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"CONDITIONS SATISFACTORY. “The condition of the Federal treasury during the months that have elapsed of the present fiscal year has been satisfactory enough. The yield of the import duties and of the varied taxes embraced in the stamp revenue shows a steady increase as compared with the collections during the same period of last fiscal year. This indicates that, if the manifold interests of the nation are considered in the aggregate, there has been no check in the prosperous progress of the Republic.
“DEPRECIATION OF SILVER., . “This satisfactory picture, however, contains some slight clouds which cast a certain degree of shadow on the future. The rapid and continued depreciation in the white metal that has occurred since the end of 1901 threatens, in the long run, in the opinion even of optimists, to cause harm that will outweigh the advantages which in given lines of national activity resulted until recently from the high rate of foreign exchange.
“INTERNATIONAL ACTION. “For this reason, when it was learned that some other nations which use silver as the basis of the monetary system of their colonies were taking measures that would perhaps lead them to introduce therein substantial changes, the Executive thought fit, in order to avoid or diminish the evils that those measures might occasion to the silver market, to approach the Government of the United States, after having secured the cooperation of China, and institute negotiations looking to the coordination of the studies undertaken by all the nations that are interested in this question and to the unification, as far as possible, of the steps that may be taken to establish a fixed ratio between the value of the money of the countries which, like Mexico, use silver and that of the nations which have the gold standard.
“You are aware of the success of the first steps taken by the Executive and of the favorable reception accorded to our ideas by the Executive and both Legislative Chambers in the United States. This should encourage us to persevere along that line, without sparing any effort to reach a common understanding on a matter of vital importance to the future of the Republic.
“MONETARY COMMISSION. “While the negotiations to which I have just alluded were in progress the department of finance invited many prominent persons of our country to form a grand commission, which has been organized in order to supply the valued contingent of private information and the personal knowledge of its members for the elucidation of the question from the national point of view. The peculiar circumstances in which Mexico is situated and the necessity under which she lies of defining the policy which it is expedient for her to follow in the silver and monetary questions, independently of the result of the international negotiations, were the principal motives that prevailed on the Executive to consult the agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and commercial interests, as well as the views of the press, so that the studies undertaken in regard to this subject will be wide in scope and will approach as near as possible to perfection.
“ADDITIONAL IMPORT DUTIES. “By virtue of the law of November 24 last a decree was issued on 25th of the same month setting forth the new basis in accordance with which import duties have been collected since the 1st of January of the current year. It is gratifying to me to inform you that this change has not been attended with any difficulty in prac tice and that its results up to date corroborate the opinion which the Executive from the start entertained as to the beneficial nature of this measure. Whatever may be the fluctuations in exchange budgetary equilibrium is assured, and the Government will no longer have to consider these fluctuations as far as the payment of its gold indebtedness is concerned.
"As a result of one of the decisions reached by the second Pan-American Conference, a custom-house congress met at New York on January 15 of the present year,
and in response to an invitation from the Government of the United States two delegates were appointed by Mexico.
“The general director of custom-houses and another high employee of the same department were chosen, and they attended all the meetings of the congress, which, although they were few, served to prepare the ground for a comparative study of the legislation of the nations of America in custom-house questions and to lay the foundation for future labors looking to the elimination of formalities in the handling of goods and the unification of the system of measures and the nomenclature of merchandise, thus tending to stimulate international trade.
Mr. Clayton to Mr. Flay.
EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES,
Mexico, September 21, 1903. SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith extracts from the message delivered by President Diaz on the opening of the Mexican Congress in this city, on the 16th instant. I have, etc.,
POWELL CLAYTON. [Inclosure.— Translation.]
From Mexican Herald, September 17, 1903. Last night, with the customary formalities, President Diaz opened the third period of sessions of the twenty-first congress of the union, and on that occasion delivered himself of the following message:
“Messrs. DEPUTIES, Messrs. SENATORS. If, at all times, I am delighted to have the honor to appear before the national congress, it is doubly grateful to me to do so on a day like this, of glorious memories for Mexico, and in compliance with my constitutional duty of informing you in regard to the condition of the affairs and interests entrusted to the executive.
“GOOD TERMS WITH ALL NATIONS.
“With respect to the foreign relations it is gratifying to me to have to repeat to you what for years past has been a well-known fact, viz, that the relations which we cultivate with a large number of civilized nations are characterized by the greatest friendliness, not at present qualified by difficulties of any kind.
"In the message which I read to this honorable assembly on April 1, last year, I mentioned the conclusion of a treaty of compulsory arbitration, signed by the representatives of Mexico and 9 American republics, a treaty which was submitted during that period of sessions to the revision of the Senate and which obtained its approval. At present it is gratifying to me to add that having been sanctioned by three of the signatory powers, viz, Guatemala, Salvador, and Uruguay, the Mexican executive has also ratified it and caused it to be promulgated in the Republic and considers it now obligatory on the nations which signed it, as provided in article 21 thereof.
