright; and XII, Interchange of professors and students among the universities and academies of the American Republics. Mr. Moses (seven members).
- Eleventh committee.—Subject XI of the program: Continuance of treaties on pecuniary claims. Mr. Moore (seven members).
- Twelfth committee.—Subject XV of the program: Future conferences. Mr. Quintero (20 members).
- Thirteenth committee.—Article 6, section 6, of the regulations: Publications. Mr. Reinsch (five members).
- Fourteenth committee.—Article 6, section 7, of the regulations: General welfare. Mr. Moses (five members).
It may be well to add that in several instances members of our delegation were unanimously elected as chairmen of the committees to which they were respectively assigned, but we had decided beforehand not to accept any chairmanship save that of the sixth committee, to which Mr. Nixon was elected, and for his acceptance, of which there appeared to be special reasons.
There were 14 plenary sessions of the conference, one of which was called to express sympathy with Chile on the death of President Montt, while three were devoted to the commemoration of the independence days of Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador, which fell on days on which the conference sat, but in addition to the sessions of the conference there were many and frequent meetings of the committees, in which the discussion of the subjects on the program was for the most part conducted. Not a single unfriendly, much less ill-tempered, word fell from anyone at any session of the conference, and the discussions in committee were on the whole conducted with an unusual degree of good humor and with a marked desire not to allow personal predilections, however strong in favor of any particular point, to interfere with a unanimous decision. As a result you will observe that no minority report was made in any committee and that the single report of each is signed by all the delegates of which its membership was composed.
All of the subjects upon the program which required careful consideration were very fully gone into and satisfactorily dealt with [Page 28] by the committees having them in charge, and it would be unfair to our colleagues from the other 19 Republics represented on those committees not to call your attention to the fact that they, one and all, showed not only invariable courtesy to the member from the United States but favorable consideration for his views whenever possible.
Four conventions and 20 resolutions were adopted by the conference after discussion of each, but for the most part practically as reported from the committees.
The following consideration of the work accomplished by the conference is submitted in the order in which the subjects appear upon the program:
commemoration of the argentine national centenary and of the independence of the american republics.
An appropriate resolution was reported by the second committee and passed by the conference. It is set forth in the minutes and embodies proposals made by the representatives (1) of Chile, for the erection of a building in the city of Buenos Aires for the purpose of a permanent exhibition of products of the soil and of the industry of all the nations of America; and (2) of Cuba, for the publication of an artistic volume in which the declarations of independence of all the American Republics shall appear, together with certain salient historical incidents connected therewith. The representative of the United States was careful to explain to the committee his Government’s special interest in these centenary celebrations of the sister Republics, quoting extracts relative thereto from the President’s last annual message to Congress and from your instructions to the delegation. The resolution as adopted will be found in Appendix O.
action of the various governments with respect to the resolutions and conventions of the third conference.
The third committee, which had this subject in charge, gave it full and careful consideration.
All of the delegations, except that of Haiti, which was not represented at the third conference, presented memoranda (translations of which are appended to this report, Appendix H) relative to the action of their respective Governments upon the conventions and resolutions of that conference. A tabulated statement showing at a glance the action of each Government upon the four conventions of the third conference is also transmitted herewith. (Appendix I.)
In the resolution reported by the committee and adopted by the conference (1) cooperation between the Pan American committees and their respective Governments in the preparation for future conferences; (2) the establishment of such Pan American committees in countries where they do not yet exist; (3) the carrying out of the agreements reached by the third conference in respect to natural resources, monetary systems, commerce, customs, and statistical schedules; and (4) the adoption of a system of deposit of ratifications with a view to their prompt exchange and to the speedy proclamation of conventions, as well as the adhesion of nations not originally parties thereto, are provided for.[Page 29]
The Chilean delegation having proposed a resolution suggesting that, in the codification of international law, as provided by the fourth convention of the third conference, a distinction be made between questions of general and questions of purely American interest, the committee recommended that the same should be submitted to the consideration of the jurists having charge of the codification in question.
A form of resolution submitted by the delegates of Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Mexico, and having for its object a recommendation that the congress on coffee, suggested in the thirteenth resolution of the third conference, assemble as soon as possible, in view of the crisis now existing in the production and sale of coffee, was considered by the third committee, as was also a memorandum by the Brazilian delegate setting forth the steps which had been taken in reference to the crisis by his Government. The committee thereupon caused a paragraph to be added to its report to the conference stating that in its view, the resolution of the Rio conference relative to a coffee congress being still in force, it rests with the Government of Brazil, as therein provided, to fix the date at which such a congress should be convened. A resolution to this effect was adopted by the conference. (Appendix P.)
A translation of the report of this committee will be found on pages 97 and 251. (Appendices I and DD.)
the pan american union.
The committee on the Bureau of American Republics considered the advisability of converting into a formal convention the resolution passed and continued by successive conferences under which that institution has hitherto been maintained. On the part of many delegates the belief was expressed that the ratification of such a convention would require an indefinite time on account of the constitutional provisions in numerous Republics which require the consent of their Congresses. It was felt that the activities of the bureau might be embarrassed were a convention adopted immediately on account of the delays which might occur in its ratification. It was therefore decided to maintain for the immediate future the resolution under which the bureau exists, making therein such changes as might seem necessary, and also to submit to the Governments the draft of a convention carefully considered by the committee, which might be concluded as soon as the Governments should find it convenient. (Appendices Q and R.)
The conference maintained the presidency of the Secretary of State of the United States of America in the governing board of the Pan American Union. Indication has been made by the delegates of some countries that it would be more in accordance with the equal dignity of all the members in the union if the chairmanship of the board were made elective, but it was pointed out that by the common practice of international unions a position of similar dignity is usually accorded the minister of foreign affairs of the country in which the union has its seat; and also that the presidency of the Secretary of State would powerfully assist the union and help to increase its dignity and efficiency. The importance of these considerations was universally admitted, and the dignity of the presidential office was again conferred upon the Secretary of State of the [Page 30] United States as an honor freely bestowed by the American nations. In the absence of the Secretary of State the sessions of the governing board are to be presided over by one of the American diplomatic representatives present, in the order of rank and seniority, and with the title of vice president.
In order to acknowledge the dignity which it is proper to recognize in an international institution of such importance, the name of the bureau was changed to “Pan American Union” while the name of the organization of American countries which supports the bureau was changed to the briefer form of “Union of American Republics.”
It was decided that a Republic temporarily not represented by a diplomat at Washington might intrust its representation on the governing board of the Pan American Union to some member of that board, this member then having a vote for each country represented.
