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FULL REPORT OF PROCEEDINGS The Conference on Emigration and Immigration, convened by the Italian Government,' met in Rome on 15 May, 1924. Delegates were present from 57 countries, the League of Nations and the International Labour Office. At the opening sitting, which was held in the presence of the King of Italy, speeches were made by the Royal Commissioner for the City of Rome, the Prime Minister, the heads of the Argentine and Belgian Delegations, the President for the time being of the Council of the League of Nations, and the Chairman of the Governing Body of the International Labour Office.

The Conference was divided into four Sections which dealt respectively with the following questions:

I. Transport of emigrants, hygiene and sanitary services.

II. Assistance for emigrants before departure, during the journey and on arrival, and for immigrants in the countries of immigration; special assistance for women and children; development of co-operation, welfare measures, etc., among emigrants.

III. The measures to be taken to adapt emigration to the demand for labour in the countries of immigration, for co-operation between the emigration and immigration services of different countries.

IV. The general principles which should be adopted in treaties of immigration and emigration.

A directing committee was appointed, composed of the Presidents and VicePresidents of the Conference and of the Sections to direct the work of the Conference and prepare the agenda for the plenary sittings.

The countries represented on this committee were: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chili, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Rumania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States of America, Uruguay and Venezuela.


Section 1:

This section submitted a report to the Conference in which the questions discussed were divided into 6 groups: (a) General questions;

Measures to be adopted (6) In the country of origin of the emigrant; (c) During the transport of the emigrant by railway; (d) In the ports of embarkation; (e) During the sea voyage; (f) On arrival. The following resolutions were adopted by the Conference:

General: In the first group a wish was expressed that countries should agree to publish, as far as possible on a uniform basis, a collection of laws and regulations concerning sanitary measures, and that subsequently a sanitary code for emigrants, consisting of a co-ordination of the different national laws, be prepared.

A resolution was submitted concerning the insurance of emigrants during the voyage. Certain delegates (Great Britain and France) proposed to refer the question to the International Maritime Committee which had already examined the question. This was not accepted, but a new text, based on that of the International Emigration Commission (Geneva, 1921) was proposed by the French delegate and adopted. It draws the attention of Governments to the desirability of instituting a system guaranteeing emigrants against risk of death or disablement when travelling and ensuring the rapid payment of the sums due. The British delegate made a declaration to the effect that in his view this insurance could only be applied to a journey by sea.


* Printed in full on the order of Chairman Johnson, of the Committee on Immigration and Naturalization of the House of Representatives, from the Monthly Record of Migration, No. 21, June, 1924, of the International Labor Bureau of the League of Nations, Geneva.

1 Cf. International Labour Review, Vol. VIII, No. 5, November 1923, p. 705. : Cf. Ind. and Lab. Information, Vol. X, p. 290. See p. 52 of the present issue for the decision of the International Shipping Conference on this subject.


In country of origin: In the second group a resolution was adopted in favour of giving elementary training concerning personal cleanliness and hygiene, the upkeep of dwelling houses, etc., to emigrants before departure. Several resolutions were submitted to the Section on the international regulation of measures for the medical and sanitary examination demanded by countries of immigration and transit, and a resolution was finally adopted expressing the wish that the different emigration States should organise, before the departure of the emigrant, an examination so complete as to reduce to a minimum the possibility of rejection

The next question to be discussed was that of certificates of vaccination against smallpox, and the desire was expressed that by means of administrative agreements such certificates delivered in the country of origin should be accepted in countries of immigration so far as land emigration is concerned.

A resolution was also adopted to the effect that there should be in all ports an efficient medical service, a hostel for women, and a building for medical examinations.

During transport: In the third group the question of facilities for emigrants during the railway journey was discussed, and, after considerable discussion, a resolution was adopted expressing the wish that agreements be arrived at providing for (1) equality of treatment for aliens and nationals as regards the fares, (2) through third-elass carriages having the necessary arrangements for heating, artificial lighting, ventilation, and hygiene, (3) through international tickets at the most favourable rates, (4) fast trains stopping as short a time as possible en route, particularly at frontier stations, (6) the free transport of workmen's tools, (7) the emigrants to be received and helped at places where they have to change trains in a country of transit by representatives either of the Government, emigration agents, or transport companies. The Conference further expressed the wish that emigrants should be able to make complaints, if necessary, to the authorities of the countries of immigration for transmission to the authorities of the countries concerned, or to the state official on board if there is one.

