Слике страница
PDF
ePub

The resolution therefore was amended so as to provide for the appointment of a joint congressional committee to take up the two phases of the question: The study of safety appliances and the study of the facts. The Senate passed that amended resolution oil January 30. The conferees met nnd disagreed. I ask In all fairness, in the name of the men who are dead, who perished under such horrifying circumstances, are we going to laugh at this tragedy, are we going to ignore their suffering and Unit of their families?

It is u travesty upon parliamentary procedure that it seems to be possible for conferees to bold up indefinitely a resolution of this character. I know that I would not venture, if I were one of the conferees, to put the President of the United States and the Secretary of the Navy in the awkward situation of hoiug charged with hypocrisy and lack of sincerity when that message was read in till solemnity to this House asking for this commission to be appointed.

The Senate is now proceeding with an investigation of the facts upon its own accord. There is no excuse whatever for the conferees failing to get together. The Senate, I am satisfied, would be willing to recede on the proposal to have the commission or any joint committee study the facts. The Senate is doing that itself. I am satisfied that if the gentleman from New York, the chairman of the conferees on the part of the House, would revive his interest in the matter once again the Senate would recede and that that resolution to study preventive measures could be passed before we adjourn.

The S-4 disaster has aroused the people of the I'nited States as no other tragedy has ever before. I have letters from hundreds of people from all over the United States, and even from Euroi>e and Australia, bearing upon this tragedy; and what a pitiable picture we present to the world if this legislative body fails to do something to recognized the necessity for providing for the safety of the brave men who man our submarines,

In addition to the letters that I have received in protest against the occurrence and even recurrence of these disasters, I have hundreds of suggestions for safety, appliances." They are waiting to go before the commission which everyone expects is to be appointed. Captain Filene, of the Navy Dejxirtment, tells me that he 1ms nearly 2,000 suggestions waiting for study and examination. Some of them may be meritorious and others, of course, will prove to have no merit at all; but they are waiting the action of this House, because the Navy does not want to proceed with an investigation upon ttiei'r own account and leave it open to the charge of bias. They want to preclude all criticism.

In passing the Butler resolution you will not only assent to the will of the President and the Secretary of the Navy, who, I believe, are sincere, but you will have accomplished something to justify our position before the world.

I am thinking of those unhappy youths tapping out their own requiem in the chambers of the submerged submarine— tap, tap, tup—waiting for relief, waiting with torturing anxiety amidst the fumes which rose from the batteries in the vessel, and which slowly choked them to death. [Applause.]

Under the leave to extend I herewith append the results of a questionnaire I addressed to our naval attaches at Berlin, London, Paris, and Home.

SUBMARINE SAFETY AND SALVAQB DEVICES USED OB NOT USD) IN KOKEIUN

NAVIES

Shortly after the sinking of the 8-4, I prepared a questionnaire for the purpose of ascertaining the extent to which safety and salvage devices were in use in foreign navies.

Through the good offices of our Department of State the questionnaire was forwarded to our naval attaches at Berlin, London, Paris, and Home.

The questions (nine in number), with the answers, are as follows:

Mr. Griffin, Representative In Congress from New York, desires the following information respecting safety devices ami salvage appliances In foreign navies:

(1) Whi-thcr grappling rinprs, eyelets, or shackles nro attached to the hulls of submarines to facilitate their prompt raising.

(2) Whether or not a form of telephone signal buoy is In use which may Im- released in rnse of accident, aud by which communication m:iy be had with the crew.

(3) Whether or not sutvnge air Inlets are provided for each compartment of the submarine, or whether there is one salvage inlet communicating In the receptive compartments (as seems to have been the condition in the X-J type of vessel).

f4) Whether or not diving chambers by which the crew can e»cnpe are provided.

(5) Whether or not submarines are provided with releasablc. rafts, or chambers by which the crew can escape.

(6) Whether or not a diving helmet, or diving apparatus, known as the Dnieger diving-rescuer, or any similar device Is adopted.

(7) Whether or not there is at the present time, or in contemplation, salvage vessels of the Catamaran, type by means of which a submarine can be lifted from the bottom.

(8) If such vessels are in commission, please state their tonnage, their lengtb, and their lifting capacity.

(9) It will be appreciated If you will mention any Instance when, and the circumstances under which, such vessels were put to use, and whether they proved effective, giving the tonnage and the net lift or weight of the vessels involved.

