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I have signed, together with my honorable colleagues, the resolution which was last presented and which is a substitute for that of the committee, for I find it exactly fits the present situation of my country.
It is proposed to subsidize steam-ship companies which are to run on the Pacific Ocean. Undoubtedly the idea is a laudable one, purposing, as it does, to facilitate communication and the carrying of passengers; but it is to be regretted that the members of the committee did not consult the opinions of the other delegates, representatives of the nations bordering on the Pacific, in order to exchange ideas and views and avoid misunderstandings.
With regard to the plan under discussion, I find that it fixes the quotas of the subsidy to companies upon the basis of the population of each country, and that basis is adopted as final and ending the matter.
We have thought it would be more advisable to leave the several governments to determine this quota, for, as regards my country, it behooves me to state that, as bordering on the Pacific, since it has not renounced its territorial rights to the coast it possessed, but which unhappily is not at present under its control, and is temporarily governed in accordance with a treaty of truce with a neighboring nationBolivia—I repeat, who claims always a right to this territory, which it has declared many times, and which has been recognized. The Government of Chili finds herself in the case of coming into this agreement, as a nation that borders on, that has a population, trade and business connected with the Pacific Ocean. But shall the proportion payable by it be left to its government, which will undoubtedly enter into an agreement with the bordering nations.
The substitute resolution says in so many words: The International American Conference resolves: To recommend to the Governments of the countries bordering on the Pacific Ocean to promote among themselves maritime, telegraphic, and postal communications, taking into consideration, as far as compatible with their own interests, the propositions formulated in the report of the Committee on Communication on the Pacific.
I accept this wording, and find it advisable. Hence I explain my vote and desire that it be recorded in the minutes.
Mr. EstEE. Mr. President, in reply to the distinguished gentleman from Peru, who spoke a few minutes ago,
I wish to say that in connection with this report on Commerce on the Pacific I prepared a report which, of course, is not the report of the committee. However, I prepared a report .containing information of the Commerce of the various ports and countries of the Pacific, showing the necessity for lines of steamers stopping at those ports, and recommending what, in my judgment, ought to be done. In that report, sir, I did not suggest that any of those countries should pay anything, and that I may place the gentleman from Peru (if he will give me his attention for a moment) right in the matter, I will read the last part where I say:
I do not venture to make any suggestions as to the assistance which may be rendered by the other nations represented in this Conference, and with whom mutual trade relations should be encouraged, because I do not sufficiently understand their wishes; nor is it known to me that
under their laws monetary assistance to foreign-built ships can be granted, or if allowable that they would deem it advisable to do so, nor do I know but they wish to sustain steam-ship lines of their own, and therefore I do not refer to that question, but leave it rather for the consideration of my associates on the committee who represent our sister republics on the south of us, feeling assured that they will most gladly do all that can be done to promote trade and advance the common interest of all the Pacific coast nations represented in this Conference.
Those were the closing sentences of a report I made covering some sixteen pages on the subject of the Commerce on the Pacific. That report is in print in English, but it has never been printed in Spanish. I venture to ask the Conference to make it an appendix to the minutes, not as a part of them. I ask this because I think there are some facts there that may be useful to this Conference. Speaking for myself, and I think for the American delegation, I can say there is no desire on the part of the United States to impress our views upon any nation that does not desire to contribute to this enterprise. We gladly agreed to the proposition that whenever a nation did wish to come in it should be done in the ratio of population, and that was a recommendation made by another member of the committee and not by myself. It seemed to be fair and we agreed to it. It was also suggested that whenever a nation wishes to participate upon these terms the flag of that country should be carried on the vessels of that line in proportion to the subsidies paid by that country. This seemed to be just. I can say that as far as the United States were concerned and so far as every member of the committee were concerned their action in this matter was prompted by the highest regard for the commercial interests of all these nations and for the advantage to the Pacific coast trade. There was no effort made, and there will be no effort made as far as I know, and as far as the country which I in part represent is concerned, to impose upon Bolivia or any other nation any contribution it does not desire to make. I think it is the duty of the United States, with its vast and unlimited resources, with its great coast line upon the Pacific, to contribute very largely for a steamship line of the kind recommended. I think it is the duty of Mexico, owning more coast line than either the United States or any other nation on the Pacific, to contribute also.
I would suggest to the honorable delegate from Peru that we do not ask that any one nation fronting on the Pacific shall contribute any amount unless it wishes so to do, but it is believed that it would be a matter of pride to all the nations to be contributors to a steam-ship line of the character recommended. They would thus feel they had a common interest in this new commercial enterprise, and this would lead to good neighborhood and good fellowship among the contributing nations; that when one of these vessels came into a Chilian, or Mexican, or Peruvian port every Chilian, or Mexican, or Peruvian would feel interested in that vessel and in the business it did.
It is also provided in the report that in time of war these vessels shall not be used for war purposes; especially against the contributing nations. The object which prompted the committee in doing what it did was to promote the common interest of all the nations of the American continent, and especially on the Pacific slope. There are twelve nations thus interested. And so in my report, which I submitted to the committee of this Conference, I did not recommend the payment of any money as a subsidy by any one of these nations.
I will read from my report:
I therefore recommend that a tonnage bounty shall be paid by the United States of America to any vessel, whether sail or steam, constructed and wholly owned in the United States, and which shall be engaged in the foreign trade, plying between the ports of the United States and foreign ports of Central and South America, or between foreign ports and other foreign ports, the sum of 30 cents per gross registered ton for each 1,000 miles sailed outward and inward, and pro rata for any distance traveled less than 1,000 miles on any voyage or voyages.
I did not recommend the payment by any nation except
the United States, for at the time I wrote that report
I was not aware that the other nations were desirous of contributing. But I at once saw, sir, the necessity, because there is a national pride in this matter which affects all alike, and being left out would carry with it the idea of unfriendliness, and so we inserted the clause which states that those vessels, whatever the flag they might carry, should be received, and occupy the same position, as national vessels in the various countries whose ports they entered. I ventured to make this explanation because it might seem that the United States was desirous of getting the other countries to contribute to lines of steamers in which they had little or no interest. I therefore ask to have the report which I made attached to the minutes as an appendix.