In ports of embarkation: All the questions in the fourth group (measures to be adopted in the port of embarkation) were examined with other proposals and included in other resolutions.

During sea voyage: In the fifth group the first question to be discussed was the medical and sanitary organisation of emigrant ships. The Italian Delegation proposed a detailed resolution on this matter which gave rise to a long discussion, The Italian, Cuban, Spanish and Brazilian delegations desired to mention a certain number of details in the resolution, while the French, British, American, Swiss, German and Hungarian delegations thought that the Conference should confine itself to expressing a desire that other competent organisations, such as the International Institute of Hygiene and the International Conference which would meet to discuss the revision of the Convention of 20 January, 1914, concerning safety measures at sea, should deal with this question.

Finally, a resolution was adopted expressing a wish that the national legislation of each country should make provision for minimum conditions in respect of the medical and sanitary arrangements on board ship, and recommending that agreements be arrived at for the mutual acceptance of certificates delivered.

A resolution concerning the minimum conditions with which ships should comply in order to be considered fit for the transport of emigrants also gave rise to long discussion; the text finally adopted expresses the wish that each country should lay down minimum conditions with regard to safety measures and arrangements on board, other than those of a medical or sanitary character, those conditions to be as uniform as possible and to apply only to new ships.

With regard to the use which can be made of services on board ship for medical and sanitary purposes and for assistance to emigrants by persons of different nationalities, proposals were submitted by the Italian and Spanish delegations. The former wished to avoid duplication of inspection services on board ship and the latter desired that an inspector on a ship should not take measures opposed to those adopted by another inspector of a different nationality:

Opinion was sharply divided on the question as to whether there should only be inspectors of one nationality or inspectors of different nationalities on board, and a resolution was finally adopted stating that, if the State whose flag the ship is flying exercises a satisfactory supervision, it should not be necessary for other States to have inspectors on board; a State may, however, reserve to itself the right to make an agreement with a foreign shipping company for the admission of a representative for the purpose of submitting a report to his Government; these representatives, however, are not to interfere with the captain in the exercise of his authority on the ship.

The Conference expressed a wish that there should be equality of treatment among emigrants of different nationalities on board ship, account being taken of national customs in the matter of food.

Three resolutions were adopted concerning the question of women on board, to the effect that there should be a qualified woman on board any ship carrying women and children, that cabins should be specially reserved for women and that Governments should agree among themselves for the collection, centralisation, and exchange of information obtained by ship's doctors with regard to the health and methods of feeding of children during the voyage.

On arrival: In the sixth group there was only one resolution, which concerned the legal protection of emigrants. It was, however, found impossible to discuss this question owing to lack

of time. These resolution were all adopted unanimously by the Conference with a few abstentions in certain cases. Section II.

This section submitted a report to the Conference in which the resolutions are placed in two groups:

(1) Direct assistance for emigrants;
(2) Indirect assistance for emigrants.

Direct Assistance: With regard to the first group, the report points out that the nations represented at the Conference clearly desired to avoid all intervention of their internal legislation. The application of the measures proposed should be entrusted to official bodies and there should be a carefully regulated co-operation between these bodies and private associations to facilitate the carrying out of the measures agreed to. Moreover, the countries of immigration desired as far as possible to prevent the formation of associations composed exclusively of foreign immigrants and they also considered it preferable that consular action should be regulated by means of special conventions rather than by means of legislative provisions.

Indirect Assistance: With regard to the second group, the report states that certain countries desired to leave the International Labour Office to deal with the question of an emigrants' code. It was, however, the view of the majority that this question, like all those dealt with by the Conference, should be considered as an integral part of the special questions which this Conference has been convened to discuss, but that the International Labour Office might subsequently be asked to publish the emigrants' code.”

