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I also want to reemphasize the position that Mr. Welch has taken, that we are not asking to compete with the Atlantic yards on Atlantic Ocean business; we are only asking that we may participate in the buildings of ships on the Pacific coast that are engaged in the coastwise and intercoastal and Pacific Ocean traffic.
I also want to call the attention of your committee to the factsomething that you know just as well as I do--that the future commercial development of the world will probably be on the Pacific Ocean with the Orient and Latin America, and it is very important that we build up a merchant marine on the Pacific. I suppose it is hardly necessary for me to repeat the statements of the value of a merchant marine as an arm of the national defense in case of emergency, but I do feel very earnestly about this amendment offered by Mr. Welch and I want to appeal to you gentlemen to give it your very careful and thoughtful consideration because it means a great deal to the Pacific coast.
I thank you for your consideration. STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN J. MCGRATH, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA Mr. McGRATH. Mr. Chairman, my district in California joins that of Congressman Welch, so that we are in common thought almost on every development in San Franisco Bay.
I am a member of the Naval Affairs Committee and, being from the west coast and from the San Francisco Bay area, I have been exceedingly, interested in the ship-building possibilities of the Pacific coast. I introduced two resolutions which were referred to the Naval Affairs Committee, to give added ship construction to the Pacific coast, and I found this to be the fact—that outside of the two navy yards on the coast, namely, the Mare Island Navy Yard, which is on upper San Francisco Bay, and the Bremerton Yard, in the State of Washington, no naval construction has gone to the Pacific coast since the World War. One private yard on the Pacific coast, the Bethlehem Shipbulding Co. of Philadelphia, bid successfully for the construction of six ships, and is now constructing these ships for the Navy. The Bethlehem Shipbuilding Co. owns the Union Iron Works in San Francisco. The Union Iron Works built the old battleship Oregon, and the Olympia; but the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Co. believes it is cheaper to build on the Atlantic coast than on the Pacific and, for that reason, there is no private shipbuilding construction on the Pacific coast.
I cannot say that the Bethelhem Shipbuilding Co. is wrong. I have taken it up with the Navy Department here, and they tell me that, of course, every yard has an opportunity to bid, but they cannot compel construction of ships on the west coast over the Atlantic coast. I am very pleased Congressman Welch has brought this to your attention, because the buildng of a merchant marine is exceedingly important and the Pacific coast should take its part in that construction, the same as the Atlantic coast.
I believe that a merchant marine is a very important part of the national defense. It is the auxiliary Navy and, Mr. Chairman, at the present time and for past years the entire Navy has been housed in the Pacific. To my mind, it is just as important to have a ship mechanic on the west coast as it is to have a sailor on a battleship. I know this country is not looking for any trouble with anybody; but when it comes, it comes pretty fast, and we have very few ship mechanics on the west coast, outside of the mechanics that work in the two navy yards, and I hold that the building of ships is a very important item in national defense. Mr. Welch can tell you that we had thousands of ship mechanics on the Pacific coast 25 and 30 years ago. Today we have very few, and shipbuilding is a lost art on the Pacific coast, with the exception of the two navy yards.
I am very anxious and I do entreat your committee to give the most serious consideration to Mr. Welch's suggestion and his amend
I do think that national defense enters into this thing perhaps more than any other item. Putting men back to work on the west coast is important, but I believe national defense comes before anything else in our country today.
I thank you.
STATEMENT OF HON. WILLIAM A. EKWALL, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF OREGON
Mr. Ekwall. Mr. Chairman, I come from the Third Oregon District. We have no shipyard at Portland, Oreg., at the present time. During the period of the World War, during that period, we built a number of steel ships in the Portland district on the Willamette River and also a considerable number of wood ships for emergency purposes; but I am sure that the entire Oregon delegation is in accord with our colleagues from California and Washington in urging consideration of this amendment. We believe that the Pacific coast should be given an opportunity of getting back into shipbuilding at least to a reasonable extent. And, without repeating, I want to endorse heartily, on behalf of the Oregon delegation, this amendment and ask that it be given very serious consideration.
STATEMENT OF HON, KNUTE HILL, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF WASHINGTON
Mr. Hill. Mr. Chairman, I come from the Fourth Congressional District of Washington. My district is inland in Washington and, of course, have no shipbuilding in my district; but anything that concerns the Pacific coast I am heartily interested in.