[ocr errors][merged small]

Sib: Adverting to the department's instruction Xo. 2047, dated Tobruary 28, 1028, 1 have the honor to inclose, herewith a copy of a self-explanatory letter, dated Mnrcb 1C. 1928, received from the naval attache1, setting forth answers to the several questions! propounded in u questionnaire regarding safety devices and salvage appliances in use lu foreign navies, addressed to the department by the lion. Antho.vt J. (!bipfin.

I have the honor to be, 8ir,
Your obedient servant,

Jacob Gould Schueman.

(Incrosure: 1. Letter of naval attache.)

Office Of Tim Naval Attach*,
Berlin, Ttergertenttragic 30, March it. OK.
From: The naval attache, Berlin.
To: The counselor of embassy, Berlin.

Subject: Information rr-q nested by the Hon. Anthonx J. Gbiffin.
Reference: (a) Embassy letter of March 12, 1028.

Please refer to your letter of March 12, 1928, with two Inclosures relative to the salvaging appliance* In the German Navy. I will take the questions one at a time in order to avoid confusion.

1. In peace times grappling rings, eyelets, or shackles were attached to the hulls of mo»t of the submarines. During the war they were removed from many on account of the additional weight.

2. Such bnoyfl were employed on the submarines in peace time* and were part of the normal installation. During the war they were firmly secured so a* to prevent their becoming loose and thus disc-losing the position of the submarine to an enemy ship.

3. Air Inlets could not be installed for each compartment of the submarine, but on the later submarines there was an air inlet in the forward comportment, the midship compartment, and the after compartment, all well separated. These air Inlets hart cocks which could be operated both from the Interior and the eiterior of the hull.

4. An air chamber was provided in the larger submarines, but they were not used In any salvaging operations. The loss of space entailed by the Installation of such a diving chamber restricted their number to one for the larger submarines.

D. No.

6. Teg, one for each member of the crew, distributed proportionately in the compartments to the number of men normally in that compartment.

7. Before the war the Vulkan was built and was used during tbe war. The Cydopt was not completed until 1918. After the war the Vwlfem was sunk and the Cyclops was turned over to England. These vessels were especially built for submarine-salvaging work.

8. A description of these vessels can be obtained from Jane's Fighting Ships, 1014 or 1915. The Vatican was approximately 2,000 tons' displacement. and lifting capacity of about 500 tons. The ftyctofw was about 2.8OO tons' displacement, with lifting capacity of 1,200 tons. A copy of Jane's Fighting Ships with a description of these vessels may be bad from the Navy Department In Washington.

9. During the war the Viilka* salvaged six sunken submarines from varied depths fron 11 to 30 meters. In none of the operations were any of the crew saved through the operations of tbe Vulkatt. Mont of the installations for attaching salvaging devices had been removed from the submarines In order to save weight, and It was therefore neoe«*nry for tbe divers from the Vulkan to pass slings around the hull. After the submarine was located and operations possible by divers It was possible to lift tbe submarine In nine hours and less. The success of operations from the Vttlka* depended upon the ability of the divers to locate the wreck and to commence salvaging operations. The time lost in locating tbe wreck and passing the slings was always too long to enable the submarine to be raised in time to save any of the personnel. On December 7, 1U17, submarine B-n) was sunk in tho Itultlc Sea In ;iO meters of water under conditions almost identical with those, obtaining when the S-4 was sunk. The sea was heavy aud wiud was force !>. It was impossible for the divers to operate, aud no salvaging operation* were possible until the weather moderated. By this time sll tlie personnel of the submarine had perished.

-•*" G. M. Bauh.

BRITISH

LoNDoN, March 29, 1928. The honorable the Secretary of STATE, Washington, D. C.

Sii; : I have the honor to refer to the department's instruction No. 1315, February 29, 1928, regarding safety devices and salvage appliances in use in foreign navies, and to state that the questionnaire contained therein was promptly referred by the naval attaché to the appropriate authorities of the admiralty, and a reply, dated March 26, 1928, has been received, of which the pertinent portion is quoted, as follows:

“I beg to inform you that as regards question 3 a salvage air inlet (or, as it is termed, divers' connection) is fitted to each main compartment of the submarine. Each inlet is independent of the rest and supplies air only into the compartment in which it is fitted.

“The answers to all the other questions are in the negative."

