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SESSION OF APRIL 14, 1890.
Mr. Davis. I desire to say, as a member of the committee, that there are two or three pages of the report which simply recite the details of a commercial bureau, which is recommended. After all, the matter is left to the countries or to the bureau when established. It is to be a commercial bureau for the purpose of collecting and publishing statistics of trade. Mr. BOLET PERAZA. I do not rise to make
objection to the report, which meets my approbation. I rise solely to remind the committee presenting it that it should correct a part of its statistical table.
Where it refers to the population of Nicaragua it says it has 200,000 inhabitants and it is notorious that that country has double that number.
I take the liberty of drawing the committee's attention to this that they may make the correction.
Mr. GUZMAN. I thank the honorable delegate for having drawn attention to the matter. I, myself, had noticed the error, but as it was a mere matter of detail, did not consider it of sufficient moment to be brought up for discussion. I think the best course to be followed, and I make a motion to that effect, is that errors such as this, not affecting the general idea or scope of the report, should be corrected after the approval of the report, for the very reason that they have no bearing of any importance on the subjectmatter, being merely details.
The PRESIDENT. The honorable delegate from Nicaragua moves that the corrections in matters of detail shall be made after the report is approved. The Chair hears no objection to this being done.
Mr. ZEGARRA. Mr. President, it is not exactly for the purpose of opposing the wise organization agreed upon by the very competent committee for the
proposed Information Bureau that I take the floor, but rather to suggest that it would be, perhaps, more advisable for the Conference to resolve that this report be considered as an appendix to the original report submitted by the committee, since this is nothing more than a model for the organization so as to give a correct and better idea of the object of the office to the different Governments.
I do not nor can I see what objections the Governments here represented can have to accepting the organization proposed by the committee; but, on my own part, I find myself in a rather difficult situation on voting upon details as are such questions as whether there shall be ten subaltern employés and if they are to have such or such salary. Therefore, I suggest to the committee, for the purpose of gaining time and preventing debate, and if it is willing to accept the measure, that the Conference resolve to accept this report as an appendix to the other already submitted by the same committee without the necessity of taking an approving vote on this organization in all its details.
Mr. Flint. In explanation I desire to say that in adopting this report it does not fix the salaries. It states, in one of the clauses, that the maximum expense will be $36,000; and the salaries named are only an estimate to show how the amount will be divided.
The PRESIDENT. Is the Conference ready for the vote? If no one claims the floor the vote will be taken.
The delegations voting were the following:
VOTE, AYES 14.
The PRESIDENT. The report is agreed to by a vote of fourteen delegations, all voting affirmitively.
HARBOR FEES AND REGULATIONS.
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON PORT DUES, CON
CERNING PORT CHARGES.
[As submitted to the Conference March 5, 1890.] According to the data and information obtained by the committee the dues or charges at present imposed as port charges by the nations represented in the Conference are the following:
Mooring, anchorage, pilotage, bill of health, lighterage, port, receipt and manifest, captain of the port, sealing, taking and discharging cargo, telegraphing, entry, tonnage, light-house, sanitary inspection, toll for passing forts, fine for lack of papers, hospital, fine for the absence from the ship of any officer of the national marine, crew list, and wharfage.
The table annexed to this report sets forth specifically which and how many of the charges included in the foregoing list are demanded by the nations respectively, and the amount of each of them.
It is obvious that there is no uniformity either as respects the kind of charges imposed upon ships or as to the amount which has to be paid.
Thus, for example, while in the ports of one country vessels must pay wharfage, pilotage, tonnage, anchorage, light-house dues, admission fee, crew list fee, bill of health charges, port charges, and the fees of the captain of the port; in another country only the entry fee and tonnage are exacted.
The inequalities in respect to the amount of charges of the same kind are likewise considerable. Thus, for example, the tonnage charges in the several American nations varies from one dollar to three cents per ton.
The committee believes that port charges could be made uniform, without injury to the services to which they relate, by reducing them all to a single kind, tonnage.
Almost all the charges imposed being based upon the capacity or burden of the ship, and the compensation for the various services rendered to the latter being proportioned to its registered tonnage, the varied and inconvenient nomenclature now in use not only makes it necessary to ascertain (not always without difficulty) which and how many of the charges are exacted in a given country, but likewise makes it difficult for merchants to estimate the expenses of a ship in the execution of a charter-party.
The committee is furthermore of opinion that it would greatly stimulate navigation and promote the interests of commerce, without seriously affecting the public revenues of our respective countries, to fix the charge which we have specified at ten cents per ton; such charge to be paid only once during the year.
The payment of these dues would of course not cover expert or other services rendered to a ship by private persons, such services being provided for by private contracts or by schedules arranged with reference to the laws or ordinances of the country particularly in question; nor would such tonnage cover such services as those of wharfage or dockage or docks not open to general use without compensation; for the charge in question includes only the payments exacted from vessels by the authorities by way of dues.
The committee would have asked the Conference to recommend the complete abolition of all port dues or charges in the interest of navigation and commerce, believing that the exactions so dispensed with would be more than made up in the cheapness of transportation and the reduction of the price of merchandise; but it (the committee) having been commissioned only to indicate a method for making port charges uniform, it has not felt authorized to formulate such a recommendation.
The committee, accordingly, has the honor to propose
at it be recommended to the Governments of the seve al nations represented in this Conference
First. That all the charges imposed upon vessels as port