I want to go on record here as favoring Mr. Welch's amendment to the bill. A little over 100 years ago, Thomas Jefferson stretched the Constitution, he said, in order to purchase the Louisiana Territory. Then he sent the Lewis and Clark Expedition out in the Northwest and even so great a statesman as Webster said that it was inaccessible because of the Rocky Mountains and ealled it, I think, the “Great American Desert."
We on the Pacific coast are beginning to make it the great bread basket of the United States and of the world. Through the development of our water power on our rivers we are going to have so much water power that we are going to build up factories in the West. We are going to irrigate and are going to make that the great bread basket and make homes for people who are leaving the droughtstricken regions of the Middle West. I think people today do not know enough about our Pacific coast, the same as in the time of Webster, and I think we ought to talk as much as possible about it before our committees and Congress, and I am heartily in favor of this amendment to bring our share, at least, of the building of ships to the Pacific coast.
I am more interested in building up our merchant marine, of course, than I am the Navy, as those of you who have been on the floor of the House know. I believe in having a friendly relationship with China, Japan, and the Orient, and with our southern neighbors. I look upon the Orient and the West-we call it the East—as the future markets for our world products, our exports. I think we ought to build those up, and this would help us to do it.
The CHAIRMAN. You have competition with a very cheap class of labor in operating the Japanese ships?
Mr. Hill. Yes, we have. On the other hand, I think if we use our heads and operate our machinery, and so forth, we can compete with them even in the world markets and I think we ought to build up our own great West by just such means as Mr. Welch has introduced here, and I am heartily in favor of it.
The CHAIRMAN. Now we will hear Mrs. Kahn.
STATEMENT OF HON. FLORENCE P. KAHN, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mrs. Kahn. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, there is no part of the United States, I believe, that has maintained as steady and unvarying an interest in the merchant marine as has the Pacific coast. We have stood solidly behind a merchant marine since we have had representation in Congress, because we have realized its great importance to the Pacific coast. Before the war our shipbuilding plants on the coast ranked second to none. It did not make any difference whether we were building merchant ships or warships, we always brought forth fine, first-class work. We had skilled workmen and many of them. Since the war, with the absolute transfer of the shipbuilding interests entirely to the Atlantic coast, the Pacific coast has been left practically without shipbuilding. Whatever work has been done there has been practically limited to repairs.
Now, with the transfer of world activities to the Pacific Ocean, with our eyes on the Orient as a possibility of replacing the markets that we have lost in Europe, it seems to me that here is an opportunity to rebuild and rejuvenaté a tremendously important industry on the Pacific coast. Our climate lends itself most efficiently to the building of ships. They can build every day in the year and there is no allowance that has to be made for the difference in temperature. On account of an even temperature, the whole Pacific coast from the Canadian border to the Mexican border is an ideal place for shipbuilding.
I notice Mr. McGrath referred to the building of the Oregon and, if I recall, I have heard that there was a differential given at that time to the building of warships on the Pacific coast in order to encourage the shipbuilding industry. If we have the shipbuilding industry rejuvenated on the coast, it will, of course, take the place of an infant industry. It will have to be built up carefully, with encouragement, and to me it is most discouraging when we think
of the marvelous ships in the American merchant marine that ply between New York and San Francisco, the ships of the Matson Line, the ships of the Dollar Line, and the ships of the Panama-American Line, all of which were built on the East coast to do Pacific trading, when we have every opportunity for shipbuilding there. I believe if Mr. Welch's amendment is put into law it won't be long before our shipbuilding yards on the Pacific coast will take their place in workmanship and in everything with the finest shipbuilding yards in the world.
I feel we are entitled to this encouragement and we are not requiring too much when we ask that this differential be given to us, because we have no steel supplies on the coast; they have to be brought from the East, and there is this extra freight or carriage charge that makes shipbuilding there a little more expensive, but this almost infinitesimal difference of three-quarters of 1 percent would cover all of the extra charges, freight, and things of that kind, which would give us at least an even chance to compete with the shipyards in the East.