I have the honor to be, sir,

Your obedient servant for the ambassador, RAY ATHEEToN, Counselor of Embassy. FRENCH WArious in Fort M.Ation ox the devices Adopted by THE FitExch Fort subMARINE SALWAgiNG

1. The French Navy no longer uses grappling rings, eyelets, or shackles attached to the hull of submarines for lifting purposes. 2. The French Navy uses a telephone buoy which can be released from the interior of the submarine. 3. An each compartment there exists an air inlet. 4. No submarine is provided with a diving chamber. 5. Submarines have folding lifeboats that are placed on the bridge (Berton system). 6. Submarines are provided with an (Boutan type). 7, 8, 9. There exists 3 lifting docks with cables, the characteristics of which are the following:

NAVY

automatic diving apparatus

[ocr errors]

70 1,500 700

2, Up to the present time the dock at Cherbourg (700 tons) has been used only once, to lift the Gustave Zede (850 tons), which had sunk,

no crew being on board, in one of the basins of Cherbourg.
The construction of other salvage vessels is not contemplated.

ITALIAN

1. The new submarines will be equipped with grappling rings to which can be applied a lifting force equal to 35 per cent of surface displacement of the submarine. 2. All submarines of new construction will have two telephone signal buoys, one, at the bow and the other at the stern. The buoys will be supplied with telephone, an apparatus for luminous signals, and a salvage air inlet. 3. Submarines in construction will have a salvage air inlet with outside connections for use of the divers which can furnish air from the exterior into the internal compartments of the submarine. 4. Submarines now building will have two exit locks for the eventual escape of the crew, one at the bow and the other at the stern ; the turret will be so constructed as to serve also as an exit lock. 5. I)etachable cabins (Cavallini and Belloni type) were devised several years ago for the escape of the crew and experiments were made; these cabins, however, have never been applied for reasons of encumbrance and of weight. 6. It is not contemplated to assign a diving apparatus to each man for the time being. 7. The Royal Navy does not possess salvage vessels of the double-hull or catamaran type. 8. No salvage vessels have been ordered. 9. The only salvage vessel owned by the Royal Navy is the pontoon Anteo, capable of lifting 400 tons. It was used only during the war for raising at Taranto a sunken Austrian mine-laying submarine. There has been no further occasion of employing it. As showing the interest in safeguarding the lives of the crews of submarines, I append also the names and addresses of persons who have submitted plans and suggestions: “S-4 " DisastER—PERsons SUGGESTING SAFETY DEVICES A John Antle, St. Johns, Newfoundland. Charles Angelo, Westfield, N. J. p Frauenfelder Barraja, 1600 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pa. A. J. Boots, 105 South Court Avenue, Memphis, Tenn.

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

George F. Keating, 216 Eddy Street, San Francisco, Calif.
Paul A. Kelley, Box 16, Sayville, N. Y.
H. J. Koontz, Besselner Building, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Walther Kurze, New Athens, Ill.

L
Simon Lake, Milford, Conn. -
Charles J. Leach, 4808 Fourth Avenue, New York, N. Y.
William La Grange, 1473. Flushing Avenue.
E. J. Laso, 385 Chauncey Street, Brooklyn, N. Y.
Washington G. Lee, 705 Fourth Street, Washington, D. C.
Patrick Lowe, 933 East Ontario Street, Philadelphia, Pa.
Joseph Leonard, 30 Custom Street, London, England.
Charles Leaver, 14 Worthley Street, Red Bank, N. J.
George W. Lee, 1310 Twenty-third Street, Washington, D. C.
Francis LeGuen, 127 Hobart Avenue.
W. E. Leininger, 4513 North Camac Street, Philadelphia, Pa.
Walter Link, 1332 I Street, Washington, D. C.
Frank H. Link, Twenty-second Street and Eleventh Avenue, White-

stone, L. I.

William Lister, 1605 Elmwood Avenue, Wilmette, Ill.

M

Pedro Maggio, 325 Fifty-sixth Street, Brooklyn, N. Y.
P. E. Matthews, 1020 Myrtle Avenue, Plainfield, N. J.
E. S. Mahoney, 300 IIatton Street, Portsmouth, Va.
Frank Maltese, 343 Bronx Park Avenue, New York, N. Y.
Charles C. Mertz, 1932 Riggs Avenue, Baltimore, Md.
Capt. A. G. Midford, 36 Emerald Street South, Hamilton, Ontario.
F. F. Morris, Wilkinsburg Station, Pittsburgh, Pa.
E. F. Moss, St. Lau, Colo. -
I. :[ason, 115 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn, N. Y.

[graphic]

Joseph Xk-Iniyrc. 01 St. Marks Place.

Oeorgc Mcl-aughlin, 2034 Lexington Avenue, New York.

