« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
development of personnel for the purposes of the American merchant marine? Is it entirely a matter of ships and the construction of ships? Doesn't the human factor, the technical human factor, play an important part from the top to the bottom, from the skipper of the ship down to the common sailor?
Mr. Haag. It plays a most vital part in our national defense, in that we not only need the proper types of ships during a national emergency to serve as auxiliaries to the Navy, but we must have those ships properly manned by skilled and experienced men.
Mr. Culkin. But this report is almost naked as to that phase of it. Of course, the ships aren't any good unless you lay a groundwork of technique from the common sailor up, are they?
Mr. Haag. I think that if you have the ships, the development of seamen will naturally follow.
Mr. Culkin. From my rather modest experience in that field I don't believe you can develop a sailor over night. The sailor is a vanishing race now, and you cannot develop one unless you get a proper environment and proper conditions and proper wages.
There is no reference here to that fact in this report. The human element interest seems to be ignored. The report doesn't mention that.
Mr. Haag. I would in answer to that say that the American seamen fare as well or better than seamen of any other nation insofar as wages, food, and their quarters aboard the ship are concerned.
Mr. Culkin. I am talking now not so much about those human comforts, which, of course, are important, as about the question of technical fitness, technical ability; for example, the ability to row a boat, pull an oar.
Mr. Haag. That is all a part of the training.
Mr. CULKIN. And to know the difference between starboard and port.
Mr. Haag. I don't think there is an American seaman today that does not know the difference between starboard and port or who cannot pull an oar.
The CHAIRMAN. But even that condition, if such exists, is sought to be corrected in some of the bills that we have pending before the committee, which will give to the inspection service a greater responsibility in ascertaining whether a man is an able-bodied seaman.
Mr. Haag. They must have certain qualifications today in order to be rated as able-bodied seamen.
The CHAIRMAN. In the past they had to produce affidavits and things of that kind. But now the power does not exist in the inspection service to put them to the test, as is required in bills that are now pending before this committee.
Mr. Haag. Everything should be done to prevent any seamen obtaining tickets that are faked.
Mr. CULKIN. You have been on the ships and so have I, and you know the conditions. You sailed once, did you not?
Mr. Haag. No; I never sailed.
Mr. Haag. I know something about ships, the hulls and the machinery, and their operations, but I have never served time at
Mr. Culkin. My personal opinion is, may I say to the witness, that that phase of the matter needs definite attention—the human equation, the human factor, of managing these ships.
Mr. SIROVICH. Mr. Haag, you have impressed me very decidedly today with your information, and I want to supplement the statement that you made to the committee this morning.
You contended that when the war broke out, we were in a peculiar state of affairs, where we had to conscript our barbers, as you stated, manufacturers of various little commodities, conductors, and so forth to go into the shipyards of the country and go to work to make the steamships. Is that right?
Mr. HAAG. That is correct.
Mr. Sirovich. In other words, we were not really prepared when the war broke out with men scientifically trained or trained in the way to give us the best of their mechanical skill? Is that right?
Mr. Haag. Yes.
Mr. SIROVICH. It is along that line that I think my colleague, Mr. Culkin, has reference.
I think that would be a good thing, and I have been preparing a bill for 6 months along that line, in which I want Congress to take into consideration a merchant-marine academy in which we can train officers of every conceivable kind, seamen, and even stewards, so that when they get out we can put them on as naval reserves, to go on two or three or four various ships of our merchant marine and get the benefit of this experience; and so that we cannot only use them in time of peace but use them in time of war, and be prepared for any emergency that might come along.
Would such a condition help to solve the problem that you spoke of this morning when you said that we had to enlist the aid of barbers and conductors and motormen to work on ships when they knew nothing about it?
Mr. Haag. This morning I referred to the shipyard help. But, of course
Mr. SIROVICH. I am talking about what the situation would be in the event that war should break out tomorrow.
Mr. HAAG. Yes.
Mr. SIROVICH. We wouldn't have men to go in and man the merchant marine, because they have had no more experience than some of the barbers and conductors had in the construction of ships in the shipyards.
Mr. Haag. All that you have said insofar as doing everything to improve the morale and discipline of the American seamen is a proper move. But I don't go along with the statements that have been made that American seamen are not equal to other seamen. We have American seamen
Mr. SIROVICH. No one has taken issue with that. No one can contend that when you take a trained American seaman, he is not only the equal of foreign seamen, but is superior to them. That is, trained seamen. But we aren't talking of an emergency, where we have to draft men, and we don't know whom to draft, because they haven't been trained.
Mr. Haag. We should prepare ourselves to have a proper number of men ready to man our ships at all times.
We have done a good deal in that direction. We are in a much better position than we were before the war. We have nearly 500 ships today as against 81 before the war.
Now, today the question is not so much in training the men that are aboard the ships, but to provide for training men who desire to follow the sea as a livelihood.
Mr. SIROVICH. But it has been brought out before this committee in the last 4 weeks about men securing, for five or ten or fifteen dollars, papers that they are able-bodied seamen, who have never been to sea, who don't know how to row a boat and don't know the first thing about seamanship. Such men as that were found on board the Morro Castle.
Mr. Haag. I think those things should be corrected.
Mr. Culkin. I want to say to the witness that he should not becloud our situation by American patriotism. You don't believe that a man on a German ship, who sails on a German or English merchant marine ship for 20 years, is a worse sailor than an American making his first trip, do you?
