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The SECOND VICE-PRESIDENT. The report of the gentleman will be added to the minutes of the session.
Mr. ARAGON. I wish to take the floor simply to answer a few remarks made by my friend, the honorable delegate from the United States, Mr. Estee. Mr. Estee must not understand that those countries wish to evade the payment of aid for a line of steamers. It is only that we do not wish to be bound to those special terms of the report. We wish to attain that end by some means suitable for creating that service. I would mention that some of those countries, although small and insignificant, were perhaps the first to initiate the subsidizing of steam-ships; and perhaps at the present moment we are paying more than the United States is for the maintenance of such service. Costa Rica is paying $12,000 for a subsidy on the Pacific coast.
Mexico is paying largely; although I do not recollect just the amount Guatemala, Salvador, Nicaragua, and other countries are all paying for the maintenance of the same line.
Now with regard to the concrete terms devised by the committee, I would only wish that they could be carried into effect in the manner you propose, for this reason: We are now paying $12,000 on the Pacific to steamers that call once or twice a month. You propose to create a service of steamers that will call twice a month, and according to the proportion suggested by the committee, it imposes upon Costa Rica the obligation of contributing only $1,000 a year. Just notice the difference between $12,000 and $1,000. You will see that it is not in a selfish point of view that we have looked at this report. I think it gives us more liberty of action. My country may not feel bound to the special suggestions made by the committee, but we may contribute largely. Instead of contributing $1,000 we may give $6,000 for the creation of this service, and it may be
my country will require special concessions. That is what the proposition which we have presented is meant to convey; to give liberty to our countries to deal with those matters without special relation to this report. However, it is a suggestion to be taken into consideration. We consider perfectly well that the United States does not wish to impose upon us this obligation of contributing. This obligation we have already assumed and are contributing largely to the same purpose.
Mr. CAAMAÑO. By way of concluding this debate, as far as I am concerned, I must reply to the honorable delegate from Bolivia that we ought not to enter into the question of whether or not Bolivia should be included in the list of contributing nations ; but we did do it, and it was done, I should state, with the consent of the honorable representative from Chili. Regarding the calculations made by Mr. Velarde touching the subsidy, I think there is an error in his basis. The third article of the report says:
That the nations named shall pay annually, directly to the company, companies, or individual owners of said lines, as a compensation for the services rendered them and in the terms and under the conditions established, a subsidy, the total amount of which shall not exceed 30 cents per gross registered ton of said vessels, for each 1,000 miles sailed, outward and homeward.
This committee, then, establishes only a maximum, the minimum remaining at from one cent up to thirty. This is a sphere of action too extensive; there is no limit. As to not having consulted the other delegates representing countries bordering on the Pacific, it was taken into account that they were greater in number than the members of the committee, and would have the printed plan before them before they were asked to vote, and even the honorable delegate from Bolivia has signed a resolution due naturally to a study of the report, and agreeing to some extent with the views of the committee.
This said, I declare that of the five members composing the committee, four of us, representing a part of South America and Mexico, are agreed on the resolution presented by the honorable delegate from Peru.
The SECOND VICE-PRESIDENT. The Chair understands that the chairman of the Committee on Communication on the Pacific accepts the amendment to the report, submitted by the honorable delegate from Peru.
Mr. CAAMAÑO. Of the five members composing the committee, four are in favor of it. I know not the opinion of Mr. Estee.
The SECOND VICE-PRESIDENT. Four members are a majority of the committee.
Mr. Este. Of course I always vote with my committee. I will do just as my committee does.
Mr. CAAMAÑO. Then, Mr. President, the committee is unanimous.
Mr. Alfonso. Naturally, sir, as my honorable colleague on the delegation has signed this plan I approve it in its entirety, but I desire to record one fact which is interesting to me and which I deem should be spread upon the minutes.
This report, undoubtedly, proposes a very laudable plan, that of increasing communication on the Pacific; but as regards Chili, I should state that on all the coast of that country the steam-ship service is perfectly .well executed. It is a service to-day which gives the greatest satisfaction and meets the necessities of trade and passenger travel; it is done by two companies, one English, which has existed for at least fifty years, and was the first to have steamships on the Pacific, and the other a South American line, subsidized by Chili, which has existed probably from fifteen to twenty years.
These two companies have improved their service, increasing the number of their vessels, and having them constructed on the most modern plans, for which reason, as I have had occasion to state on another occasion, the service on the Pacific is far better than that from Aspinwall to New York.
So that, Mr. President, the plan in question would, so far as Chili is concerned, meet a necessity which is only theorectical and by no means practical, especially as the experience of the past, and very recent past, demonstrates that these two companies, which to a certain degree are competitors, have an especial interest in improving their service, as has happened, since within the last few years the improvements obtained have been enormous.
The necessities of trade are increasing, and it is to be expected that those companies will proving, without their being any necessity on our part of appealing to foreign elements to furnish the service which the Government as well as trade needs.
Mr. VARAS: I had asked the floor merely to explain
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my vote in acceptance of the plan formulated by the Hon. Mr. Zegarra, at the moment my honorable colleague made the statement which was to form a part of the explanation which I thought of making. Therefore, I shall be briefer than I anticipated.
I accept with pleasure the plan formulated by the honorable Delegate from Peru at once, since it does not call for any amendment to the basis of the plan submitted by the committee. In the second place, I should state that I accept it because if I have signed the report of the committee, and now accept another, it has not been for any special interest of my country, but for the general interests of commerce among our American nations.
As my honorable colleague has so truthfully stated, there are in Chili two companies which in passing I may add) the Government subsidizes, one in the sum of $50,000 and the other $225,000 yearly. Besides these companies there are other steamers doing the regular service of our trade with the nations on the Pacific coast.
These facts alone suffice to show the truth of what I have just said; that is, that I have signed the report of the committee not for individual benefit, but in the general interest of the American countries, and, as the plan of the honorable delegate from Peru goes even further as regards the individual interests of the countries, it will be easily understood that I should accept it, making, however, the declaration that the adoption of this plan does not imply necessity, since as far as Chili is concerned it does not exist.
Mr. Mexia. Regarding Mexico I must repeat what