File No. 810.51/695

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador of Argentina 7

The Acting Secretary of State presents his compliments to his excellency the Ambassador of the Argentine Republic and, at the request [Page 26] of the Secretary of the Treasury, has the honor to enclose for the Ambassador’s information two brief printed memoranda summarizing the accomplishments of the meeting of the Central Executive Council and of the United States Section of the International High Commission on the fifteenth of June.

[Inclosure 1]

meeting of the central executive council of the international high commission

The Central Executive Council at its meeting to-day discussed the relation between itself and the twenty national sections of the International High Commission. It took up, first, the important question of securing ratification in those countries which have not yet ratified them of the—

Patent, trademark, and copyright conventions of 1910;
Pecuniary claims convention of 1910;
Resolutions on customs modification of 1910.

The President of the Commission announced that he would send to the State Department a letter outlining the work of the International High Commission explaining its future organization and its relation to the various national sections, and assuring the State Department of its desire to work in all matters that are absolutely of a diplomatic character through the State Department. Mention would be made of the fact that if the State Department has no objection the president and officers of the International High Commission would communicate directly with the several national sections on all matters of a purely international character. In this letter, too, attention would be called to those countries which are delinquent in ratification of above-mentioned conventions and the State Department would be requested to send out an identical letter to the several embassies and legations in question, asking for immediate and specific information as to the status and prospects of such ratifying legislation.

On receipt of the information requested in this letter to the State Department the Central Executive Council would know what steps further to take in the matter of securing this desirable result of ratification.

The question of gold clearance fund treaties was postponed until after discussion with Mr. Warburg could be held in the afternoon session.

With reference to the extension of arbitration, it was decided to send a letter to the Chamber of Commerce of the United States dwelling upon the importance of that organization’s endeavoring to secure favorable action by other Chambers of Commerce than that of Buenos Aires in this regard, and emphasizing the desire of the United States Section and of the Central Executive Council to cooperate in every way. With reference to controversies between Governments and alien corporations, progress was to be secured through the ratification and putting into operation of the conventions on pecuniary claims.

With reference to the work of the Central Executive Council in the field of negotiable instruments, it was felt that the first matter to take up was to give the widest circulation to the Federal law on bills of lading, the adoption of which, under the name of “Pomerene Bill” may be confidently expected within a short time. Subsequently other matters would be taken up, such as the unification of South American laws on Bills of Exchange and Checks, on a basis of the Hague Conference Uniform Law of 1912, as amended at Buenos Aires. In the meantime as much information as possible would be circulated in South America regarding the effect of such adoption and with reference to other branches of the law of negotiable instruments, such as warehouse receipts.

Emphasis was laid by the members present upon the necessity of putting before the public, as well as meetings of specialists, the fullest possible explanation of the work of the High Commission now or in the future.

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[Inclosure 2]

meeting of the united states section of the international high commission

Present: The chairman, vice chairman, and Messrs. Fletcher, Peters, Warburg, Fahey; the secretary general, assistant secretaries general, and Mr. Branch.

The secetary opened the meeting with a brief summary of the work done at the meeting of the Central Executive Council, held on the morning of the same day. He then passed on to open a discussion with Mr. Warburg as to the opportuneness of action at this time with reference to gold clearance fund treaties. Mr. Warburg’s opinion was that at this moment the State Department might well begin its inquiries and even the preparation of a draft to cover the situation. At the secretary’s suggestion Messrs. Warburg and Moore agreed to draft a tentative plan for submission to the State Department.

The secretary general then announced the form that the report would take, as follows:

  • Part one. Report of United States Section to the President, with an appendix of English translations of committee reports and resolutions.
  • Part two. Official English version of journal of sessions, with memoranda attached.

This was approved by the Section and its preparation along those lines agreed to.

Individual reports from the members of the Section with regard to the work recommended by them on their several topics were then received. The first was made by Senator Fletcher; he urged that the Post Office Department be immediately invited to take part in the conference at Montevideo. On the motion of the Chairman the Secretary General was authorized to notify the Postmaster General of the action taken at Buenos Aires and to urge that provision be made for the participation of the United States in the Montevideo Congress.