"THE PIOUS FUND AWARD.
“In my message of April 1 of the present year I had the honor of reporting to you the award delivered by The Hague arbitration tribunal in the case of the California pious fund. I then informed you that, in due compliance with that award, the executive had met the first of the annual installments to the payment of which we were sentenced. Subsequently, but within the period of time allowed by the tribunal, the annual sums that have fallen due since 1869, amounting to $1,420,682, bave been paid. Thus the award in question has been complied with by the Mexican nation, as has been recognized by the Government of the United States of America,
“On the date fixed by the respective protocol, of which you were duly informed, the joint commission established by virtue of that instrument, commenced its sessions at Caracas in order to adjudicate the claims of American citizens against the Government of Venezuela. I take pleasure in hoping, in view of the high character of the members of said commission, that its award will be conformable to the loftiest principles of justice.
“TREATY WITH NICARAGUA.
“In the year 1900 a treaty of friendship and commerce between Mexico and the Republic of Nicaragua was concluded at this capital, and having in due time been submitted to the Senate, was approved by that body. On the other hand, it was approved by the Republic of Nicaragua, and nothing but the exchange of ratifica. tions was lacking in order to make it operative. That requirement having been supplied, the commercial convention with the sister republic in question was duly promulgated in Mexico in the month of July of the present year.
“In this connection I have to add that, in order to give greater significance to the event and to draw tighter, if possible, the relations of friendship that have always existed between Mexico and Nicaragua, the President of the latter Republic was pleased to send hither his minister of foreign relations on that special mission, a courtesy which the Mexican Government appreciates in its full worth.
“COPYRIGHT TREATY WITH SPAIN.
“Inasmuch as the Senate has approved the treaty with Spain, of March last, with respect to literary, scientific, and artistic copyrights, based on the highest principles of respect for those forms of property, sanctioned by our laws, the treaty in question will soon be promulgated and become operative.
“HEALTH OF THE CAPITAL.
“The sanitary conditions of the capital continue to show marked improvement, as is demonstrated by the following facts: Deaths during the first half of 1901 numbered 12,100; during the first half of 1902 they numbered 10,442, and during the first half of the present year, 8,858.
“The drainage of the city and the spread of sanitary services may be considered to be the immediate causes of this happy result. The service of disinfection is being regularly enforced and continually extended. A building has just been acquired in which a new steam disinfector will be installed.
“PLAGUE AT MAZATLAN.
“In my message of April last I stated that the epidemic of bubonic plague which invaded the port of Mazatlan might be regarded as virtually extinguished. I now have the satisfaction of informing you that the terrible scourge has wholly disappeared, for though at the beginning of last month 3 new cases occurred at a small village 40 kilometers distant from the port, the contingency had been provided for, and with the means that had been prepared an instant remedy was applied, and this new focus of infection was at once eliminated. Notwithstanding this, the special vaccine continues to be applied in that locality and various other preventive measures are being taken. Moreover, a new lazaretto on the island of Belvedere, near Mazatlan, has been erected.
“MEASURES AT OTHER PORTS.
“At Guaymas a lazaretto and an observation station have been completed, and a steam disinfector, which that port lacked, has been suitably installed. The lazaretto at Coatzacoalcos has been completed and is now in use.
“Yellow fever has prevailed at Tampico in an epidemic form since May 5 last, causing a certain number of deaths. The government of Tamaulipas and the local authorities of the port have con bated the malady with noteworthy zeal and have established suitable sanitary services. The Federal Government, on its part, has ren
dered efficacious assistance and has succeeded in stifling the epidemic. The governments of Nuevo Leon and San Luis Potosi have adopted efficacious measures to prevent the propagation of the malady in their several States.
The yellow fever has also developed with some degree of intensity at Veracruz, though it has not, as on former occasions, spread beyond the zone which it ordinarily invades. The State government and the superior board of health are, in concert, devising a series of measures calculated to combat the disease in question, with the hope of stamping it out forever.
“The work of exploring and reclassifying the archæological wealth of the nation, which has hardly been begun, is being carried forward with particular zeal, notwithstanding the natural difficulties with which it is attended. It is gratifying to me in this connection to inform you that a visit of exploration has been made within the last few months to the celebrated ruins of La Quemada, in the State of Zacatecas, and that important explorations and excavations are being conducted at Huexotla, in the district of Texcoco. On the other hand, active steps are being taken to clear from undergrowth and trees the admirable archæological monuments of the State of Yucatan, especially those of Chichen Itza, which were suffering the inroads, often irreparable, caused by tropical vegetation.
