General Enoch H. Crowder to the Acting Secretary of State
[Received May 1.]
Dear Mr. Secretary: The Joint Committee referred to in my letter of the twenty-third instant, constituted, not by appointment of the two Houses, but by agreement of the leaders of the two Houses with the President, and consisting of four Senators and four Members of the House equally divided between the Conservative and Liberal parties, met me on Thursday morning, April 24. The President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House have been made ex-officio members of the Committee and will meet with it from time to time.
At the first meeting the discussion concerned itself with the population census and the inclusion of the Municipal Judges in the judicial category and the committee voted unanimously to recommend both, thus meeting President Menocal’s earnest wishes. I was gratified at the action taken, not because the population census and the making of Municipal Judges Judges of Career are, strictly speaking, electoral necessities, but because of the material aid which both will give toward an honest and efficient electoral administration.[Page 20]
At our second meeting on April 25 the discussion was limited to the constitution of the electoral boards, and with this gratifying result obtained with some difficulty, namely—that the two political parties, Conservative and Liberal, agreed to surrender their exclusive right under the existing law of representation on these boards in favor of a provision that would equalize the standing of all political parties before these boards. Under the new provision the political members of these boards will be advisory members without vote.
We are proceeding, thus far, by unanimous agreement, but I do not doubt that there are boulders ahead. I particularly desire that both the Conservative and the Liberal parties shall agree to a pro vision of the law which will require nominations for President and Vice-President for the presidential elections of 1920 to be deferred until after January 1, next, and then to be made by political conventions or assemblies reconstituted in their entirety. I have adverted in prior letters to the fact that the same political crowds that were making nominations for municipal, provincial and presidential offices in 1908 are making them today. It is very desirable to avoid this.
As a pleasing incident of our first meeting, my motion to recognize the President of the Senate as President of the Joint Committee appointed to meet me was turned down by a unanimous vote designating me to preside at the meetings of the Joint Committee.
We hold our next meeting on Monday, April 27, and daily thereafter until the bases of the law have been determined upon. Meantime, I am making some progress in drafting the amendatory statute. The work from this time on will be very important.