Under a resolution passed at Rio de Janeiro in 1906, Pan American committees have been established in nearly all of the Republics. It was the original intention that these bodies should cooperate with the central union in carrying out its work. In accordance with this purpose and in order to make it more definite, the fourth conference embodied in the resolution and draft convention relating to the Pan American Union an article defining the functions and relations of the Pan American committees. Being thus linked to the central institution, they are to form with it a common organism, acting as its representatives and agencies in the different States, and having on their part the right to bring to the central union matters relating to their respective countries.
The functions of the Pan American Union were not essentially modified. It was decided that it would be desirable for the union to gather and publish information on the current legislative acts of the American Republics. The position of the Pan American Union as the permanent commission or agent of the International American Conferences was emphasized. The success of these conferences in the future will depend largely upon the thorough and systematic work of preparation carried on by the Pan American Union and the committees. The questions considered by the conferences are becoming less general and elementary, far more detailed and technical. The extensive body of accurate information required in the making of treaties and resolutions which shall be of practical value can be furnished only by cooperative work carried on through the Pan American Union and the committees in the different Republics.
The financial administration of the union was more definitely regulated with respect to the annual budget and the duty of the member States to pay their quota upon a fixed date into the treasury of the Pan American Union. It was left to the governing board to arrange for the fulfillment of the duties of a treasurer on the part of some official of the union, and to establish an independent system of audit. The importance of the Columbus Memorial Library as a center where the most complete information on all the countries of the union can be obtained was recognized, and the countries renewed their engagements to supply this collection with documents and other books. In order to make the work of the Pan American committees more successful, and to form in each country a center of information on all the others, it was also provided that documents and books [Page 31] should similarly be sent to the Pan American committees in each country.
It was felt that it would not be wise to attempt to make specific regulations for all the activities of the Pan American Union. The power to provide in this manner for the control of the administration in all its agencies was therefore left to the governing board, and in matters referring to the internal administration to the director general.
The Pan American Union thus established is an organization of great importance and dignity. It was therefore thought proper that the title of the head official should be changed to “director general/’ and that of the secretary to “assistant director.” In connection with this change, the committee and the fourth conference expressed their high appreciation of the successful work of propaganda and organization carried on by the present director general, the Hon. John Barrett, as well as the efficiency of the assistant director, Mr. Francisco J. Yanes.
In preparing and adopting the draft of a convention concerning the Pan American Union, the committee and the conference were governed by the principle that in such convention there should be aid down only the essential bases of the organization and functions of the union, leaving to the governing board and to the director general the power to determine, by means of regulations, all the details involved in the proper performance of the functions of the union. The draft convention adopted rests entirely upon experience and incorporates in a more formal manner the organization already developed by means of the successive resolutions and the activities of the union. In the draft of the proposed convention the essential elements of the organization are stated in a simplified form, while many of the details of the resolution are left to the determination of the governing board.
The draft convention on the Pan American Union is in a form ready for the action of the Governments of the American Republics.
During the discussions in committee, the organization and action of the Pan American Union were thoroughly inquired into by the various delegates. The work accomplished in, the past was fully appreciated and the means for increasing the usefulness of the institution were discussed in detail and with deep interest. In a spirit of friendliness and cooperation the committee sought to perfect as far as possible the organization of the union and to give it greater efficiency, scope, and dignity.
appreciation of mr. andrew carnegie’s generosity.
The representative of the United States on the second committee thought it best to leave to the other members thereof the preparation of the resolution embodying the appreciation of the conference of Mr. Andrew Carnegie’s generous gift toward the cost of the new building for the Union of American Republics. It was, however, a source of much gratification to hear the many friendly and grateful references made by them, and by the delegates generally, to Mr. Carnegie’s interest in the cause of Pan Americanism, and to the practical and generous assistance rendered by him to its furtherance through the magnificent gift in question.[Page 32]
You will observe from the resolution, which is submitted herewith as Appendix S, and which was passed unanimously, that the governing board of the Union of American Republics is instructed to present to Mr. Carnegie in behalf of the conference a copy of the resolution, together with a gold medal bearing on the obverse side the words, “To Andrew Carnegie, the American Republics,” and on the reverse side, “Benefactor of humanity.”
pan american railway.
One of the duties with which the conference was charged was that of reporting what progress had been made since the Rio conference upon the Pan American Railway, and of considering the possibility of cooperative action among the American Republics to secure the completion of the system.
In the performance of the first part of this task, the labors of the conference were greatly simplified by the comprehensive but concise and businesslike report of the permanent Pan American Railway committee, through its chairman, the Hon. Henry G. Davis. This report, bearing date of June 10, 1910, was duly presented to the conference. A copy is hereto annexed, marked Appendix GG. It embodied all the information as to the progress of the work which had been received at Washington up to the time of its signature. Its statements were found to be correct, and its usefulness to the conference was much enhanced by the circumstances that the American delegates were furnished, on their departure from the United States, with an abundant supply of copies, printed in English and in Spanish, for distribution among their colleagues.
Either in their formal reports, which were printed for the use of the conference, as to the action of their Governments upon the various conventions and resolutions of the conference at Rio, or in special communications filed with the appropriate committee, statements on the subject of railways, usually with reference to the Pan American system, were made by the delegations from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Salvador, and Uruguay, the United States presenting the report of the permanent committee. It appeared by the statement of Peru that about 200 kilometers of new railway had been opened in that country since the period covered by the Davis report. Mr. Mejia, of Salvador, the energetic and capable chairman of the committee on the Pan American Railway, announced during its sessions that contracts had been concluded for the completion of that part of the line lying in his country. The delegate from Paraguay, besides submitting a special statement for that country, presented a rectification of the boundary line, as shown in the map accompanying the Davis report, between Paraguay and Bolivia. The fact was generally understood, however, that the map was not intended to be authoritative as to international boundaries.
After due deliberation it was decided in committee that it would not be of any practical advantage for the conference to undertake, on the information before it, to adopt a specific and direct plan of cooperation among the American Republics for the completion of the line, it being apparent from the oral statements of delegates, as well [Page 33] as from the printed and written documents, that the formulation of such a plan would necessarily involve the consideration of variant local conditions as to which, especially in Colombia, further investigation was essential.
After numerous sessions the committee agreed upon and presented the following report:
The fifth committee, charged with the consideration of Subject VI of the program of the proceedings, has the honor to present to the conference the result of its deliberations.