N

Joseph Neumann. Norwalk, Conn.
\V. Nicholson, Monroe, Wash.
Theo H. Nlermann, 1409 Carlisle Avenue.

i)

W. S. Osmond, 53:!!) Willows Avenue.
L. A. Overmayer, 1148 Packard Avenue.
MaJ. John V. O'Kourke, 17 Battery Place.

p

Kdward Panloe. South Fork, Pa.

William E. Parker, '2T> South Street, New York City.
Jerome Puxlnl, 94 Baxter Htn-et, New York City.
Herbert .T. IVnrsnll. 101 West Brond Street, Westtield, N-. J,
Krnest H. Pettit. 120 Reliance Avenue, Ixisnlle, N. Y.

Q

Jolin W. Quynn, Parkershurg, W. Va.

I

Edmund Uodmond, 1500 South Avenue. Rex-neuter, N. T.

Krnest Keincke, Esq.. ~>0 West Street, Haverstraw, N. Y.

J. W. Reno, Ml Broadway, New York City.

M. Reyngoudt, 474 Highland Aveinii1, , N. J.

James I,. Roach, 50 Kast One hundred and twenty-seventh Street, New York City.

Charles II. Rockwell, 315 Fifteenth Street. Honesdale, Pa.

C. P. Rodgers. 24!) Lincoln Avenue, Cliftondnle. Mass.

ICtnma M. Ilowsou. !MU Hawthorne Avenue, Haddonfield, N. .1.

s

Ccorge W. Sehva.v, 42(i Kingslaud Avenue, LyudUurat, N. J.

Adolph (i. Stuhl, 57(i Courtlandt Avenue, Kronx, New York City.

CharleM (i. Stark. Bay Sliore, Long Island.

Clmrles T. Starr, 218 North Avenue, Westfield, N. J.

E. W. Stout, 414 South Fourteenth Street, Richmond, Ind.

Theodore O. StrausH, Oil West One hundred and fifty-eighth Street, New York City.

Patrick Sullivan, 707 Amsterdam Avenue, New York City.

S. W. Stanton, 18 North Nineteenth Street. Kast Orange, N. J.

Peter Schon, 928 Sheridan Place, Chicago, 111.

Alfred 1{. Stackhouse, Palmyra, N. J.

I

•5. Tlsmer, 1001 Twenty-second Street NW., Miami, Fla.

Mnx Thuui, 747 Kast One hundred and sixty-eighth Street, New York City.

A. Trainman, 1040 Ruahwlck Avenue, Brooklyn, N. Y.

Frank I. Turner, 551 Fifth Avenue, New York City.

T

H. Van Arm, 20 Veney Street, New York City.

W

A. J. WachH, 1581 Fulton Avenue, Bronx, New York City.

W. V. Washabough, Quaker Hill, Conn.

II. G. Welo. 342 Madison Avenue. New York City.

J. IT. Welsh, .~><>3 West Forty-third Street, New York City.

Lnzelln A. Williamson, Hanunoiiton. N. Y.

Frank Wolff, 3(1 Prospect Place, Brooklyn, N. Y.

Pierre Wood, 103 Pilot Street, City Island, N. Y.

INLAND WATERWAYS COlil-ORATION

Mr. PARKER. Mr. Speaker, I move that the House resolve itself into Committee of the Whole House on the slate of the Union for the further consideration of the bill H. R. 13512.

The SPEAKER. The gentleman from New York moves that the House resolve itself into Committee <:f the Whole House on the state of the Union for the further consideration of the hill H. R. 13512. The question is on agreeing to that motion.

The motion was agreed to.

The SPEAKER. The gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. FuoTiiiNoiiAMl will please take the chair.

Accordingly the House resolved itself into Committee of the Whole Ilonst' on the state of the Union for the further consideration of the hill II. It. 13312, with Mr. Fhothingham in the chair.

The CHAIRMAN. The House is in Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union for the further consideration of the bill II. R. 13512. which the Clerk will report by title.

The Clerk read as follows:

A bill (H. R. 13312) to amend the act entitled "An act to create the Inland Waterways Corporation for the purpose of carrying out tie mandate ami purpose of Congress, a* expressed In sections 201 aud 000

of the transportation act, and for other purposes," approved June 3, 1924.

The CHAIRMAN. When the committee rose the other day an amendment proposed by the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. Tbeadway] was pending. The Clerk will again report the amendment

The Clerk read as follows:

Amendment offered hy Mr. Thkadway: Page 3, line 24, strike out all of paragraph (c).

The CHAIRMAN-. The question is <.n agreeing to the amendment.

The question was taken, and the amendment was rejected.

