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PAN-AMERICAN UNION 1. Mission
The Pan-American Union is the official international organization of all the republics of the Western Hemisphere, founded and maintained by them for the purpose of exchanging mutually useful information, and fostering commerce, intercourse, friendship, and peace.
2. History 1
The International Union of American Republics, "for the prompt collection and distribution of commercial data and information," was organized in accordance with a recommendation of the First International Conference of American States, which recommendation was approved March 29, 1890. It was provided that the union should be represented at Washington by "the Commercial Bureau of the American Republics,” with an organ of publicity in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French, the four languages current in the United States and Latin America. The sum of $36,000 was advanced by the United States government for expenses, to be reimbursed by the other republics by quotas based upon population.
In accordance with the report or fundamental charter, the bureau was under the direct control of the Secretary of State of the United States. In practice, it was found that this provision of the charter to a large extent nullified the international character of the bureau, as intended by the First Conference.
On April 1, 1896, the Secretary of State of the United States called a meeting of the diplomatic representatives, at Washington, of the countries composing the bureau, at which meeting a committee was selected to draft a reorganization plan.
On June 4, 1896, the committee reported, recommending the creation of an executive committee of five members, the chairman to be the Secretary of State of the United States, and the four other members to be selected in rotation from the Latin-American countries. This reorganization became the first modification of the organic charter.
On March 18, 1899, at a meeting of the diplomatic representatives of the member countries, a further enlargement of the plan of the original charter was agreed upon. The executive committee, consisting of the Secretary of State of the United States as ex officio chairman, and four representatives of the LatinAmerican countries (the four to be chosen in rotation from all the countries composing the bureau), in addition to having advisory powers, was given the power to appoint the Director, Secretary, and permanent translators of the bureau, to fix their salaries, and to dismiss them whenever it seemed advisable so such proceedings were instituted to his attorney, said fee to be paid out of the payments to be made to the beneficiary under the judgment rendered at a rate not exceeding one-tenth of each of such payments until paid. All persons having or claiming to have an interest in such insurance may be made parties to said suit, and such as are not inhabitants of or found within the district in which suit is brought, may be brought in by order of the court to be served personally or by publication as the court may direct. The procedure in such suits shall otherwise be the same as that provided for suits in the District Courts by the act entitled, 'An act providing for the bringing of suits against the United States,' approved March 3, 1887, as amended." 8
1 "Pan-American Union," a pamphlet issued by the Director General of the PanAmerican Union.
As to the constitutionality of such limitation upon the attorney's fees, see under "Fee of Attorneys,” Alien Property Custodian, ante.
8 Act June 7, 1924, § 19 (43 Stat. 612).
1. The Joint Board
The Joint Board is composed of the Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, the Chief and Assistant Chief of Naval Operations, the Assistant Chief of Staff, Army War Plans Division, and the Director, War Plans Division of Naval Operations. It is concerned with strategic questions and large problems affecting the combined services. 2. United States Geographic Board
The United States Geographic Board passes on all unsettled questions concerning geographic names arising in the departments, and determines, changes, and fixes place names within the United States and its insular possessions. All names suggested by any officer of the government must be referred to the board before publication. Its decisions are accepted by the departments as standard authority. 3. World War Foreign Debt Commission
The World War Foreign Debt Commission, composed of the Secretary of the Treasury, as Chairman, and seven other members appointed by the President, by and with the consent of the Senate, and a Secretary, was created February 9, 1922, "to refund or convert obligations of foreign governments held by the United States of America and for other purposes."
The usual procedure is that preliminary discussions are held by the Secretary of the Treasury or the Secretary of State (who is one of the members of the commission appointed by the President) with the representative „of a foreign debtor government, and when such discussions reach a concrete issue the situation is presented to the entire commission. An agreement for refunding must be approved by the President and the Congress. The Act of February 28, 1923,1 states the terms and amount of the refunded British debt. The Act of January 21, 1925, extends the life of the commission to February 9, 1927.
On May 15, 1925, the principal amount of obligations of foreign governments held by the United States Treasury, with interest accrued thereon and unpaid, up to and including the last interest period prior to May 16, 1925, and payments made on account of principal and interest, appear as follows:
1 Act Feb. 9, 1922 (42 Stat. 363), as amended by Act Feb. 28, 1923 (42 Stat. 1325), amended by Act Jan. 21, 1925 (Pub. No. 327, 68th Cong.).
2 Funding agreements approved by Congress, but bonds have not been exchanged.
The situation as to the obligations of foreign governments is presented in the report of the Secretary of the Treasury on the state of the finances annually.S 4. Superintendent of the State, War, and Navy Department Buildings
The office of Superintendent of the State, War, and Navy Department Buildings operates independently of the State, War, and Navy Departments, under a commission composed of the Secretaries of State, War, and Navy, for the maintenance, operation, and protection of said buildings and various others. This responsibility includes care of the grounds, heating, lighting, repairing, altering, and cleaning the buildings, and embraces jurisdiction over the forces provided therefor.
5. American Battle Monuments Commission
This commission was created by the Act of March 4, 1923,4 to prepare plans for, and to erect, suitable memorials to mark and commemorate the services of United States forces in Europe. The commission also has the duty of photographing the European battlefields upon which American forces were engaged, for the purpose of completing military historical records. Co-operation with states, municipalities, associations, and citizens desiring to erect war memorials in Europe is expected, when plans for such memorials have been approved by the commission in accordance with its organic act. The commission may receive funds from any source, private or governmental, to carry on its work. It may also sell replicas of any memorial, or part of a memorial, applying the proceeds thereof to its purposes. 6. Commission on Navy Yards and Naval Stations
The Commission on Navy Yards and Naval Stations was created by the President to carry out the provisions of the Act of August 29, 1916,5 in relation to the establishment of navy yards, naval stations, and submarine and aviation bases.
3 Seé extracts in pamphlet form, entitled “Obligations of Foreign Governments," 1922; “World War Foreign Debt Commission and Obligations of Foreign Governments,” 1923; Same, 1924—obtainable from Superintendent of Documents.
4 42 Stat. 1509, c. 283.