From the examination of the documents and data submitted by the permanent Pan American Railway committee and by various delegations it appears that the work on the Pan American Railway presents the following conditions: Of 10,211.5 miles, which constitute the total length of the route from Washington to Buenos Aires, there have been built 6,012.9 miles and there remain to be built 4,198.6 miles.
The sections respectively belonging to the territories of the Republics of the United States, Mexico, and Argentina have been finished.
In the time which has elapsed since the last conference at Rio considerable advances have been made on other sections of this important work, but according to the data before it the committee believes that the execution of the work in the part not yet constructed will not be completed within a term responding to the common desires manifested in this and in the preceding conferences if the union of the Republics does not adopt measures designed to accomplish it in a more efficacious way.
With these antecedents, and taking into account the different votes given in previous conferences in favor of the rapid completion of this work, which has contributed so efficaciously to the union of the Republics, the committee proposes that the present conference adopt the following resolutions:
- To continue the existence, with all its powers, of the permanent Pan American Railway committee in Washington, to which, for the important services which it has rendered, the conference expresses its acknowledgments.
- To confirm the resolutions taken by the Third Pan American Conference on this same point.
- Taking into consideration the high moral and material advantage of the complete realization of the important work projected, the conference charges the permanent Pan American Railway committee with the collection, in the briefest possible time, of all the investigations and data, technical and financial, necessary for the formation of a definitive plan and proposition designed for the construction of the work, and earnestly recommends the countries interested in its completion to adopt and communicate to the permanent Pan American Railway committee the most efficacious measures as to the guarantees and subsidies which can be offered to facilitate the fulfillment of this great common desire, to the end that the said committee, in view of these communications, may propose a practical form for the solution of the problem, which would be impossible, or at least very remote of accomplishment, if it should be abandoned to the isolated action of each of the countries specially interested in it.
This report was adopted by the conference without division.
It may be mentioned, as one of the numerous signs of the widespread interest exhibited in the Pan American Railway, that although the committee on the subject was a large one, consisting of a representative from each delegation, its meetings, which were held twice a week, were usually, if not uniformly, attended by all the members, although some of the countries represented in the conference had and have no direct concern in the project.
consideration of the conditions under which the establishment of more rapid mail, passenger, and express steamship service between the american republics can be secured.
This work was intrusted to a committee of seven. This committee had a number of meetings, but it was suggested by the chairman that each should prepare a statement giving the general idea of the conditions [Page 34] and constitutional powers limiting governmental encouragement, what had been done under such powers, and suggestions of means to secure the service desired. As a result certain recommendations were prepared, which accompany this report as Appendix U.
The instructions to the United States delegation were such as to preclude the suggestion or approval of any definite means of governmental encouragement. For this reason the resolutions submitted were confined to such limits as were general in their application.
The resolutions received the full approval of all the members of the committee, and were submitted to the conference by the chairman on August 12, 1910.
The extent and scope of the resolutions were explained by the chairman in his presentation of the report, which is attached hereto as Appendix HH.
The resolutions were then voted upon one after the other and all were adopted without a dissenting vote.
uniformity in customs and consular regulations, census, and commercial statistics.
This general subject was considered by a committee of 20 made up of one representative from each delegation. At its first session three subcommittees were appointed to make the necessary preliminary studies, the first of customs and consular administration, the second of census matters, and the third of commercial statistics, with the duty of reporting to the full committee measures tending to establish uniformity of administration among the American Republics in the several regards named. The bases of these studies were the several memoranda which accompany the report of the full committee, and the proceedings of prior Pan American conferences and of the New York customs congress. Material assistance was given by experts in consular and customs administration whose services were placed at the disposal of the subcommittees by the Argentine ministry of finance.
The instructions of the Department of State to the United States delegation laid special emphasis upon the vexatious hindrances to interchange of trade among the American Republics which resulted from the enforcement by them of regulations affecting their customs and consular services, widely different in character, and leading to confusion on the part of exporters and importers who must comply with them. The delegation was urged to secure an agreement, by convention or otherwise, for such unification and simplification of the existing administration as would tend to remove these hindrances. Specifically it was instructed to secure, if possible, the adoption of (1) uniform regulations respecting manifests, (2) a uniform consular invoice to be made out in the language of the country of import and in the currency of purchase, (3) uniform certification fees for consular invoices of $2.50 gold where the invoice value exceeded $100 and for lesser values 50 cents, (4) an agreement to dispense with consular certification of manifests and bills of lading, and (5) a uniform rule that entry of imported merchandise should, in all cases where by reason of delay in mails or for other satisfactory cause the original consular invoice failed to reach customhouse authorities with the shipment, [Page 35] be allowed on a statement in the form of an invoice, accompanied by a proper bond for the subsequent production of a duly certified invoice; and providing further that technical defects in the consular documentation of shipments should not be the basis of fines or penalties, and that manifest clerical errors in such documentation might be corrected after entry at the customhouse and without prejudice to the consignee or owner.
The investigation of the committee disclosed that 18 of the American Republics require consular invoices and that the remaining 3 require certificates of origin, which follow closely the requirements of the consular invoice. The committee had before it the forms of 3 documents of each country in Spanish and English. It was found that different countries required different specifications of shipments and different forms of certificates of shippers and consuls. A comparative study of these forms was made by the Argentine experts, the result of which convinced the committee that the essential requirements of all these documents could be combined into a single international form of consular invoice if there were omitted the certificates of shippers and consuls which must reflect the requirements of local laws. With this omission an international form of consular invoice was reported by the committee and adopted by the conference, which is substantially the present United States form.
By similar means the committee reached the agreement that a common form of consular manifest, which document three of the American Republics deem essential to safeguard their customs revenues, could be adopted.
In the view that the ship’s general manifest was substantially a consolidation of bills of lading and had no utility in the entry of imported goods not subordinate to the consular invoice, it was readily agreed by the committee to concur in the recommendation of the first conference to dispense with consular certification of that document, and also to dispense with the certification of the bill of lading as to the countries requiring the certified consular invoice, for the reason that, as the latter document embraces all material data set forth in the former and both accompany the shipment, the certification of the latter was unnecessary.
