"the peaceful condition of the South American republics,
which was contemplated as essential to a profitable and har-
monious assembling of the congress does not exist," â€” Chile,
Bolivia, and Peru being still engaged in war, â€” but the actual
cause for the wichdrawal of the invitation was the failure
of the Congress of the United States to make the necessary
appropriations for the expenses of the conference, and to
grant authority for the appointment of delegates to represent
President Arthur at no time desired or intended to prevent
the consummation of the plan, which for sixty years had been
discussed with so much favor among the American republics,
but at once took measures to carry it into effect upon a scope
much more comprehensive than had previously been proposed.
He awaited the termination of the war upon the west coast
of South America, and then introduced into the original plan
of Bolivar a commercial feature which was very gratifying
to the merchants and manufacturers of the United States who
were beginning to feel the necessity of more extended and
profitable markets for the disposition of the surplus products
of the farms, the mines, the forests, and the factories of this
country. Upon his recommendation, Congress authorized the
appointment of a commission to visit the other American
62 THE UNITED STATES AND FOREIGN POWERS.
republics for the purpose of conferring with their governments
as to the propriety of again calling together such a conference
as had been so often proposed, and also as to the topics that
should be considered by it. This commission consisted of
George H. Sharpe of New York, Thomas C. Reynolds of
Missouri, and Solon O. Thacher of Kansas, with William E.
Curtis of Illinois as secretary. Afterwards, upon the resigna-
tion of Mr. Sharpe, Mr. Curtis was appointed a member of the
Having visited each of the republics and the empire of
Brazil in order, the commission made its report ; recommend-
ing the assemblage of a conference, and enumerating the
topics which it should be called to consider. Bills were intro-
duced into both Houses of Congress to carry out these recom-
mendations, and finally a law was passed authorizing the
President to issue invitations, and providing for the expenses
of the gathering.
The conference met at Washington upon the 2nd of October,
1889, every independent nation in America being represented
except Santo Domingo ; and afterwards, by special resolution
of Congress the Hawaiian Kingdom was asked to participate.
The government of Spain informally suggested that her
American colonies, Cuba and Puerto Rico, would accept in-
vitations, but none were extended.
Mr. Blaine was elected president, Mr. Romero of Mexico
and Mr. Zegarra of Peru, vice presidents, William E. Curtis,
executive officer, and Remsen Whitehouse, Fidele E. Pierra,
and Jos6 Ignacio Rodriguez, secretaries ; and the delegates
from the United States were Messrs. John B. Henderson of
Missouri, Cornelius N. Bliss of New York, Clement Stude-
baker of Indiana, T. Jefferson Coolidge of Massachusetts,
William Henry Trescot of South Carolina, Andrew Carnegie
of Pennsylvania, Morris M. Estee of California, John F.
DIPLOMATIC RELATIONSâ€” AMERICAN REPUBLICS. 63
Hanson of Georgia, Henry G. Davis of West Virginia, and
Charles E. Flint of New York.
Immediately after the organization of the conference the
foreign delegates, with their secretaries and attaches, to the
number of 78, were conducted on a special train of Pullman
cars through the country, and visited most of the principal
educational, commercial, and manufacturing cities, where
they were received with great attention and hospitality. The
objects of this excursion were : (1) to give the visiting dele-
gates, who included the leading men of the nations of
America, an opportunity to study the institutions of the
United States and witness the magnitude and the prosperity
of our industrial and commercial interests ; (2) to enable them
by familiar contact to become thoroughly acquainted with
each other before proceeding to the serious duties they had
to perform ; and (3) finally to awaken among the people of
the United States an interest in the purpose of the conference
and the objects it was desired to accomplish.
The sessions were resumed on the 18th of November, and
continued until the 21st of April. The conference was only a
deliberative body. It was authorized to discuss and recom-
mend propositions for the subsequent ratification of the
governments represented ; and its conclusions took the form
of a series of reports which embodied the views of the dele-
gates â€” and in almost every case with unanimity â€” as to the
best measures to promote the peace and prosperity of the
American republics. These reports, which were able and
voluminous, recommended :
1. The adoption of a plan of arbitration for the settlement
of international differences, which was also earnestly recom-
mended to the powers of Europe.
