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cance will be realized, which its delegation will obey, and be ready to sustain. This is the true significance of my signature at the end of this report. We will not vote it, however, without an explanation, which should be noted by the secretaries.
The honorable delegates can not be ignorant, that, at this moment, there exists at the capital a tariff bill, which has seen the public light, and has been discussed by all the national press.
This bill increases the duty on wool, 15 cents per pound, and also imposes a duty of 1%cents on hides, which were before free. [The bill when passed left hides on the free list, but it increased the duty on wool, as stated by Dr. Saenz Peña.] If this bill becomes a law, Argentine importations will be unknown in the custom houses of North America. Hides and wool are the only products we send to its markets, and these will be transferred to Europe in search of free markets. If the tariff has been prohibitory on fine wools, it will soon become prohibitory on ordinary wools, and in that case, there will be neither extensive nor restricted commerce.
We have been summoned to encourage American commercial relations, and when we shall return to our country to give an account of our mission, we shall be forced to say to our respective governments: “We went to Washington with one product on the free list and we have encountered a law which burdens it with a duty; another product was taxed at 6 per cent, but when the conference was over we found it taxed at 7 per cent.” Such will be the commercial outcome of the conference of the three Americas, judged without irony, but also without admiration. Would it be logical, sensible, or explicable for us to make pecuniary sacrifices, to people the seas with vessels in ballast, when such a tariff situation confronts us?
Would the union of our ports be justified, at the same time that the disunion of our custom-houses is decreed ? To what end should we create means of transportation, when at the same time our international commercial relations are suppressed ? Such a situation would be proper for the encouragement and interchange of ballast, but not of products. If there is to-day in New York any vessel which secures freight to the amount of $14,000, and does not secure in all the Argentine ports $1,000 for the return voyage, as I was told not long since by the Hon. Charles R. Flint, we may be assured that the vessels which are to sail under our flag will float with empty holds, sustained only by the generosity of two governments, who have the means but do not seek the end.
To facilitate transportation and at the same time to raise the tariff, is to create the means, to afford one's self the pleasure of strengthening resistance. Tariffs were resorted to as a consequence of the establishment of communications. They constitute a national defense against the invasion of foreign products. Tariffs and communications represent two tendencies or two forces antagonistic
to each other, and they are never fostered by the same government. A noted economist, Monsieur de Molinari, has just explained to us in a brilliant article published in the Diario de los Economistas, of which he is editor, how Europe defended itself by tariffs when the United States, having perfected its means of transportation, was able to cross the seas and carry on the Atlantic all the products of the West with which to invade the markets of the Old World. The transportation represented the attack and the tariff the defense, as in the everlasting struggle between the projectile and the armor. My confusion will thus be understood, if the spectacle is presented me of defense and attack combined, under the protection of the same and identical governments. To lower the duties in favor of exporters, and to raise them against importations, is to combine two contradictory acts.
The Argentine delegation respects, as well as any other delegation, the sovereign acts of a friendly nation; but it has the right to judge them when they affect the international relations of commerce, which we have been bidden to consider, and especially when they require national sacrifices and assistance. Our Government does not subsidize a single steamer of all those which connect us with Europe, and yet we meet all the demands of transatlantic commerce. From eighteen to twenty steamers enter our ports daily, and a total of 13,500 enter annually. This is not the effect of subsidies; it is the result of freight, and freight results from there being no high tariffs to impede or prevent interchange.
But we desire communication with our friends of the north, and now that the tariff policy does not aid commerce or sustain freights, we accept the sacrifice of sustaining it artificially, but upon the following condition, which the secretaries will please note:
“The Argentine delegates give their vote in favor of the plan under discussion based on the present tariff, but they will recommend their Government not to approve it if the tariff should be altered to the injury of Argentine products."
The plan recommended by the conference has not been acted upon by the governments interested.
