Page images
PDF
EPUB

II. Organization of the Pan-American Union on the basis of a convention, in accordance with the resolution adopted by the Fourth Pan-American Conference at Buenos Aires, August 11, 1910,

III. Consideration of the results accomplished by the Congress of Jurists which met at Rio de Janeiro with respect to the codification of international law.

IV. Measures designed to prevent the propagation of infectious diseases, with special reference to the recommendations of the International Sanitary Conferences.

V. Pan-American agreement on the laws and regulations concerning, and cooperation in the improvement of the facilities of, communication on ocean and land and in the air.

1. Improvement of ocean transportation facilities.

2. The Inter-Continental Railroad and motor transportation.

3. Policy, laws, and regulations concerning commercial aircraft; the advisability of an international technical commission on the location of standard landing places, the determination of aerial routes and the formulation of special customs procedure for aircraft.

4. Cooperation of the Governments of the American Republics in reference to all kinds of wireless communication in America; and by means of agreements for its regulation.

VI. Cooperation with respect to the supervision of merchandise entering into international commerce.

1. The uniformity of customs regulations and procedure.

2. The uniformity of shipping and insurance documentation.

3. The uniformity of principles and interpretation of maritime law.

4. The uniformity of nomenclature for the classification of merchandise.

5. Uniform parcels post procedure and consideration of the Pan-American Parcels Post Convention.

6. Advisability of adopting conventions in order to make effective Resolution XVII, voted by the Second PanAmerican Financial Congress, which assembled at Washington in January, 1920.3

VII. Measures for the simplification of passports and adoption of standard form.

VIII. Cooperation in the study of agricultural problems. Uniformity of agricultural statistics. Cooperation in the elimination of diseases of cattle. Organized effort for interchange of useful plants and seeds.

IX. Consideration of measures tending towards closer association of the Republics of the American Continent with a view to promoting common interests.

X. Consideration of the best means to give wider application to the principle of the judicial or arbitral settlement of disputes between the Republics of the American Continent.

XI. Consideration of the best means to promote the arbitration of commercial disputes between nationals of different countries.

XII. Consideration of the reduction and limitation of military and navel expenditures on some just and practicable basis.

XIII. Consideration of standardizing of university curricula and mutual recognition of the validity of professional degrees among the American Republics.

XIV. Consideration of the rights of aliens resident within the jurisdiction of any of the American Republics.

XV. Consideration of the status of children of foreigners born within the jurisdiction of any of the American Republics.

XVI. Consideration of the questions arising out of an encroachment by a non-American power on the right of an American nation.

3The resolution referred to above is the following: "Resolution XVII. Resolved, That, it being in the interest of all nations that there should be the widest possible distribution of raw materials, the importation of such materials into any country should not be prevented by prohibitive duties."

XVII. The formulation of a plan by which, with the approval of the scholars and investigators in the several countries, approximately uniform means may be used by the governments of the Americas for the protection of those archaeological and other records needed in the construction of an adequate American history.

XVIII. Consideration of measures adapted to secure the progressive diminution in the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

XIX. Future Conferences.

Comparing this outline of topics with the programs of preceding Conferences—the first of which was held in Washington, from October 2, 1889 to April 19, 1890—it will be found that topics II, V (3 and 4), VI (5), VII, VIII, X, XII, XIII, XV, XVII, and XVIII represent in whole or in part new problems arising out of changed conditions in the world or in the Americas.

At each Conference, the discussion of ways and means for securing greater uniformity in regulations governing the collection of customs, copyright, trade-marks, consular laws, and the like, and for the promotion of the peace and prosperity of the American states and the wider and more exact application of arbitration, has belonged to the regular order of business and must perforce continue for a long time to come up at each meeting. It is not an easy task to mould to a common standard the practices and theories of twenty-one different countries. Yet much progress in standardization and uniformity has been made, and approximation to an American norm, as well as to a universal norm, is perceptible.

The promotion of prosperity and the wider application of arbitration in both political and commercial contentions, are, of course, of never-ending import, and may be expected to engage the attention of all international conferences. Fortunately, the prosperity of any of the American States including the United States, is bound up in the prosperity of all, and most fortunately, indeed—and contrary to common opinion in the United States—our Latin-American neighbors have shown a most praiseworthy disposition to have recourse to arbitration and to abide by the decisions of the arbitral body. It is doubtful that any of the continents can, within a period of less than forty years, point to a better arbitration record than is evidenced by the settlement of boundary disputes by arbitral decision or through the medium of mixed commissions or treaties, as detailed by Dr. Alejandro Alvarez, to which should be added the recent solution of the Panama-Costa Rica and the ChilePeru difficulties.

A study of the means by which conflicting Latin-American countries have arrived at agreements regarding disputed boundaries offers convincing proof that settlement by arbitration is the rule, and not the exception. Without question, the disputes still pending will be settled in the same manner.

III

Of the new, or relatively new, topics for discussion, II, XII, XIII, and XVIII are of special interest to the American reader because of the general lack of information in our country regarding the true attitude of Latin-American gov. ernments toward the subjects in question.

Organization of the Pan-American Union on the Basis of

a Convention

The Pan-American Union was created upon the recommendation of the First International Conference (18891890). The aim of the International Bureau of the American Republics, as it was then called, was to collect and distribute commercial information. Since then, the activities of the Pan-American Union have been widely extended, and there is little information of whatever sort that the Union is not able to supply. As a permanent committee of the International American Conferences, the Pan-American

4 Alexandre Alvarez (Dr. Alejandro Alvarez of Chile), Le Droit International Américain, Paris, 1910; pp. 195-200.

Union is privileged to submit topics to be treated at the Conferences. It is also charged with keeping the records of the Conferences. The present director general is an eminent American scholar and practical executive, and the assistant director is a Venezuelan diplomat, who has filled his present position since 1905. The Pan-American Building, made possible principally through the munificence of Andrew Carnegie, occupies a prominent place in the diplomatic and social life of Washington. It has already been the ground of historic meetings.

Thus far, the Pan-American Union has functioned on the basis of resolutions taken at the various Conferences. Its maintenance has been defrayed by quotas paid in by the American republics in proportion to their population, and not, as might erroneously be assumed, by the sole contribution of the United States. By the resolution of the Fourth Conference, the American republics bound themselves “to continue to support the Pan-American Union for a term of ten years," and agreed that “the Pan-American Union shall continue for successive terms of ten years unless twelve months before the expiration of such term a majority of the members of the Union shall express the wish, through the Secretary of State of the United States of America, to withdraw therefrom on the expiration of the term.”

Hence, the advantage of the Convention proposed for discussion at the Fifth Conference. Ratified by the different American governments, the Convention will place the PanAmerican Union on a permanent basis and remove some of the criticism to which it is occasionally, and unjustly, subjected.

The possibilities of the Pan-American Union have been summed up admirably by Don Alejandro Alvarez:5

Ainsi donc le Bureau international des Républiques américaines est appelé à établir la bonne entente entre tous les Etats de l'Amérique et à faciliter les rapports de toutes sortes; il deviendra de la sorte le centre directeur d'une conscience et

"Op. cit., p. 233.

« PreviousContinue »