2. The denial of the right of conquest.
3. The adoption of a code of international law for the pro-
64 THE UNITED STATES AND FOREIGN POWERS.
tection of the rights of citizens of one country residing in
4. The adoption of rules of procedure for the adjudication of
claims of citizens of one country against the government of
another, and to regulate diplomatic intervention.
5. The negotiations of treaties for the free navigation of all
rivers on the American hemisphere.
6. The adoption of a uniform system of weights and meas-
ures throughout America.
7. The adoption of a uniform standard of value, and a
common silver coin.
8. The establishment of an international banking system sim-
ilar to the national banking organization of the United States.
9. The negotiation of treaties for the protection of patents
10. The negotiation of a uniform sj^stem of treaties for the
extradition of criminals.
11. The survey of a route for an intercontinental railway to
connect the roads of the United States with those of Chile
and the Argentine Republic.
12. The negotiation of reciprocity treaties for the free inter-
change of the products of the American nations so far as is
consistent with the raising of revenues for the support of their
13. The establishment of more frequent lines of communi-
cation by steamship and telegraphy under governmental sub-
14. The preparation and publication of a uniform code of
nomenclature to define articles of merchandise exported and
15. The adoption of a uniform system for the classification
and appraisement of merchandise imported.
16. The adoption of uniform consular fees and regulations.
DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS â€” AMERICAN REPUBLICS. 65
' 17. The adoption of uniform harbor fees and regulations.
18. The adoption of uniform sanitary regulations to prevent
the spread of contagious diseases.
19. The establishment of a Bureau of Information for the
dissemination of intelligence of a useful character concerning
the resources, progress, and commerce of the American re-
THE RESULTS OF THE INTERNATIONAL, AMERICAN CON-
The International American Conference recommended the
adoption of a uniform standard of value by the republics of
this hemisphere, and the issue of common coins which should
be coined by each to an amount proportionate to its popula-
tion; to be of uniform design and of uniform weight and
fineness ; and to be legal tender in commercial transactions be-
tween the citizens of all ; but, owing to the failure of the dele-
gates from the United States to agree upon the weight and
fineness of the coins and their relative value to gold, the de-
tails of the arrangement were deferred to the consideration of
another conference to be held within one year at Washington.
In accordance with these recommendations, what is known
as the International Monetary Conference was held at Wash-
ington in February, 1891. Nearly every one of the American
republics was represented, but, after a protracted session, the
assemblage was compelled to adjourn without accomplishing
anything more than the passage of a series of resolutions
acknowledging the usefulness, and commending the adoption,
of a common standard of value and a uniform system of
coinage. The reason for the failure of this Conference was the
inability of the delegates from the United States to agree upon
what is known as the "silver question." All of the other
American nations urged the issue of an international coin of a
RESULTS OF THE AMERICAN CONFERENCE. 67
value similar to that of the standard silver dollar of the
United States, but to this the delegates from this government
would not agree, and the subject after much discussion was
postponed, as one of the foreign delegates observed, "until the
United States had determined upon a silver policy."
The International Conference also recommended the survey
of a route for an intercontinental railway, under the direction
of a commission representing the several governments through
whose territory it would pass. According to the recommen-
dations of the Conference, which were ratified by all the
American republics, the route of this proposed railway shall
be always regarded as neutral ground ; the property shall
be always exempt from taxation ; and all material for its con-
struction and maintenance shall be admitted free of duty.