Mr. EKWALL. Mr. Chairman, Mrs. Kahn has just given me a thought and which I would like to leave with the committee: The battleship Oregon is now berthed permanently in my district, in the harbor of Portland, Oreg., and it just occurs to me that on the 26th of this month it will have been 37 years since the Oregon made her historic trip from San Francisco Bay through the Straits of Magellan to Key West, Fla., in 71 days. I think it was hailed as the greatest feat of a naval vessel up to that time. It seems to me that that speaks volumes for the ability of the west-coast shipbuilding ways and that this ought to be a propitious time to recognize that great ability of particularly the San Francisco district in shipbuilding and to help us with this legislation so that we can rehabilitate our shipbuilding interests on the Pacific coast and probably at some future time build some other ships that will duplicate or outstrip, even, the very glorious record of the battleship Oregon.
The CHAIRMAN. May I ask just there, Mr. Ekwall, for the record: What is the length of the coast line of the Pacific coast?
Mr. Ekwall. The length of the coastline is about 1,800 miles. Mrs. KAHN. That is California; no, 900 miles we have. Mr. Ekwall. Nine hundred for California, roughly 350 in Oregon, and with Washington it is pretty close to 1,800 miles. The CHAIRMAN. That is exclusive of Alaska? Mr. Ekwall. That is exclusive of Alaska.
Mrs. KAHN. That is from the Canadian border to the Mexican border.
Mr. EKWALL. From the Canal, of course, it would be considerably farther than that.
The CHAIRMAN. I know; I just had reference from the Canadian border to the Mexican line.
Mr. EKWALL. I would say, roughly speaking, around 1,800 miles.
The CHAIRMAN. Then, from the Mexican line to the Panama Canal is about how far?
Mr. EKWALL. I am not familiar with that about 2,500 miles from the Canal to Canada.
The CHAIRMAN. Then from Alaska to the Canadian line is about how far?
Mr. EKWALL. I am not familiar with the Alaskan coastline, either. It is about 3,000 miles from the Canal to the Aleutian Islands, by the most direct route.
The CHAIRMAN. The reason I ask is because the whole coastline will be involved in the event of any emergency.
Mr. EKWALL. Absolutely. There would be fully 3,000 miles that would be involved there and, of course, if you were to take it away up to the northern parts of Alaska, probably it would be 4,000 miles altogether. So that there is a considerable coastline involved.
The CHAIRMAN. And an adequate supply of shipyard facilities, in the event of an emergency, you think would dispense with the necessity of building shipyards over night, as we did in the World War?
Mr. EKWALL. Absolutely. And it is, of course, a well-known fact that
many of these merchant vessels are built with the idea they can be converted into auxiliary cruisers and transports and can be used in many other ways. We probably should not talk in terms of war, but we have always to anticipate that sometime or other we might be in trouble.
The CHAIRMAN. I am not anticipating or expecting it, but just recognizing it as a contingency.
Mr. Ekwall. That is correct. But aside from the ever present danger of war, it seems to me the Pacific coast is entitled to considerable recognition; because a great deal of the shipping of the future will be on the Pacific and our ports will necessarily be involved in all of that shipping. The transportation business of the port of Portland, Oreg., which is in my district is one of the major factors in the economic life of that city and if you were to take the water shipments away from Portland, Oreg., it would be a serious economic blow to my entire district and the Pacific Northwest. We have to depend upon our harbor and necessarily the only way you can justify the keeping up of a harbor is to have plenty of shipping. And when we can build our ships on the coast, as we have in years gone by, it seems to me that it falls naturally into the proper channel and I do not think we need to consider the fact that we will actually be in competition with any other part of the country. We won't be; because it is an absolute fact which bas been proven time and again that, where one section of a country is prosperous in a particular line, it inures to the benefit of the entire country as a whole. And I think we ought to approach this, as I am sure the committee will, with the idea of the broad aspect of the rights and the good to the entire country. I am sure the Pacific coast is not asking anything unreasonable when we seek to get back a portion of the shipbuilding which in the past we had; and, as Mrs. Kahn has very ably stated, the quality of the shipbuilding on the coast has been of the very finest and I am sure, with reasonable help, we could rehabilitate our shipbuilding yards there and could again reinstate ourselves in that line. I think we are entitled to serious consideration under all of the existing circumstances. The CHAIRMAN. And in the development of foreign commerce,
I suppose you consider, as certainly I do, that we are in a much better position to build up our trade with our own delivery wagons than we are by using the delivery wagons of our competitors?
Mr. EKWALL. I think that all of our goods ought to go out from our ports in American bottoms. I think we ought to build every ship