In respect of fees exacted for consular certification of invoices, an examination of the laws and regulations of the several Republics showed two general systems in force. The first may be appropriately designated the flat-rate system, the consular certification fee being a fixed moderate sum intended solely as a compensation for the consular service rendered. But two nations employ this system, one (Brazil) requiring the flat rate of $1.65 and the other (the United States) of $2.50. In the second system the certification fee is in the nature of a tax on the merchandise listed in the invoice, but this system is not uniformly applied. One group of nations exacts a fixed consular certification fee corresponding to fixed invoice value with increments in the former corresponding to increments in the latter. Another group similarly requires a fixed consular certification fee corresponding to a fixed invoice value, but provides that where the invoice value exceeds a certain specified limit the prescribed consular certification fee shall be increased by a percentage charge on the amount in excess or shall be wholly substituted by a straight percentage charge on the total invoice value. Two countries dispense [Page 36] altogether with the fixed certification fee corresponding to fixed invoice values and exact a straight percentage charge on the invoice value whatever the amount, one of these requiring in addition thereto a stamp tax. The percentage charge in all these cases is, in reality, an added ad valorem duty on the merchandise imported.
It was disclosed that the diversity as to system of consular tariffs adopted by the several countries was not more marked than the inequality of the charges exacted by them. Taking, for example, an invoice value of $2,000, the consular certification fees range upward from a minimum of $1.65 to a maximum of $60.
Representatives of those countries which exact fees for the consular certification of invoices in the nature of a tax on the merchandise imported were generally of the opinion that it was impracticable to replace that system with the so-called flat-rate system. It was conceded by them, however, that the charges were in many cases excessive, operated to restrict commerce, and ought in such cases to be reduced, but not below the point necessary for the maintenance of the consular service. The final agreement of the committee, which was accepted by the conference, is set forth in Article VI of the resolutions reported under this head as follows:
Consular fees should be moderate and should not constitute an indirect method of increasing customs receipts. It is believed that it is for the best interests of the international commerce of this continent that these fees, no matter what method is employed for their collection, be limited as far as possible to amounts necessary to cover the cost of maintaining the consular service.
The uniform rule proposed in the instructions to the United States delegation that fines and penalties be not imposed on account of technical errors in documents authenticated by consul, and that manifest clerical errors therein be condoned (subdivision 5, supra), met with general opposition on the ground that a provision to this effect would contravene a principle of jurisprudence of many Latin-American Republics, affirmed by their highest courts, namely, that mistakes in documents attested by consul raise a presumption of fraud which must be rebutted by conclusive proof. It was urged that this principle was of the greatest efficacy in protecting their customs revenues against frauds. The attempt to secure an acceptance of this rule had to be abandoned.
The second set of resolutions reported by the committee, under the heading “Customs regulations,” and adopted by the conference, are a restatement, with modifications which made them acceptable to the committee, of resolutions of the New York Customs Congress, which had never been placed before the several countries in a formal way for their adhesion. It was deemed advisable by the committee that these conclusions of the New York congress should be reaffirmed and formally submitted with its other recommendations, believing them to be an essential step in the unification of customs administration.
In the third set of resolutions reported by the committee and approved by the conference an effort has been made to segregate and define that part of the work of unification and simplification of customs regulations which is technical in nature and requires the preliminary study of specialists. A definite program for this study, which includes customhouse nomenclature, has been outlined. The conference has followed the precedent of the third conference and [Page 37] of the New York Customs Congress in devolving this work upon the section of customs, commerce, and statistics of the Pan American Union, in the light of whose investigation it is hoped a subsequent conference may take up and complete the projected unification.
In the discussion in the committee in respect of census matters it was developed that the periodical taking of a census of population, as now required by law, had been prevented in certain of the American Republics by the fact that it would operate to disturb the representation in their legislatures, in view of the requirement that such representation shall be based on population, and that considerations of this character might embarrass the taking of an all American census for 1920, as suggested in the memorandum of the Director of the Census of the United States. The sentiment of the committee was favorable to the taking of such a census wherever practicable, and that it should include also a census of industries and general resources. The committee was of the opinion that the lines upon which such census should be taken and the degree of uniformity which could be observed in such an undertaking and in the compilation of commercial statistics could, in the limited time available to the committee, be indicated only in general outline, and must be left mainly to the study and analysis of specialists in such matters, and that the duty of making such study and analysis and formulating timely recommendations to the several Governments would be appropriately devolved upon the section of customs, commerce, and statistics of the Pan American Union. Resolutions of this character and in substantial accord with the views expressed in the memoranda of the expert statistician of the Department of Commerce and Labor and of the Director of the Census transmitted with and made part of the instructions to the delegation of the United States were adopted.
The text of the report of this committee will be found in Appendix II and that of the resolutions, five in number, in Appendix V.
The efficient consul general of the United States at Buenos Aires, Mr. Richard M. Bartleman, cheerfully cooperated with the representative of the United States on this committee and rendered valuable assistance.
sanitary police and quarantine.
This subject was considered by a committee which was composed of one member from each delegation, and of which Dr. Carlos M. de Pena, of Uruguay, was elected chairman.
The instructions of the Secretary of State directed us to “endeavor to procure from the conference a recommendation that the conclusions of the Mexican and Costa Rican Sanitary Conferences be adopted by the respective countries.” A memorandum was presented by the representatives of the United States delegation reviewing the work of previous conferences on sanitary matters and recommending, in accordance with our instructions, the adoption of the conclusions of the sanitary conferences referred to. Discussion centered on the proposed amendment to Article IX of the sanitary convention of Washington, whereby the official proof of freedom from infectious disease must be “satisfactory to the interested party.” The representatives of six countries objected to these words on the ground that they might put the commerce of a weak country at the mercy of the caprice of a [Page 38] stronger. After considerable debate it was unanimously agreed to propose in place of the words suggested the following phrase: Official proof “satisfactory to both parties interested.” As these words appeared to the representative of the United States to accomplish the purpose intended, he, after consultation with the other members of the American delegation, accepted them, and they were incorporated in the resolution adopted.
Notwithstanding his general agreement with this proposition, the representative of Venezuela had certain reservations which he desired to put on record, and by vote of the committee he was permitted to append a statement to the draft resolution submitted to the conference. The resolution as finally adopted accomplishes, therefore, all that the delegation of the United States was instructed to obtain.
The representative of the United States further suggested to the committee the desirability of including a recommendation that in case of epidemics the respective national Governments assume control of the situation. In the opinion of the committee this point was covered by the fact that such a resolution was already included in the recommendations of previous conferences, and he did not think it wise to press the matter.
The text of the report of the committee will be found in Appendix J J, and that of the resolution in Appendix W.
patents, trade-marks, and copyrights.
These subjects cover three topics of the program and the work of two committees, but they are so closely related that they can be treated together to better advantage than separately. At the outset we are pleased to state that we have succeeded in obtaining the adoption of suitable conventions to regularize the mutual protection of these classes of property among the American Republics.
