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The CHAIRMAN. What is the pleasure of the committee?
Senator THOMAS. That indicates what we must expect if we grant unlimited hearings. It means that we will be here for a number of months, because those who represent the other side of this question will also want to be heard, and of course if you open the doors at all you open the doors to everyone. I do not object to that at all, but I think we ought to limit at the outset the time that the committee is going to devote to public hearings.
With reference to States, it seems to me if we hear from the representatives of one State, unless there is some peculiar reason why a certain part has an interest different from some other part of it, that ought to be sufficient. Take the State of Washington, for instance. Here are a number of applications from a large number of places, and I presume their interests are identical. Why could they not be required to select some one person as a representative to present the whole case?
Senator WALSH. I was going to suggest that all of those apparently could be grouped.
Senator THORNTON. I have always stood in the Senate, and always will stand, for liberty of discussion and freedom of discussion, and not only in the Senate, but in committees, in all proper cases. But I am opposed to an indiscriminate opening being given to all these cities on the Pacific coast, for this reason: Two years ago they sent here as the representative of the entire Pacific coast, Mr. Wheeler, of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. Senator Jones, then a member of this committee, asked him in the presence of the committee, "Are you representing the Pacific coast here in this matter?" And he said that he was speaking for all of them, and that there was no one else but him. So we must assume that to be the fact.
Therefore, they had their opportunity and availed themselves of it to have their case presented, and they can not present anything more now than was presented by their agent, Mr. Wheeler, for them. And, therefore, for that reason. I am opposed to opening this to practically unlimited discussion, especially as I am perfectly and entirely frank to say that, in my opinion, this is largely worked up by interested parties, in order to prolong the discussion and get a delay in this matter. want everything that is fair, just, and right, but we want to get through with this matter some time, and I am opposed to the Pacific coast, which sent its special representative here two years ago, when he was given all the time that he wanted, and was on the stand two and three times in rebuttal to what was said on the other side. and just as long as he chose to be heard, now having this matter reopened, and a dozen different bodies there wishing to appear before this committee.
Senator PERKINS. I will say to the Senator that the Pacific coast is satisfied with the action taken by Congress.
Senator THORNTON. I beg the Senator's pardon.
Senator PERKINS. I say the Pacific coast is perfectly satisfied with the action which we took in Congress last year. Now we propose to reverse it.
Senator THORNTON. The point I make is that the Pacific coast sent its representative here two years ago, representing every single one of these bodies, by their own admission and by his admission. Consequently, they have had their hearing and they can not present any
thing more than they did then. I object to unnecessary delay. I want all the time which is necessary for a fair consideration of the matter, but I am absolutely opposed to anything which will bring about unnecessary delay. And I am frank to say that I think there is an object—I am not saying this, of course, in reference to this body as a committee-but there is an object among what I will call the coastwise shipping interest to prolong this as long as they possibly can, thinking that in time a certain sentiment can be worked up and an appeal made to patriotism, and talk about transcontinental railroads, which I consider false premises. But, nevertheless, I think it is worked up largely for that purpose. largely for that purpose. I am opposed to any unnecessary delay just for the sake of delay. That is my position.
Senator PAGE. I should like to ask Senator Thornton if it is not true that the great bulk of the hearings two years ago was devoted to the question of the passage of railroad-owned ships through the canal. There was very little attention given to the questions now before us. It was almost all, as I remember it, devoted to theThe CHAIRMAN. To the proposed exclusion of railroad-owned boats from passing through the canal.
Senator PAGE. I am in hearty sympathy with Senator Thornton's statement as to a very prolonged discussion, but I think we ought to give every interest which comes here at least some time to be heard, and the fact that they are exceedingly interested, and may seem to be selfish, suggested to my mind the fact that they are so much interested that they ought to have a right to speak before us.
The CHAIRMAN. It might be well for gentlemen also to bear in mind that the personnel of this committee has changed materially since these witnesses were heard two years ago. bers now in this committee who have not had the benefit of the testiThere are several memmony furnished 18 months or 2 years since.
Senator CRAWFORD. Is not this more a question of governmental policy and the application of a principle one way or the other rather than a question of multiplicity of details about the shipping from Seattle or Tacoma around to New York, or from San Francisco to New York? Would we help ourselves very much in determining what the policy is going to be by going into a great multitude of details in regard to shipping?
The CHAIRMAN. Of course, it is said that the legislation which we adopted two years ago is a mistaken economic policy. If all the members of this committee are prepared to submit to that proposition, then it would be quite idle to have any hearings whatever. But if the minds of the members of the committee are open on that proposition, then it is for each one to determine whether he might not be assisted by hearing evidence on that point.
