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REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON PORT DUES AS REVISED.
The committee, after duly considering the various suggestions which have been offered, and also the difficulties raised by certain of the delegations to fixing at present any one common and uniform rate of port dues in all the nations represented in the Conference (on account of the special conditions at present prevailing in the ports of several of said nations in respect to the services for which the charges are made), and desiring to approach as closely as possible to uniformity, while it is impracticable completely to abolish the charges now imposed upon vessels in the shape of such dues, has the honor to submit the following report:
The International American Conference hereby resolve to recommend to the Governments therein represented
First. That all port dues be merged in a single one, to be known as tonnage dues.
Second. That this one charge shall be assessed upon the gross tonnage, or, in other words, upon the total carrying capacity of the vessel.
Third. That each Government fix for itself the amount to be charged as tonnage dues, but with due regard to the general policy of the Conference upon the subject, which is to facilitate and favor navigation.
Fourth. That there be excepted from the provisions of article 1 the dues charged or to be charged under unexpired contracts with private companies.
Fifth. That the following shall be exempt from tonnage dues :
1. Transports and vessels of war.
3. Vessels which shall have been compelled to put into port by reason of damages suffered at sea. 4. Yachts and other pleasure boats.
NICANOR BOLET PERAZA.
The President. Is the Conference ready for the
(By direction of the Chair, the first recommenda tion was read.)
Is there objection to the adoption of this article?
Mr. ZEGARRA. According to the rules, the roll should be called.
The PRESIDENT. The Chair confesses that he is ignorant of the rule requiring that the roll should be called for every article.
Mr. HURTADO. As the Conference is unanimous, I move that the rules be suspended upon the five points to be voted on.
The PRESIDENT. Is there objection to suspending the rules? There being no objection, the first is adopted.
(By direction of the Chair, the second recommendation was read.)
Is there objection to the adoption of the second.
(By direction of the Chair, the third recommendation was read.)
Is there objection to adopting the third ?
Mr. ROMERO. Mr. President, as the object of the committee as well as of the Conference appears to have been to, as far as possible, reach an agreement on this duty and considering the difficulties in the way of the committee to establish this quota, I think that all objections would be obviated and at the same time the realization of the idea be expedited, if there were added to this article the following words, “and with a view to reach later a common rate."
This implies no obligation and it does establish an acceptable and very advisable basis for the future realization of this idea when the several Governments study this point.
This amendment in no way changes the article, and if the committee thinks it is acceptable I would ask it to consider it before the question is voted on.
The FIRST VICE-PRESIDENT. Has the honorable delegate his amendment in writing ?
Mr. Romero. Yes, sir; I will send it to the Chair.
The FIRST VICE-PRESIDENT. The honorable delegate from Mexico moves to add at the end of the third subdivision, “and with a view to reach later a common rate.”
Mr. Romero. If there is any objection on the part of the committee I shall not insist on the amendment, I simply suggest it that it may be considered.
Mr. QUINTANA. I do not know what the rest of the committee think, but as a member thereof I find that the addition offered by the honorable delegate from Mexico can not be a complement of this article, and it can not be so because it would make it consist of two parts which would be contradictory. To reach an agreement a convention is necessary, and it can not be done by leaving the several Governments free to fix the dues.
Therefore, it appears to me that the addition does not properly follow what precedes it.
Mr. Romero. I did not exactly catch the objection
of the honorable delegate from the Argentine Republic, and I beg he will inform me if I have properly understood it. It appears to me that he has said no common rate could be reached except by means of a convention or an arrangement between the Governments. If this is so, I will state that this was precisely my object upon offering the addition.
Mr. QUINTANA. I now fully understand Mr. Romero's idea, but it can not be offered in the form of an addition to this article, but will have to be the subject of another, and I shall take the liberty to state in this connection that the reasons which have caused the committee to refrain from proposing a uniform rate, are reasons of a permanent nature, so that, what can not be done to-day can not be done to-morrow, and this recommendation will be as futile in the future as it has been up to the present. However, if the honorable delegate insists upon his addition, it would be advisable for him to offer it as a separate article.
Mr. ROMERO. Believing, Mr. President, that the honorable delegate from the Argentine delegation expresses the mind of the committee, or at least that of the majority, I withdraw my notion, because, as I stated at the beginning, my object was simply to suggest that idea to the committee and not interpose any difficulty or obstacle to the approval of this matter. The honorable delegate, the same as the other members of the committee, have given this subject more study than I have been able to, and, as he states that there has been great difficulty in agreeing upon a uniform rate and that it is probable that these same difficulties will exist in the future, I have no objection to withdraw my motion.
The FIRST VICE-PRESIDENT. As the motion has been withdrawn, the vote on the third article will be taken.
Shall it be approved?
Mr. Hurtado. I have asked the floor simply to offer an amendment to the third section of the article under discussion.
For the purpose of making it more general, I move that it read:
Vessels which may be compelled by force majeure to enter a port, deviating from their course.
There are vessels entering port not only because of a scarcity of provisions, but because of the captain's death, sickness of the crew, and several other causes. Very well; whenever they enter, owing to this force majeure, deviating from their course, I think these vessels should be excepted.
Mr. Quintana. The committee accepts the amendment.
The First VICE-PPESIDENT. Is there any objection to accepting article fifth with the amendment of the honorable delegate from Colombia ?
The Chair hears none.
It is approved, and consequently the report of the committee is approved in all its recommendations.