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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

1 "Pan-American Union," a pamphlet issued by the Director General of the PanAmerican Union.

to do. The method of appointment was provided by the plan then adopted, and the duties of the Director and subordinates prescribed.

By this plan, the executive committee was charged with the duty of general supervision and perfecting of the management of the bureau. This was the second change in the original charter, and the one that made the bureau international in character, as was intended by the First International Conference of American States.

The bureau was again reorganized by resolution at the Second Conference of American States, held at Mexico City, January 29, 1902, providing that the International Bureau of the American Republics shall be under the management of a Governing Board, which shall consist of the Secretary of State of the United States of America, who shall be its chairman, and of the diplomatic representatives of all the governments represented in the bureau and accredited to the government of the United States of America. The resolution contained 13 articles, and provided in detail for the management of the bureau, and conferred upon the Governing Board full power over its affairs. The name of the bureau was changed from the "Commercial Bureau of the American Republics" to the "International Bureau of the American Republics."

Further reorganization was effected by the Third International Conference, August 19, 1906, whereby some of the details of administration within the bureau were changed and additional duties imposed.

The action of the Fourth International Conference further enlarged the scope of the organization and changed the name to that of "Pan-American Union," while the name of the organization of American countries which support the Pan-American Union was changed to "Union of American Republics," instead. of "International Union of the American Republics." The chief executive officer of the union was made Director General, while the Secretary was made Assistant Director and Secretary of the Governing Board.

The Third and Fourth International Conferences of American States, held in 1906 and 1910, respectively, authorized the Pan-American Union "to supply information on educational matters." At the Second Pan-American Scientific Congress, held in Washington in 1915-16, the following recommendation was


"The Second Pan-American Scientific Congress, confirming the resolution adopted at the First Pan-American Scientific Congress of 1908-09, recommends the organization in connection with the Pan-American Union of a department of education, which shall

"(a) Be intrusted with the publication, in Spanish, Portuguese, French, and English, of such works on education as are of importance to the American countries;

"(b) Keep the different republics in touch with educational progress;

"(c) Promote in each country the scientific study of educational problems from both national and American standpoints;

"(d) Facilitate the interchange of ideas and information among the teachers of the continent, and in general serve the educational interests of the Americas." The Congress also strongly recommended the study of the history, develop

ment, and ideals of the American republics in schools and universities, the study of Spanish in the United States and of English in Latin America, and the interchange of students and educators of all grades.

3. Functions

(a) The functions of the Pan-American Union are:


(1) To compile and distribute information and reports concerning the commercial, industrial, agricultural, and educational development, as well as the general progress of the American countries.

(2) To compile and classify information referring to the treaties and conventions concluded among the American republics and between these and other states, as well as to the legislation of the former.

(3) To assist in the development of commercial and cultural relations between the American republics and of their more intimate mutual acquaintance.

(4) To act as a permanent commission of the International Conferences of American States, to keep their records and archives, to assist in obtaining ratification of the treaties and conventions, as well as compliance with the resolutions adopted, and to prepare the program and regulations of each Conference.

(5) To submit to the various governments, at the time of the holding of each Conference, a report upon the work of the institution since the close of the last Conference, and also special reports upon any matters, which may have been referred to it.

(6) To perform any other functions intrusted to it by the Conference or by the Governing Board, by virtue of the powers conferred upon it by this resolution.

(b) The Pan-American Union will have the co-operation of the following permanent commissions, to be designated by the Governing Board:


(1) For the development of economic and commercial relations between the American republics.

(2) For the study of all matters relating to the international organization of labor in America.

(3) For the study of questions relating to hygiene in the countries of the continent.

(4) For the development of intellectual co-operation, with special reference to co-operation between universities.

4. Organization; National Participation

"The governments of the American republics enjoy, as of right, representation at the International Conferences of American States and in the Pan-American Union." 3

"The government of the Pan-American Union shall be vested in a Governing Board, composed of the diplomatic representatives of the American republics

2 Article II of resolution adopted at Fifth International Conference of American States, at Santiago, Chili, 1923.

3 Article V, of resolution adopted at Fifth International Conference of American States, at Santiago, Chili, 1923.

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