Co-operation: The discussion on co-operative associations and mutual benefit societies was particularly prolonged and it showed that such associations may help to promote solidarity between the immigrants and the population of the country of immigration if immigrants become members of the local associations, and that it is important that co-operative associations formed by immigrants, if they exist, should conform to the laws of the country in which they are established.

The following is a summary of the resolutions adopted by the Conference on the proposal of Section II.

The Conference expressed wishes in favour of the establishment of hostels at frontier stations for immigrants and their families and of constant supervision of lodging houses for emigrants by the public authorities. It was considered desirable that the authorities of the countries in which emigrants embark should see that the latter are received in the ports by representatives of the state, or of shipping companies, that arrangements should be made for them to obtain food and lodging, and that they should be accompanied to the place of embarkation.

The Conference discussed resolutions proposed by the Advisory Committee of the League of Nations on the Traffic in Women and Children. It expressed & wish, in order to avoid the danger of women and children being abandoned and becoming the victims of persons engaged in the traffic, that Governments should examine at the point of departure the possibility of the admission of emigrants into the country of immigration, that members of a family should not be separated, that societies for the protection of emigrants should be given facilities to go on board ship and into hostels, etc. reserved for emigrants (two votes against), that qualified women should be appointed to look after the interests of women and children on board, that shipping companies should authorise the posting up of notices and warnings issued by the societies for the protection of emigrants (one vote against), and that any measures taken to protect women against the traffic should not interfere with the personal freedom of adult women.

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"Cf. Ind. and. Lab. Information, Vol. X, p. 389.

A resolution was passed to the effect that immigrants in a country where there is no consular officer of their own country should be able to apply to the representative of another country for protection and information in agreement with the authorities of the country of residence.

The Universal Postal Union was invited to consider the possibility of establishing a special postcard for emigrants (6 abstentions).

The delegates of 16 countries abstained from voting on a resolution stating that facilities should be granted for immigrants to send a regular contribution to their families in the country of origin, and that agreements might be arrived at providing for compulsory deductions from wages for this purpose.

A resolution in favour of special assistance on the basis of reciprocity for men disabled in the war was passed with 8 abstentions.

The Conference also expressed a desire in favour of prohibition of emigration propaganda unless authorised by the State, of providing for the giving of information free of charge to intending emigrants, of state supervision of persons who offer their services to emigrants or immigrants, of protecting emigrants against exploitation by keeping agents out of their way as far as possible, of placing all transport services and arrangements for changing money in the hands of the carrier himself or, if this not possible, of having state supervision of the agents engaged in such occupations. It was recommended that as foreign philanthropic and patriotic asociations ensure the giving of assistance to immigrants, countries of immigration should grant such organisations full facilities in their work (9 against, 8 abstentions).

A resolution was adopted stating that countries of emigration and immigration should codify their laws of immigration and labour and should agree among themselves with a view to the publication of a collection of such laws (5 abstentions).

The Conference also expressed wishes that countries of immigration should encourage immigrants to join mutual welfare societies established by their own nationals on a basis of equality and that countries of emigration should recommend their citizens to do this (16 abstentions), that immigrants should have the right to form societies of this kind themselves, particularly in countries where there is no such organisation already in existence, and that similar provisions be adopted concerning co-operative societies (3 against, 18 abstentions).

Finally, the Conference recommended that States should arrive at agreements providing for equality of treatment concerning legal assistance (7 against, 5 abstentions) and for authority to be given to consuls to represent citizens of their country, if absent, before the administrative and legal authorities in matters concerning social insurance (14 against, 9 abstentions), that each country should encourage the constitution and facilitate the action of private associations for the legal assistance of emigrants (9 against, 14 abstentions) and that these associations for the emigrants of different nationalities should co-operate with one another systematically in their work (8 against, 15 abstentions). Section III.

The report of Section III points out that the resolutions proposed by it concern the emigrant even before he starts on his journey, inasmuch as one of the resolutions deals with the exchange of information between the countries of emigration and immigration concerning the employment situation in these countries.

The resolutions may be divided into three groups:

Exchange of Information; Statistics, etc.: In the first group was a draft resolution expressing a desire that information might be sent by one government to another on request concerning the situation of the labour market, the wages paid and any other information concerning emigration and immigration.

