Слике страница
PDF
ePub

been proved. I want to read just a sentence or two from the report of the Secretary of War, volume 2, part 2, 1888. There wa.s a contract let to fill in along the Potomac River what is now known as the Speedway down at Hnins Point. The Army engineers estimated the cost of that work. A company took the contract to do the work. Mr. Rikcr designed, patented, and built the dredge that filled in the Speedway along the Potomac flats. The Army engineers at that time seemed to think it was impossible that the work could be done for anything like it was estimated the cost would be.

Mr. Itiker requested an extension of time of 48 hours in order to get the machinery in better shape to commence the work. The Army engineer said, "We will not give you 48 seconds. You must start to work on schedule time." So the work was started on schedule time, the flat was filled in at practically half the cost that was estimated by the Army engineer^, saving the Government on the contract a million dollars. I am told that is the only case in the history of the United States where a saving of that kind was made.

In the above-mentioned report Colonel Hains, who was afterwards Chief of Engineers, made this statement, speaking of the dredge which the Chief of Engineers now says is unproved:

The suction and discharge pipes were each 30 inches In diameter in the apparatus used on the Sate, and one Btoue weighing 1,300 pounds was pumppd through them and forced out on the flats. At another time an old iron safe 25 by 16 by 14 Inches was pumped out. • » « Under favorable circumstances the pumps discharged about 1,500 cubic yards per hour.

That is what Colonel Hains said about this dredge which General Jadwin says is unproved. Of course, Mr. Riker Siiys that on a project of this kind, if it were undertaken, the dredge should be larger than the one used on the Potomac Flats; that while that was a pipe 36 inches in diameter, this work would probably need a pipe 60 inches or perhaps 6 feet in diameter. But that is only a matter of engineering. Yet the present Chief of Army Engineers says this dredge is unproved, even though by the use of it they reduced the contract price on the filling of the Potomac Flats by 50 per cent, saving the Government a million dollars on the contract.

During short periods in the maximum output of the dredge when they were filling in the Potomac Flats the output exceeded 90,000 cubic yards of solid material in 24 hours, many times greater, I am told, than the output to that elevation of any other dredging device ever yet constructed. They moved much of that dirt 80 feet above the water line. Of course, it may take larger pipes and a larger dredge to do this work, but it will be on the same principle as the dredge used on the Potomac Flats.

The work on the Potomac Flats was completed for 10"V& cents per cubic yard. The estimated cost of dredging 2,000,000,000 yards on the Riker-Mississippi spillway is 30 cents per cubic yard. They used the estimate Mr. Riker made in his total of $785,000,000 for the total project, which would include the right of way for the spillway, the levees, the drainage ditches, and the dams.

Mr. President, I have reason to believe that from an engineering standpoint the other statements of General Jadwin in his letter of criticism of this plan are as childish from an engineering standpoint as are the ones I have mentioned when considered from the standpoint of a layman.

The proposed spillway would come down through the lower part of the valley from Cairo, the junction of the Ohio and the Mississippi. The ditch or drainage canal, which would be made in the excavation to build the levees, would drain the whole valley. In many places where it is lowland now and in some places swamp, it would make good agricultural land of it. There may be some places where the water will have to be pumped, but in most places it will flow into the river because the water of the river will be lowered in flood times by more than 30 feet, by use of proposed spillway. If it has to be pumped, of course, there can be plenty of power generated there that can be used for that purpose.

With the plan as shown are included storage dams on the larger tributaries of the Mississippi River. These storage dams, of course, could be used to generate power, if it were desired to use them for that purpose. If a spillway of this kind is put in, regulating the flow of the water in the Mississippi River and keeping it at a normal flow of, say 30 feet above low-water mark, it would make it possible to put in dams along the MisHippi River, dams of sufficient height, because there would be a comparatively uniform flow of the river, which would generate l»owcr enough to supply the whole Mississippi Valley and the power generated on the tributaries would furnish power for the valleys of the tributaries as well, if that feature of the project

is gone into. However, what we are interested in now is taking care of the flood situation.

In my opinion, it is a grave mistake to reduce this commission as it has been done by the House and the conferees. I read Into the Record a few days ago the resolution which was adopted by the American Society of Civil Engineers, wherein they recommended that a commission of nine disinterested engineers be appointed to study the situation and report to Congress. It seems to me that the suggestion of the American Society of Civil Engineers is worth considering and worth following. Their suggestion is that a board of nine disinterested engineers be appointed to study the situation.

To be frank about it, Mr. President, the present Chief of Army Engineers is apparently prejudiced in favor of his own plan, known as the Jadwiu plan, and apparently can see nothing good in anything else.

