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many cases, and it will be illegal to sell at less than cost, because we should be thought then to be endeavoring to drive competitors out of the field. [Laughter and applause. ]
PANAMA CANAL TOLLS. MR. Ring, on behalf of the same committee, presented the following report and moved its adoption :
To the Chamber of Commerce :
By the action of Congress in passing the Panama Canal Bill, according the privilege of free transport through the Canal, to United States coastwise tonnage, a serious issue has been raised between this country and Great Britain, as to violation of the HAY-PAUNCEFOTE Treaty.
Since the passage of the Panama Canal Bill, there has been extensive and very general discussion of it, throughout the country, both in the Press and on the Platform, and the sentiment of the country is very largely against the provision according free passage to coastwise tonnage. Senator Elihu Root has introduced in the Senate the following bill, to prevent discrimination in Panama Canal Tolls:
“ Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section five of the Panama Canal Act approved August twenty-fourth, nineteen hundred and twelve, be, and it hereby is, amended by striking out the following words: “No tolls shall be levied upon vessels engaged in the coastwise trade of the United States,' and the following words: ‘Other than for vessels of the United States and its citizens.'
Your committee has given the bill careful consideration, and presents the following resolutions :
Resolved, That the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York endorses Senate Bill 8114, introduced by Senator Root, to change the Panama Canal Bill, by striking out all provisions providing for free passage of commercial tonnage through the Canal; and be it further
Resolved, that the Committee on Foreign Commerce and the Revenue Laws be authorized to represent the Chamber at any committee hearings on this bill and that copies of these resolutions be transmitted to Congress.
Revenue Laws. Silas D. WEBB,
GEORGE A. ZABRISKIE, New York, January 27, 1913.
REMARKS OF WELDING RING, ESQ.
MR. Ring.—Mr. President, at some recent meetings we have had discussion of this Panama Canal question which did not reach any real result. Since the last resolution was tabled, there have been strong representations made to the committee to bring in a further report on this matter ; and since Senator Root has introduced his bill for the change in the law, these requests have been more numerous. Your committee has taken the matter under careful consideration and presented this report ; but at the same time they feel that while we should take action promptly, because the bill is under discussion, now in the Senate, they have no desire to take any unfair advantage of any member who feels that he is not properly prepared to speak on the subject or to present his views. With that statement I desire to present this report and ask for its adoption.
REMARKS OF Louis WINDMULLER, ESQ. Mr. WINDMULLER.—I think that honesty is the best policy and that that applies to nations as well as individuals. I hope this resolution will prevail.
REMARKS OF WILLIAM H. DOUGLAS, ESQ.
Mr. Douglas.-I move that in the next Bulletin issued by the Chamber, the statement of the President of the United States, in reference to his signing of the Panama Bill shall be published. It was omitted at the last meeting when this question was up, and I think it should be printed, to enlighten us as to the views of President Taft in reference to his signing of the bill.
THE PRESIDENT.—Do I understand then, Mr. Douglas, that you are willing that the present question should be acted upon to-day, and that we should proceed to a vote, or is your attitude that of objecting to a vote to-day, and requesting that the views of the President as set forth in his memoranda, be published?
MR. DOUGLAS.-I think my statement was very plain. I said nothing with reference to a vote to-day.
THE PRESIDENT.—I thought not, but I wanted to be sure.
MR. DOUGLAS.—I would enlarge by saying that the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Commerce and the Revenue Laws when a resolution was placed on this floor, a few months ago, took exception, with other members of the committee, to the re-introduction of this question in the Chamber. We came here prepared to debate that subject two months ago. At MR. SCHIFF's request, which appeared perhaps a wise thing at that time, the motion of Mr. Nixon was laid on the table.
It may be very true that this committee has had requests from some gentlemen to reconsider this matter, but I fail to see why, at this late date, there is any more necessity now, for re-introducing in this Chamber that measure, than there was then, and what ruled then apparently rules now.
I state, as one member of this Chamber, that I am absolutely opposed to the introduction of the resolution, and I hope that it will be laid on the table. If it is not passed to-day, the friends of American Commerce will come prepared to debate that question thirty days from now, at the next meeting. But my only request was that I thought that the President's statement in reference to his reasons for signing the Panama Bill should be incorporated in our next Bulletin so the members of this Chamber could be properly advised as to the attitude of the President for taking the action he did.
REMARKS OF JAMES TALCOTT, ESQ.
Mr. TALCOTT.—I agree with what MR. DOUGLAS says. I do not think the Chamber is prepared to debate the question to-day. I am decidedly in favor of adjourning it until the Chamber can have MR. TAFT's position in the matter presented, and have a full opportunity to be prepared for debate.
