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the enterprise existing railways should be utilized as far as is practicable and compatible with the route and con.. ditions of the continental railroad.
The eighth section was read, as follows: Eighth. That, in case the results of the survey demon. strate the practicability and advisability of the railroad, proposals for the construction either of the whole line or of sections thereof should be solicited.
Mr. ALFONSO. I move that the words "and advisability” be stricken out, as in my opinion the idea which they suggest is involved in the general approval of the project, for which reason I think that we ought to say: "Eighth. That, in case the work of the commission demonstrate the practicability of the railroad,” etc.
Mr. VELARDE. I think it necessary, as the committee did, to retain the word advisability, because that covers the financial aspect of the matter. The ground may be well adapted to the construction of the railroad; the work may be practicable and without difficulty; and yet, financially speaking, the railroad may be inadvisable, since it may not be able to pay expenses. The word advisability, then, covers all the financial elements of the question, all matters of income and disbursements of the line which it is proposed to build, and it seems to me that the article should be retained in its present form.
Mr. Davis. Mr. President, in addition to what the chairman has said, the committee desired that the whole subject be considered by the engineer commission, and that nothing should be neglected. Thus, we said “practicability and advisability” in order that the commission might consider the whole subject.
Mr. Alfonso (Chili). I regret to be obliged to dissent from the honorable members of the committee. To me it seems, and it is the firm opinion which I have formed upon the subject, that such an enterprise should be undertaken not because it pays, not in view of its ability to pay expenses, great or small, but because in itself the enterprise would benefit all America independently of profit or speculation.
From this point of view I welcome it and deem it necessary. A railroad traversing the whole American continent is so important, so great, that, at whatever material cost, its construction must be advisable. Accordingly I became committed to its advisability by the very act of voting to approve the project. The advisability of the road is clear in more than one sense; it is advisable in promoting political harmony; it is advisable as favorable to commercial union. Obviously this railroad is advisable, and because it is I give it my vote. No other advisability need be demanded.
For this very reason I insist that the word ought to be omitted, though I do so with scant hope of success, inasmuch as the committee includes nearly the whole of the Conference. My own vote, however, I must record. The probable route of the line shows that it will not be financially profitable.
The PRESIDENT. Is the Conference ready for the question? Shall the words “and advisability” be stricken out?
The roll-call resulted as follows:
FOR THE AMENDMENT—1.
AGAINST THE AMENDMENT—15.
The PRESIDENT. The Conference, by fifteen votes against one, refuses to strike out the words.
The ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth sections were then separately read and unanimously approved, as read, in the following form:
Ninth. That the construction, management, and operation of the line should be at the expense of the concessionaires or of the persons to whom they sublet the work, or transfer their rights with all due formalities, the consent of the respective Governments being first obtained.
Tenth. That all materials necessary for the construction and operation of the railroad should be exempt from import duties, subject to such regulations as may be necessary to prevent the abuse of this privilege.
Eleventh. That all personal and real property of the railroad employed in its construction and operation should be exempt from all taxation, either national, provincial (State), or municipal.
Twelfth. That the execution of a work of such magnitude deserves to be further encouraged by subsidies, grants of land, or guaranties of a minimum of interest.
Thirteenth. That the salaries of the commission, as well as the expense incident to the preliminary and final surveys, should be assumed by all the nations accepting, in proportion to population according to the latest official census, or in the absence of a census, by agreement between their several Governments.
Fourteenth. That the railroad should be declared forever neutral for the purpose of securing freedom of traffic.
Fifteenth. That the approval of the surveys, the terms of the proposals, the protection of the concessionaires, the inspection of the work, the legislation affecting it, the neutrality of the road, and the free passage of merchandise in transit, should be (in the event contemplated by article eighth) the subject of special agreement between all the nations interested.
Sixteenth. That as soon as the Government of the United States shall receive notice of the acceptance of these recommendations by the other Governments it shall invite them to appoint the commission of engineers referred to in the second article, in order that it may meet in the city of Washington, at the earliest possible date.
The report of the Committee on Railway Communications was therefore adopted as submitted.
RECIPROCITY TREATIES. REPORT OF THE MAJORITY OF THE COMMITTEE ON
[As submitted to the Conference February 28, 1890.]
The Committee on Customs Union has made a careful study of the question submitted to its consideration by the International American Conference, concerning the establishment of a Customs Union among the several nations of this continent.
As generally understood, the term “Customs Union” means the inclusion of several nations in a single customs territory, so that the nations forming the union collect import duties on foreign goods under substantially the same tariff laws, divide the proceeds thereof in a given proportion, and reciprocally receive as domestic goods, and therefore free of duty, their respective natural or manufactured products.
The acceptance of this plan would involve, as a condition precedent, a change in the fundamental laws of the countries adopting it. Even were they disposed to make such changes there would still be almost insuperable difficulties to overcome; as, for instance, that which would be encountered in fixing the basis of representation of the several nations in an international assembly empowered to frame a common tariff and to amend it in the future. The American Republics differ so much in territorial extent, in population, and in national wealth, that, if these things should be taken as the basis of representation in such assembly, the small States would not be in a position adequately to protect their interests; and if all the nations were to be admitted as sovereigns, to wit, on an equal footing, the interests of the larger nations would not be adequately guarantied. It might be necessary, to obviate this difficulty, to create two bodies, one representing the population and wealth, and the other the States, in the manner in