The history of the proceedings relating to the adoption of conventions between the American States upon these subjects is outlined in the report of the committee on patents, trade-marks, and copyrights of the Third International Conference held at Rio de Janeiro in 1906, published on pages 154–160 of the Report of the Delegates of the United States (S. Doc. No. 365, 59th Cong., 2d sess.), which it is unnecessary to reproduce here.
As a result of the discussion in the Third Conference, a convention relating to patents and trade-marks was signed, not only by the representatives of the other American Republics, but also by those of the United States. The proposed convention was placed before the United States Senate for approval, but was subsequently withdrawn. The treaty was opposed principally on the ground that the provisions of the convention, if applied to the United States, would give force and effect to patents issued in accordance with the laws of any of the States adhering to the convention, notwithstanding the fact that some of these States granted patents without previous inquiry as to the usefulness of the article as to whether it was really an invention or an improvement. It Was shown that the patent laws of the United States require a careful examination to be made of the state of the prior art to determine whether the invention claimed was new and useful as a prerequisite to the grant of a patent; [Page 39] and it was urged that this system, which is in effect the basis of the commercial progress of the United States, should be maintained in its entirety.
It was also shown that the carrying out of the convention would oblige the United States to furnish authenticated copies of patents, assignments of records, and other documents, imposing an enormous and needless burden upon that country. And the further ground of objection was presented that the treaty would have been in conflict with the most advanced systems and particularly inconsistent with the Paris convention of 1883, the merits of which have been recognized by previous Pan American conferences.
We have the honor to report that the three distinct conventions adopted by the conference can be entered into by the United States without disruption of its own patent, trade-mark, and copyright laws, and will not interfere with the internal laws of the other American Republics.
The conventions finally adopted are substantially the same as those drafted by Mr. Edward B. Moore, the Commissioner of Patents, who accompanied the delegation as expert attaché. The conventions are so drafted that they will harmonize (a) with the International Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, signed at Paris in 1883, and amended at Brussels in 1900, to which the majority of the European nations are adherents; (b) with the treaty of Paris in 1891, which provides for the international registration of trade-marks, and to which several of the European nations are adherents; and (c) with some modifications, harmonize with the copyright treaty of Mexico.
In the drafting of the convention on patents (Appendix J) the conference has taken into consideration the objections raised by many of the States to the Rio convention, and has respected the provisions of the internal laws of the several signatory States. General principles protecting and safeguarding the rights of inventors are proclaimed, and the way is made easy for future uniform and universal legislation. While certain portions of the treaties of Paris and of Brussels have been adopted, it is provided that the present convention be considered as a substitute for all former treaties on the subject, and it is recommended that it be finally adopted by the signatory States as a basis for the enactment of their respective patent laws.
The Convention for the Protection of Trade-Marks (Appendix K) declares that any mark duly registered in one of the signatory States shall be considered as also registered in the other States, without prejudice to the rights of third persons or to the provisions of the laws of each State governing the same. Provision is made for the payment of a small fee to cover the expenses of the international registration. It provides that the deposit of a mark in one State produces in favor of the depositor a right of priority for a period of six months, so as to enable him to make the deposit in the other States. Trade-marks are then defined. Questions arising as to [Page 40] the priority of the adoption of a trade-mark must be decided with due regard to the date of the deposit in the country where the first application therefor was made. Provision is made that the falsification, imitation, or unauthorized use of a trade-mark, as also the false representation as to the origin of the product, can be prosecuted by the interested party in accordance with the laws of the State wherein the offense is committed. The grounds upon which trade-marks can be canceled are also stated. Commercial names are protected without deposit or registration, whether they form part of a trade-mark or not. The convention also provides for the establishment of international bureaus at Havana and Rio de Janeiro, and defines the duties of the same. The registration of a trademark obtained in any one of the signatory States is made effective throughout all the Republics represented in the conference, upon a certificate of ownership thereof, issued by such State, being registered in either of the international bureaus.
This form of international registration differs from that set forth in the Rio convention, wherein it is provided that the registration of a trade-mark secured in either of the two bureaus is made effective throughout all of the States, as if made in each of the several signatory States, save that any State is allowed one year from the date of ratification by the bureau within which to accept or reject such registration.
It is believed that the adoption of this convention will promote comity and commerce among the several Republics, and, to that end, it is hoped that such action will be taken by our Government at the earliest possible moment.
In framing the Copyright Convention (Appendix L) the end kept in view was to provide legal protection in all the countries of the Union for works produced in any one or more of these countries, and for works produced anywhere by citizens of one of the signatory States. It was proposed at the same time to make this protection effective without an international court or bureau, relying instead on the laws of the several countries for the maintenance of the rights guaranteed by this convention. In pursuance of this purpose it was found advisable not to adopt the provisions for two bureaus contained in the convention signed at Rio de Janeiro, August 23, 1906, and which has been adopted as regards trade-marks. These bureaus appear to be unnecessary and calculated to render impracticable any convention embodying them. While the effectiveness of the present convention will depend upon the existence of proper and well executed copyright laws in the several countries, it was not thought desirable to seek, through the ratification of this convention, to pledge each country to adopt such copyright laws as might be necessary for a satisfactory execution thereof, in case such laws were not already in existence. In any case where the requisite legislation had not been adopted the nation concerned might avoid the obligations of such a proposed pledge by simply refusing to ratify the convention; and any nation, finding it advantageous to proceed under a legal system that afforded no protection to the works of foreign authors, or even to the works of the authors of the country in question, might not be expected [Page 41] to expedite the adoption of new laws, except under some motive more powerful than that offered by a suggested pledge presented in this convention.
It is desirable that the laws of the several States should provide for a uniform general term of copyright protection; and if any nation has established a shorter term than the legal term established in other nations it may be supposed that, desirous of securing to its own authors rights as extensive as those enjoyed by the authors of other countries, it will, on its own initiative, so modify its laws as to -bring them into harmony with the legislation of the other nations of the Union.
In adopting this convention the conference has aimed at effectiveness by avoiding impracticable details of organization. It has sought to secure, with a minimum of formality, trouble, and cost, protection in all countries of the Union for all works that may be made subject to a law of copyright. The definition of works for which protection is sought under this convention is made sufficiently comprehensive to embrace “every production which can be published by any means whatsoever of impression or republication.” The right of property in any such production recognized in any State in accordance with its laws shall have full recognition in all the other States, without compliance with any formality other than that there shall appear in or on the work in question an indication that the right of property in it is reserved. The authors of the works protected under this convention, or their assigns, shall enjoy in the signatory countries the rights which the laws of these countries respectfully confer; but in no case shall the term of protection accorded exceed that of the country of origin, the country of origin being defined as that in which the work is first published. Authorized translations also are protected in the same manner as original works.
