« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
other lines, and part of his contracts or agreements was to build a
Mr. SIROVICH. And that had to be deferred on account of the great economic depression. Is that right?
Mr. SMITH. I understand that is the reason.
Mr. SIROVICH. Are you in favor of having our Government equalize the work done by Italy with their liners, like the Rex and the Conte di Savoia; by Germany with their liners like the Bremen, Europa, and Berengaria; by France with the Normandie; and by England with the Queen Mary? Don't you think we ought to have a superliner, run by somebody, some good operating company, that will carry the glory and prestige that goes with the operation of a ship of that size?
Mr. SMITH, Well, sir, I think there is no justification whatever for the building of a superliner in the United States, except from the standpoint of national defense. I see no possibility of it being prosperous from a commercial standpoint; and, if such a ship were operating, the Government would have to see to it that the owner is guaranteed, over its lifetime, protection to take care of the differential.
The CHAIRMAN. And, really, as a matter of national defense, has the superliner ever demonstrated that it was capable of anything as an instrument of national defense? Did the British use the Mauretania, which was the largest ship they had then, in the national defense?
Mr. SMITH. Well, they used it as a troop transport, and I believe they did use the Lusitania, which was a sister ship.
The CHAIRMAN. Don't you favor small ships, upon the principle that there are too many eggs in one basket in a superliner?
Mr. SMITH. My own judgment is only a personal judgment; but I will be very much surprised if we see any ship of anything like the superliner size built abroad in the next few years, unless it is a duplicate of the Queen Mary.
The CHAIRMAN. Has not a member of the British Parliament suggested that there might have to be an international conference on superliners, just as there was on battleships, so as to stop the competition along this line and to have the money spent for more useful purposes?
Mr. SMITH. It has been so stated in a discussion of the subject in Parliament that the Queen Mary was built because of the necessity of competing with the Rex, Conte di Savoia, Bremen, Europa, and Normandie.
Mr. SIROVICH. Now, on that subject, may I continue, Mr. Chairman?
The CHAIRMAN. Go ahead. Mr. SIROVICH. Since we are competing with foreign nations, with Great Britain and Japan, for naval construction and for aviation purposes, don't you think, from the standpoint of transporting troops and from the standpoint of the psychological effect that comes to our country, that we, at least, ought to have one or two large superliners, to match the foreign countries, to carry our own passengers, even to
the extent of having Congress subsidize the operator against any losses?
Mr. Smith. Well, sir, for a long time I felt that way. I do not at the present time. I think it would be a mistake.
Mr. SIROVICH. Would not that be better than for us to admit to foreign countries that they have ships better equipped than ours, who are carrying Americans who are looking for luxury in travel!
Mr. SMITH. At the present time we have ships like the Manhattan and the Washington that are running full during the busy season, and I believe that if we built more ships like the Manhattan and the Washington that we could see that those ships were profitably em. ployed and that they will serve every purpose that would be served with the ship of much larger size and higher speed.
Mr. SIROVICH. I have talked to several friends who have traveled on American ships, the Manhattan and the Washington, and who have traveled on the foreign ships, and they contend that the Manhattan and Washington have not got the comforts that they have on those great big superliners.
Mr. Smith. I do not know what greater comfort they could have than those provided on the Manhattan and Washington.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you finished, doctor?
Mr. BREWSTER. Is it your idea that these foreign governments, who are assisting in the construction of these great liners, are making a mistake?
Mr. SMITH. They admit themselves that it is purely window dressing and advertising purposes that they are building them for.
I want to go back a little, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I think this is a roll call and we will have to attend. If it is agreeable to the committee, we will meet again at 2 o'clock.
Mr. SIROVICH. Governor Brewster wished to ask a few more questions.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you want to ask some questions? You may Mr. SMITH. May I have that question, sir?
Mr. BREWSTER. You agree, do you not, that the British have been in the shipbuilding business and in ship operating for a good long while?
Mr. Smith. I certainly do.
Mr. BREWSTER. Through the period of centuries since we gave up schooners!
Mr. Smith. They have shown the way of maritime progress since 1650, and continuing right up to the present time.
Mr. BREWSTER. So you are ready to admit that, when you put your opinion up against theirs, you are taking a fairly strong position?
Mr. SMITH. I made a statement a few moments ago that was based on statements that were in the press, that were made in connection with the argument for loans for the Queen Mary, by members of Parliament and the shipping interests.
Mr. BREWSTER. To which would you attach more importance, what some member of Parliament or some individual said or what England said? Do not their actions speak louder than words?
Mr. SMITH. Well, it depends entirely on the object in view. If she is building those ships to match the best of another nation, she is going to pay the cost, which she apparently is doing. She considers it, probably—I think she considers it more from the standpoint of commercial supremacy rather than from the international defense standpoint. Mr. BREWSTER. Is it possible to differentiate those ? Mr. SMITH. I think it is.
Mr. BREWSTER. Has it not always been agreed, in England's policy, that the navy was absolutely dependent upon her merchant marine
Mr. SMITH. That is right.
Mr. BREWSTER. So if you are going to have a navy you have got to have a merchant marine, if the lesson of Great Britain's experience amounts to anything?
Mr. Smith. Oh, I think that is imperative.
Mr. BREWSTER. Then is it not further manifest that they consider that the only way to have a merchant marine is to have one that can keep its flag floating on the seas? Mr. Smith. That is absolutely correct.