You know, we sometimes meet some old-fashioned attorneys who will hunt through the records and go back a couple of hundreds years to find some case somewhere as a precedent upon which to base their opinion; and that sometimes, it seems, applies to engineers. The Army engineers apparently are very much interested in precedents, following along the precedents of previous Army engineers. It seems as if the present chief is a man of that type, and is looking for precedents from engineers who have held in the past the same position that he now holds.

The yellow portion on the map along the river is what would be flooded, according to General Jadwin's flood-control plan. It would involve some 0,0t)0 square miles when that is flooded, doing a great deal of damage, undoubtedly. In some places there are levees to be built. In other places it goes back to the hills at the edge of the valleys; but it would flood a great territory here, and it is said by some who claim to know something about it that it would probably flood a lot more than that. On the other hand, the Riker spillway, 3 miles wide, would flood only about 2,000 square miles, and would be a permanent proposition, used to take care of the excess flood waters when we have great floods. At other times it would be dry, and could be used for other purposes, I suppose, if desired—at least for pasture land.

The levees along that spillway would make automobile highways in each direction. There would lie room for railroad lines on each of the proposed levees. They are to be 300 feet wide at the base, about 50 feet high, and 130 feet wide at the top. That is the proposal, although that can be changed to any height or any width that is needed; and, according to the estimates, the whole work can be done for .$785,000,000.

It seems to me that this question is of enough importance that it should be investigated by disinterested engineers. Speaking for myself, at least-"-und I think I voice the sentiment of a great number of others here in the Senate—I believe that the Senate should insist that the provision as contained in the bill when passed by the Senate should be insisted upon, including in this board the Secretary of War, the Chief of Engineers, the President of the Mississippi River Commission, and two civilian engineers. That would be a great deal better than it is at the present time, although I am inclined to think that still more civilian engineers should be included on the board and given a chance to investigate and report.

It is my intention, if this bill is passed and signed by the President, at some future date to offer an amendment to this law, as it would be then, providing for the repeal of that particular paragraph and including the proposition that the American Society of Civil Engineers adopted some time ago, providing for a disinterested group of engineers, nine in number.

I do not know that I have anything further to say at this time. If there are any questions that anyone wants to ask, I shall be glad to answer thorn if I can.

Mr. KING. Mr. President, if the Senator will permit a question, I should like to ask him whether this proposition of Mr. Riker was submitted to the committee—either the committee of the House or the committee of the Senate—and whether it was fully explained to either of those committees, and, if so, what action was taken by the committees with respect to the plan?

Mr. FRAZIER. Mr. President, the plan was submitted to both the committee of the Senate nnd the committee of the House—the Flood Control Committee of the House and the Committee on Commerce of the Senate'—and explained to some extent, and some of the members seemed to be quite interested. So far as I know, however, no action was taken, largely, I think, because both committees had plans of their own, or at leiist had something of the kind worked out; and the Chief of Army Engineers was opposed to this plan of Mr. Riker's and ridiculed it; and for that reason—or, at least, that is the only reason 1 know—it was not given more attention.

Mr. KING. I should like to ask the Senator whether other engineers aside from Mr. Riker appeared before the committee and supported his plan?

Mr. FRAZIER. I know of no other engineers who appeared before the committee on the plan. A number of other prominent civilian engineers, and some Army engineers—that is, engineers who have been in the Army service—have studied the working model over in the basement of the Senate Office Building, and a number of them have expressed themselves very favorably to this plan.

Mr. KING. As I understand the Senator, Mr. Hiker's plan wouM cost approximately three-fourths of a billion dollars?

Mr. FRAZIER. Approximately; yes.

Mr. KING. My understanding is that the plan that is contemplated in the bill now before us will cost about the same amount.

Mr. F1AZIER. Yes. It is undetermined, I think, how much this plan will cost. It is estimated nil the way from half a billion up to a billion dollars, as I have understood.

Mr. KING. It seems to me, from all I can learn, that the bill now before us is practically the same as it was when first reported by the Senator from Washington [Mr. Jones], and that all of this talk by the President and others about the cost being too great, and the President having secured a compromise which will save the country a vast amount of money, is wholly vrithout foundation. Is that the way the Senator understands It? That is to say, we are confronted now with the same bill, with a few little frills added to it, that was presented to us by the Senator from Washington a few weeks ago—a bill that costs about the same now, that has the same implications, the same obligations, which will be probably three-quarters of a billion dollars, and perhaps a billion dollars, and covering only that part of the Mississippi River below Cairo?

