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Mr. SAENZ PEÑA. I ask the privilege of the floor in order to remind the Conference of the importance of the explanatory parts of the reports from the committees which frame the projects; that this is a subject which has already been disposed of by the Conference when the subject of weights and measures presented by my friend, the delegate from Salvador, was discussed. It was necessary at that time to introduce some reforms in the recommendatory portion of the project, because the Conference declared that it would not vote upon reports nor arguments, but simply upon resolutions. It is therefore out of the question for the Conference to vote, according to its rulings, upon the reasons or arguments upon which the majority and minority base their resolutions; and if this is so, in the present case, the vote of the Conference upon the subject of Customs Union would be null and void. I recall this precedent, therefore, which has hitherto served as the basis for our debates; no reasons or basis have been voted upon, but the conclusions or resolutions which have been brought before the Conference.
For these reasons I insist that this assembly decide this point, accepting the suggestion of the president, that each delegation express its opinion, yes or no.
The PRESIDENT. The question is whether the minority report shall be voted upon. Those in favor, will answer aye; those opposed, no. The roll will be called.
Mr. HENDERSON. It really occurs to me that if a vote of this sort is taken, the proper way is to reconsider the vote by which the majority report has been adopted, and let the minority report come up as a substitute for the majority report. In a deliberative body there is no other way by which a minority can get a direct vote upon their report. That is the usual way in such bodies to get a direct action upon the minority. The PRESIDENT. The motion to reconsider will
precede the motion of the honorable gentleman from the Argentine.
Mr. HENDERSON. Then I wish to state that if the vote is to reconsider, the minority may offer their report as a substitute. The question then is the choice between the minority and majority reports. Those who wish to substitute will vote for the minority report. Why, Mr. President, these are antagonistic reports. · The idea of adopting first one, and then the other, seems ridiculous. The adoption of one is the exclusion of the other. They are at great angles, one to the other. How is it possible that we can adopt both? That is the argument submitted by several delegates, and I can not understand how that is possible. Now, I desire that the minority have a way of expressing themselves, and with that view, having voted affirmatively for the majority report, I am perfectly willing, with the concurrence of those voting, that we may have a reconsideration and let the minority offer their report as a substitute for the majority. We cannot adopt both. We are acting under rules, and those rules must govern this body. To
a minority and majority report can be adopted seems to me a most extraordinary idea Why, the idea of the majority is that a Customs Union may be reached gradually through these means. The minority report rejects absolutely all approaches in
that direction. Now, it is a mere choice of means for accomplishing an end. You must fight under one banner or the other. You must take your choice, but
you can take but one. That is my idea about it. I therefore move, Mr. President, in order to give the minority an opportunity of expressing their views here, that the vote be reconsidered. I hope there will be no objection to it, and then let the minority of the Conference offer their report as a substitute.
The PRESIDENT. The honorable delegate from the United States, Mr. Henderson, moves that the vote whereby the majority report was adopted shall be reconsidered. That motion is a privileged motion, and takes precedence to all others pending.
Mr. VELARDE. I find no contradiction between the report of the majority and that of the minority. Both are included in that of the first, and to prove it it is sufficient to refer to a few paragraphs of this report. In the first place it will be necessary to read the title of this committee which reports and the object of its study, which reads as follows:
COMMITTEE ON CUSTOMS UNION. The Committee on Customs Union has made a careful study of the questions submitted to its consideration by the International American Conference in reference to forming a Customs Union among the several nations of this Continent.
There follows a review of the various systems, and then in page 8 there appears
But while the committee believes that such a union is at present impracticable as a continental system, etc.
What else does the minority report say? It simply "rejects the project of a Customs Union.” There may be a slight difference as to words, but as I understand it the idea is the same.
I am quoting from the majority report.
Mr. VALENTE. The recommendation for reciprocal treaties has been approved, but nothing has been said with regard to the second report, and this is the reason why the vote has been requested. I apprehend that if the explanatory part of the majority report had been put to the vote no question would have arisen; but what has been voted upon is the resolution. If this is the idea of the Conference then we are all agreed.
Mr. ESTEE. Mr. President, are these questions debatable?
The PRESIDENT. Questions of order are debatable within certain limits.
Mr. EstEE. Do these reports agree? If this is so, I would like to know what we have been talking about for the last month. Now, if they agree, I would like to know why the whole committee did not sign the same report instead of making two reports. I think we are either all right or we are all wrong, and I appeal to my colleagues here as to whether we have been talking for the past month about nothing or about something. We have made a tremendous mistake some way, but we are coming to a happy conclusion if we find out that we are all on one side of this question. Mr. President, after having kept the translators and printers and everybody else busy for a month translating opposing speeches, at last we have come to one conclusion and discovered that there was not a bit of difference between the reports which have inspired this discussion. Now, there is some difference in the reports. The
majority report means one thing and the minority report means another. We all know that is so. The majority want their views expressed one way, and the minority want their views expressed another way. Any way by which it will be so expressed upon the record is the honest way. Let us not talk about it, but let us vote.
The PRESIDENT. The question pending is the reconsideration of the vote by which the majority report was adopted. If the motion to reconsider prevails, then one of the minority may move the minority report as a substitute.
Mr. ANDRADE. Before voting, Mr. President, I should like to know if the English verb “to reconsider" can be translated into Spanish “to withdraw," or if it only means to consider the report as not voted upon?
Mr. Davis. I would like to inquire of the Chair what would be the effect to lay on the table the pending question? Would it dispose of the whole question?
The PRESIDENT. A motion under debate can not have one part laid upon the table without the other part. You would have to carry the entire matter to the table.
Those in favor of reconsidering the motion by which the majority report was adopted will answer aye upon the roll-call; those against it no.
The roll-call was commenced, but was interrupted by
Mr. HENDERSON, who spoke as follows: I do not wish to be placed in the attitude of having made a motion not sustained by the United States delegation. A majority of them have expressed themselves