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respect with the minority report, I also advise the celebration of reciprocity treaties, because they can be made in the recommendations of the majority and can be made without coming in any way in conflict with of the jurisdiction of the Governments.
Mr. VELARDE. I have voted against the report of the majority for two reasons : First, because I deem it inadequate, inasmuch as it says nothing upon the point which was referred for consideration, namely, whether or not a Customs Union is advisable; the resolutions of the report are absolutely silent upon this point. The second reason is, that, in common with the others who voted in the negative, I hold that the recommendation that reciprocity treaties be negotiated is one which it is not competent for this Conference to make, inasmuch as the nations, in the exercise of their legitimate powers and according to their own needs, take good care to negotiate reciprocity treaties when they find it expedient so to do; and I do not believe that the vote of the Conference can either increase or diminish the influence of each nations' own interests in the determination of the question. Now, coming down to the question as to whether or not the minority report should be voted on, I believe that the Conference ought to express its opinion thereon, for the reasons urged by my friend, the delegate from Costa Rica, and also because the report of the majority is inadequate, and the Conference ought to state its opinion as to whether or not a Customs Union is practicable. For these reasons I think that the report ought to be voted on.
Mr. SAENZ PEÑA. There being four delegations which ask, each in the name of its Government, that the Conference give its vote upon this point, it seems to me that there is no reason, or rule, which should be insisted on against it.
The honorable delegate from Costa Rica has clearly shown that the majority of the committee deals, in the resolutions of its report, with everything except the one subject which was referred to it for consideration, namely, the Customs Union. We would thus adopt a report which treats of reciprocity treaties, but does not say one word about a Customs Union. If the majority report had contained an article
upon that point—the one which it was essential that it should have declared upon—this difficulty would not have arisen. We could have voted upon it, and the opinion of the Conference would have been made known as to the question of a Customs Union, as well as upon that of reciprocity treaties. But this one vote will accomplish but an incomplete result; the Conference has determined in favor of reciprocity treaties, but says nothing as to a Customs Union. There being accordingly no incompatibility between the vote already had upon the majority report, and that for which I ask upon the report of the minority, I believe that the proper course is to proceed to the taking of the vote.
Mr. CAAMANO. While I regret being in opposition to the honorable delegate from the Argentine Republic, I wish to say two words.
In the first place, in the explanatory portions of both reports mention is made of the subject of a Customs Union, as that which gave occasion for their being written, and the conclusions of each report are but corrollaries of the preliminary statements therein. In every law the preamble, while it is not itself the resolution, sets forth the reasons for the resolution, and especially in a case like the present, in which there is no resolution, but only a recommendation, the expository part of the report can not be dispensed with. I believe, accordingly, that although no mention is made in the explanatory portions of the majority report as to the object of the report, yet it is so involved therewith that it can not fail to be considered in the final clause upon which the proposition is based.
On the other hand, in no deliberative body is the minority report voted upon, no matter what the considerations
may be for the presentation thereof. I believe, therefore, that to vote at this time upon the report of the minority is tantamount to compelling the delegates to contradict themselves; the report of the minority declares Customs Union to be impracticable, not only at the present but at any time, whilst the majority report says that reciprocity treaties may be made which, in my humble opinion, means the practicability of Customs Union now or in the future, and according to my views, if both reports are voted upon they would contradict each other absolutely
The PRESIDENT. The Chair wishes to make a remark. The Chair suggested to both of the gentlemen who were opposed to the majority report, that they have their names recorded in the journal as favoring their views, which were not directly voted upon. In that the Chair aimed to protect the rights of the minority, but in no deliberative body can the minority coerce the majority. The motion is out of order.
Mr. SAENZ PEÑA. It appears to me that when the minority demands a vote of the Conference, it makes use of an indisputable right. It has the right to know the opinion of the Conference upon those subjects which are confided to it for study, and without reference to the members of the majority or to the nations which they represent. This is a right which may be exercised under that of equality, which places us all on a level.
The honorable delegate from Ecuador says that he discovers an inconsistency in voting on both of the reports; saying that when the majority advises the celebration of reciprocity treaties it is clear that it considers Customs Union as practicable.
It seems to me that this inconsisteny does not really exist. Reciprocity treaties are practicable and are acts entirely distinct from Customs Union. They may exist whether the minority report be accepted or rejected, and when the Conference shall have voted upon the recommendation relating to reciprocity treaties it will not have expressed an opinion upon Customs Union, which is the point it is called upon to decide.
The same delegate adds that the Conference ought not to lose sight of the fundamental principle of the report; not the explanatory part, but that part which suggests an explanation of the preamble, and apropos of this he mentions the principles laid down in laws passed by all legislative bodies.
I must remind your honor that the laws themselves are not debatable; the only thing debatable is the sentence under the law, which is accompanied by the reasons therefor or opinions thereon. I think, therefore, that there is no objection to the Conference expressing an opinion upon the subject of Customs Union and this is the right of the minority; it has studied the question and it desires to know the form in which the Conference accepts or rejects it.
I therefore insist that the minority report be voted upon.
Mr. PRESIDENT. The honorable delegate from the Argentine Republic moves that a vote be taken on the minority report. That vote will be ordered by nations. The roll will be called. Those in favor of having a vote taken upon this proposition, will answer aye; those opposed, no.
Mr. CAAMANO. Before the motion is put to a vote, I desire to say a few words in respectful reply to the honorable delegate from the Argentine Republic.
The majority report, in its explanatory part, explains the situation to Customs Union, and its conclusion, which is simply a recommendation, is made upon the arguments which serve as a basis. Therefore we should consider that the recommendatory part refers to the subject of Customs Union, although it is otherwise explained. As for the rest I have simply cited the practice of some countries which explain the basis of their laws as a whole, as is the case in Salvador and in Colombia; and this is done because some laws need explanation, and also, because, as a general principle, not only has the legislature this right, but it ought, also, to give its reasons for making the laws, and therefore it is necessary to explain them.