Mr. FRAZIER. That is practically the way I understand it.

Mr. KING. Then Mr. Riker's plan is just as cheap as the other, besides having the advantages which the Senator attribu.?s to it?

Mr. FRAZIER. I think so; yes; and It seems to me it would be a permanent solution of the situation.

Mr. KING. Does the Senator think that constructing the spillway on straight lines, with abrupt turns here and there, angles In the channel, would be a feasible plan?

Mr. FRAZIER. I think it would. There will be a series of dams there to control the water, with gates that can be opened or closed, either to retard the flow or to increase the flow.

Mr. KING. Then this plan contemplates that the river will still exist, but the spillway will run alongside it?

Mr. FRAZIER. Just the spillway for the excess flood waters. In normal times no water will go intg it at all. At the head of the spillway, up near Cairo, and where it crosses the Mississippi River at two other places, the lip of the spillway will be level with what is called the normal flow of the water, which is only about 30 feet above low-water mark; and when the river rises above that, the water naturally will go out of the spillway. When it goes below it, the spillway will run dry.

Mr. President, judging from letters that have come to my office from various parts of the country, and especially from the section of the lower valley that has been flooded, I am satisfied in my own mind that the people who are affected in those States are not going to be satisfied with this bill as it is about to be passed. They are not going to be satisfied to leave this whole situation up to the Army engineers, who for the past 50 years have made a failure of taking care of those flood waters, who have let that valley be flooded time after time, and last year damage was done running into millions and millions of property and an untold amount of distress. They are interested in this, and vitally interested, because it means the welfare and protection of their homes; and it seems to me preposterous that the United States Congress will vote to leave this proposition tip to the same Army engineers who have attempted to control it in the past and havo failed. It seems to me preposterous, in view of the statements made here recently on the 28th of April by the present Chief of Army Engineers—statements that I think are childish, and I believe I have proved it to the satisfaction of everyone here who heard my statement— that the United States Senate will vote to give control of this commission to the Army engineer who has made these childish statements in regard to flood control.

CALLING OF THE HOLT,

Mr. KING. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.

The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cappeb iu the chair). The Secretary will call the roll.

The Chief Clerk called the roll, and the following Senators answered to their names:

Rhipgtoad

Short ridge

Simmons

Smith

Smoot

Stock

Stoiwer

Stephens

Mwanson

Thomas

Tydlngg

Tyson

Vrindenberg

Wagner

WaUh, Mass.

Walsh. Mont.

Warren

Waterman

Wheeler

Senators having

Aslmrst Fors La Follette

Bnrkley Fletcher McLean

Bayard Krazior McMnBler

Bingham George McNary

Black Gerry Mnyflcld

Blalne Gillett Metcalf

Bleage Glntig Mo«es

Bornli Goff Neely

Bratton Gould Norbrck

Brookhart Greene NorrlH

Brougsard Hale Nye

Bruce Harris Uddie

Capper llarrigon Overman

Caraway Hnwefl Phlppg

i'"|i"l:irni Hayden Pino

Courens Ili-lliti TlUman

Curtis llowoll Ransdoll

('lilting Johnson Rood, Mo.

Dale Jones Rood. l*a.

l>enecn Kendrlck Sackott

Dill Koyos Kchall

!*'i.- King Slicppard

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Eighty-five answered to their names, a quorum is present.

FABM LAND BANK, COLUMBIA, 8. C.

Mr. NORBECK. Mr. President, I have listened to one of a series of speeches by the Senator from South Carolina [Mr. Blkase] In which he accuses the chairman of the Committee on Banking and Currency of some wrongdoing.

This time he says I gave out a statement that there was a unanimous report in the committee against favorable action on the Blease resolution to investigate the Federal Farm Land Bank and the Intermediate Credit Bank of Columbia. S. C.

I might easily be able to prove that there was u unanimous report, but I certainly did not say it.

The Senator has placed In the Record an article from the Columbia Record, published at Columbia, S. C., which curries my statement. I have st-cured same from the official rei»orter and I want to read exactly what it says and I want to read it correctly. It speaks for itself and disproves the wild statement of the Senator from South Carolina. It is as follows:

After the committee meeting Senator Norbkck, the Banking and Currency chairman, alluded to the Information presented to him regarding the Columbia bank. "All of thlg information wag placed before the committee, and it wag practically unanimous In feeling that there was not sufficient evidence to justify an Investigation such as Senator ili.KASK proposed."