The Norwegian delegate submitted a report in which he explained the work done in this matter by the International Institute of Agriculture, the International Labour Organisation and the Norwegian Government itself and he proposed an amendment to the original Italian resolution which took account of the work done by existing international organisations.

The resolution summarised above was adopted unanimously with the addition of the following words at the commencement: "apart from the information sent by certain governments to existing international organisations." It was stated that there was a difference between statistical information, which could be obtained through the international organisations, and urgent information, which should be given directly by one state to another.

A proposal was also submitted on the international co-ordination of emigration statistics by the Italian delegation, which referred in its report to the decisions already taken on this question by the First and Fourth Sessions of the International Labour Conference.

The resolution finally adopted expressed the wish that, in so far as the necessary information is not already being placed at the disposal of the persons interested as a result of existing international obligations, governments should agree to adopt uniform methods in order to make the statistics of the different countries comparable, and to compile and publish, in the meantime, statistics which would distinguish between nationals and aliens and specify the sex, age, occupation, nationality, country of last residence, country of destination and the hygienic and sanitary conditions in which the transport of emigrants took place. It is proposed that the age group should be-below 15, from 15 to 55, and above 55. It is also proposed that the occupational groups should be agriculturists, industrial workers, commercial occupations and private employment, liberal professions, miscellaneous, emigrants without fixed occupation and nonworkers.

The Section also discussed the question of a simultaneous census of foreign workers in different countries. It was felt that this would not be practicable but, on the other hand, the Conference adopted a resolution to the effect that each government should furnish to other states all the information at their disposal conoerning its census and concerning other statistical enquiries with regard to aliens.

Among the second group of questions the Conference expressed a wish, with a view to assisting skilled workers to find employment suitable to their qualifications, that the employment offices of different states should try to facilitate the exchange of skilled workmen. The Conference also proposed that agreements should be concluded in virtue of which governments would make known to each other the demand for technical workers and, in general, intellectual workers in their countries (adopted with 4 abstentions).

The Mexican delegation proposed a resolution concerning international information on the subject of undesirable emigrants. Several delegates pointed out that it was desirable not to infringe the principle of individual liberty prevailing in their countries, some governments having no power to prevent emigrants from leaving the country. On this question the Conference expressed a wish that countries of immigration should regularly communicate to the competent offices in the country of emigration the text of laws, regulations and administrative provisions, concerning undesirable immigrants, that the countries of emigration should make this information as public as possible and that the authorities of the countries of emigration should take steps to prevent, within the limits laid down by their legislation, their citizens from going to a country where they would not be admitted (1 vote against, 1 abstention).

The Italian delegation proposed a resolution according to which changes taking place in a family living in another country would be notified directly by the authorities of that country to the consular officers concerned. Objections were, however, raised on the ground that this would involve considerable changes in the internal legislation of several states and the proposal was, therefore, withdrawn.

Passports and Contracts: On the question of passports the Conference expressed a wish that passports be abolished as soon as possible (7 against, 6 abstentions), that in the meantime a uniform type of passport be adopted (4 against, 6 abstentions), that the formalities necessary to obtain a passport and visa be simplified (neither opposition nor abstention), that the delivery of passports be organised in such a way as to avoid the necessity for long journeys for the emigrants in obtaining them (4 abstentions), that in the ports of embarkation the consuls of the country of immigration should have the power to visa the passports of all emigrants desirous of embarking (4 against, 11 abstentions), that the passport and visa fees should be reduced and should be uniform (5 abstentions) and that no visa for a country of transit should be required for emigrants or repatriated persons (14 abstentions). A desire was also expressed that all states should agree to establish a uniform identity card and that this card should be delivered free of charge (7 abstentions).

With regard to contracts providing for deductions from wages, the report of Section III points out that the First Session of the International Labour Conference, the International Emigration Commission and the Rome Conference of Countries of Emigration in 1921 all examined this matter. The Conference expressed a wish that immigration countries should adopt legislative measures limiting and regulating deductions from wages, if they have not already done so, and that a similar provision should be compulsorily inserted in all contracts of employment (11 abstentions).

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