Mr. SHALLENBERGEIl. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike out the last word.

The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Nebraska moves to strike out the last word.

Mr. SHALLENBERGER. I ask uiii'.nimous consent, Mr. Chairman, to proceed for 10 minutes.

The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Nebraska?

There was no objection.

Mr. SHALLENBERGEIl. I have been a member of this committee for live years and can uot recall of having asked for 10 minutes upon a transportation bill before. The Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce has persistently refused ro report any important railroad legislation. We are strong for bridges and lighthouse hills.

Perhaps the committee's policy was announced to me by its former chairman when I first became a member, and I asked him if the committee would not consider bills to correct our transportation laws. The chairman's reply was, "This committee considers only what the President tells us to consider.

and if you d Democrats were in control you would do the

same tiling."

I am glad therefore that the committee under its present leader has at last reported a transportation measure, even though it only deals with a minor portion of the Nation's needs in this matter. It promises some slight competition in rates on basic agricultural products which at present are excessive and unfair.

Mr. PARKER. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. SHALU3NBEKGER. Yes.

Mr. PARKER. Have we not reported another bill that has to do with transportation?

Mr. S11AI.LEXBEUGER. Not with freight and passenger rates.

The transportation act of 1020 destroyed railroad competition and set up a transportation monopoly in this country. Hy the provision requiring a certificate of convenience and necessity it stopped railroad building aud constituted existing systems a transportation trust.

By fixing both maximum and minimum charges the. Interstate Commerce Commission has destroyed all competition in rates.

We hear a great deal of loose talk about Government oj>eration of railroads. We have it in substance now under the act of 1U20.

A Federal bureau controls the essentials of railroad busi>ness—establishment of lines and systems and all rates and charges. All the railroad managers liave to do now is to keep tho hooks and run the trains. Railroad rates can not be reduced even if the managers think it beneficial both for the roads and the public to do so. The Interstate Commerce Commission is now the poobah of transportation.

Competition either by waterways, highways, or the ait affords the only chance for relief from the burdens of the transportation trust. The necessity for competition hy water was brought out in the hearings on this bill. I have supported this bill in the committee and shall vote for its jMissage.

My State is interested in this bill. Nebraska ships more outbound agricultural freight by the Inland Waterways Corporation than any other Western State. We also pay enormous tribute to the railroads because of the excessive frei^lit rates authorized by the present law. Water competition brought an offer of freight reduction upon certain merchandise, but the Interstate Commerce Commission would not permit it.

A very large tonnage of canned goods moves eastward from California and the Pacific coast each year. It amounts to 800,000 tons annually. The rate on this freight is ?1.05 per hundred in car lots of (10,000 pounds from San Francisco to western Nebraska. But the railroads grant Chicago, Pittsburgh, Boston, or Now York the same freight rate they do Grand Lslaiul, Nebr., or any other point east of the Rocky Mountains upon this traffic.

If the Boston rate Is fair and compensatory, it Is evidently very unfair to Nebraska. If the rate is just and reasonable to Nebraska, then the railroads can carry cars of canned goods from Grand Island, Nebr., to Boston, Mass., for nothing. How can they afford to do that, you ask? Because the Interstate Commerce Commission has raised the rate on farm products from Nebraska to the Atlantic coast so tremendously since March 1, 1!)20, that tho loss on the long shipment of canned goods Is made up by the overcharge on the agricultural products of the Central West.

In order that the eastern consumer may have a free car-lot rate for 1,500 miles, the rate on corn aiid wheat from the Central West was enormously increased. Now the people of the Middle West protested to the railroads against the unjust and unreasonable freight charges on canned goods coining from the Pacific coast.

They joined with others in the Mississippi Valley in a request for a reduction in freight rates on the 800.000 tons of canned goods. The railroads offered to cut the rate 15 cents per hundred.

The Interstate Commerce Commission refused to permit the reduction proposed by the railroads. It is claimed that transcontinental railroad freight rates have been reduced because of canal competition. Those who claim this do not know the facts. I thought so myself until I learned the truth. The records show that such freight rates were much lower before there was any Panama Canal than they are to-day. The Panama Canal was officially opcn'-d January ], 1915. At that time the railroad car-lot rate on canned goods from the Pacific coast to Mississippi Valley territory and eastward was only (>2>/£ cents per hundred pounds. In 1!)2(), by order of the Interstate Commerce Commission the rate on the same goods was raised to $1.20'/2 per hundred. In 1921 the rate was reduced to $1.05 per huudred, where it now stands.