The committee has carefully examined the so-called evidence, which Whs personally submitted to the Secretary of the Senate. Most of it is not evidence at. all. It is composed mostly of letters from his admiring friends commending him for his effort. Some of the letters complain that the Government is not liberal enough in making loans. Some of them may be from those who failed to pay last year. One letter suggested that a halter be placed u|>on a certain southern Senator, whose name I will not put in the Recoud. One complains that he has been driven off the farm on which he was born. He does not say whether he had a lease or patent to the land or whether he had anything. He may have been foreclosed on. The letter does not say.

The Senator complains about the delay in the committee making the report. I am to blame for that. I plead guilty. There has been more work here this last week than I have been able to attend to. The report is not only delayed on the Blease resolution but It is also delayed on the La Follette resolution relating to brokers' loans.

Many charges have been made against this bank. The preamble to the resolution declares "there is much talk of mismanagement" and "there are rumors that the manner in which the affairs of said bank have been managed has worked a hardship to the farmers in the various sections of the district."

One might gain the impression from the preamble of the resolution that these convictions were connected with the Federal Land Bank or the Intermediate Credit Bank of Columbia, S. C., which is not the case.

I shall not attempt offhand to make a comprehensive speech on this matter. The report will be filed in a day or two and that will be the complete answer to the ridiculous charges that are being made by the Senator.

The record shows that the farmers in the neighborhood of Beaufort, S. C., believed that their situation was favorable to the greater production of truck crops for the early northern markets. Additional credit was needed but could be secured through the Intermediate credit bunk at Columbia. The necessary steps were taken by the organizing of an agricultural credit corporation to make loans to farmers, tnking the necessary security, including a mortgage on the crop to be grown, which notes would in turn be guaranteed and sold to the intermediate credit bank at Columbia, S. C.

Mr. W. E. Richardson, president of the Beaufort Bank, a leading citizen of the community, a former State senator, and a man connected with many banks and business enterprises, became chairman of the board of directors of this agricultural credit corporation—the South Carolina Agricultural Credit Co. He had apparently been successful in all his undertakings and enjoyed the good will and the confidence of the entire community. Mr. Richardson became the directing head of this credit company.

A cooperative marketing association was also formed by the same people for the purpose of shipping in bulk and marketing their crops collectively to the best advantage. Mr. Richardson was also selected a director in this association and was very influential in the affairs of same.

The first crop was grown in the summer of 1924 and is referred to as the 1923-24 crop, as the arrangement for the financed would be made in the fall previous. The paid-up capital of the Agricultural Credit Co. was $50,000. Their rediscounts with the intermediate credit bank amounted to $,S21,475. The first year's crop wus good, and equally Important was the fact that the marketing conditions were quite satisfactory. The community benefited greatly and the indebtedness to the intermediate credit bank was paid up in full.

The natural result was that there was a still greater demand for funds in the following year. The Agricultural Credit Co. increased their capital. The cooperative marketing association equipped itself to take care of additional business. A larger crop was planted. The intermediate credit bank met the increased demands for the 1924-25 season, discounting more than a million dollars' worth of paper for this Agricultural Credit Co. The crop returns were quite satisfactory. Of the $1,000,000 borrowed during the second year, all was paid back that fall except $2,000, and this was paid a little later. The intermediate credit bank suffered no loss from loans extended to the Beaufort community for growing and marketing the 1924-25 crop.

The satisfactory results for the first two years led to further expansion and a greater demand for funds with which to plant an increased acreage. The credit company again increased its capital—this time to $260.000, 90 per cent of which, invested in Liberty bonds and other securities, was pledged with the intermediate credit bank as additional collateral.

The cooperative marketing association increased its operations so as to handle the business. The intermediate credit bank met the increased demand for funds, and this time rediscounted about $2,018,000 of farmer paper for the local credit company.

The weather conditions in the summer of 1926 were not favorable. The harvesting and marketing of the crop was delayed. Payments came in very slowly to the intermediate credit bank and inquiries were answered by the officers of the local credit company to the effect that the slow payments were entirely due to the lateness of the season and the delay in marketing. The continued delay in remittances aroused the suspicions of the officers of the intermediate credit bank. They sent their investigator to Beaufort and found that the Agricultural Credit Co. had a record of only $300,000 worth of products sold by the borrowers of their association.

This did not look right. A further investigation revealed the fact that $900,000 had actually been marketed, but that the funds had been diverted and this sum of about $600,000 had been dejiosited in the Beaufort Bauk, a State bank of which Mr. Richardson, previously referred to, was president. This deposit had been made upon the written order of the officers of the cooperative marketing association, who had instructed their New York representative to make his sale remittances to the Beaufort Bank or deposit same in New York to the credit of the Beaufort Bank.

