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which a like problem was solved in the Constitution of the United States of America. But this step would require a partial sacrifice of the national sovereignty of the American nations, and more radical changes in their respective constitutions than the committee believes that they are willing to accept.
If by Customs Union is meant free trade between the American nations as to all their natural or manufactured products, which is, properly speaking, unrestricted reciprocity, the committee believes it is in principle acceptable, because all measures looking to the freedom of commerce nust necessarily increase the trade and the development of the material resources of the countries accepting that system, and it would in all probability bring about as favorable results as those obtained by free trade among the different States of this Union.
But at the same time the committee believes that such a union is at present impracticable on a continental scale, because, among other reasons, the import duties levied on foreign trade constitute the main source of revenue of all the American nations, and such of them as are not manufacturing countries would thus lose more or less of such revenue, on which they depend in a great measure to defray their national expenses; while the manufacturing countries, such as the United States of America, would have to abandon, at least in part, the protective policy which they have adopted to a greater or less extent, and they do not seem yet prepared for such a change. Furthermore, a reciprocity treaty which is mutually advantageous between two contiguous countries might prove onerous if extended to all as a continental system, especially as the products of many of the American republics are identical in kind. Therefore, while these obstacles are in the way it seems premature to proposé free trade among the nations of this hemisphere.
But while the committee does not think that it would be easy to attain at once to unrestricted reciprocity, it does believe that that end should be approached by gradual steps. The first and most efficient step in that direction is the negotiation of partial reciprocity treaties among the American nations, whereby each may agree to remove or reduce the import duties levied by it on some of the natural or manufactured products of one or more of the other nations, in exchange for similar and equivalent advantages; for, if the mutual concessions were not equivalent, the treaties would soon become odious, could not last more than a limited time, and would wholly discredit the system. If, after this had been tried for some time, the results should be satisfactory, as is to be expected, the number of articles on the free list might be enlarged in each case, from time to time, until, after the lapse of a few years, . when the development of the natural elements of wealth should have enabled each nation to obtain or increase its revenues from domestic sources, unrestricted reciprocity or a.free trade among some or all of the American nations should at last be attained.
Therefore the committee proposes:
To recommend to such of the Governments represented in this Conference as may be interested in the concluding of partial reciprocity treaties of commerce to negotiate such treaties with one or more of the American countries with which it may be to their interest to make them, upon such terms as may be acceptable in each case, taking into consideration the special situation, conditions, and interests of each country, and with a view to the promotion of the common welfare of all.
J. G. DO AMARAL VALENTE.
REPORT OF THE MINORITY.
WASHINGTON, February 26, 1890. To the President of the International Anerican Confer
SIR: The committee whose duty it was to inquire into the subject of a Customs Union between the nations of America has been unanimous in advising the honorable Conference to reject the idea; but differences of opinion, both in regard to the form of the report and to the recommendation which the majority has felt it to be their duty to make as a substitute, compel the undersigned to express their views separately. For this reason, they have the honor to submit, together with this communication, the draft of the resolution which they recommend the honorable Conference to pass, and at the proper time they will have the honor to express themselves orally in support thereof.
With feelings of the most distinguished consideration, the undersigned subscribe themselves Very respectfully,
Resolved, That the proposition of a Customs Union bebetween the nations of America be rejected.
SESSION OF MARCH 15, 1890.
THE SECOND VICE PRESIDENT in the chair. The order of the day is the debate on the report of the Committee on Customs Union, and both Messrs. Henderson and Saenz Peña, delegates, the one from the United States, and the other from the Argentine Republic, have asked the floor. The discussion upon this subject will proceed; but as it is probable that the chairman will desire to take part in the debate he will have to call to the chair the Honorable Delegate whose turn it is to preside.
Mr. VELARDE, the Delegate from Bolivia, took the chair, ordered the Secretaries to read in Spanish and English the conclusions of the majority and minority reports, and recognized Mr. Saenz Peña of the Argentine Republic.
REMARKS OF MR. ROQUE SAENZ PEÑA.
Mr. PRESIDENT AND HONORABLE DELEGATES :
As a member of the committee to which was referred the question of a Customs Union between the nations of America, I must explain to the honorable Conference the reasons which compel me to vote against the Union which we are invited to consider.
We, the Argentine Delegates, have attended the discussion of this matter, free from prejudice and exempt from reservation. Commerce is not in need of either, and, on the contrary, rejects the two, for in the transaction of business, frankness represents a good part of probity. Nor are we animated by any sentiment of unreasonable defense, although I ought not to disguise my feelings regarding some of the prevailing errors concerning our countrieserrors which I have noticed with sorrow, but which I can readily understand. The truth is that our knowledge of each other is limited. The Republics of the North of this continent have lived without holding communication with those of the South, or the nations of Central America. Absorbed, as they have been, like ours, in the development of their institutions, they have failed to cultivate with us closer and more intimate relations. In this fragmentary and autonomic development of the three zones of America, the United States have forced themselves upon the attention of the world by their conspicuous greatness and their wise example. The nations which have not reached such eminence are the subject of lamentable confusions, of errors, perhaps involuntary, such as those which caused a Senator of this country to say "that the Spanish American States would commence by surrendering the key of their commerce, and would end by forgetting that of their politics."
I begin by declaring that I do not know the key to the Argentine markets ; perhaps because none exist; because they lack any statutes of exclusion, or any machinery whatsoever of prohibition or monopoly. We have lived with our custom-houses open to the commerce of the world, with our rivers free to all flags, with liberty for all the industries, inviting by their profitable character the labor of man, and with liberty above all for man himself, who in coming among us becomes a participant in our national life, and secures defense not only for his person under the habeas corpus guaranty, but respect for his conscience under the most ample religious toleration, and protection for his rights under the principle of the civil equality of citizens and foreigners. But neither the declarations made by us when scarcely detached from the Crown of Spain (and which we proclaimed in 1813), that no slaves should be found on Argentine soil, nor the liberties we proclaim to-day, with full consciousness of our national individuality, create in any manner a source of danger to the security of the States.
It is evidenced by the history of our autonomies and the future will corroborate it, saluting in the plenitude of their rights the same nations now assembled to discuss their material interests, no doubt because their political destinies were clearly drawn by the sword of three great men now sharing the blessing of immortality.
The mutual interchange of unmanufactured products, and the currents of profitable immigration which have never been restricted, but, on the contrary, always fostered by our governments, can never be considered as causes of uneasiness to firmly-established sovereignties. Production seeks consumption, without caring for hegemonies or supremacies, as independently and surely as the immigrant seeks welfare and fortune, without aspiring to participate in governmental functions. Hence we receive him hospitably, without distrust, offering him not only the instruments of labor, but also the right of property in the land which is to constitute his patrimony, and which enables him to join with our natives in the government of the localities where he represents interests reaped from the wealth of our own soil.
As the immigrant is our friend, as his children are our fellow-citizens, so international commeroe is our ally in