Commissioners were appointed by each of the republics, who
met at Washington in January, 1891, and organized by the
election of Mr. Alexander J. Cassatt of Pennsylvania as
president, and by the appointment of the necessary com-
mittees. A chief engineer, W. F. Shunk of Pennsylvania,
was selected, and under his direction three parties of sur-
veyors were sent into the field. One party commenced work
at the termination of the surveys already made by the govern-
ment of Mexico at the Guatemala boundary (see map, page 57),
and proceeded southward toward the Isthmus of Panama. A
second party began at Quito (see map, page 48) and sought
a route northward through Ecuador and Colombia, while a
third started southward from Quito toward Peru and Bolivia.
The reports of the surveys, handsomely illustrated with
maps and views, were published in 1898, in seven octavo vol-
umes, and present a description of the countries through
which the proposed line will pass, with rough estimates of the
cost of construction. It was not intended to make more than
a preliminary reconnoissance of the route, so as to determine
68 TIIK UNITED STATES AND FOREIGN POWERS.
its practicability and its approximate length and cost, leaving
eacb of the other American nations to complete the work, or
authorize private enterprise to do so.
It was determined that the total length of a trunk line be-
tween New York and Buenos Aires would be 10,221 miles, of
which 4,709 miles already in operation can be utilized, leaving
5,402 miles to be constructed, which it is estimated will cost
Â§175,000,000, or about an average of $32,000 a mile.
The cost of the survey lias been jointly paid by the United
States, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Chile, Ecuador, Costa
Rica, and Bolivia, according to their population. It is not
expected that any government will undertake the construc-
tion of this line; but the object of the survey was to en-
courage each of the nations through which the interconti-
nental trunk line is to pass to assist private enterprise by de-
monstrating that the project is practicable.
It is the universal opinion that the construction of this rail-
way will aid in the development of the natural resources of the
countries of the southern continent to a greater degree than
any other means that can be adopted; and that it will have
the same effect upon the southern continent, with its vast
mineral and agricultural wealth, that the building of the trans-
continental railways has had upon the United States.
The Bureau of Information recommended by the Inter-
national Conference was established in November, 1S91, and
has proved to be a very useful agency in promoting the social
and commercial relations of the American republics and
colonies. The institution is known as the Bureau of the
American Republics and it is supported by contributions from
the several countries participating in its advantages, assessed
annually upon each in proportion to their respective popula-
tions. The purpose of the Bureau is to publish regular bulle-
tins containing intelligence concerning the resources, products,
RESULTS OF THE AMERICAN CONFERENCE. 69
industries, crops, commerce, laws, customs tariffs and regula-
tions, and such other information as may be of educational
and commercial value. It is its duty also to answer specific
inquiries upon these and other subjects and to serve as a
medium of communication for merchants and manufacturers
who desire a knowledge of commercial opportunities and
facilities for trade between the United States and the other
countries of the American hemisphere.
The Bureau prepares and publishes annually in the English
and Spanish languages a general handbook to the American
republics ; and is issuing a series of special handbooks to each
of the countries south of the Gulf of Mexico and the Rio
Grande. It has also issued a series of Commercial Directories,
containing classified lists of merchants in the southern coun-
tries for the use of merchants and manufacturers in the
United States in sending out catalogues and circulars ; and
a series of bulletins containing the customs tariffs and regula-
tions of the several nations and colonies, and other bulletins
containing codifications of their laws relating to patents,
copyrights, trademarks, public lands, mines and mining, rail-
way concessions, and other subjects of interest to persons
engaged in commerce or desirous of making investments in
the Latin- American countries.
The Bureau also prepares and furnishes daily to the news-
papers and press agencies in Europe as well as in America
articles containing information of general and current interest,
which reach the readers of some fifteen thousand periodicals.
The purpose in general is to awaken and promote an interest
in the affairs of the other American republics, concerning
which the people of the United States have hitherto had little
What is known as the "reciprocity policy" was inaugurated
by President Arthur in 1SS2. There had been reciprocity
70 THE UNITED STATES AND FOREIGN POWERS.
treaties between the United States and Canada, and the
Hawaiian Islands, previous to this time, but the present move-
ment to extend the export trade of the United States in the
Latin-American republics and colonies began at that time.
