« ПретходнаНастави »
be made between the Greek system of railways and the Continental European system of railways, and there will be a large development at the ports of the Piraeus which is already the port of central transshipment for the eastern Mediterranean. It is the purpose of the Greek government to establish at Piraeus a port to facilitate this sort of trans-shipment. I have recently had a communication from the Minister of Foreign Affairs at Athens expressing the hope that Americans might become interested in that proposition.
Another public work to be undertaken immediately in the City of Athens is a proposition for supplying the city with water and for installing a sewerage system. The City of Athens receives its water from a conduit which was built by a Roman ruler 46 years B. C. It has been repaired from time to time, and as one can well understand the water supply is very scanty. Engineering plans have been made for bringing water into the City of Athens from two directions, one from a river some sixty miles from Athens and another from a lake in the mountains near the City of Corinth, an equal distance away. The estimated cost of this proposition is about fifty million frances. The Greek government will give a perpetual franchise to the company installing the works and in addition to furnishing water and sewage connections, for the City of Athens and Piraeus, now' numbering 260,000 people, and growing very rapidly, there will be an oppor: tunity for selling water for irrigation purposes all through the province of Attica, which, since the days of THUCYDIDES has been noted for its light soil.
There is another drainage proposition further up where there are hundreds of thousands of acres of land about the shores of Lake Scutari where the land is equal to the character of that of the Delta of the Nile. It is largely under water now. The Bojana river which drains that lake, a short stream, will need to be developed to afford more perfect drainage, and that land will then be open for agricultural purposes all up and down the Dalmatian coast. Practi. cally every ounce of wheat and flour now consumed there is brought through Roumania, the Black Sea and the Dardanelles, and in a few months that proposition will be open for consideration.
One feature that has always struck me over there as an opportunity for American investment on the ground is the establislıment and development of a shoe factory. If I were to come to any one of you gentlemen here, and say that you would have an opportunity of establishing a shoe factory in the City of New York and that there would be no other shoc factory in competition with you, you would be falling over yourselves to get that opportunity. Now, the country of Greece, to-day, contains nearly three millions of people. As soon as the war is over and the boundaries are re-adjusted Greece will have seven millions or more, and there is not a shoe factory in the country. Such few shoes. as are made there, are made by hand and are not of good quality. The duties on shoes happen to be very high. The duties on leather are not very high. I know that the shoe factories of New England are largely manned to-day by Greeks, and if Greeks can run shoe machinery in Haverhill, Massachusetts and run it successfully, they certainly can run it successfully in Athens, Greece. Labor is very cheap, the average day's wage being three francs, or about 58 cents. The army contracts, in my opinion, would be quite sufficient to carry the enterprise, leaving the whole of the country of Greece and those trans-shipment points in the Levant to furnish a profit. I talked with the Minister of War about this thing just before I left Greece, and asked him if in case I could interest American capital in establishing a shoe factory at the Piraeus if he would give us the army contracts, and he said be certainly would, and it secms to me that that is one of the best opportunities I know of for investment far away from home.
Whatever is done in the Levant, however, should be done after some study of the demands of the market. That is to say, it will not do to send a lot of goods out there and expect the market to absorb them. You must know with some degree of accuracy what the country needs. I have never been on a steamer in any of the Levantine waters without finding from three to a dozen German commercial travellers who were studying the market and looking for a chance to advance the interests of their country and those people are pushing their goods with the utmost of energy and intelligence, not only in that part of the world but everywhere.
It happens that in the Levant there is a tremendous feeling of affection for the United States. As I have said there is no small village even where you cannot find somebody who has been here. Those people over there recognize us as the one great country in the world that does not want any of their territory, that has no desire to dictate either foreign or interior policies to their ministers. They receive from us enormous sums of money sent over there every year by the emigrants who have left their families at home, and who have come over here to share in the prosperities of this land; and that market in the Levant, to my mind gentlemen, is ripe for an immediate and profitable American invasion.
We spend great amounts of time, energy and money in developing the South American market, and the Levant to us is but a name. There are those eight millions of people ready and anxious to buy our goods. and I hope this great body and the tremendous interests which it represents will turn its eyes toward the near East where a new era of peace and prosperity is about to open, and that through your efforts. gentlemen, we may get there what we deserve and what the people of that clime are ready to give us, the lion's share of their business. [Loud applause. ]
THE PRESIDENT.—I have learned a great deal from the remarks of MR. MOSES. I do not know whether the other gentlemen here were quite so ignorant as I, but I am certain that even if they knew a good deal they have learned something, as I have learned a great deal from what he has said. I am sure it will be the wish of the Chamber that I should express to MR. MOSES our appreciation and our thanks for his interesting and instructive speech. [Applause.)
