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The International Meridian Conference

Washington DC, USA - October 1884

From pages 199 to 204:

Final Act - Resolutions and voting

We are indebted to The National Maritime Museum for providing us with a photocopy from the original text of the conference. This has been electronically enhanced and converted. This text should, therefore, not be regarded as definitive and is provided for information. Neither Greenwich 2000 Limited nor The National Maritime Museum can be held responsible for any inaccuracies arising as a result of this conversion process.

Count Lewenhaupt, Delegate for Sweden, then proposed that the resolutions passed by the Conference should be formally recorded in a Final Act, stating the votes on each resolution that was adopted.

The Conference took a recess, in order to allow the Delegates to examine a draft of the Final Act.

After the recess the Final Act was unanimously adopted, as follows:


The President of the United States of America, in pursuance of a special provision of Congress, having extended to the Governments of all nations in diplomatic relations with his own, an invitation to send Delegates to meet Delegates from the United States in the city of Washington on the first of October, 1884, for the purpose of discussing, and, if possible fixing upon a meridian proper to be employed as a common zero of longitude and standard of time-reckoning throughout the whole world, this International Meridian Conference assembled at the time and place designated; and, after careful and patient discussion, has passed the following resolutions:


"That it is the opinion of this Congress that it is desirable to adopt a single prime meridian for all nations, in place of the multiplicity of initial meridians which now exist?"

This resolution was unanimously adopted.


"That the Conference proposes to the Governments here represented the adoption of the meridian passing through the centre of the transit instrument at the Observatory of Greenwich as the initial meridian for longitude."

The above resolution was adopted by the following vote:

In the affirmative :

Austria-Hungary, Mexico,
Chile, Netherlands,
Columbia, Paraguay,
Costa Rica, Russia,
Germany, Salvador,
Great Britain, Spain,
Guatemala, Sweden,
Hawaii, Switzerland,
Italy, Turkey,
Japan, United States,
Liberia, Venezuela

In the negative:

San Domingo.

Abstaining from voting :

Brazil, France.

ย Ayes 22; noes,1; abstaining, 2.


"That from this meridian longitude shall be counted in two directions up to 180 degrees, east longitude being plus and west longitude minus."

This resolution was adopted by the following vote

In the affirmative:

Chilli, Liberia,
Colombia, Mexico,
Costa Rica, Russia,
Great Britain, Paraguay,
Guatemala, Salvador,
Hawaii, United States,
Japan, Venezuela.

In the negative:

Italy, Sweden,
Netherlands, Switzerland,
Spain, ย 

Abstaining from voting:

Austria-Hungary, Germany,
Brazil, San Domingo,
France, Turkey,

Ayes, 14; noes, 5; abstaining, 6.


"That the Conference proposes the adoption of a universal day for all purposes for which it may be found convenient and which shall not interfere with the use of local or standard time where desirable"

This resolution was adopted by the following vote:

In be affirmative:

Austria-Hungary, Mexico,
Brazil, Netherlands,
Chilli, Paraguay,
Colombia, Russia,
Costa Rica, Salvador,
France, Spain,
Great Britain, Sweden,
Guatemala, Switzerland
Hawaii, Turkey,
Italy, United States,
Japan, Venezuela,
Liberia, ย 

Abstaining from voting:

Germany, San Domingo

Ayes, 23; abstaining, 2.


"That this universal day is to be a mean solar day is to begin for all the world at the moment of mean midnight of the initial meridian, coinciding with the beginning of the civil day and date of that meridian and is to be counted from zero up to twenty-four hours"

ย This resolution was adopted by the following vote:

In the affirmative:

Brazil, Liberia,
Chilli, Mexico,
Colombia, Paraguay,
Costa Rica, Russia,
Great Britain, Turkey,
Guatemala, United States,
Hawaii, Venezuela,
Japan, ย 

In the negative:

Austria-Hungary, Spain.

Abstaining from voting:

France, San Domingo,
Germany, Sweden,
Italy, Switzerland,
Netherlands, ย 

Ayes, 15; noes, 2; abstaining, 7.


"That the Conference expresses the hope that us soon as may be practicable the astronomical and nautical days will be arranged everywhere begin at midnight"

This resolution was carried without division.


"That the Conference expresses the hope that the technical studies designed to regulate and extend the application of the decimal system to the division of angular space and of time shall be resumed, so as to permit he extension of this application to all cases in which it presents real advantages."

The motion was adopted by the following vote:

In the affirmative:

Austria-Hungary, Mexico,
Brazil, Netherlands,
Chilli, Paraguay,
Colombia, Russia,
Costa Rica, San Domingo,
France, Spain,
Great Britain, Switzerland
Hawaii, Turkey,
Italy, United States,
Japan, Venezuela,
Liberia, ย 

Abstaining from voting:ย 

Germany, Sweden,
Guatemala, ย 

Ayes, 21; abstaining, 3.

Done at Washington the 22nd of October, 1884.


R Steachey, J. Jannsen, L. Cruls,


The following resolution was then adopted unanimously

" That a copy of resolutions passed by this Conference shall communicated to the Government of the United States of America, at whose instance and within whose territory the Conference has been convened."

Mr. Rutherford, Delegate of the United States, then presented the following resolution:

" Resolved, That the Conference adjourn, to meet upon Its call of the President, for the purpose of verifying the protocols."

This resolution was then unanimously carried, and the Conference adjourned at half past three, to meet upon the call of the President.


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