It was claimed by the commission and others that the water carriers who resisted the reduction could not afford the 15-cent cut proposed by the railroads and maintain their competition. The water carriers fix their own freight rates. The Interstate Commerce Commission does not control them. They have at times reduced rates on this same class of freight from California to the Atlantic coast, via the Panama Canal, as much as 25 cents a hundred. It has varied from 30 to 55 cents per hundred pounds.

Mr. GARH10R. Will the gentleman yield?

Mr. SHALLKNBKRGER. Yes.

Mr. GARBKR. Has not tho Panama Canal been used as a ground for the increasing of freight rates throughout the interior section of the country?

Mr. SIIALLEM5KRGKR. Yes.

It would appear therefore that the interests of the carriers and not of the consumers and shippers was the determining factor in the decision of the commission. The public lest and the carriers won. Open competition in public affairs benefits the people. Bureau control is the stronghold of monopoly.

Another instance of favoritism by the commission is the preferential rate granted iron and steel for export as compared to wheat and corn. Iron or steel for domestic use is carried from Chicago to the Pacific coast for .$1 per hundred pounds. The export rale on steel from Chicago to the Pacific coast is only 40 cents. The rate on wheat for export from Nebraska to New York or Baltimore is only 6 cents a hundred less than the domestic rate.

A reduction of GO cents a hundred pounds on steel for export is granted as against a reduction of (t cents a hundred on wheat or corn. The favor granted to steel is ten times that granted to corn or wheat when seeking a foreign market. Scores of just such gross discriminations could be pointed out under existing conditions if time permitted. As I have already pointed out, tho transportation act has created a railroad monopoly, and monopolies are always unjust, unreasonable, and indefensible. Until the present transportation act is repealed or amended, the public must rely upon competition by water or the highways for any relief from the burden of unfair freight rates.

There is one warning that I want to sound to the friends of fhis bill. Keep water transportation entirely free from control by the Interstate Commerce Commission. That body should remain as it is, a railroad commission oii'y. If the inland waterways ever come under the control of the railroad commission, the rail carriers will begin to dominate it and eventually control and destroy its competitive power, which is its chief source of benefit and usefulness as a public utility.

Mr. (JAKLIKK. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike out the last two words.

The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Oklahoma is recognized for five minutes.

Mr. GARBER. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, the bill under consideration presents the question as to whether we can demonstrate the successful navigation of our inland waterways so that private capital will invest and furnish necessary river transportation.

We began the navigation in 1018 as a war necessity to relieve the freight congestion of the country. This was carried on first under the direction of the Director General of Railroads, who, in July, 1918, appointed a Federal manager to take charge of the service on the Warrior and Mississippi Rivers. Under the transportation act of 1!>20 the properties were conveyed to the Secretary of War, under whose direction the service was continued until the present time. The net of 1924 created the Inland Waterways Corporation, but made the Secretary of War the incorporator with power to govern and direct the corporation, with the assistance of an advisory board of six members appointed by him.

In 1927 tho total assets of the corporation were $17,020,878. It transported 1,200.000 tons of freight during that year.

At the very outset it must be conceded that the e'xperimenration carried on during the last 10 years is not encouraging. The project is not on a paying basis, and if it were not for the substantial prospect of removing the obstacles to a successful demonstration the appropriation of $10,000,000 as provided for in this bill should not be made.

In the first place, the vastness and magnitude of the enterprise has never been fully appreciated. It now involves water channels to the extent of 2.414.9 miles. It is a far greater undertaking than the building of the Panama Caiml. It .should be approached with that conception.

The inland waterway system is made up as follows:

Miles

Lower Mississippi division, from St. Louis to New Orleans. _ 1 l.r>9 0 Lpper Mississippi division, from St. Louis to Minneapolis 602'

Warrior division:

(11 From New Orleans to Mobile Ala _ 144

(2) From Mobile to Hirmlng Port I III 419

Total Warrior division 503

In addition, the corporation owns railroad from Binning Port to Knsley. Ala., a distance of 18 miles.

The experiment has not had a fair trial. Unforeseen obstacles have developed. The work of stabilizing a channel has not progressed as rapidly as was expected. As national highways it is the legitimate province of the Government to provide a dependable channel for the commerce of the country. The necessity for modem terminal facilities was not fully appreciated. Cities beginning to awake to the advantages of water transportation are now voting bonds and providing suitable terminal facilities, a modern terminal costing from $100,000 to a million dollars, according to the desired capacity.

