A Rare Letter From a President to Congress.
The first concrete step towards cooperation within the nations of the Americas was taken in 1889, when the First International Conference of American States convened in Washington. On April 14, 1890, delegates created the International Union of American Republics “for the prompt collection and distribution of commercial information.” They also established the...
The first concrete step towards cooperation within the nations of the Americas was taken in 1889, when the First International Conference of American States convened in Washington. On April 14, 1890, delegates created the International Union of American Republics “for the prompt collection and distribution of commercial information.” They also established the Bureau of the American Republics in Washington as the Union’s secretariat, with the participation of 18 Western Hemisphere nations, including the United States. Secretary of State James G. Blaine was the first head of the Bureau. In 1910, the Bureau became the Pan American Union and was a predecessor to the Organization of American States.
The Bureau published the first Commercial Directory of American Republics, and it also issued monthly reports and bulletins on political and commercial matters of interest to the nations. These were sent to the State Department and on to the President, who forwarded official copies to Congress, where the contents could inform and influence trade and commercial legislation.
Typed Letter Signed as President, Washington, February 27, 1893, “To the Senate and House of Representatives.” “I herewith transmit for the information of Congress a communication from the acting Secretary of State forwarding certain bulletins of the Bureau of the American Republics”. At the bottom, a notation indicates “The documents which form the accompaniment to this message have been sent to the Senate with a similar communication,” proving that this was the copy sent to the House. Letters of presidents to Congress are scarce, and this one, concerning the first Inter-American organization, is of particular interest.
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