The intermediate credit bank held the notes and the security, and they had notified the cooperative marketing association to that effect, and acceptance of the notice had been made by said association. But notwithstanding this, the directors of the association ordered the money sent to the Beaufort Bank instead of to the intermediate credit b:mk.

A demand was made upon the Beaufort Bank for the funds belonging to the intermediate credit bank and improperly deposited in the Beaufort Bank. Said hank was unable to make payment and was closed by the State banking department. It was later found to be in very bad condition, and no substantial dividends from the liquidation are expected. But other losses were also suffered by the intermediate credit bank in connection with these loans made through this Agricultural Credit Co. It was later found that many of the notes that had been discounted with the intermediate credit bank were irregular or fraudulent. Some were accompanied by false financial statements and others were actual forgeries.

When the conditions at Beaufort were brought to the attention of the Farm Loan Board in the summer of 1926 by the Federal Intermediate Credit Bank of Columbia, the board immediately notified the Department of Justice, which promptly sent investigators to South Carolina to work in cooperation with the United States district attorney in ascertaining the facts, with a view to prosecuting any persons who might be found guilty of violation of the Federal law. The United States district attorney and the investigators spent 18 months in a thoroughgoing investigation of the situation at the inception of the investigation. Because of suggestions that the officers of the intermediate credit bank might be implicated, investigation was directed toward the conduct of these officers as well as the conduct of the defendants, who were subsequently found guilty.

As the investigation progressed, the investigators became satisfied that the officers of the intermediate credit bank had not in any way violated the law. They found the books and records of the intermediate credit bank complete and satisfactory, and all information available. The district attorney went to the extent of arranging for the appearance of the president of the Intermediate credit bank, Mr. Arnold, before the grand jury so that the grand jury might have an opportunity to determine fnr itself from his testimony, and Mr. Arnold waived any immunity in connection with the investigation.

While the investigation by the Department of Justice was in progress, the Farm Loan Board also sent its chief examiner and members of the examining force to South Carolina to make an examination of the affairs of the intermediate credit bank with reference to the situation in Beaufort. In addition, the State banking department made an investigation of the affairs of the Beaufort Bank. This was brought out in the trial at Columbia.

As a result of the investigation by the Department of Justice and the examination department of the Farm Loan Board, indictments were returned by a grand jury in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of South Carolina for violations of section 37 of the Criminal Code of the United States, for conspiracy to violate the farm loan act. Indictments were not returned against any of the officers of the intermediate credit bank, because the United States district attorney had satisfied himself that they were in nowise guilty of any violation of the law.

The trials under these indictments began on January 9, 1928, and consumed about six weeks, resulting in the conviction of; Richardson, Home, and Miss Harvey—Richardson and Horne each being sentenced for two years in the penitentiary, the maximum punishment that could be imposed under the conspiracy statute, and Miss Harvey being sentenced to jail for six months. The other defendants were acquitted of the conspiracy charge. The trials under the indictments for violation of the farm loan act were deferred and are expected to take place in the summer of 1928.

The president of the intermediate credit bank, Mr. Arnold, appeared as a witness for the Government and testified at considerable length, being subjected to intensive cross-examination by the counsel for the defendants; and the Federal judge before whom the case was tried, in his charge to the jury, practically exonerated Mr. Arnold from all blame and from the various accusations made against him during the course of the argument.

The convictions above referred to were W. E. Richardson, R. C. Horne, and Miss Harvey—all three of whom were officers in the Agricultural Credit Co. and all three were connected with the Beaufort Bank.

It was discovered that the Beaufort Bank had been in financial difficulties for some time, but conditions were growing gradually worse and became acute in the summer of 1920, when it developed that the crops did not bring the returns that were expected on account of unavoidable delay in marketing same. For instance, the tomato crop shipped from the neighborhood was expected to bring more than n million dollars, but arrived in the markets too late to be salable.

Frauds and forgeries were evidently committed with a view to helping the Beaufort Bauk—possibly in the hope that the ! future would bring the necessary magic to save the bank.

Besides the convictions in Federal court, there have also been convictions in the State court of Mr. W. E. Richardson, as president of the bank at Beaufort, and Mr. Jay, cashier, for violations of the State banking law. The convictions in Federal court were on the conspiracy charge only and they were given the maximum sentence for same.

There are still a largo number of indictments pending for violation of the farm loan act, which provide heavy penalties. Some of these indictments are against those already convicted of conspiracy. These are expected to come to trial during the summer. The frauds committed by Mr. Richardson were of such a nature that they were not suspected by the community. They had not even been detected by the State banking department, which had made regular examinations. The frauds were not even suspected !>y his associates, except those involved in the same irregularities.