ARBITRATION TREATY WITH GREAT BRITAIN.
WELDING Ring, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Commerce and the Revenue Laws, presented the following report which was unanimously adopted :
To the Chamber of Commerce :
The United States has always taken a foremost position in advocating the submission of international differences to Arbitration for settlement. At the present time there is a treaty between the United States and Great Britain, providing that differences of a legal nature, or relating to the interpretation of treaties shall be referred to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague. This treaty was entered into in 1908 for a period of five years, and will therefore expire on the fifth day of June next.
The Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York has always advocated the principles of Arbitration, and feels a deep interest in an early settlement of the differences between this country and Great Britain. The committee, therefore, presents the following preamble and resolutions :
Whereas, The Treaty of Arbitration entered into in 1908 between the United States and Great Britain, will expire on June 5, 1913 ; therefore be it
Resolved, That the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York memorializes the President and the Senate of the United States to take early steps for the renewal of the Arbitration Treaty between this country and Great Britain, which went into effect, June 5, 1908, 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.
Committee an Foreign Commerce
and the Revenue Laws.
NEW YORK, January 27, 1913.
THE NORRIS BILL.
MR. Ring on behalf of the same committee also presented the following report and moved its adoption:
To the Chamber of Commerce :
House of Representatives Bill No. 25,002, which has passed both Houses of Congress amends sections 73 and 76 of the act of 1894, in a way that would put importers of merchandise into the United States, and their agents, in peril of the penalty imposed by the act of 1894 for combination, conspiracy, trust, agreement or contract, regardless of whether they were engaged in such combination or not.
The amendment inserts the words “as agent or principal” in section 73 of the act of 1894 so that it shall read :
“Sec. 73. That every combination, conspiracy, trust, agreement, or contract, is hereby declared to be contrary to public policy, illegal, and void when the same is made by or between two or more persons or corporations either of whom, as agent or principal, is engaged in importing any article from any foreign country into the United States, and when such combination, conspiracy, trust, agreement, or contract is intended to operate in restraint of lawful trade, or free competition in lawful trade or commerce, or to increase the market price in any part of the United States of any article or articles imported or intended to be imported into the United States, or of any manufacture into which such imported article enters or is intended to enter. Every person who is or shall hereafter be engaged in the importation of goods or any commodity from any foreign country in violation of this section of this act, or who shall combine or conspire with another to violate the same is guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction thereof in any court of the United States such person shall be fined in a sum not less than one hundred dollars and not exceeding five thousand dollars and shall be further punished by imprisonment, in the discretion of the court, for a term not less than three months nor exceeding twelve months.”
Inasmuch as, in every importation of merchandise, there must necessarily be a principal and his agent, and inasmuch as it is impossible to determine whether such imported merchandise when held for sale, as it often is legitimately, is held with intent to increase the market price or not, it is clear that the proposed amendment, though intended to strengthen the law against conspiracy in restraint of trade, would operate to the injury of legitimate trade. Many agents, in this country, of principals sending merchandise here for sale, would have no knowledge of the intentions of their principals, and while acting in good faith, in handling the merchandise, would, under the terms of this amendment, be held liable to conviction and punishment for misdemeanor.
The House, in passing the bill, amended section 76 of the law of 1894 so that any property owned under any contract or by combination or pursuant to any conspiracy mentioned in section 73, and being in the course of transportation from a foreign country into any state, or from one state to another, shall be forfeited to the United States. The words “from a foreign country into any state” constitute the proposed amendment. This, if adopted, would place imported merchandise in the course of transportation in danger of confiscation and as no one
could be sure of the inter.t of the principal, it would complicate all · business transactions in connection therewith, and increase the risk of
accepting or cashing bills of exchange with documents attached. This amendment, as accepted by the House, bas been eliminated from the bill in the Senate, but the House may not agree to this change.
Your committee, after careful consideration of the subject, believes that both amendments are not only unnecessary, but most barmful to commerce; and it therefore recommends the adoption of the following resolution :
Resolved, That the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York opposes the enactment of Norris Bill H. R. 25002 amending the act of 1894, and authorizes the Committee on Foreign Commerce and the Revenue Laws to appeal to the President of the United States to protect our commerce against this burden upon the exchange of the commodities of the earth between our country and other nations by vetoing this bill.
TaE PRESIDENT. —You have heard the very clear exposition of the proposed bill. It is evident that it would add materially to the burdens that are now upon us.
There seems to be danger that if we proceed very far in the direction to which we have been headed for some time, it may be lawful to do only one thing, and that will be, to buy merchandise and sell it at cost, and lose the cost of doing the business. [Laughter.] It will be illegal to try to get more than cost in very