Mr. BREWSTER. And while you term it window dressing or advertising, with their years and years of knowledge they consider that it is the only way they can successfully carry on
Mr. Smith. Well, Great Britain has lost since the war. She was carrying before the war about 63 percent of the world's trade, and she has dropped down to as low as 35 percent; and she is desperate from that standpoint; and she has determined to go to any extreme to hold her supremacy.
Mr. BREWSTER. Now, upon what do you base your opinion that we can have a successful merchant marine without operations along those lines and put your opinion against that of England! They have subsidies ?
Mr. Smith. Well, it is wholly a question of whether you have got to build, for instance, a superliner to match the Normandie and the Queen Mary and these other ships. Personally, I do not believe that it is necessary for us to do that. I think that with ships that will range up to 221,2 knots speed and, possibly, up to 24 knots, that you can accomplish the same purpose and at an enormously lesser expense.
Mr. BREWSTER. You will agree that the opinion of all other shipoperating nations, so far as it is expressed by their actions, is contrary to your
opinion now expressed ? Mr. SMITH. I believe that the present opinion of other nations is against further building of ships of the size of the Queen Mary and the Normandie.
Mr. BREWSTER. Perhaps you did not quite get my question. I said as expressed by their actions, as distinguished from their opinions.
Mr. Smith. As expressed by their past actions.
The CHAIRMAN. What a man has done in the past is not any evidence that he thinks the same way at the present time.
Mr. BREWSTER. Of course. I was in England 2 months ago, when they were making some of their decisions, and they are certainly going ahead now.
There is one other question, and then I am done. Are you prepared here to say that there is not a difference in the riding comfort between the large boat and the small boat?
Mr. Smith. I believe, sir, that you get more voyage comfort on a 30,000-ton craft at 22 knots than you will on a 50,000-ton craft at 30 knots.
The CHAIRMAN. And you will give a better opportunity to the American citizens of average means to travel and to go about the world than you do by building a great big, luxurious hotel to travel over the water, that will be of no practical purpose for anyone.
Mr. SMITH. Yes, sir; and one reason I say that is because, with such a ship, an attempt is always made to hold the ship to top speed, whether they are running in the rough sea or good, to drive 30 knots; and you will certainly not have as much comfort as you will have with the smaller one at 2212 knots.
Mr. BREWSTER. But you will have to slow the smaller one down also.
I went over in November on the Majestic and came back in December on the Manhattan, under conditions nearly comparable, and I would not be a very good witness for your side of the argument.
Mr. Smith. Well, I would like to travel on the smoothest ship, that travels with the least motion, myself.
Mr. BREWSTER. I think you would have preferred my passage going over to my passage returning.
The CHAIRMAN. And yet the statement has been made to me by several gentlemen who have traveled and who have said they would rather travel on the Manhattan.
Mr. Smith. I have heard that statement from a great many people, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I have not been so fortunate as to go on the luxurious ships.
Mr. BREWSTER. I was accumulating evidence, Mr. Chairman.
The committee reconvened, upon the expiration of the recess, at 2 p. m., Hon. Schuyler Otis Bland (chairman) presiding.
STATEMENT OF H. GERRISH SMITH-Resumed
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Smith, you may proceed.
Mr. SMITH. Mr. Chairman, there were quite a number of questions asked in connection with superliners and I think that I made clear the position in the first statement that I made; but I think perhaps I had better add a few words, so as to clarify my position regarding it.
The statement I made was that it looked to me as though the superliners should be considered from a standpoint of national defense and advertising rather than from any standpoint of a possible safe commercial venture. I think that the question as to whether they are desirable for the national defense is one for the Navy Department to determine; and as to whether they are desirable" from an advertising standpoint largely, for the owner, or from national considerations, is a question for the owner. I will say this, however, that if superliners are built, that the shipbuilding industry has talent in both the naval architectural and the marine engineering lines to design the ships that are the equal of any that have been built anywhere in the world. They are well abreast of what is going on in other countries and they can design a ship of any type, and the shipyards can build the ship.
As I stated, such a ship has been fully designed, with estimates and plans; and at the time it was prepared it was abreast of the best design of the times in ships of that size.
There were one or two other statements that I am not sure whether I was clear. There was some question as to why the construction loan funds had been less active, and I think that I tried to make it clear that it seemed to me that that was largely due to the fact that, with the uncertainty as to the shipping policies ahead, the owners should hardly be expected to undertake new construction until they had-until they could see more clearly what the portent for the future was to be.
In connection with my statement I wanted to place in the record a little information concerning some contracts. The question arose at one of the hearings as to contracts for ships built abroad since the first of the year. I have some very definite information on that, that I thought might be interesting to the committee.
Since the 1st of January, according to the records of the Liverpool Journal of Commerce and other British publications, there have been placed in England contracts for 4 passenger and 4 cargo vessels and 4 tankers. In Italy, contracts for two tankers. In Holland, contracts for 10 tankers and 3 cargo ships. In Germany, contracts for 6 tankers and 1 cargo vessel.
In Norway, contracts for 1 tanker and 1 cargo vessel; and in Sweden, contracts for 4 cargo vessels.
That does not take into account any contracts that may have been placed for building naval vessels for their own countries or for other countries, for which there have been some few contracts placed.
The CHAIRMAN. Practically all the work in American yards is naval work, is it not?
Mr. SMITH. Practically all work in American yards is naval work; Ves, sir.
There are two tankers under construction at the New York Shipbuilding Co., and there are one or two others under consideration that may have been started; but they have not yet been publicly so announced.
The book that was filed, called the "American merchant marine " contains a very brief statement with reference to the British navigation laws and action that was taken by Great Britain as early as 1381 toward establishing a policy for the development of her shipping.