“The scientific commissions having charge of the exploration measurement and mapping of the national territory have, during the period under review, effected the topographical surveys of the Tula, Amajaque, Metztitlan, Atoyac, and Nexapa rivers, estimating the volume of their respective currents. They have determined the geographical coordinates of important points in the States of Hidalgo, Durango, and Yucatan. They have published 22 sheets of the general map of the Republic. They have studied and surveved 9 kilometers of the canal crossing the Yaqui River; and they have attended to the distribution of lots to peaceful Indians, or to the sale thereof to colonists who have gone with their families to settle in the Yaqui region.
“With respect to colonization, a contract has been entered into for establishing foreign families on private land in the State of Temaulipas, and arrangements have been made with prominent members of the extinct Boer nationality whereby they will take up their abode in our country as colonists.
"MEXICO AT ST. LOUIS.
“Ample and advantageously located space has been allotted to Mexico in the general buildings of the St. Louis (Mo.) Universal Exposition, and it is gratifying to me to state that our building, which will serve as headquarters for the Mexican commission, was completed before any other, and that the exhibits of the States of the Republic in that important fair of nations are being prepared.
“ FINANCE DEPARTMENT.
“ LARGE REVENUE RETURNS.
“The work of concentrating and checking the treasury accounts for the fiscal year 1902-3 has not yet been coinpleted; but the data which the general treasury already possesses in regard to those accounts indicate a revenue of more than $74,500,000, which by some millions exceeds the revenue obtained in the fiscal year 1901-2. The proceeds of import duties, exclusive of the sliding extra collections under decree of November 25 last, increased by more than $3,000,000, and, if the extra collections are included, by more than $6,000,000, which demonstrates the beneficial results of that enactment. The revenue from stamp taxes exceeded the revenue from the same source in the previous fiscal year by more than $2,500,000. These two sources of revenue together represent alone a total collection of more than $64,000,000. The revenue from the telegraph service also increased by more than $240,000.
“THE CURRENCY QUESTION.
“The measures instituted by the department of finance, both at home and abroad, in connection with the variations which the gold value of our money is constantly undergoing, aim at bringing about such stability as is possible in the rate of foreign exchange and at placing our currency on a basis which will enable it to satisfy the internal needs of the country and to facilitate the development of public wealth. The executive, in carrying out this programme, has also endeavored, by every means compatible with the final object of the studies and efforts that have been entered upon, to protect the national mining industry, to rectify the point of view which, unfortunately, was becoming more generally unfavorable to silver, and to give its aid to every measure capable of enlarging the sphere of applicability of that metal.
“In approaching the governments of other nations, the Government had no thonght of entering into treaties or conventions, nor of bringing about the holding of international conferences, such as on other occasions have been held with respect to similar questions. On this occasion the steps taken by the Government, with the support of the United States, have been addressed to bringing about an interchange of views with respect to the remedy that ought to be applied to the monetary situation of certain nations and colonies; to securing the maintenance of silver for currency purposes by countries which now have the silver standard, while imparting to it, when possible, a fixed value in relation to gold; to unifying the fundamental basis of the reforms that may be accepted, so that the solution may everywhere be surrounded by greater solidity and prestige, and, finally, to avoiding, within the scope of governmental action, the continued operation of the pernicious influences entailed by many of the chief factors of perturbation in the silver market.
“It is gratifying to me to inform you that the steps taken by the Mexican mission abroad have been attended with favorable results, and that on all hands the executive has received indubitable proofs of the esteem enjoyed by this country and of willingness to cooperate in the realization of the desires expressed by the Mexican mission and the mission which, at our request, was appointed for a similar purpose by the Government of the United States.
"On the other hand, the grand commission appointed by the departinent of finance to study in Mexico, from the point of view of national interests, the various questions relating to the same problem has made great progress in its labors, and will soon be able to announce their final result and the opinion formed by the enlightened persons constituting the commission. It will then be the duty of the executive, with all the data which the inquiries conducted in Mexico and abroad will have placed at its command, to avail itself of those data, and, if it considers a reforın to be desirable, to propose suitable legislative measures to the chambers.
“Messrs. Deputies, Messrs. Senators, you will observe little or no novelty in the improvement which I have just reported to you. But I do not doubt that they will inspire you with great interest, for they demonstrate the universal progress of our country, which is more or less pronounced in every branch, both of the public industry and wealth, and a similar progress is noticeable in all the factors that constitute the moral development of Mexico and its position and credit among civilized nations. Peace, you well know, has been the chief factor in this prosperous situation, which still leaves room for improvement and demands the continuation of your patriotic efforts. On its side, the Executive will not for a moment relax its endeavors to merit the confidence with which the Mexican nation has so greatly honored it."