With reference to telegraph facilities and rates, the Chairman announced that he would take up in individual conference with the president of the Western Union Telegraph Company and Central and South American Telegraph Company the several questions relative to the improvement of telegraphic communication and the reduction of telegraph rates.

With reference to the action to be taken upon the recommendations of the Committee on Customs Legislation, Assistant Secretary Peters pointed out that a large number of these recommendations would call for administrative action only. The resolution of the Fourth International Conference of American States at Buenos Aires, 1910, with regard to customs documents and regulations was discussed, and on motion of the Secretary the Secretary General was instructed to learn whether the State Department could not press some of the points involved in this resolution for immediate ratification and adoption. A letter to the Ministers of Finance was authorized, in which indication would be given that the commercial statistics of the United States—which are published by the Department of Commerce—would henceforth have all quotations given in the American Franc (Jan. 1, 1917). With regard to the commercial nomenclature, it was pointed out that this was a very great task, and that in some respects a brief glossary might be better. For the present, action upon this matter would be withheld until formal notice could be given to the Governing Board of the Pan American Union.

Mr. Warburg said that until the amendments to the Federal Reserve Act now pending in the Senate should have been adopted, no discussion of the improvement of credit facilities in Central and South America would be practical. His opinion was that emphasis should be put upon the passage of these amendments and that efforts should be engaged in to secure a treaty covering the clearance fund system. It was suggested that Mr. Warburg give a detailed account of the proposed American Franc to the Bulletin of the Pan American Union.

In considering commercial travelers and the regulations governing them, it was decided to prepare a treaty at once for submission to Argentina. Mr. Fahey announced that all the preliminary work with regard to arbitration [Page 28] of commercial disputes had been completed and that an agreement with Uruguay would soon be entered into. It was suggested that Mr. Fahey and Dr. Rowe discuss the possibility of adapting the Pecuniary Claims Convention of 1910 to meet all problems arising out of litigation between Governments and foreign corporations. Authorization was given to ask the State Department to urge through diplomatic channels the early ratification of the Pecuniary Claims Convention.

At this point Mr. Francisco J. Yanés, Assistant Director of the Pan American Union, arrived and remained with the Section until the close of its meeting. Mr. Yanés discussed with the Section the extent to which the Union could cooperate in carrying on the work of a revision of the nomenclature and the other points under discussion. It was proposed to him that the Bulletin of the Union publish a quarterly or semiannual supplement dealing with labor and social welfare legislation; in this way national sections of the International Labor Association could be formed in South America. It was also suggested that the Union take part in a great movement to survey the natural resources of all the American Republics, with careful regard to mineral deposits; such a survey to serve as the basis for uniformity of legislation of methods of classification and analysis. Mr. Yanés declared that the Union is willing to cooperate in all this work to whatever extent its financial limitations would allow. On the motion of Mr. Moore, authorization was given to notify the Governing Board of the Pan American Union in a formal manner of the action taken at Buenos Aires, and of the opinion of the United States Section with regard to its realization.

Secretary McAdoo urged that the Department of Commerce and the Federal Trade Commission be invited to consider how far each might contribute to this work on the part of the Union, and the Secretary General was authorized to invite suggestions from these bodies and others with regard to this matter.

Recurring to the question of pecuniary claims, Mr. Fahey pointed out that no code of procedure existed and that until one should have been drafted it would be of no help merely to have the general principle enunciated in the form of a convention. The Section thought, however, that the first step was to secure ratification of the Convention of 1910. Mr. Fahey’s query—whether a standard code would be necessary—was answered by Dr. Moore to the effect that The Hague Convention of 1907 might serve as the general code, together with any special provisions as to procedure that might be desirable. Such provisions are allowable under The Hague Convention or under the Pecuniary Claims Convention of 1910.

After some slight discussion of the question of diplomatic action on the part of the United States to mitigate the situation of the exporters of cereals in Argentina—a discussion called forth by a telegram from the correspondent of La Prensa—

The meeting adjourned subject to the call of the chairman.

  1. The same, mutatis mutandis, to the other Latin American missions at Washington.