Railway communication having been opened with Mexico, it
was believed that the geographical and political relations
between the two countries, as well as their commercial wel-
fare, justified mutual concessions in customs duties. There-
fore General Ulysses S. Grant and Mr. William Henry
Trescot, representing the United States, and Mr. Matias
Romero and Mr. Estanislao Cahedo, representing the republic
of Mexico, negotiated a treaty under which certain merchan-
dise from this country was to be admitted into Mexico free of
duties, and certain products from that country were to be
admitted free into the United States. The ratifications were
exchanged on the 20th of May, 1884, and formal proclamation
of that fact was made on the 2d of June following. But
although the limit of time was twice extended by diplomatic
negotiation, the Congress of the United States failed to enact
the legislation necessary to carry it into effect, and the treaty
fell valueless on the 20th of May, 1887.
In 1884 Mr. John W. Foster, then minister to Spain,
negotiated a similar treaty with that government, acting in
behalf of its American colonies, Cuba and Puerto Rico. A
third treaty was negotiated by Mr. Frelinghuysen, then secre-
tary of state, with Mr. Manuel J. Galvan, a plenipotentiary
appointed for that purpose by the government of Santo Do-
mingo. Beth of these treaties faiied to receive the sanction of
the Senate cf the United States.
During the same year, as has been related, the South Ameri-
can Commission visited the several Latin-American republics,
and in addition to its other duties it was instructed to initiate
treaties with their governments similar to those already
RESULTS OF THE AMERICAN CONFERENCE. 71
arranged with Mexico and Spain. With a single exception
the governments visited expressed not only a willingness but a
desire to enter into reciprocal commercial arrangements with
the United States, and in several cases a preliminary under-
standing was reached.
Congress, in the act authorizing the meeting of the Inter-
national Conference, designated as one of the topics for conser-
vation "measures toward the formation of an American
customs union, under which the trade of the American
nations with each other shall, so far as possible and profitable,
The Conference, having met, referred this proposition to a
committee, which, after due consideration, reported that the
systems of taxation and the condition of the public revenues
of the Latin- American republics made such a customs union
as had been proposed â€” that is a free interchange of merchan-
dise â€” impracticable ; but recommended the negotiation of
commercial treaties embracing mutual tariff concessions, so
far as could be done without impairing the revenues neces-
sary to sustain their several governments.
On the 10th of June, 1890, the secretary of state handed this
report and recommendation to the President with a letter in
which he said :
" Fifteen of the seventeen republics with which we have
been in conference have indicated, by the votes of their repre-
sentatives in the International American Conference and by
other methods which it is not necessary to define, their desire
to enter upon reciprocal commercial relations with the United
States ; the remaining two express equal willingness, could
they be assured that their advances would be favorably con-
The last clause of this paragraph refers to Chile and the
Argentine Republic, whose chief export is wool, and they
7- THE UNITED STATES AND FOREIGN POWERS.
would enter into reciprocity treaties with the United States
only upon condition that wools of the coarser grades should be
admitted free into the United States or at a rate of duty con-
siderably below the present tariff on tbat article.
"To escape tbe delay and uncertainty of treaties," the
secretary suggested " an amendment to the pending tarifF bill
authorizing the President to declare the ports of the United
States free to all the products of any nation of the American
hemisphere upon which no export duties are imposed, when-
ever and so long as such nation sball admit to its ports free of
all national, provincial (state), municipal, and other taxes, our
flour, corn meal, and other breadstuffs, preserved meats, fish,
vegetables and fruits, cotton-seed oil, rice, and other provisions,
including all articles of food, lumber, furniture and other
articles of wood, agricultural implements and machinery,
mining and mechanical machinery, structural steel and iron,
steel rails, locomotives, railway cars and supplies, street cars,
and refined petroleum. I mention these particular articles,
because they have been most frequently referred to as those
with which a valuable exchange could be readily effected.