The cities will not vote bonds to make such investments unless they have the continued assurance of navigation, and this the bill affords. But the third and greatest obstacle in the progress of this demonstration has been the opposition of the railroads. They have refused a division of joint rates preventing an extension of the benefits of inland-waterway transportation to the interior sections of the country. If such benefits can not be so transferred the demonstration can not succeed and navigation of inland waterways should Ik» abandoned. A port-to-port rate will not sustain it. The cities along the rivers can not do it. The demonstration must reach out into the interior sections of the country where the freight rates are high, and this requires traffic arrangements, joint tariffs, rules, and regulations, and an equitable division of freight rates with the barges being oporated by the corporation, and thus far we attribute the failure of the experiment to the opposition of the roads and their refusal to cooperate in such arrangements and division of rates.

In this connection the freight agent of the Mississippi Waterways Service said:

To-day the upper river has Ipss than 6 per cent of Its normal joint rates. The Warrior has about 20 per cent of the joint rates which It should rightfully have, of which less than half are covered liy Railsfactory divisions. The lower Mississippi service has approximately II) pev cent of the appropriate normal joint rates which it should have, and all the existing Joint-rate divisions have been established covering only about half of them. • * • The progress during the past decade Is not discour.iKinK, but It Is obviously most unbusinesslike that these jointrate and division matters, Bo easily adjusted as between privately operated rail carriers, were accomplished by the Government barge lines so slowly and at such an unprecedented cost of money and delay. Ten years' experience him clearly demonstrated that railroad carriers will not voluntarily cooperate in accomplishing appropriate coordination of the barge service with the railroad transportation system as intended by l»w. It therefore seems fitting that some further legislation be enacted to require quick resnltg at a minimum cost through tbe Interstate Commerce Commission.

In describing the difficulties with the roads, Mr. Brent, who was for a number of years engaged with the movement of the Mississippi Bar^e Line, and is now counselor for the waterways divisions for the State of Illinois, the waterways division for the State of Minnesota, and vice president for the Redwood Line, which operates steamsliips between New Orleans and Sun Francisco, said:

In 1920 we went before tbe Interstate Commerce Commission asking for a broad basis- of joint rates, for fair divisions, and for fair reciprocal relations with the railroads at terminal points.

That case was presented elaborately and took a long time. The record was some 2,700 pages ol testimony and about 500 exhibits. It began In May, 1920, and it was not until May, 1923, that there was any outcome from the commission. At that time the commission issued no orders, but gave us certain formulas for making the river and rail rates and for rail and river rates and laid down certain principles upon which divisions should be based and remanded us to what they termed "friendly negotiation'' with the railroads. Unfortunately their formula for divisions gave alternative bases, and the railroads liked their basis, and the barge lines could not stand for it; and the barge lines liked another basis, and the railroads would not stand for that. • » •

I merely mention these things to show you tbe vicissitudes under which a Government corporation, even under tbe existing law, operates in its attempt to serve the public against the unquestionably hostile attitude of the railroads of tbe country.

Senator Fletcher. During this time were you carrying about your capacity?

Mr. Brent. Well, no. Of course we are not carrying, in some directions, the capacity of the lines at present, because the rates do not exist to give us capacity.

In certain directions we have capacity carloads and in other directions we do not; but during this period during which we were waiting for the beginnings of these rates we lost $1,500,000 in operating expenses, and during this period we received and stood the attacks of hostile newspapers throughout the country, expatiating upon the demonstration of the lack of economic valuo in water transportation.

Senator Siieppard. Whose fault Is It that you do not get the rate, you need?

Mr. Brent. We think it Is largely the fault of the law.

Senator Shkppard. Of the law?

Mr. Bbent. Yes. The law Ib permissive. The law Is not mandatory. The commission may or may not. The commission does not have to. ****#*•

Mr. Bre.vt. Yes; but what I mean is this—we have never gone before tbe Interstate Commerce Commission and its examiners yet but what we have a cohort of railroad attorneys who insist that this thing is of no value. We have plenty of transportation facilities already available. The country does not need this service. This is not a necessity and it is really an Inconvenience.

Testifying further, Mr. Brent said:

The roads do not want to see this development, because they think It Is a menace to their prosperity. We must have a change In the provisions of the law. To-day the law is permissive. It permits the commission to take its time and do as It pleases, to give it to you now or to remand you to what you call friendly negotiations. The law should be mandatory and compel the commission to act.

