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its construction and operation should be exempt from all taxation, either national, provincial (State), or municipal.

"Twelfth. That the execution of a work of such magnitude deserves to be further encouraged by subsidies, grants of land, or guarantees of a minimum of interest.

"Thirteenth. That the salaries of the Commission, as well as the expense incident to the preliminary and final surveys, should be assumed by all the nations accepting, in proportion to population according to the latest official census, or, in the absence of a census, by agreement between their several governments.

"Fourteenth. That the railroad should be declared forever neutral for the purpose of securing freedom of traffic.

“Fifteenth. That the approval of the surveys, the terms of the proposals, the protection of the concessionaires, the inspection of the work, the legislation affecting it, the neutrality of the road, and the free passage of merchandise in transit, should be (in the event contemplated by article Eighth) the subject of special agreement between all the nations interested.

"Sixteenth. That as soon as the Government of the United States shall receive notice of the acceptance of these recommendations by the other governments, it shall invite them to appoint the Commission of Engineers referred to in the second article, in order that it may meet in the city of Washington at the earliest possible date.”

Under date of May 12th, 1890, Mr. Blaine, in submitting to President Harrison the foregoing report, thus expressed himself: “No more important recommendation has come from the International American Conference, and I earnestly commend it to your attention, with full confidence that prompt action will be taken by Congress to enable this Government to participate in the promotion of the enterprise.” A week later, the Chief Magistrate, in a message to the Senate and House of Representatives, transmitting the above-cited report recommending a survey of a route for an intercontinental line of railway to connect the systems of North America with those of the Southern Continent, called attention to the possibility of traveling by land from Washington to the southernmost Capital of South America, and to the fact that the increase of facilities for intercourse and exchange of trade would be of special value to all. "The work contemplated,” he said, “is vast but entirely practicable.” He accordingly recommended the very moderate appropriation for surveys suggested, and the authorization of the employment of commissioners and the detail of engineer officers to direct and conduct the necessary preliminary surveys. In consonance with the above, the Act making appropria

tions for the diplomatic and consular service of the United States for the fiscal year ending July 30th, 1891, contained a provision appropriating sixty-five thousand dollars as the share of the United States towards a preliminary survey for information in respect to a continental railway recommended by the International American Conference and authorizing the President to appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, three members of the Continental Railway Commission, and to detail officers of the army and navy to serve as engineers under such Commission in making a survey for a continental railway.




The Intercontinental Railway Commission having been called into existence by reason of the action of the International American Conference, held its first session at Washington, D. C., in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the Department of State, at 12 o'clock noon, Thursday, December 4th, 1890. The following Commissioners were present:—Mr. A. J. Cassatt and Mr. Henry G. Davis, representing the United States; Sr. Leandro Fernández, representing Mexico; Sr. Climaco Calderón, Sr. Julio Rengifo and Sr. C. Federico Párraga, representing Colombia; Sr. Matías Romero, representing Ecuador; Mr. John Stewart, representing Paraguay; and Sr. Manuel Elguera, representing Perú.

Sr. Jacobo Baiz, Consul General and Chargé d'Affaires of Guatemala; Sr. Nicanor Bolet Peraza, Envoy Extraordinary, etc., from Venezuela; Dr. F. C. C. Zegarra, Envoy Extraordinary, etc., from Perú; Sr. J. G. do Amaral Valente, Envoy Extraordinary, etc., from Brazil; and Sr. Anselmo Volio, Chargé d'Affaires of Costa Rica, met, at the invitation of the Secretary of State, to witness the proceedings, in the absence of the Commissioners from these countries.

These gentlemen having been presented to the Secretary of State, the Hon. James G. Blaine, were called to order and briefly addressed as follows:

“Gentlemen: I hope that this 4th day of December, 1890, is to mark the beginning, the auspicious beginning, of a very great enterprise, that shall draw closer South America, Central America and North America; that shall cement in closer and more cordial ties many nations and be a benefit to the present generation and to millions yet unborn.

“I am ready for business, gentlemen, the first thing in order will be the organization of the Commission.” The Commission proceeded to effect its organization by unanimously electing Mr. Alexander J. Cassatt, a Delegate from the United States, as President of the Commission, and he accordingly took the chair. At a subsequent meeting Señor Luis J. Blanco, of Venezuela, was elected First

Vice-President, and Señor Pedro Betim Paes Leme, of Brazil, Second Vice-President. Between the 4th of December, 1890, and the 22d of April, 1891, the full Commission held 19 sessions, 11 of the governments of America being represented thereon, as follows:

Argentina by Señor Carlos Agote, Julio Krause and Miguel Tedin; Brazil by Señores Pedro Betim Paes Leme, Francisco de Monlevade and Francisco Leite Lobo Pereira; Colombia by Señores C. Federico Párraga, Julio Rengifo and Climaco Calderón; Ecuador and Perú by Mr. Leffert L. Buck; Guatemala by Señor Antonio Batres; Mexico by Señor Leandro Fernández; Paraguay by Mr. John Stewart; Salvador by Señor Benjamín Molina Guirola; the United States by Messrs. Alexander J. Cassatt, Henry G. Davis and Richard C. Kerens; Uruguay by Señor Francisco A. Lanza; and Venezuela by Señor Luis J. Blanco. Mr. Hector de Castro was appointed Secretary in January, 1891, but resigned to take effect June 30th, 1892. Lieut. R. M. G. Brown, U. S. Navy, was appointed Executive and Disbursing Officer, March 10th, 1891, and on the 20th of December, 1892, the Executive Committee unanimously elected Capt. E. Z. Steever, U. S. Army, who had been serving in the office as Engineer since April 1st, 1891, Secretary of the Commission, the duties of said position to be performed in addition to his other duties.

After adopting for its guidance the necessary parliamentary rules the following committees were formed:

Auditing Committee, Committee on Committees, Committee on Finance, Committee on Organization, Committee on Organization of Surveys, Committee on Credentials, Executive Committee, Committee on Parliamentary Rules, Committee on Surveys, Committee on Trade and Resources; the President of the Commission being ex-officio a member of each committee.


The Commission then proceeded to the consideration of the main business before it, that of adopting the necessary measures for the organization of parties to undertake the preliminary survey of the region to be traversed by the proposed Intercontinental Line, the principal object being the determination of the question as to whether a practical line of railroad, at a reasonable outlay of money, could be constructed to connect the systems of the United States and Mexico with the existing systems of the southern portions of South America, thus bringing the capitals and important commercial centers of the North into closer communication with those of the South, thereby increasing trade and accelerating the rate of development of the many rich sections only awaiting the advent of better means

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