The list could no doubt ba profitably enlarged by a careful
investigation of the needs and advantages of both the home
and foreign markets.
" The opinion was general among the foreign delegates that
the legislation herein referred to would lead to the opening of
new and profitable markets for the products of which we have
so large a surplus, and thus invigorate every branch of agricul-
tural and mechanical industry."
In conclusion the secretary of state observed, "Of course the
exchange involved in these propositions would be rendered
impossible if Congress, in its wisdom, should repeal the duty
on sugar by direct legislation, instead of allowing the same
object to be attained by the reciprocal arrangement suggested."
RESULTS OF THE AMERICAN CONFERENCE. 73
The suggestions contained in the letter of the secretary of
state were not entirely new to Congress, having been offered to
the committee on ways and means of the House of Represen-
tatives several months previous. The foreign delegates to the
International American Conference had been observing with
the greatest solicitude the progress of that committee in the
preparation of what is popularly known as the "McKinley
tariff bill." The voluminous and conflicting reports in the
newspapers of what had been, or would be done with the
tariff schedules in which were included the staple products
and chief exports of the countries from which they came,
afforded a topic of daily conversation more interesting and
important than the questions under consideration in their own
A protracted discussion in Congress finally resulted in what
is known as the " reciprocity section " of the tariff bill, by
which, although sugar, coffee, tea, and hides were included in
the free list, the President was required after January 1, 1892,
to impose a tax on those commodities when imported from
countries whose tariff regulations "were reciprocally unequal
and unreasonable " ; or in other words, the United States pro-
posed to favor those nations and those only that would grant
something like equivalent favors in return.
Immediately upon the passage of this measure, diplomatic
negotiations that had been interrupted by the tariff agitation
in Congress were resumed. It may be said that such negotia-
tions with special plenipotentiaries from the emperor of Brazil
had been commenced as early as August, 1889, and that upon
the establishment of the republic, they were immediately
renewed. It was not so long, therefore, before an arrangement
was concluded under which the Brazilian government author-
ized the admission into its ports, free of all duties, of the prod-
ucts of the farms and mines of the United States, all forms of
74 THE UNITED STATES AND FOREIGN POWERS.
machinery and railway supplies, agricultural implements,
labor-saving machinery, and a considerable number of other
articles, and the admission of a long list of other manufactured
articles including wearing apparel, hardware, preserved meats,
fruits and vegetables, lard, dairy products, lumber, furniture,
wagons and carriages, at a rate of duty twenty-five per cent
less than was imposed upon similar merchandise imported
from other countries.
During the following months similar arrangements were
entered into by Mr. John W. Foster, representing the United
States, with the government of Spain, representing her Ameri-
can colonies, Cuba and Puerto Rico, and the ministers pleni-
potentiary of Mexico, Guatemala, Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa
Rica, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, and with the British min-
ister representing the British colonies of Jamaica, Trinidad,
British Guiana, Barbadoes, the Leeward Islands, and the
All of these arrangements were revoked by a clause in what
was familiarly known as the Wilson tariff law, which was
enacted by the Democrats in Congress during the session of
1894. They remained in force too short a time to demonstrate
the value of the "reciprocity " policy, and the whole question
is so closely connected with current partisan politics that it can-
not appropriately be discussed in a book of this character. It is
safe to say that the people as a whole heartily desire closer re-
lations with the republics of South America, and unqualify-
ing ly approve many of the plans that have been carried out.
All favor "reciprocity " in so far as it means an increased de-
mand for American products and manufactures. Those who
have been the means of putting reciprocity to the test are con-
fident of its great success, and already point to statistics in
support of their position. Certain it is that the people of the
United States are interested in the southern continent as never
RESULTS OF THE AMERICAN CONFERENCE. 75
before. The political opponents of those who advocate the
present "reciprocity policy," acknowledge the soundness of
the general theory as far as it goes, but maintain that if a
lowering or abolition of the tariff in the cases of certain
countries is beneficial, the extension of reciprocal relations to