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Mr. Jacinto Castellanos.
Mr. John B. Henderson.
Mr. Charles R. Flint.
Mr. Alberto Nin.
Mr. Nicanor Bolet Peraza.
The Delegates were introduced to the Honorable James G. Blaine, Secretary of State, who delivered the following address of welcome:
ADDRESS OF WELCOME BY MR. BLAINE.
Gentlemen of the International American Conference: Speaking for the Government of the United States, I bid you welcome to this capital. Speaking for the people of the United States, I bid you
welcome to every section and to every State of the Union. You come in response to an invitation extended by the President on the special authorization of Congress.
Your presence here is no ordinary It signifies much to the people of all America to-day. It may signify far more in the days to come. No conference of nations has ever assembled to consider the welfare of territorial possessions so vast and to contemplate the possibilities of a future so great and so inspiring. Those now sitting within these walls are empowered to speak for nations whose borders are on both the great oceans, whose northern limits are touched by the Arctic waters for a thousand miles beyond the Straits of Behring and whose southern extension furnishes human habitations farther below the equator than is elsewhere possible on the globe.
The aggregate territorial extent of the nations here represented falls but little short of 12,000,000 of square miles—more than three times the area of all Europe, and but little less than one-fourth part of the globe; while in respect to the power of producing the articles which are essential to human life and those which minister to life's luxury, they constitute even a larger proportion of the entire world. These great possessions to-day have an aggregate population approaching 120,000,000, but if peopled as densely as the average of Europe, the total number would exceed 1,000,000,000. While considerations of this character must inspire Americans, both South and North, with the liveliest anticipations of future grandeur and power, they must also impress them with a sense of the gravest responsibility touching the character and development of their respective nationalities.
The Delegates I am addressing can do much to establish permanent relations of confidence, respect, and friendship between the nations which they represent. They can show to the world an honorable, peaceful conference of eighteen independent American Powers, in which all shall meet together on terms of absolute equality; a conference in which there can be no attempt to coerce a single Delegate against his own conception of the interests of his nation; a conference which will permit no secret understanding on any subject, but will frankly publish to the world all its conclusions; a conference which will tolerate no spirit of conquest, but will aim to cultivate an American sympathy as broad as both continents; a conference which will form no selfish alliance against the older nations from which we are proud to claim inheritance—a conference, in fine, which will seek nothing, propose nothing, endure nothing that is not, in the general sense of all the Delegates, timely and wise and peaceful.
And yet we can not be expected to forget that our common fate has made us inhabitants of the two continents which, at the close of four centuries, are still regarded beyond the seas as the New World. Like situations beget like sympathies and impose like duties. We meet in firm belief that the nations of America ought to be and can be more helpful, each to the other, than they now are, and that each will find advantage and profit from an enlarged intercourse with the others.
We believe that we should be drawn together more closely by the highways of the sea, and that at no distant day the railway systems of the north and south will meet upon the isthmus and connect by land routes the political and commercial capitals of all America.
We believe that hearty co-operation, based on hearty confidence, will save all American States from the burdens and evils which have long and cruelly afflicted the older nations of the world.
We believe that a spirit of justice, of common and equal interest between the American States, will leave no room for an artificial balance of
like unto that which has led to wars abroad and drenched Eu
rope in blood.
We believe that friendship, avowed with candor and maintained with good faith, will remove from American States the necessity of guarding boundary lines between themselves with fortifications and mili
We believe that standing armies, beyond those which are needful for public order and the safety of internal administration, should be unknown on both American continents.
We believe that friendship and not force, the spirit of just law and not the violence of the mob, should be the recognized rule of administration between American nations and in American nations.
To these subjects, and those which are cognate thereto, the attention of this Conference is earnestly and cordially invited by the Government of the United States. It will be a great gain when we shall acquire that common confidence on which all international friendship must rest. It will be a greater gain when we shall be able to draw the people of all American nations into close acquaintance with each other, an end to be facilitated by more frequent and more rapid intercommunication. It will be the greatest gain when the personal and commercial relations of the American States, south and north, shall be so developed and so regulated that each shall acquire the highest possible advantage from the enlightened and enlarged intercourse of all.
Before the Conference shall formally enter upon the discussion of the subjects to be submitted to it I am instructed by the President to invite all the Delegates to be the guests of the Government during a proposed visit to various sections of the country, with the double view of showing to our friends from abroad the condition of the United States, and of giving to our people in their homes the privilege and pleasure of extending the warm welcome of Americans to Americans.
A quorum of the Delegates being present, the Secretary of State declared the Conference duly assembled, and asked the pleasure of the body; when the following resolution was offered by Mr. Romero, and unanimously adopted, to wit:
Resolved, That this Conference names as President pro tempore the Hon. John B. Henderson, a Delegate to this Conference, representing the United States of America.
Thereupon the honorable Secretary of State retired, and Mr. John B. Henderson assumed the chair and declared the Conference ready for the transaction of business.
Whereupon, on the motion of Mr. Hurtado, Charles R. Flint, one of the Delegates from the United States, was unanimously elected Secretary pro tempore of the Conference.
Thereupon the following resolution was offered by Mr. Romero, and unanimously adopted, to wit:
Resolved, That the President pro tempore is hereby authorized and requested to appoint a Committee on