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have in the licensed officers the Masters, Mates, and Pilots. Then we have the United Licensed Officers, which combines both groups.
Mr. Culkin. How about the steward group? Are they organized ?
Mr. HADDOCK. They are covered under the International Seamen's Union.
Mr. CULKIN. What about the common seamen?
Mr. HADDOCK. They are also under the International Seamen's l'nion.
Mr. CULKIN. Is there open ship on all these lines?
Mr. HADDOCK. The open ship still exists on the majority of the lines. However, it is fast diminishing at the present time because of the tremendous strength that the unions are gaining, particularly on the West coast. They are fast eliminating the open ship. However, in my opinion the open ship is as much the fault of the union as it is any one else.
Mr. RABAUT. Have most of these organizations of men affiliated themselves with the American Federation of Labor?
Mr. HADDOCK. I think-I may be entirely wrong on this—that the International Seamen's Union are affiliated with the American Federation of Labor. I am pretty sure that the Masters, Mates, and Pilots and the Marine Officers Beneficial Association is affiliated through some tie-up. I don't know just what that is, however.
Mr. RABAUT. How about your organization? Mr. HADDOCK. Our organization is not, as I previously stated. There are quite a number of organizations that are.
I could name them. The International Seamen's Union, the Masters, Mates, and Pilots, the Air Line Pilots, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Commercial Telegraphers Union of North America.
They all have jurisdiction over our men, and they all got a charter from the American Federation of Labor. And they all fight each other for jurisdiction over us. So we merely go ahead and maintain our organization.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Haag, will you take the stand?
STATEMENT OF ALFRED H. HAAG-Continued
The CHAIRMAN. A statement was made this morning by one of the witnesses to the effect that in stressing the importance of our merchant marine for purposes of national defense it was just propaganda. In your opinion is the merchant marine a vital and necessary element in the country's national defense?
Mr. Haag. Most emphatically, yes.
I heard those remarks this morning. I would like to quote from a British publication a very short statement that deals with that subject very effectively. This is from the publication “War and the Ship Industry," The Economic and Social History of the World War, British series, by a very prominent historian, Mr. C. Ernest Fayle. This is the statement:
It is no exaggeration to say that the possession by Great Britain of a mercantile fleet much larger than was required for her own minimum essential needs was above all else the decisive factor in the war. It was this alone that enabled British, Canandian, Australian, Indian, and South African troops to take their place on the western front. It was this alone that rendered possible the conquest of the German colonies and the operations in Gallipoli, Mesopotamia,
Palestine, and the Balkins. By British ship one-half the American troops were brought to Europe. Without the assistance of British ships the European Allies could neither have supplied their armies with matériel of war nor fed their people nor obtained the requisite fuel for their railways, ships, and essential industries. Whether we look at the magnitude of the achievement or at the appalling waste involved in the diversion from productive to destructive activities, there is no more significant fact in the history of the war.
Mr. SIROVICH. If it were not for the British merchant marine, in the Napoleonic wars England would have been wiped out. It was the British merchant marine that placed the embargo upon everything that came out of France and destroyed Napoleon.
Mr. HAAG. That, according to my knowledge of history, is correct.
I would also like to refer to how unsound and uneconomic a national policy it would be for the Navy to build and maintain ships solely for use as naval auxiliaries. What I mean by that is, it was stated here this morning that if the Navy needs merchant ships, let them build and pay for such ships.
The Navy, in order to have the proper auxiliaries during a national emergency, must have a certain number of various kinds of merchant vessels. It would be a very uneconomical national policy for this country to have the Navy build such vessels only to be used during a war, which may never come.
Therefore, the sound economic policy is to build such vessels during times of tranquillity, and serve peace-time needs; and should a war come, divert them to where they can serve their country best, with a trained personnel ready and available to the Navy, without which the Navy cannot operate effectively.
The CHAIRMAN. Was it not the use of the merchant marine of the Allies and of our enemies that enabled us to get our troops across in the World War?
Mr. Haag. That is absolutely so.
The CHAIRMAN. A statement was made when the 1928 bill was under consideration before the committee, which I believe is absolutely a fact. It was stated:
In the World War we were fortunate enough to have left with us a large number of German ships. And of the 2,000,000 soldiers that went to France, a million went in the ships of our Allies, 500,000 went in interned ships like the Leviathan and the America, and so forth, and 500,000 went in American-built ships. We pressed into service every ship that could cross the ocean. During that war we spent three and a half billion dollars on shipping, most of which never got into the war at all. At the beginning of that war the entire mercantile marine of Great Britain cost less than $2,000,000,000.
Mr. Haag. I believe that that is a correct statement.
Mr. Culkin. Mr. Witness, were you on the interdepartmental committee?
Mr. Haag. I was not.
Mr. Haag. I didn't have a hand in drawing the final report, but I was asked to comment on certain questions.
Mr. Culkin. What I mean is this: I would like particularly to be advised in connection with this proposition: How big a factor is the 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 Fanishing 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 sea.
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. We should not becloud the picture because of the abuses of a few. You will find things like that.
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. Culkin. In other words, one has some technique, some knowledge of emergencies, and the other has not. Mr. Haag. Positively. Mr. CULKIN. There is a wide difference. Mr. HAAG. Yes. Mr. CULKIN. I commend that situation to your regard. Mr. Haag. I am in hearty accord with that feeling. Mr. Culkin. That is what I was discussing. Mr. SIROVICH. Regardless of that, they will never get the training unless we can find enough American ships to put them aboard.
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 Texas, we had to go to some British citizen and buy the plans; I think, from a man named Johns?
Mr. Haag. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. I think it was brought out in connection with the 1928 bill that when we started out to rebuild our Navy and built the old Teras, we had to get out plans from some other country; that didn't have the architects and men to do it.
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.