Items of Interest

Secretary Taft does not agree with Attorney-General Moody in the decision made by the latter that the eight-hour law should apply to all labor employed by the Government or by contractors on the Panama Canal. The decision would mean an additional cost of millions of dollars in wages. Secretary Taft holds that the Canal Zone is not soil of the United States, that the jurisdiction is not in any sense equivalent to that of the sovereign territory of the United States, that while the United States Government may demand and exercise in the Canal Zone all powers that it might exercise in the United States, the obligations of the Government toward the individual on the Isthmus are not comparable to those established by the Constitution and the laws of the land to citizens of the United States at home. He therefore argues that to extend to foreign laborers who have no claim as citizens upon this Government the protection afforded by the eight-hour law in this country is un-warranted.

The Postmaster General has signed with Minister Obaldia of Panama a postal treaty between the two countries effective July 19, 1905, under which the rates and conditions applicable to articles for the republic of Panama are made uniform with those in force between the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Cuba. He also signed a parcels post convention with the commonwealth of Australia effective August 1. It provides for the exchange of parcels not exceeding four pounds six ounces in weight, and is substantially uniform with recent parcels post conventions concluded with Great Britain, Japan, and other countries.

The State Department has received a dispatch from the minister to Morocco, transmitting a request from the Government of Morocco that the United States participate in a conference upon the affairs of that country. The request is similar to that which has been sent to other Governments. American interests there are commercial, while European interests are political. The United States will accept the invitation provided the other Powers generally accept.

To the Beginner
July 1, 1905

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