In conclusion we beg to say that great interest was manifested by the members of the committee on patents and trade-marks in the meeting of the international union for the protection of industrial property, which is to be held in Washington in May, 1911, and to which all the American Republics have been invited.
The report of the committee on copyrights will be found in Appendix LL.
treaty for the arbitration of pecuniary claims.
The eleventh subject of the program of the conference was the “consideration of the continuance of the treaties on pecuniary claims after their expiration.”
By the Second International American Conference, held in the City of Mexico, a treaty was concluded, January 19, 1902, by which the high contracting parties agreed (Art. I) “to submit to arbitration all claims for pecuniary loss or damage which may be presented by their respective citizens, and which can not be amicably adjusted through diplomatic channels, when said claims are of sufficient importance to warrant the expenses of arbitration.” It was further agreed (Art. II) that all controversies embraced in the treaty should be submitted to the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration established under the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, signed at The Hague, July 29, 1899, unless the parties to the dispute [Page 42] should prefer to create a special jurisdiction; but as the American nations, with the exception of the United States and Mexico, were not represented in the first Hague conference, it was provided (Art. III) that the treaty should be obligatory only upon States which had subscribed to that convention and upon those which should ratify the protocol, just then adopted at Mexico, looking to the adhesion of all the American States thereto. Finally, it was stipulated (Art. V) that the treaty should be binding upon the ratifying States from the date on which five of them should have ratified it, and that it should remain in force for five years.
By reason of this limitation, the question of renewing the treaty was one of the subjects committed to the Third International American Conference, which was held at Rio de Janeiro in 1906. In its instructions to its delegates to that conference the Government of the United States said:
This is matter special to the American States and it calls for special consideration * * *. The treaty was to continue for five years. It has been ratified by only five powers, including the United States. The treaty should be extended for another five years, and an urgent effort should be made to secure the adherence of the other powers. You can readily ascertain whether the failure of ratification by twelve out of the seventeen powers who signed the treaty was due to some objectionable feature which can be remedied, or to fundamental objections, or to indifference. This treaty is the very simplest and narrowest form of a general agreement to arbitrate, and so long as three-fourths of the American States have not reached this point of agreement the discussion of any proposals for compulsory arbitration of a wider scope would seem to be at least premature.
When the question of renewing the treaty came to be considered by the committee to which it was referred, it gave rise to much discussion. It seems to have been ascertained that the treaty had in fact been ratified by eight, instead of by only five, of the signatory States, namely, by the United States, Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Salvador, Honduras, Peru, and Bolivia; but a large majority of the committee desired to modify it by adding a clause to the effect that arbitration should take place only after the legal recourses afforded by the courts of the country against which the claim was made had been exhausted, the reason assigned for this proposal being that the phraseology of the first article of the treaty lent itself to the interpretation that the ordinary course of justice existing under the internal organization of each signatory State was to be superseded by international arbitration. The minority of the committee maintained that this objection was not well founded, but it was only after much discussion and delay that a report satisfactory to the majority of the committee and acceptable to the minority was secured unanimously recommending that the treaty be extended. This report contained the following paragraphs:
This partial ratification (of the treaty by the eight powers above named) may, perhaps, have been due to the precise terms in which the first article provides for arbitral jurisdiction, this being possibly interpreted to mean that the inherent internal rights and prerogatives of a State were in all cases to be substituted by an arbitral tribunal whose jurisdiction could not be avoided.
It is clear that such an interpretation is not well founded. If it be established that all claims for losses and damages brought against a State by the citizens of another must be submitted to arbitration, when they can not be adjusted through diplomatic channels, it is but reasonable to presume that there are cases in which diplomatic intervention is justified.
The internal sovereignty of a State, an essential condition of its existence as an independent international power, consists explicitly in the right it always preserves [Page 43] of regulating such juridical acts as are consummated within its territory, by its laws, and of trying these by its tribunals, excepting in cases where, for special reasons (and to these international law devotes particular attention), they are converted into questions of an international character.
It was deemed advisable, however, to amend the treaty by striking out the third article, the substance of which is given above, the provisions of this article having ceased to be applicable to existing conditions because of the adhesion of the American nations, after the conference at Mexico, to The Hague convention of 1899. Moreover, as the term of five years, during which the treaty was to remain in force, was understood to run as to each contracting party from the date of its act of ratification, it was decided to fix one uniform day on which the treaty, as amended and renewed, should terminate; and the day adopted for this purpose was December 31, 1912. A treaty designed to accomplish these objects was accordingly signed August 13, 1906.
Such being the situation, we were instructed, “as The Hague general arbitration treaties, which were adhered to by most American Republics in 1907,” did not “satisfactorily cover the subject,” to “urge the continuance of the treaties on pecuniary claims after their expiration,” and, if any government represented in the conference should desire to discontinue them, to ascertain its reasons therefor.
According to the advices received by the department previously to our departure, the treaties of Mexico and Rio had been ratified by eight powers, namely, the United States, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, and Nicaragua. By the summary submitted, however, to the conference by the third committee of the reports and memorials presented by the various delegations, it appears that there should be added to the list Ecuador, Honduras, Panama, and Salvador, making 12 Governments in all.1
The question of continuing the treaties was referred to a committee composed as follows: Dr. Gonzalo Ramirez (Uruguay), chairman; Mr. Mario Estrada (Guatemala), secretary; and Messrs. John B. Moore (United States), Eduardo L. Bidau (Argentine Republic), Gastão da Cunha (Brazil), Américo Lugo (Dominican Republic), and Victoriano Salado Alvarez (Mexico).
After the first formal session of the committee a draft of a new treaty, to replace the treaties of Mexico and Rio, was communicated by the chairman to the other members. This project contained the following article:
Article II. In case the nation against which the claim is made does not admit the procedure by the diplomatic channel, the arbitral tribunal shall treat this point of difference as a preliminary question, and if it decides that the diplomatic procedure is not appropriate, the claim shall be dismissed.