Congressman Hare, of South Carolina, has a bill pending in the House (II. R. 11384) to authorize and direct the Intermediate Credit Bank of Columbia, S. C., to credit certain notes and mortgages discounted for the Month Carolina Agricultural Credit Co. The purpose of this bill is to reimburse those farmers who had secured loans from the intermediate credit bank and had suffered misfortune through their own acts or through the acts of the officers of their own organization. Sir. Hare appeared personally before the Banking Committee in support of such a plan.

An attempt is naturally made to lay the blame upon the intermediate credit bank, and while I might well admit that if they had been more alert they would have suffered less losses, the cold fact of the matter is that they were imposed upon by those who received favors from the bank, and the Government must bear a loss of over $1,000,000.

Among others were some members of the association who were "inkers" and refused to keep their agreement of selling their crops through the association. They sold them individually. They put the money in their pockets. They deposited the money in the Keaufort Bank. When the bank closed they lost their money. Now tliey are not only hoping the Government will reimburse them for these losses, but they are actually demanding it.

There has been considerable of a clean-up in the farm-loan bank and the intermediate credit banks since the board appointed last summer took charge. The less efficient at the Columbia bank have been dismissed. The bank now seems to be functioning in good shape.

From the convictions made and the number of indictments pending of men who had been prominent in business and politics, it is quite natural that a big howl will go up. There are those who believe that there Is an effort being made right here to mislead the public and create some sentiment in favor of these criminals who are under indictment.

Mr. BLEASE. Mr. President, I want to congratulate the Senator from South Dakota on being a very shrewd lawyer. From a reading of his biography in the Congressional Directory I would not think he was a lawyer. But down in my section of the country we have some lawyers who will go into court and take a court decision and read the part that is favorable to their side of the ease, but do not read the other part of the Supreme Court decision. If my friend hud looked at the top of this paper he would have seen this:

Bleahe loses before committee for probo of local land bank.

Mr. NORBECK. That is the headline. I read my interview.

Mr. BLEASE. The headline reads:

Vote against investigation "almost unanimous," says Chairman Nokbkck.

Mr. NORBECK. But the other appeared also, in which I do not say that at all.

Mr. BLEASE. That is in quotations.

Mr. NORBKCK. That is the one I read.

Mr. BLKASK. It says, "Vote against investigation 'almost unanimous,' says Chairman Norbeck." That is in quotations. Down below it says, referring to the committee:

It was practically unanimous In feeling that there was not sufficient evidence to justify an investigation.

Yet only five voted against investigation, and four voted for It. Certainly the four men who voted for it out of the nine who were present did not feel that it was unnecessary, or they would not have voted for it, and certainly it was not practically unanimous when only a majority of one voted for an unfavorable report.

I shall not answer the Senator at this time. I will wait until the report comes in in reference to the other part of his speech on the merits of the resolution.

FLOOD CONTROL

The Senate resumed the consideration of the report of the committee of conference on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on the amendments of the House to the bill (S. 3740) for the control of floods on the Mississippi River and its tributaries, and for other purposes.

Mr. FRAZIER. Mr. President, since I concluded my remarks a few minutes ago one or two Members have asked me about this man Rikcr, who is the author of this proposed spillway. I want to read a letter dated March 20. 1021, on the letterhead of George W. Goethals & Co. (Inc.), 40 Wall Street, New York, as follows:

Gkoboe W. OorrHAt.s & Co. (Fsc.>.

to Wall Hired, Ario York, Uarch 39, Bit. Mr. Carroll 8. Hiker.

Kast Falls Church, Va.

Dbad Mn. Rikeii: The plans for an International terminal, transportation, anil shipbuilding undertaking, outlined in your recent letter to Senator Wkklit Jones, a copy of which I have read, appeals Bo favorably to me that I should be willing to afford them ray personal support, and the engineering support of my corporation. Sincerely yours,

Osoiioe W. fiorrnALs.

I want to say further that Mr. Riker was consulting engineer, at the request of General Gorthuls, during (hi- construction of the Panama Canal. He was called down there to consult with General Goethals at that time, and has been affiliated with General Goethuls in several other undertakings.

Mr. SMOOT. Mr. President, the Senator from Nebraska [Mr. Norrih] I know desires to speak about this conference report, and if there is no one else in the Chamber who desires to address the Senate I shall suggest the absence of a quorum, in order that the Senator from Nebraska may have time to get here. I suggest the absence of a quorum.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.