The postal and telegraph facilities of the Republic are good. In 1886, the number of post-offices in the country was only 543; in 1887, the number had increased to 610; in 1888, to 822; in 1889, to 901; in 1890, to 1,030; in 1891, to 1,035; in 1892, to 1,135; and on the ist of January, 1893, there were 1,150 postoffices throughout the Republic. There has been a corresponding increase in the number of letters and pieces of printed matter
distributed by the postal authorities. In 1886, their number amounted to 43,167,900, and in 1887 the number had increased to 44,188,900; in 1888, to 62,827,800; in 1889, to 96,707,600; in 1890, to 105,679,700, and in 1891 the number of letters, postal cards, and pieces of printed matter distributed reached the figure of 126,534,500, of which 71,633,990 were letters (postal cards excepted). Thus the average of letters received by each inhabitant was 18. According to European statistics for the year 1888, the average
year in France was 15.6; in Austria, 14.2; in Switzerland, 10.1; in Italy, 5.8; in Spain, 5.6; in Chile, 4.9; in Japan, 1.6; and in Russia, 1.3.
Most of the telegraph lines running throughout the Republic are owned by the National Government. In 1889, there were 7,200 miles in operation; in 1890, 10,002 miles; in 1891, 10,200 miles, and at the close of the year 1892, there were 12,000 miles in operation. In 1891, the number of telegraphic messages sent by the lines owned by the Government was 1,208,100
All the railroads have telegraph lines of their own, and their service, as well as the national service, is open to the public.
FOREIGN COMMERCE-TRADE WITH THE UNITED STATES-REA
SONS OF ITS RESTRICTION-NATIONAL FINANCES.
The following statement shows the imports and exports of the Argentine Republic for the years 1870-1887, inclusive:
Dollars. 30, 223, 084
79, 347, 697 26, 996, 801 72, 625, 367 47, 267, 965 | 108,853, 746 47, 398, 291 120, 832, 329 44, 541, 536 102, 368,085 52, 009, 113 109, 633, 594 48, 090, 713 84, 160, 736 44, 769, 944 85, 213, 368 37, 523, 771 81, 282, 896 49, 357, 558 95, 721, 151 58, 380, 787 103, 916,667 57, 938, 272 113, 644, 199 60, 388, 939
121, 634, 984 60, 207, 979
140, 643, 804 68, 029, 836 162, 085, 980 83, 879, ICO 176, 101, 069 69, 834, 841 165, 243, 586 84, 421, 820
201, 773, 945
In his message to Congress in May, 1890, the President of the Republic made the following interesting comments on the commerce of the country: The
great economic and industrial progress of the nation in 1889 was powerfully reflected in the growth of foreign trade, in the great increase of imports and exports.
The tabular statements below show the progress we have made, and studying them, we can measure the great development that must take place when the causes that retard our growth are removed, and the country is again
in the full enjoyment of its industrial and economic forces. The following are the figures of our foreign trade for the last three years :
We see by these figures that the increase in 1889 was 35 per cent in imports and 25 per cent in exports, in spite of the almost total loss of the wheat crop of 1888. The harvest this year has been more abundant, and the figures of trade of the first quarter, ending the 30th of last March, show results that surpass all previous calculations, even of the most optimistic nature.
First quarter of 1890:
40, 742, 035 Excess of exports ...
39, 476, 380 If we bear in mind that the total export of products in 1887 did not exceed $84,500,000, while those of 1888 scarcely reached $100,000,000, we may form some conception of the growth of national production this year. Furthermore, the figures of this year are not swelled by any unusual accumulation of produce in the first month of the year. On the contrary, the production of grain has been so enormous that the means of transport were utterly inadequate for its rem
moval; but for this drawback, the exportation of grain would be much more active.
The most important feature in the trade figures of the first quarter of the current year, is the enormous export of maize, which reached no less than 236,528 tons, all belonging to the 1889 crop, and there is still a large quantity in the market. We may calculate the surplus of the wheat crop to be exported at 500,000 to 600,000 tons for the years 1889–1890. In the first quarter, only 58,576 tons of wheat were shipped, and the balance will be shipped between this and the month of October. It is therefore no false optimism to state that the resources of national prosperity are sound. The statement is based on positive facts which all can verify.
The industries pertaining to agriculture, such as distilleries, flour mills, and sugar factories, all participate in this progress. The maize distilleries, it is