If this preliminary question shall be resolved in favor of the procedure by the diplomatic way, the arbitral tribunal shall then take cognizance of the merits of the case.1
It will be observed that this proposal revived, in a specific but more pointed form, the question which provoked so much discussion and proved to be so difficult of adjustment at Rio in 1906. It was received [Page 44] by the committee with general approval. It was opposed by the member from the United States on the ground that it tended to limit the freedom of diplomatic action; that it would have the effect of inviting denials of the propriety of such action, and of dividing, delaying, and complicating the process of arbitration; and that it would be incapable of exact execution, for the reason that the question whether diplomatic intervention was justified could not usually be determined without an examination of the merits of the case. In the midst of this division of opinion, a solution was at one time suggested to the effect that the tribunal of arbitration should be required to decide all questions submitted to it, but this suggestion found little support, since it was not thought to be desirable to impose upon the arbitrators the burden of deciding questions which might be altogether immaterial to the proper disposition of the case before them. Finally, the member from the United States urged that the attempt to make substantial changes should be deferred till the apprehended defect should actually be shown to exist and that this position was all the more reasonable in view of the circumstance that none of the ratifying Governments had complained of the manner in which the treaties had operated. In the end, it was, after much discussion, agreed to adhere to the text of the first article of the treaty of Mexico, with the addition, proposed by the member from the United States, of the stipulation that the decision of the arbitrators should “be rendered in accordance with the principles of international law,” this formula, or its equivalent, having usually been inserted in the general claims conventions of the United States, although it may be regarded as a declaration of the obvious intention of the contracting parties.
The preservation of the terms of submission of the treaty of Mexico, without qualification or impairment, having been secured, the committee readily concurred in the view that, as that treaty, although it had been amended at Rio, would by reason of its reference to certain articles of The Hague convention of 1899, which has been replaced by the convention of 1907, have to be amended yet again, it would be more convenient and mose businesslike to make the new treaty complete in itself and to cast it in such form as to render unnecessary its recurrent adjustment to possible changes in The Hague conventions. This was done! Moreover, as the renewal of the treaties of Mexico and Rio had been attended with difficulties, it was proposed by the representative of the United States that the duration of the new agreement should be made indefinite, subject to the right of a ratifying power to withdraw after two years’ notice. This proposal was adopted, and a clause was added continuing in force the treaty of Mexico after December 31, 1912, as to any claims which might, prior to that date, have been submitted to arbitration under its provisions.
After a final agreement was reached on the text of the treaty the previous discussions as to the question of diplomatic intervention were revived over the draft of a report which was presented by the chairman of the committee. In this paper, in which there was an exposition of general principles, interwoven with quotations from writers, certain expressions of public men were cited as tending to show that the question of the propriety of the resort to the diplomatic channel might be treated as a previous or preliminary question, apart from the merits of the case. In this predicament the member from the United [Page 45] States deeming himself to be precluded, for reasons which have been sufficiently explained, from accepting all the conclusions of the report, proposed to add to it and to sign for himself the following declaration:
The undersigned, while he refrains from entering into a discussion of the statements of general principles embodied in the foregoing report, deems it proper to observe that he does not consider it to be practicable to lay down in advance precise and unyielding formulas by which the question of a denial of justice may in every instance be determined. Still less does he believe it to be possible to treat this matter as a preliminary question which may be decided apart from the merits of the case, or to include in a general treaty of arbitration a clause to that effect. In the multitude of cases that have, during the past 120 years, been disposed of by international arbitration the question of a denial of justice has arisen in many and in various forms that could not have been foreseen; nor can human intelligence forecast the forms in which it may arise hereafter. In the future, as in the past, this question will be disposed of by the amicable methods of diplomacy and arbitration, and in that spirit of mutual respect and conciliation which happily grows stronger among nations with the lapse of years.
As it was thought that this declaration would, if dealt with in the manner proposed, have the appearance and effect of a minority report, it was at length agreed that it should be embodied in the report of the committee (Appendix MM), where it is followed by the statement that the other members of the committee accept it, since they do not consider it to be in conflict with what is set forth in the report. In this way the unanimous desire of the committee for a report which should bear the signatures of all its members was happily attained.
It is a pleasure specially to acknowledge the untiring efforts which the eminent chairman of the committee put forth to expedite its labors. As he was at the time indisposed, the meetings of the committee were usually held at the house of the Uruguayan Legation, of which he was the head; but in accordance with his wishes, they were held by special appointment, without regard to official notices, whenever, in the day or in the evening, the members could conveniently assemble; and they were thus not only more frequent but longer in duration than was customary. There can be no doubt that the attainment of the desire, felt by every member of the committee, for a prompt and satisfactory termination of its labors, was facilitated by the example of industry and high purpose set by the venerable man who presided over its deliberations and by the feeling of deep respect in which he was held.
The treaty (Appendix M) was adopted by the conference unanimously, the Venezuelan delegate stating, however, that Venezuela would sign the treaty with the special reservation that recourse to diplomacy should take place only when there had been a denial of justice.
interchange of university professors.
For the purpose of promoting in each of the American nations a more perfect understanding of the intellectual life of the others, two series of resolutions were framed and adopted by the conference, relating to the interchange of professors and students among the universities of the countries represented in the conference. The first series recommends that provisions should be made under which professors in one university may be sent from time to time to give Lectures or courses of instruction in other universities, such lectures or courses of instruction to deal chiefly with scientific material of special interest to Americans or with the conditions of one or another [Page 46] American country, especially with the conditions of that country to which the professor in any given case may belong. The second series of resolutions recognizes the interchange of students among American universities as a means of confirming the solidarity of the nations of the continent. The details of the methods suggested for effecting these interchanges are contained in the resolutions already referred to and which are submitted with this report. (Appendix X.)
appreciation of the pan american scientific congress held at santiago, chile, december, 1908.
In pursuance of your instructions on this subject, the delegation of the United States supported a resolution, which was adopted, to the effect that the conference noted with pleasure the initiative of holding a Pan American Scientific Congress at Santiago, Chile, and the results there accomplished; also that the Governments of the American States be informed that the conference would consider advisable similar reunions in cities of America to be hereafter selected. The text of this resolution will be found in Appendix Y.
A resolution was also adopted regarding the Fourth Scientific Congress, held at Buenos Aires in 1910, congratulatory of the work there accomplished and expressing the hope that these reunions should be frequent. (Appendix Z.)
opening of the panama canal.
The program called for the adoption of a resolution instructing the governing board of the International Bureau of the American Republics to consider and recommend the manner in which the American Republics might see fit to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal. After some discussion the second committee decided to report to the conference a resolution, which was passed, whereby the final settlement of that question is left to the governing board of the Union of American Republics in Washington. This resolution will be found in Appendix AA.
