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urer of the United States his woolen goods do not reach our markets, and the reason why our trade is so restricted is explained, since our products come in contact with a closed custom-house, which is, however, open to Great Britain. It is possible that these facts may pass unnoticed by the Treasury Department; it is hard to believe it, however, since the Argentine Republic occupies an equal rank with Australia in the world's production, and in the Universal Exposition of Paris secured 112 premiums out of a total of 188 presented, having on its prairies 96,000,000 head of sheep as compared with 88,000,000 credited to Australia and 44,000,000 to the United States.
I am not defending a commodity which all the manufacturing markets are struggling to secure. I do observe, however, that this discrimination is not justified by the advantages afforded to wool-growers by protection. It has been in effect of little profit to the growers of Ohio and the West. In 1885 there were in the United States 50,000,000 head of sheep, which in 1887 were reduced to 44,000,000, or a decrease of 6,000,000 in two years. The same has not been the case with the growers of Australia and the Cape of Good Hope, who have profited by the advantages secured to them by the American tariff over the Argentine wools.
It is curious to note how the report of the committee recommending the principle of reciprocity might be exactly antagonistic to the commercial relations it was charged with studying. The committee recommends the adoption of this principle by means of treaties but reciprocity may spring from autonomic tariffs as well as from treaties, and in such case it would prove contra producentem. Should the Argentine Government tax American pine, machinery, and petroleum with the 60 per cent. duty its products pay in the United States, would not this be the principle of reciprocity that the committee recommends? If the McKinley bill could be adopted under our laws would not it be, under the practices of international commerce, reciprocity also ?
My honorable colleagues may reply that they recommend reciprocity by means of treaties. But treaties are the modus faciendi; they do not attack or transform the principle when it is embodied in the tariff which each nation adopts for itself.
There something more: If my information be not incorrect, the Committee on Ways and Means is discussing further and heavier duties on our products at the request of the growers. Will the committee insist on recommending its report? If the former duties were defferential, and I consider them prohibitory for the Argentine Republic, what would be the effect of a strict reciprocity ? The committee recommends a principle which may lead us to the fatal policy of retaliation, which we would not wish to entertain or to know in our commercial relations.
I regret having gone to such length upon a subject which is becoming thorny, but the report of the majority has forced us into this field and we cannot avoid it.
The reply of the United States has been conclusive for the Argentine Government. They will continue to favor the imports-of Oceanica and southern Africa in spite of the liberality of our laws, which have made it possible for them to double their commerce with our country. It is understood, then, that the delegation in whose name I have the honor to speak, does not expect to open doors which have been so firmly closed against it; it limits itself to the declaration that its custom-houses will continue open to this continent as well as to the rest of the world, adding, in compliance with its instructions, that it does not reject the possibility of making treaties, even if it does abstain from recommending them, because advice is not what commerce needs.
I have terminated my official declaration.
Permit me to make a very personal declaration. Let no one see in what I have expressed, anything but feelings of fraternal affection for all the nations and governments of this continent.
If any one has thought to see in my words a weakening of those sentiments, he should be convinced of his error. Affection and love for America are not wanting in me. I do not lack confidence in or gratitude towards Europe. I do not forget that Spain, our mother, is there, contemplating with sincere rejoicings the development of her ancient territory through the energy of generous and manly people who inherited her blood; that Italy, our friend, is there, and France, our sister, who illuminates with the effigy of a goddess the harbor of New York, linking the Continent, free par excellence, with the free section of democratic Europe, which has just called the world together on the Champ de Mars so as to inuoculate the future republics of the Old World with the example of liberty.
I think that the laws of society are leading nations to representative government as contemporaneous economy directs communities to freedom of trade. The nineteenth century has put us in possession of our political rights and ratified those acquired by our elder sister after struggles worthy of her sovereignty. Let the century of America, as the twentieth century is already called, behold our trade with all the nations of the earth free, witnessing the noble duel of untrammeled labor, in which it has been truly said God measures the ground, equalizes the weapons, and apportions the light.
Let America be for mankind !
Mr. ZEGARRA, a Delegate from Peru, and First VicePresident, having arrived before Mr. Saenz Peña had finished speaking, Mr. Velarde requested him to take the chair.
Mr. Alfonso, a Delegate from Chili, then requested the floor, and spoke as follows:
REMARKS OF MR. ALFONSO.
The Committee on “Customs Union” declares unanimously that this union is not practicable; but it is divided with regard to what should be the recommendations of the Conference, the majority being of the opinion that the negotiation of reciprocity treaties would be advisable, while the minority, which includes the Delegate from Chili, believes that the committee should report only that a Customs Union is not practicable. In this sense he has signed, together with the honorable Delegate from the Argentine Republic, the report of the minority.
Their reasons for this action are of two kinds, and will be now briefly stated.
First, the committee has been charged to study the convenience and possibility of establishing an American Customs Union, and not of negotiating reciprocity treaties between nations. These treaties may certainly bear some relation to the Customs Union, but there are some other subjects that may bear exactly the same relation to it, and this fact would not lead the Delegate from Chili to consider them as a subject for the report of the committee. Besides, although some reciprocity treaties may prepare the way for the Union, others may become an insurmountable obstacle to its establishment. At all events, it is evident that the committee has been charged with the study of the Customs Union, and since it acknowledges that it is not practicable, it can not recommend any other subjects more or less connected with the Union. In the judgment of the Delegate from Chili, this is a delicate and important point, on which, in his belief, the committee should strictly confine itself to its charge.
Secondly. And this is a weightier reason than the preceding one. The Conference has been convened to discuss subjects of common interest to the nations here represented. The reciprocity treaties that can be negotiated between these nations do not fall within the programme of the Conference. They are private national matters which each state, in the exercise of its exclusive sovereignty, will attend to, and which consequently are foreign to the International Conference. And in order to show that this opinion is well founded, it must be stated that, notwithstanding the vote of the Delegate from Chili in opposition to the recommendation of reciprocity treaties, his Government will or will not negotiate them, guided by circumstances, and being governed by the interests of the country. This means that, whether such recommendation is or is not made, the situation will in both cases remain the same, for the nations represented in this Conference whose purpose is not to advise upon the expediency of such acts as
are considered as appertaining to the exclusive sovereignty of one country in its relations with another.
The Delegate from Chili would certainly not have raised any objection if the committee had confined itself to this subject when stating the reasons on which the report is based. The preface of the report could allow of a general exposition of this or any other similar subject, provided that the report had expressed simply the conclusion reached as to the establishment of the Customs Union, the sole point about which the committee should report.
REMARKS OF MR. ROMERO.
Mr. Romero, a Delegate from Mexico, and a signatary of the majority report of the committee, spoke in support of that report as follows:
With the object of saving time, and though unprepared, not knowing what might be said in the debate, I take the floor in the name of the majority of the committee, to offer some explanation which, as to form, will be in every way inferior to the elegant discourse of the honorable Delegate from the Argentine Republic, and to the phrases read by the honorable Delegate from Chili; there being a further difficulty in the fact that I am at this moment troubled by a severe cold and something of a fever, which much impede me in making the explanations which I wish to offer on behalf of the majority of the Committee on Customs Union.
Let me begin by stating that the act under which the Conference has been convoked provides, in its second section, for the consideration of “ measures toward the formation of an American Customs Union, under which the trade of the American nations with each other shall, so far as possible and profitable, be promoted."
The question arose in the committee, as to what is meant by a customs union. In the opinion of some of the members-among others, the honorable Delegate from the Argentine Republic, who signs the minority report-a customs union means a zollverein, while in the opinion of the