THE PRESIDENT.—I understand it is the wish of the Committee on Foreign Commerce and the Revenue Laws that this question should not be acted upon to-day if any objection should be made by any member. That was why I asked Mr. Douglas whether he wished his request in regard to the next Bulletin to be construed as a desire on his part that a vote should not be taken to-day. I have very little doubt myself that at the present moment if a vote should be taken there would be a large majority in favor of the adoption of the report of the committee, but as the gentlemen who are not in accord with that report were prepared two months ago to debate it, and may not be prepared to-day, it seems to me it would be only fair that no vote should be taken until they have an opportunity to express themselves.
REMARKS OF HENRY HENTZ, ESQ.
MR. HENT7.- Would it not be to late then ? have adjourned, would it not?
REMARKS OF EDWARD D. PAGE, ESQ.
MR. PAGE.—Senator Root, who made so able a speech in defence of the policy of fairness toward other nations at our banquet, has introduced this bill with a view of making an immediate settlement of this matter. The term of the present Congress expires, as you know, on the 4th day of March, and if this Chamber is to debate this matter, it must be debated promptly or not at all.
If it is to express an opinion, it must express it now or never. It seems to me that in the interest of American commercial honor, this Chamber should be prepared to express an opinion on this question as I believe it is prepared to express an opinion ; and I sincerely hope there will be no laying aside of this report, but that action will be taken by this Chamber, so that whatever their view is, it may reach Congress in time to either promote or retard action on the question now before it.
THE PRESIDENT.—Of course this is a very difficult question from the standpoint of what is fair in the way of debate. I do not think there is any difficulty whatever about the question itself. It does seem to me, however, in view of the discussion which was had here two months ago, and the way it was settled then, that some notice should have been given to those who, I think, are in the minority and who, certainly, do not agree with my views. .
I am free to say I am very much in favor of this resolution, but I have a good deal of hesitation about putting the question in view of the expression of the Chairman of the Foreign Commerce and the Revenue Laws Committee. I will have to put the question if he wishes me to do so.
(Cries of question," “ question.")
REMARKS OF EBEN E. OLCOTT, ESQ.
MR. OLCOTT.—According to my recollection this whole matter was laid on the table in accordance with the motion of MR. SCHIFF. I do not see how that motion can be taken off the table and come up for discussion without a motion being put and carried that it should be taken from the table.
I do think we are entitled to notice of consideration of this matter before it comes up to a vote.
THE PRESIDENT.—Speaking from a parliamentary standpoint, this is an entirely different motion. This is a motion that brings up a debate of the whole question, but from a parliamentary standpoint the motion is totally different from the other motion. From that standpoint it would be perfectly proper that it should be put.
(Cries of "question.”)
Mr. Ring. I do not think it is necessary to state anything further than my preliminary remarks. All I wanted to do was to state the position of the committee fairly, because we have been under very great pressure to bring this report in. It does seem to me that as Congress will adjourn on the 4th of March, and as the matter is now under discussion in the Senate, if we are to take any action at all we ought to know the sentiment of this Chamber; and I think the Chainber should always be prepared to take a definite position in any matter which is brought before it.
REMARKS OF CHARLES L. BERNHEIMER, ESQ.
MR. BERNHEIMER.–Since the remark of MR. DOUGLAS turns on the memorandum that accompanied the Panama Canal Act which MR. Taft sent to Congress, I have a copy of it here, and in order to have action to-day, as I think Mr. Ring urges and correctly urges, I suggest that it be read. It is very short and it will not take very much time. The Chamber of Commerce can then act intelligently, it seems to me, and be in a position to act to-day.
TaE PRESIDENT.—Is it the pleasure of the Chamber that the memorandum held by MR. BERNHEIMER in regard to the President's position, be read?
(Cries of “ No," "No.")
REMARKS OF ISAAC N. SELIGMAN, ESQ.
MR. SELIGMAN.-I feel that we all understand the subject as far as we can and as far as we wish, and I think it is very important that the voice and sentiment of this meeting and of the Chamber should be announced as soon as possible. I do not see any reason for any further delay. I think delay will do no good. We understand the subject. We understand the action taken by President Tart. We understand what Mr. Root has said, and I strongly feel, sir, that summary and speedy action should be taken. [Applause.]
(Loud cries of "question.”)
MR. Douglas.—I have no desire to run counter to a majority of this Chamber, but at the same time I question the fact which has been stated here so broadly that a majority of the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York, are in favor of that resolution.
(Renewed cries of "question.")
Mr. Douglas.--Gentlemen, I propose, being recognized by the President, to have my opportunity, and I will not keep you long, but I shall not be cried down by the cries of " question.” I am not in