The Chief Clerk colled the roll, and the following Senators answered to their names:

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Eighty five Senators having answered to their names, there is a quorum present.

Mr. NORRIS. Mr. President, the importance of the floodcontrol legislation can not be \vell overestimated. We are confronted with a problem that is national in its scope, and nothing of the kind has ever before been presented to any body of men in the history of the world.

I nm informed that the water from 38 States flows into the Mississippi River. The Mississippi Valley comprises two-thirds or more of the area of our country. This is a problem that has been with us for a century, one which I think we' all realize now has never yet been solved. It is because I feel that we ought to take a broad national view of the situation that I am detaining the Senate while I give to them what to my mind would be the proper method of solving this grent question.

It is not solved, in my judgment, by the bill which we have passed or by the conference report which is now before us, although we have taken a step, it seems to me, in the right direction in this legislation. It is a subject that can rightfully command the careful and candid consideration of the greatest engineers of the world. I do not believe we ought to confine ourselves in its solution or in hunting for a method of solution to Government engineers. We ought to have the best engineers that the country or even the world affords to lay out and form a program which, if possible, should be a permanent solution of this great national problem. I say this without casting any reflection upon the ability or the integrity of the Government engineers. I believe it is generally agreed now that no system of levees alone will solve the problem; that while we build Uw levees higher and higher, the silt that comes down from the tributaries for thousands of miles and fills up the bed of the rivers gradually raises the bed higher and makes it necessary for higher levees, with the knowledge all the time that we can not indefinitely continue that kind of a program and that sooner or later—it may be soon and it may not be for years—the levees constructed by man will be destroyed by nature in the very natural course of events. If the river has built itself up and the levees are extremely high, when the break comes the destruction is much greater than under any other circumstances.

I have listened with a great deal of interest to the Senator from North Dakota [Mr. Frazieb]. It occurred to me that he had presented to us a plan which to me is practically new, and I think Is new to most of us, but one well worthy of the careful and candid consideration of the best experts we can possibly procure. We are not fully providing in the proposed legislation for that plan or for any plan or for the investigation of any such plan. I could not refrain from thinking as I listened to the Senator from North Dakota that it is an exceedingly interesting plan which he proposes, having the backing at least of some of the engineers, and which comes from a man who lives near the source of the great Mississippi River. I was reminded that heretofore I have until within the last few years, and I think the country has as well, considered this problem as one in which only those living in the Mississippi Valley were interested. It has dawned upon me and I think upon the country that no matter where we live, especially if we are in this great vnlley, we are directly interested in the solution of this great problem.

It is going to cost a great deal of money, and some hare backed away from it because of its enormous cost. While we have only an indefinite idea as to what its cost will be, we all know that it will be enormous. While I regret that the expense is going to be so great, yet I feel it is a problem which we must meet, and we ought not to try to side-step it because of its cost. In my judgment a billion dollars will not meet the expense that will be necessary to properly handle the question; and yet, Mr. President, if it is solved properly I think it would be found that much of the expenditure would be returned in the way of benefits which should and no doubt will come from a plan national fn scope, which would control every tributary and every tributary of every tributary of the Mississippi River.

Mr. President, I would like to get the proper solution of the problem regardless of its cost. We can not think of such a thing as placing the country in the lower Mississippi Valley in the jeopardy that we know it is continually in under present conditions and under all the conditions that have existed during the years that have passed. Yet 1 believe if we meet it unselfishly and treat it as a national problem and try to banish from our hearts all selfishness, at least all selfishness that is unfair, we will reach the conclusion that a national settlement of the question upon n broad, humanitarian scale will show that the benefits which will come from a proper solution of the problem will to a great extent take care of the expense. If we will spread the cost over the years in the plan I am going to advocate, It will amply repay every dollar of investment that we make.

It should be remembered that every gallon of water that does damage in the lower Mississippi Valley is needed for the sustenance of human life in the production of crops in many of the tributaries away up in the northern and western part of this great valley. The water that is doing damage in the far South would be welcome for the benefit it would bring to humanity if it were spread upon the thirsty soil of the semiarid regions of the West and Northwest. It seems to me'it is a proper solution of the question, making such a disposition of the water that instead of doing damage it will render benefit not only, as I think I will be able to show, to the particular locality where it is used, but everywhere else in our country where people wc-ar clothes or eat food. After all, if we are unselfish and honest in the settlement of all these great questions it will be found that we are all equally interested and all to a great extent ultimately benefited by a proper, honest solution of any governmental question that can properly or possibly come before Congress. I believe that the people of New England, while their interest may be indirect, are nevertheless vitally interested in the proper settlement of this question and they will realize it as the years go by.