The subject of the time and place of the next conference was disposed of by the committee to which it was referred at its first and only meeting. There was considerable discussion privately among the delegates prior to the meeting of the committee and a large number thought that the conference should select Santiago, the capital city of Chile, as the logical point where the Fifth International Conference of American States should be held. It was urged by some, on the other hand, that the precedent established by the conference held in the City of Mexico, and substantially followed by the one held in Rio, leaving the decision of both place and time of subsequent conferences to the governing board of the Pan American Union should be adhered to and at the first meeting of the committee on future conferences the delegate from Chile moved that the entire subject matter be left to the decision of the governing board. This motion prevailed, and the committee reported accordingly to the conference. When the resolution came up for adoption by the conference there [Page 47] was one dissenting vote. The delegate from the Dominican Republic voted in the negative, and, in explaining his vote, stated that he was of the opinion that Havana, Cuba, should be named as the place for the holding of the next conference.
The delegate of the United States of America, pursuant to instructions, urged in committee the advisability of holding the conferences at intervals of six years as a minimum and thereby affording sufficient time for the ratification of the conventions adopted at the various conferences, but he deferred to the otherwise unanimous wish of the committee that an interval of not more than five years should elapse between the reunions. The resolution finally adopted provides that the governing board shall have the power to advance or postpone the date of the next conference should circumstances arise making it desirable so to do.
The committee on general welfare was chiefly negative in its activity. It was expected, among other things, to consider questions on which action might be requested, but which had not been introduced into the program. Its chief function was, therefore, to consider new topics that might be proposed, and to make recommendations to the conference respecting them. In this capacity its work was important in that through it the conference was able to keep itself free from discussions that might have consumed much time and would have been fruitless. The members of this committee, as well as the majority of the members of the conference, appreciated the necessity of giving to the topics of the program the most thorough consideration; and that this might be done, it appeared to be a reasonable rule for the guidance of the committee to withhold from the general sessions all subjects not involved in the program unless they should seem to the members extraordinarily urgent. The maintenance of this feature of organization in future conferences will greatly facilitate the work demanded by the specific program and enable the conference in its general sessions peacefully to avoid discussions on questions regarding which no practicable or profitable result can be reached.
The last session for the transaction of business took place on the 27th of August.
The thanks of the delegates were voted unanimously to the president, Dr. Bermejo; to the secretary general and his staff; and to the press of the Argentine Republic. The president and secretary general made speeches, translations of which will be found in Appendix D.
On a motion signed by Messrs. Portela, Toledo Herrarte, Cruz, Lazo Arriaga, and Mejia, respectively ministers to the United States of the Argentine Republic, Guatemala, Chile, Honduras, and Salvador, and of Gen. Carlos Garcia Velez, formerly Cuban minister at Washington, being all members of the governing board of the International Bureau of the American Republics when the program of the Fourth Conference was settled, it was unanimously voted to send a telegram to the Hon. P. C. Knox, Secretary of State of the [Page 48] United States, thanking him for the part he had taken in the arrangement of the program and congratulating him upon the success of the conference.
At the previous session of the conference, upon the motion of a delegate from Brazil, it was unanimously voted that a telegram be sent to the Hon. Elihu Root, expressing sentiments of appreciation and remembrance.
The closing session of the conference was held on Tuesday, August 30, Dr. Carlos Rodriguez Larreta, who had succeeded Dr. Victorino de la Plaza as minister for foreign affairs, being in the chair. His excellency made a speech, to which Dr. Toledo Herrarte, minister of Guatemala to the United States and chairman of his delegation, replied. Translations of these speeches accompany this report as Appendix E.
We feel that it is scarcely within our province to compare the results of this conference with those of its predecessors; the more so as sufficient time has not elapsed since it came to an end for the formation of an accurate opinion on that subject. It may not be improper, however, to say that while the program was not so extensive as those of the three preceding conferences, every subject upon it was effectively dealt with. There can be no doubt, moreover, that quite apart from the actual work accomplished, the constant intercourse and exchange of views in friendly conversation, during a period of nearly two months, between representative men from all parts of America in an atmosphere of harmony such as has been so marked a feature of this conference, can not fail to react upon and to draw closer the relations between the countries represented.
Indeed, a distinct improvement has already been perceptible during the progress of the conference in the relations between several of the Republics, and in our opinion it is difficult to overestimate the advantage to the cause of Pan Americanism to be derived from the periodical meetings of these international conferences.
We can not conclude this report without an allusion to the generous hospitality of which we have been the recipients here. Many entertainments have been given and excursions to places of interest arranged for the delegates to the conference, and we retain an agreeable recollection of the kindness and courtesy of everyone with whom we have come in contact; nor should we omit a special acknowledgment of the courtesy and cooperation of our minister, Mr. Sherrill, and the staff of the legation. We have the honor to be, sir,
Your obedient servants,
- Henry White.
- E. H. Crowder.
- Lewis Nixon.
- John B. Moore.
- Bernard Moses.
- Lamar C. Quintero.
- Paul S. Reinsch.
- David Kinley.
To the Hon. Philander C. Knox,
Secretary of State.
- For appendices other than those printed herewith, see S. Doc. No. 744, 61st Cong., 3d sess.↩
- The dates of ratification are as follows: United States, Mar. 2, 1907; Chile, June 28, 1909; Colombia, Aug. 29, 1908; Costa Rica, Oct. 28, 1908; Cuba, Mar. 17, 1908; Ecuador, November, 1909; Guatemala, Apr. 20, 1907, and Feb. 15, 1909; Honduras, Feb. 5, 1907; Mexico, Nov. 18, 1907; Nicaragua, Feb. 20, 1908; Panama, date not given; Salvador, May 11, 1907. The situation in the nonratifying countries was as follows: Argentine Republic, approved by the Chamber of Deputies, but still pending in the Senate; Brazil, pending in the Congress; Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Paraguay, no statement presented; Peru, pending in the Congress; Uruguay, not sent to the legislative body; Venezuela, no statement presented.↩
- The dates of ratification are as follows: United States, Mar. 2, 1907; Chile, June 28, 1909; Colombia, Aug. 29, 1908; Costa Rica, Oct. 28, 1908; Cuba, Mar. 17, 1908; Ecuador, November, 1909; Guatemala, Apr. 20, 1907, and Feb. 15, 1909; Honduras, Feb. 5, 1907; Mexico, Nov. 18, 1907; Nicaragua, Feb. 20, 1908; Panama, date not given; Salvador, May 11, 1907. The situation in the nonratifying countries was as follows: Argentine Republic, approved by the Chamber of Deputies, but still pending in the Senate; Brazil, pending in the Congress; Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Paraguay, no statement presented; Peru, pending in the Congress; Uruguay, not sent to the legislative body; Venezuela, no statement presented.↩