Interpreting the evidence showing this opposition the committee in its report states:

This policy of opposition on the part of many of the railroads has resulted in years of delay in the extension of the benefits of water transportation to interior communities and has seriously retarded the successful operation of the Inland Waterways Corporation. Unless such opposition on the part of the rail carriers Is overcome and through routes. Joint rates, and an equitable division of Joint rates Is made available without Interminable delays and the heavy expenses necessary to carry on such proceedings before the Interstate Commerce Commission, privately owned transportation service will never be realized on the Inl.'ind waterways of the country.

The bearlnirs on this bill convinced tbe committee that legislation somewhat drastic is now not only needed, but is necessary in order to fully carry out the purposes for creating the Inland Waterways Corporation and to realize the benefits of the policy of Congress manifested by the large expenditures made for the Improvement of our inland waterways.

Mind you, this opposition of the roads is in face of the declared policy of Congress in section 500 of the transportation act of 1920, aa follows:

It is hereby declared to bs the policy of Congress to promote, encourage, and develop water transportation, service, and facilities In connec

tion with the commerce of the United States, and to foster and preserve in full vigor both rail and water transportation.

It is to be regretted that, the commission was unable to find authority for the exercise of its initiatory power in that part of paragraph 3 of section 15 of the transportation act of 1920 and other supporting sections of the act, reading as follows:

The commission may. and it shall whenever deemed by it to be nrci-8sary or desirable in the public interest, after full hearing upon complaint or upon its own initiative without a complaint, establish through routes, Joint classifications, and Joint rates, fares, or charges applicable to the transportation of passengers or property, or the maxima or minima, or maxima and minima, to be charged (or, In the case of a through route where one of the carriers la a water line, the maximum rates, fares, and charges applicable thereto), and the divisions of such rates, fares, or charges as hereinafter provided, and the terms and conditions under which such through routes shall be operated; and this provision, except as herein otherwise provided, shall apply when one of the carriers Is a water line.

Opposition of the roads and the failure of the commission to administer satisfactorily have been the two outstanding obstacles to the successful demonstration of the experiment of our inland waterways. Not only that, but they have been, and are to-day, preventing a revision and readjustment of rates so as to permit of the equitable apportionment of the burdens of transportation alike to every section of the country ami industry. This has become so pronounced and outstanding in the presence of our most imperative need as to create a growing demand for the abolition of the commission.

That the commission has failed to administer onr regulatory power satisfactorily to the country, that it has failed to administer such power so as to approximately apportion the burdens of commerce equitably alike to every section of the country and line of industry, is generally claimed throughout the country. And unless there is some radical change of policy on the part of that body In the adoption of a constructive program for aggressive revision and readjustment of the horizontal increases innx>sod, the demand for its abolition will continue to grow and become imperative.

In a signed article published in one of the leading magazines of the couutry hut. a short time ago, a Member of Congress representing a prominent eastern industrial State declared that if he had the power hut for a single day to effectuate the mostneeded reformation in the Government for the greatest relief of all the people he would abolish the Interstate Commerce Commission and turn the roads hack to private regulation and control.

In view of the general dissatisfaction with the rate structure and the nation-wide demand for a revision and readjustment of rates, such a statement, if unchallenged, In many quarters will be accepted at it« face value as a proposal of the only adequate remedy for the existing unsatisfactory rate conditions throughout the country.

EXISTING UNSATISFACTORY CONDITIONS THROUGHOUT THE COCN'THT

I have recently received resolutions from numerous representative farm and civic organizations in the Mid West demanding the repeal of section 15a of the transportation act of 1920. In yesterday's mail I received resolutions from several of the national farm organizations demanding the immediate repeal of the entire act. These resolutions are indicative of the deepseated existing dissatisfaction with rate conditions in the interior mid-western section of the country.

The farmers feel that the roads have been well taken care of since the war. They feel that the Interstate Commerce Commission has said by its horizontal increases imposed in 1921:

We must take care of the roads first. We must save them at all hazards, even though it must be by horizontal Increases which we know are especially burdensome on agriculture.

Of course, the system of horizontal increases saved the roads. It rebuilt their financial credit. It doubled the value of their stocks and the amount: of their annual dividends. It lias enabled them to invest $7,000,000,000 in betterments. The roads have been rehabilitated. They have been saved. They have been restored to prosperous conditions snch as they never experienced before.

It may have been good policy or war-time necessity for the Government during its period of operation of the railroads to keep rates at a point at which enormous losses were piled up, but no one would expect the Government to assume responsibility for losses incurred after the roads were returned to their owners. And the owners can not be asked to accept rates which would lead to bankruptcy. Necessary as the rate increases were, therefore, they came at a peculiarly inopportune

« ПретходнаНастави »