File No. 810.51/309b.


To the Diplomatic Officers of the United States in Latin America.

Gentlemen: At the Pan American Financial Conference, recently held at Washington,5 the recommendation was made by the Committee on Uniformity of Laws that the Minister of Finance of each of the countries represented should appoint a High Commission consisting of nine men to consider the subject of uniformity of laws relating to bills of exchange, consular invoices, and various other things, the intention being that the Commissions so appointed are to constitute an International High Commission, of which the Minister of Finance or the Secretary of the Treasury of each country is to be the Chairman of the Commission for his own country. The idea is to have a meeting of this International High Commission on the 1st day of November next in Buenos Aires for the purpose of considering the subjects of uniformity of laws, the reaching of definite conclusions by the actual formulation of such measures as are to be recommended for adoption by each of the countries concerned, and then having the High Commission of each country actively prosecute the work in its country for the enactment of such measures into laws. The Commission for the United States, of which the Secretary of the Treasury is Chairman, has already been appointed.

Pending the proposed conference in Buenos Aires, carefully prepared briefs will be made on the various subjects involved and forwarded to the High Commission of each of the Latin American Republics. It is our hope to send these briefs to each country before the 15th of August next, thus giving the High Commission in each country the opportunity of studying the briefs and of securing from their respective governments indication of the extent to which it is likely that such measures for uniformity of laws are acceptable, so that when the International High Commission meets on November 1st next opinion will be so largely crystallized that definite results may be promptly expected. There is enclosed herewith, for delivery by you, a letter addressed by the Secretary of the Treasury to the Minister of Finance of the country of your sojourn, requesting certain material for the United States section of the International High Commission.

[Page 21]

On the 19th day of June last the Secretary of the Treasury addressed to each delegation from the States of South and Central America a communication outlining the future work to be done, explaining the plans for the creation of the International High Commission and making suggestions for the meeting of the Commission at Buenos Aires on the 1st day of November next. Twenty-eight prints of the letter in English and a like number in Spanish you will find enclosed. It is desired to have you send through the proper channels one copy in each language to the Minister of Finance. You will retain one copy of each for your files, and the remainder you will hand either directly or through the consular officers to such representative men as you or they think are interested and will be helpful in prosecuting the outlined plans.

The Department can not lay too much stress on the importance it attaches to the diplomatic and consular officers in Latin America fully informing themselves regarding the Pan American Financial Conference, and especially about the plans for future work; and it does not doubt that they will familiarize themselves with the contents of Secretary McAdoo’s letter of June 19, and will give their earnest cooperation and utmost endeavor in keeping alive in their respective jurisdiction interest in the future work of the Conference.

While the recommendation of the Pan American Financial Conference contemplates the appointment in each country of a High Commission consisting of nine men, and it is deemed highly desirable that a Commission of this number be constituted in each country, it is thought that some of the countries might not care to go to the expense of sending so large a number as nine to the proposed Buenos Aires Conference. The Department has, therefore, thought it expedient to instruct you by cable to-day to inform through the proper channels the Minister of Finance of the governments to which you are accredited that it will not be necessary that each country send to the proposed Conference at Buenos Aires the entire nine men constituting its Commission, but that each country may be represented at this Conference by one or more of the members of its High Commission, the Minister of Finance in each case to designate the number and to select the representatives of his own country.

This instruction in so far as its provisions may be pertinent to consular action is to be deemed as applicable to consular officers as well. Extra copies thereof are enclosed in order that you may send one copy, together with one print of Secretary McAdoo’s letter in each language, to each of the consular officers in your jurisdiction, to the end that they may be governed thereby and will give their cooperation and endeavor in promoting this highly important movement.

I am [etc.]

Robert Lansing.
  1. See p. 1310, International expositions, conferences and congresses.