Mr. HAAG. No.
Mr. Haag. Positively.
Mr. Haag. What we need is a system to provide for continuous training. There are many seamen out of jobs today, officers and seamen, that would get more training if there were ships to put them on.
The CHAIRMAN. Isn't it also true that at one time in our history, Mr. Haag, we had reached such a low point in the construction of ships that, as a matter of fact, when we started to rebuild our Navy and built the old Texasí we had to go to some British citizen and buy the plans; I think, from a man named Johns?
Mr. Haag. That is correct.
Mr. Haag. That is correct.
Mr. WELCH. The plans for the cruiser Charleston, the first cruiser built on the west coast, were of English design. The plans had to be secured in the manner described by our chairman.
Mr. Haag. I would like to clear up one other point if I may.
Mr. Welch. And it was not a success. It did not come up to our specifications.
The cruiser that followed her was the cruiser San Francisco. That was of American design, and it exceeded in horse power and exceeded in speed the specifications.
Mr. Haag. There was some discussion this morning about large passenger liners. The largest ship ever built in the United States was the Manhattan and her sister ship, the Washington. They are just under 25,000 gross tons.
In the last 8 years there have been built by our foreign competitors ships ranging from 25,000 tons up to 80,000 tons.
Those ships, the majority of them, are called superliners; and nearly all of them will ply in the trans-Atlantic trade. The business that those ships will get will be largely American citizens.
Now, it would seem that if other countries adopted the policy of building naval vessels--that is, vessels for naval purposes solely— and if those ships are in that category, they are getting a very large support between-wars times from the passenger traffic, which largely originates in this country.
Those 18 ships, of somewhat over 700,000 tons, have been built during the last 8 years despite the fact that they are not justified from the amount of business available. The two largest ones are the Queen Mary and the Normandie. The latter one will make her maiden voyage this spring.
And that does not end it, because there are other ships, sister ships of those last two mentioned, that are talked about and even a larger Rex for the future.
So it would seem that those ships will perform a very useful peacetime service, and will be largely supported by the traffic that this country furnishes. Most of the traffic in the north Atlantic originates in this country, and of that only about 11 percent is carried by American ships.
Foreign countries are building large ships for commercial use, whether they carry passengers or cargoes. They are being used between wars to at least help pay some of their expense. We all know that superliners are costly, and very few of them at the end of the year can show profits.
We have no ships built in the United States over 25,000 tons, and our competitors have in the last years built 18 of those, slightly over 700,000.
The CHAIRMAN. When the Mauretania and Lusitania were built, it cost England six and a half million dollars, I think.
Mr. Haag. I think that is correct. The CHAIRMAN. With an interest rate of about 2percent, wasn't it?
Mr. Haag. That is about right.
The CHAIRMAN. The interest rate was 2%; but the posts paid for the entire burden and practically amortized the ship. The postal earnings plus the admiralty subsidies amortized the investment that the Government had made in those ships.
Mr. Haag. That I believe is correct.
Mr. Sirovich. Have we the facilities for building any of those large superliners in this country?
Mr. HAAG. We have those facilities.
Mr. SIROVICH. What would be the objection to having our country build a few superliners?
Mr. Haag. I don't think there would be any objection, but the company that would operate such ships would be at a terrific handicap because our competitors cannot always make a profit even with their lower construction and operating costs. It certainly indicates that we have difficulty in breaking even.
Mr. SIROVICH. It is my theory that if we invested in one or two of these superliners, we would destroy the navigation of the superliners of the foreign countries, because the statement was made here by witnesses that 90 percent of their passengers are American; and the statement was made by Mr. Duffy that if we didn't patronize that 90 percent in those superliners, they would go out of business; and that would tend to get rid of the superliners and get the passenger traffic back on our American ships.
Mr. HAAG. My own opinion is that if we had two superliners the equal of any in the world, built or building, those superliners would be well patronized by Americans. Americans will take a pride in patronizing their own ships when they are the equal of any in the world. That has been very effectively demonstrated by the patronage of the Manhattan and the Washington.
Mr. SIROVICH. And you would not be opposed, I take it, if Congress would want to subsidize some great merchant marine company to perfect these superliners? You would not say that that should not be done?
Mr. Haag. I would point with great pride to America having two such ships.
Mr. SIROVICh. Because most of the other countries have two of them. Italy has two, Germany has the Bremen and the Europa, France has its Normandy, and England its Queen Mary. There is no reason why we should be in the background, because we could begin to show that
we could develop our merchant marine and get the passenger traffic upon our own ships both to and fro.
Mr. HAAG. I am sure that the expense for operating those ships, because of the way they would be patronized by our own citizens, that it would help materially to cut down the high cost of operating such ships; and that if the necessary aid is given, I think they could be operated successfully.
The CHAIRMAN. Is Mr. Jenkins here?
STATEMENT CF J. H. McVAY, LINDBERGH APARTMENTS, WASH
INGTON, D. C.
Mr. McVar. I wonder if your committee would be interested in having inserted at this particular point of the hearing the resolutions endorsing an adequate merchant marine. They are resolutions passed by the Military Order of the World War, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the D. Å. R., and various other patriotic societies. I have copies of all of them. If you care to have them inserted, I will bring them tomorrow morning.