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my honorable colleague, the Delegate from Mexico, I will say that if from the wording of the report it is inferred that it is not so restricted, such is not and has not been the meaning of the committee. Their intention was to establish this system in commerce between the republics, for we have nothing to do with the domestic policy of the several countries. In its internal affairs each one may do as it pleases. The act con vening this Conference speaks of the commercial relations between the countries here represented, and consequently the report had to be limited to this point. But each Government may prescribe the use of the metrico-decimal system in its domestic commercial affairs if it sees fit.
Mr. HURTADO (Colombia). I believe we all substantially agree on the matter under consideration. The report proposes the adoption of the metrical system of weights and measures by all the governments of this continent. I beg the Chair to order that the conclusions of the report be read.
(The conclusion was read in English, as appears in the foregoing report.)
Mr. HURTADO. As I said before, the conclusion recommends to all the governments represented in this Conference to adopt the metrical system; but, as I believe this system to be already in use in all the nations of America, with the exception of the United States, the recommendation would address itself to this Government only. If such be the case, it might become desirable to alter the terms in which the recommendation is framed; but before proposing any amendment in this respect, I beg that some member or the committee better informed on the subject may
correct me if I be mistaken in the belief I have expressed
Mr. CASTELLANOS. I do not, Mr. President, and will not make it a question of personal pride to sustain the wording of the report, and I will be the first to accept any other form that may be given it without entering into a discussion of grammatical questions.
With regard to the remark made by the honorable Delegate from Colombia to the effect that the United States was the only country which had not accepted the metrico-decimal system, I must state that besides the United States I understand it has not been accepted by Nicaragua, Paraguay, Guatemala, Hayti, Honduras, and I can not recollect just now what other Republic. But I repeat, I have not the slightest objection to accepting any other language that may more properly express the conclusions of the report.
Mr. STUDEBAKER. The committee had no other idea than that of recommending this system for general adoption by all the countries. With respect to countries that have already adopted the metrico-decimal system, .this report would not make any difference whatever, as they already have it in use. In the United States it would take time to adopt the system generally. The idea is to adopt it as soon as practicable. There will be places in the interior where it may not be adopted for some time. It is our intention that it shall be universally adopted.
If, instead of putting the word “propose” in the report, the word “recommend” should be used, it would cover the matter better. I am perfectly willing to accept the change that has been suggested by Mr. Romero.
Mr. Saenz PEÑA. I call for the reading of Mr. Romero's proposed amendment.
The amendment proposed by Mr. Romero was read, as follows:
The International American Conference recommends the adoption of the metrico-decimal system to the nations here represented which have not already adopted it.
Mr. SAENZ PEÑA (Argentine Republic). I move, Mr. President, that the Conference vote upon the report as presented. The wording of it seems to me correct, except that the committee supposed that the Conference was to vote on both the report and the resolution embodied in the recommendation ; but I think that these mere questions of form should not interfere with the substance of the reports. As soon as the principal points of these proposals have been approved the Conference should appoint a committee of revision to attend to matters of form. That would save us time and labor, and assure the most correct and suitable form to all the resolutions of the Conference.
I think that the committee has kept within the scope of the powers granted to this Conference.
It is unquestionable that a nation ought not to have two systems of weights and measures, one for domestic and the other for international purposes; but I also think that anything relating to the domestic affairs of a country is a subject for its own legislation, and that it is beyond the province of this conference to dictate in such matters. The Conference must limit its efforts to determining the form in which international commercial relations are to be main
tained, but it is to the interest of each State to make its internal policy uniform with its international relations.
I think, therefore, that the committee, although not unaware of the advantages resulting from this measure, recommends all that it can recommend within the limit of the authority of the Conference, namely, with exclusive reference to the international commercial relations of the several countries.
Mr. Martinez Silva (Colombia). Mr. President, I believe that if, as has been said, the committee adopts the amendment proposed by the honorable Delegate from Mexico, it will save us a great deal of time, and enable us to reach a conclusion at once; and so all wishes on this point will be gratified. In regard to the statement that the Conference should not interfere in matters proper to the legislation of each country, I beg to address a few remarks to my honorable colleague.
We are about to recommend certain measures which will probably necessitate changes in the legislation of each country.
For instance, we recommend a monetary system. Very well ; a monetary system implies the changing of the laws of each country in regard to money. We recommend rules of private international law upon various subjects, and this implies amendment of the civil laws touching all such subjects. So that it is extremely difficult to trace the line of demarkation between what is domestic and what is international. We propose recommendations which we think advisable, whether they relate to domestic or international matters, for they are both intimately connected. So that I do not see why we are to establish a dividing line that will be so difficult to determine.
Mr. Estes. In order that we may not misunderstand each other, I wish to say, speaking for myself (not having consulted with my colleagues), that I certainly would vote against this report if I did not think that it recommended the metrico-decimal
system of weights and measures for the whole country and for all purposes. It would be an absolute impossibility for this great country to adopt the metrico-decimal system to be used only in its relations with our sister Republics, while at the same time maintaining the old system among ourselves. That would be impossible.
In other words, if my friend from the Argentine Republic be right, we would have the present system of measure, in transactions between American citizens, while in dealing with the citizens of Mexico and Central and South America we would use the metric system. This would be impossible.
I am thoroughly aware that in practical use it will take a long time to change the customs of a people; but this is the time for us to begin if we are ever to begin. This is the opportune time for the American people to conclude that the other American States have been right in the question of measures and weights, and we heretofore have been wrong. For that reason I am certainly in favor of adopting this report, provided it is intended to apply to all commercial relations, internal and external, of my country. I am not ready, speaking for myself, to vote for this report if it means that we shall introduce into the United States of America a system that shall be used only in