We have tried levees. The plan has not worked, although it has been very beneficial. I am not advocating the abandonment of levees. They ought to be utilized wherever they can properly be utilized in connection with any other remedy we may have. Hut it seems to me the proper way to settle the question is to hold back the flood waters of the Mississippi River in every tributary, both on the eastern and the western shores of the Mississippi River, particularly on the western shores where much of the country is semiarid and where that water, instead of doing damage, will he beneficial. We ought not only to store it in reservoirs wherever nature has provided a reservoir site but wherever it can be used for irrigation purposes it ought to be so used.

After all the best place in the world to store flood waters is in the soil itself. There are millions of acres of the semiarid country that have never been wet down to the bottom of the soil since man bus inhabited the country. If properly soaked, if properly filled with moisture, that land will not only produce crops, but will hold back that moisture and that water which is going down the stream unrestrained to become a menace far

ther down the Mississippi River. If we can prevent a river like the Missouri, for instance, from changing its course and washing away hundreds of thousands of acres of fertile ond valuable soil, we will do two things. We will save for beneficial purposes the land that it carries away and we will save the expense that will be necessary to take that same soil out of the Mississippi River farther down, where it interferes with flood control and interferes with navigation.

It will be found that if we make a proper survey nnd in a national way build da ins wherever there is a natural reservoir in any of its tributaries, much of the expense can be properly borne by the sale of the electric power, because there will be hundreds of thousands of horsepower generated all over this great valley. The income from the power and the income from the irrigation will go a long ways toward paying the expense of the investment. In the course of time it will more than repay it. It depends upon the length of the period that we are going to select for amortization. The wnter which is now destructive of human life and of property farther down the stream would be used for the production of food, for the production of power, and in a general way used for the happiness, prosperity, and contentment of the people throughout the entire valley.

It can be historically proven, I think, that the storing of flood waters' in the soil will have a great deal to do with rhe navigability of the streams, so that navigation and flood control and irrigation and power all dovetail into each other and each help the other. Quite a number of years ngo the Reclamation Service built a great dam in Wyoming holding back the flood waters of the north bank of the Platte River. It has been shown since those flood waters were held back, nnd that water spread out over the land in northwestern Nebraska nnd in Wyoming, that the flow of the Platte River in the State of Nebraska, hundreds of miles away from the place where the flood waters were stored in Wyoming, has been made nenvly constant the year around. In round numbers, the flow of the river in the dry season has been increased by 50 per cent, and Senators know what that means to those who want, to use the water still farther down for irrigation or for navigation in the Mississippi and some of its tributaries. It has likewise been shown, and is historically true, that the high waters in the .same river have been decreased about 50 per cent; I think Hie exact figures are in one case 45 per cent and in the other 47 per cent. It all works together for navigation, for flood control, for power, and for irrigation.

We would in that way get the maximum amount of navigation, the maximum amount of irrigation, the maximum amount of power, the maximum amount of flood control, all ft.r the minimum amount of cost. When we do that, as it seems to me we ought to from every angle, and see how these different parts of the question will dovetail into each other and bring us one harmonious whole, it seems to me it is worthy of statesmanship if we could provide, by a comprehensive statute, that there should be selected a corps of the best engineers we can get, and lay this program before them, give them ample funds, nnd time and opportunity to make a complete survey of the entire Mississippi Valley, with the view and the object of bringing about navigation, flood control, development of power, and irrigation. If these things work out as I think they will, as it seems to me they must, we will have solved the problem of flood control and several other problems besides.

It is true that in the power aspect of the question much of the power would be secondary power. I realize that. In that respect it would not be nearly as valuable as primary power, because a reservoir utilized as a flood-controF proposition must always be empty when the water is low so that it can be filled up with the flood waters nnd must be emptied so that it can be filled up in time of flood. But it would be found, under the proper management of all these matters of flood control dams, that we would not let all of the water out of all of them perhaps at the same time. It would depend upon conditions. It would be necessary perhaps to utilize that power and, to make the best use of it. to have auxiliary plants with it. That is something about which we need not bother ourselves in solving the flood control proposition. It is one of the incidents that will naturally come if the commercial necessity for it is demonstrated.

Then Senators ought, to remember that there are many times when the rivers are too low for practical navigation purposes. That i.s because all the water that ought to be then flowing in the streams has passed on down at a time when it was not necessary for navigation, indeed, at a time when it interfered some\\*at with navigation—has passed on down to the lower Mississippi Valley and destroyed millions of dollars worth of property and sometimes human lives, by saving the property

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ПретходнаНастави »