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out with a good deal of care. We are rather of the opinion that it should be an independent body; that the particular problems it can be very easily picked out from various problems involved in shipping; and that it can be assigned definite functions for which it should be solely responsible. As to the method of setting it up, we are not prepared for the moment to make direct recommendations, but I think it should be along the line of appointments by the President and confirmed by the Senate, and should be an independent semijudicial or quasijudicial body.
The CHAIRMAN. Why could not those services also be performed by the Federal maritime authority that is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate?
Mr. Smith, Well, they can; but I think that the administrative and the semijudicial functions--it seems to me that those must be separated. They are of an entirely different character.
The CHAIRMAN. That is true, but these people are granting the subsidies and they are determining the aid that the Government is going to give; and it is not desirable that their accountants, through their examination of the books, the shipbuilders and of the operators, shall know whether there is a possibility of the abuses that have existed in the past, when the funds were really being diverted in many cases to other purposes !
Mr. Smith. We have not given sufficient study to exactly how that can be set up at present; but we are doing so and we will be glad to make any direct recommendation we can on the subject. For the moment I am not prepared to say how that could best be set up. We recognize the necessity for it, the necessity of covering the particular points that you have just mentioned.
The CHAIRMAN. It is so absolutely necessary that, in my opinion, no bill will ever get through Congress that has not the strongest protection against the abuses of the past.
Mr. SMITH. We agree with that fully.
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. Chairman, do you not believe that it would be a hard matter to get a bill through Congress creating any additional administrative authorities or bureaus or boards?
The CHAIRMAN. Well, I do not know about that. It will be necessary to have some agency to do this work. The President certainly asked for it; or, rather, Mr. Eastman asked that there be this water division in the Interstate Commerce Commission. I think that we would rather keep the mercantile marine away from the Interstate Commerce Commission; the further away the better it will be; but that is not a definite opinion. That is merely an expression of the present thought; and it is subject to change, as are all of the opinions that are expressed by members of this committee here. It will certainly be necessary that there be some protection granted. That was the suggestion, as you will recall, Mr. Mansfield, that there be three men on the Interstate Commerce Commission, to be known as the “ water- and pipe-line division.” There would be no more expense involved in having such a body in the Department of Commerce than in the Interstate Commerce Commission.
Mr. SMITH. The question of naval reserve: We are for it and no comment except the fact that there is an existing law. It seemed to us that there should be some appropriation to carry out that act
of 1915. We think it might be very desirable. I think that is essentially a problem to be worked out by the operators.
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. Smith, does not the Navy Department now operate transport ships of their own? The CHAIRMAN. I think so. Do they?
Mr. SMITH. Yes, sir. They are still operating some transports; at least I am very sure they are.
Mr. MANSFIELD. Those ships are Government owned?
Mr. SMITH. Those ships are Government-owned. And the War Department was likewise operating two or three transports, or it was the last check that was made by our group.
Mr. Chairman, that completes the statement that I had.
Mr. WELOH. Mr. Chairman, in order that there may be no misunderstanding with reference to my statement and the statement of the witness this morning concerning the preferential interest rate in favor of the Pacific coast shipyards, may I make a brief statement!
The CHAIRMAN. I would be very glad to have you do so.
Mr. WELCH. I have introduced a bill (H. R. 2904) providing that, notwithstanding the provision of subsection (d) of section o11 of the Merchant Marine Act of June 5, 1920, as amended, the rate of interest for construction loans authorized by such section, made for the purpose of aiding in the construction of vessels on the Pacific coast during any period in which any such vessel is being constructed or is operated exclusively coastwise on the Pacific coast and/or intercoastal, and/or between the United States Pacific coast ports and foreign ports, the rate of interest may be not less than 3 percent per annum; that such lower rate of interest is necessary for the maintenance of an adequate merchant marine and for the national defense; and the person desiring such loan shall contract that such vessel, upon completion, shall be operated exclusively in such trade or between such ports.
Mr. SMITH. That is a quotation from what?
Mr. WELCH. From my bill which is now pending before this committee.
Mr. SMITH. From a bill pending before the committee?
Mr. WELCH. I was not aware of that; but it is well for the record, because there is a possibility of a misunderstanding as to the extent we are expecting this committee and the Congress to go to assist in the construction, or providing for the construction of vessels on the Pacific coast.
Mr. SMITH. Yes.
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. Chairman, I would like to be informed on one subject that may have been developed in the other hearings, but not while I was present.
We have heard a good deal about the relative status of our submarines as compared with those of other countries. I have not heard
anything said about the relative status of tankers. Can you tell us what the standing of the United States is in tanker ships?
Mr. SMITH. In the tanker ships; yes, sir. I think I have it, sir, in this. Do you mean the tonnage of tank ships?
Mr. MANSFIELD. Yes, sir; of tank ships; the number of ships and the tonnage. They are all comparatively modern, are they not; the tank ships?
Mr. SMITH. No, sir. Our tankers—there are a few that have been built since 1928, but prior to that time the tankers are fully 15 years old: all those built in the United States.
The tanker at the present time, with the variety of fuels it carries, deteriorates somewhat more rapidly than a cargo ship, and its life is considered to be somewhat less. "Just exactly how much--well, I have a statement here as to tankers that will become obsolete in each year, starting in 1934, on a 20-year basis, but not on a shorter life that they are assumed to have. In 1934 it was figured out that there would be 169,000 gross tons, or 7 percent of our total tonnage, which would become obsolete in 1934,
As I have the figures here now, the gross tonnage of tankers of the United States is 2,400,000 gross tons. That is what you might call the “sea-going tankers", of 2,000 tons or over.
Mr. MANSFIELD. Can you tell us what tankers the other countries have?
Mr. Smith. Great Britain has 2,440,000 tons; very little more.
Mr. SMITH. Japan has 111,000 tons; France has 240,000 tons; Italy has 309,000 tons; the Netherlands has 313,000 tons; Norway has 1,521,000 tons. I will explain that in a moment. Germany has 121,000 tons and Sweden has 130,000 tons.
Mr. MANSFIELD. All of them are quite small except the United
Mr. SMITH. Well, except Norway, which has a million and a half tons, and they are in the chartering trade.
Mr. MANSFIELD. Yes.
Mr. MANSFIELD. Now, in the event of war, the tanker would be a
Mr. MANSFIELD. Do any of our ships burn coal now? Not many of them, I judge.
Mr. SMITH. Some of them do. The percentage of coal burners I have not the figures available. I can very easily give them to you. If you would like to have them, I can give them to you. The larger percentage of them are oil burners. All the more recent ones are oil
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Mr. MANSFIELD. Are they powered by Diesel engines? Mr. SMITH. There are comparatively few Diesel engines in ships built in the United States, except for 25 ships for which a special
appropriation was made by Congress sometime ago, of wartime-built ships, to be converted to Diesel drive. There are a few ocean-going ships outside of that. But the percentage of the more recent construction of Diesel-equipped ships is very small in the United States, as compared with that abroad.
The CHAIRMAN. What do you think is the reason for that?
The CHAIRMAN. When we had the Dieselization program before us representations were made as to the economies, the saving of time, and the quickness of turn around, the increase of cargo space, and various other factors.
Mr. Smith. I have heard, sir, that the principal reason is the fact that the ships that have been built are of a combination type and are of a type in which other nations have installed to a considerable extent steam-driven machinery. If we had built a large number of cargo ships, I anticipate that we would have had a considerable percentage of them with Diesel drive. That is only conjecture, but it has always seemed to me that that is so. Of world construction something over 50 percent from year to year is Diesel drive, Diesel machinery.
Mr. Mansfield, in answering your question about coal burning and oil burning, I find that we have the figures here for all types of ships. Coal burning, about 735,000 tons; oil burning, about 7,600,000 tons. That is a very large percentage in favor of oil-burning ships.
The Chairman. Are there any further questions, gentlemen?
STATEMENT OF HON. CLEVELAND A. NEWTON, ST. LOUIS, MO.
Mr. NEWTON. Mr. Chairman, my name is Cleveland Newton. I appear before the committee on behalf of the Mississippi Valley Association, an organization comprised of representatives of agriculture, commerce, and industry in 23 States in the valley.
The agricultural, industrial, and commercial groups of our section are interested in an adequate merchant marine and they are especially concerned about dependable ocean service from "Gulf ports to foreign ports, which when operated in conjunction with the rail and water service of the valley will enable the products of our land-locked section to compete, in foreign markets, with the products of the rest of the world.
The Mississippi Valley Association, in recent years, has supported an adequate merchant marine. At its convention held in St. Louis last November it adopted the following resolution:
A United States merchant marine is essential to the maintenance and expansion of the foreign commerce of the United States and to our national security. Government aid is necessary for its continuance and growth.
We are not concerned with the manner in which the aid is given, but strongly urge that no change in the present form be made, until such time as a satisfactory substitute shall be offered.
Shipping is an industry that requires “ long-range” planning. The ship lines aided must have such assurance of continuity of aid that essential
services can be not only maintained, but further developed as the national interests require.
The best interests of the Middle West require the continued control of United States steamship lines, operating from Gulf ports, by companies which have the support, financial and otherwise, of the territory which they serve.
The Panama Canal tremendously increased the strength of our national defense. The low-cost water service which it provided opened the markets of the West coast to the products of the factories of our eastern seaboard. Likewise, it made the markets of New England and the East coast accessible to the raw materials of the Far West. On the other hand, it made it impossible for the raw materials and the agricultural and manufactured products of the great interior to compete on either seaboard. Our section became land-locked. Our industries ceased to develop and many of them
This situation was not calculated to make our people marineminded. They had been taxed to build the Panama Canal and they had seen its disastrous effect upon their section. They could not enthuse about being further taxed for subsidies to build a merchant marine which would develop industry and concentrate population around the rim of the country while further depressing the great agricultural interior.
The development of sentiment, in the Mississippi Valley, in recent years, favorable to subsidizing á merchant marine has been due to the effort of Congress to create conditions which would enable that section to use a merchant marine. The improvement of channels in the Mississippi, the Missouri, the Illinois, and the Ohio Rivers is providing low-cost water service for the products of the interior to the Gulf and out to the sea. The prospect of this service is again encouraging the development of industry in the midst of agriculture and it is inspiring hope in the breast of the farmer that his products.may again compete in the markets of the world.
The people of our section have come to realize that there is little value in low-cost water service for their products to the seashore unless they have available, from our ports to the foreign markets, modern, dependable, efficient, up-to-date ocean service, and they believe that their interests will be best conserved if that service is conducted under the American flag. They believe that foreign-flag ships will be interested in the commerce of their own countries, and that an efficient American merchant marine will promote American commerce.
Another act on the part of Congress which promoted Governmentaid sentiment in the Middle West was that provision in the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 which provided that,
Preference, in the sale or assignment of vessels for operation on steamship lines shall be given to persons who are citizens of the United States and who bave the support, financial and otherwise, of the domestic communities primarily interested in such lines.
This mandate was reaffirmed in the Merchant Marine Act of 1928. We believe that in that provision Congress established a wise precedent. Our people feel that it is bad public policy for an ocean line, operating out of one section, to be owned by persons primarily interested in a competing section. An ocean line operating from one