Senator THORNTON. Mr. Chairman, replying first to the statement of the Senator from California [Mr. Perkins], I will say that I think that if that testimony is read, he will find that every single representative of the coast trade interests who appeared before us asked for free tolls. I admit that the combat raged more particularly around the question of whether railroad-owned ships should be allowed to go through the canal, but everyone asked for free tolls. They made that point perfectly clear.
Referring now to the statement of the chairman about the other members of the committee not being here to hear that at that time,
I certainly could not think of wishing to prevent them from hearing any testimony in the matter that they had not heard and that they wished to hear. But I think, considering that all of that is printed, and the new members can read it through in a day at the outside, if they choose, they would not be deprived of any right or privilege, but if the new members of this committee say that they wish to hear it for themselves, irrespective of what was printed in the record as having been said before, that is another proposition, and out of proper respect as well as courtesy to the wishes of new members, if they wish to hear testimony that has been gone over once before, instead of reading it in the record, I would not know how to object to their wishes.
Senator BORAH. Mr. Chairman, I think we ought to have hearings, but I think they ought to be limited. That is to say, there ought to be some time within which we are going to limit the hearings. But it is not at all necessary to push this bill through without any hearings by people who feel that they are greatly interested in the proposition. If we want a calm discussion of it and a presentation of it upon facts and upon reason, we will get it by proceeding in that orderly way with which we proceed in reference to these important matters. If these people feel they ought to have a hearing, and we deny them a hearing, it will have a very bad effect toward a calm and dispassionate discussion of this proposition. I think we ought to have hearings. But I do think, as the Senator from Colorado [Mr. Thomas] says, there ought to be a limit put upon it, so that they would understand they must confine their hearings to a limited length
Senator BRANDEGEE. Two years ago this committee, as it then existed, had exhaustive hearings on every phase of this question. Gentlemen from the Pacific coast, if that locates them sufficiently definitely Mr. Wheeler, the attorney of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and allied institutions, camped here in this Capitol for two or three years, engaged solely upon this business, at an annual retainer of so much per year.
Senator BRISTOW. Well, now, Mr. Chairman
Senator BRANDEGEE. Mr. Chairman, I have the floor. I should like to make a brief statement. I see in the public prints that Mr. Wheeler desires to appear here again in the same interests. What he said at the time is all on file in the volumes of testimony that we took. Other parties were here; the Harlan & Hollingsworth Shipbuilding Co. and other shipbuilding interests were represented. A gentleman came here from Boston-an expert traffic manager-and discussed this whole question, and there were lengthy discussions about it from all points of view, and they are already in evidence. Now, for those same parties to come here and repeat that same testimony, which is all printed and accessible to the members of the committee, seems to me to be uncalled for. I would not attempt to exclude hearings on any bill upon which I thought there was any further information of consequence to be had. I do not want to contribute in any way to unduly hastening action upon this subject. It seems to me, however, that if we enter upon hearings and hear the parties who want to be heard, and all who have requested to be heard so far, from the telegrams submitted and verbal statements to the committee from
those who are opposed to the repeal of this exemption of coastwise tolls, a great deal of time will be unnecessarily spent.
Senator BORAH. Perhaps the others feel they do not need to be heard.
Senator BRANDEGEE. Whatever the feeling of the others may be, they have not requested, so far as I know, any hearings. But if we hear these parties who have requested to be heard and others, I have no doubt that the other side of the question will want to be heard, and we can not then terminate the discussion simply upon the hearing of one side. The result, in my opinion, will be that there will be long drawn-out hearings on this matter, which probably will not change a
Senator SIMMONS. Will the Senator let me ask him how long a time was occupied in the hearings upon the original bill?
Senator BRANDEGEE. I could not answer that offhand, Senator, without looking at the hearings.
The CHAIRMAN. Nine weeks.
Senator BRANDEGEE. It was some considerable extent of time. Of course that whole nine weeks was not confined to this particular topic. The bill was for the establishment of a form of civil government in the Canal Zone, and for other purposes, and it touched on a number of subjects; and this particular subject was duly considered, not only by hearings, but Members extensively and exhaustively argued the question with each other. My personal opinion is-and I do not want to say anything harsh; I do not want to deprive anybody of any right if anybody has any right to be heard in this matter, if it is a novel question or a question that people are in doubt about. If there is anything to be learned by the committee or its members that they do not know or are not in position to find out by reading and talking with each other, I will not oppose hearings. My personal opinion is that it will be time utterly and absolutely wasted. I do not believe the report of this committee will have one cent's worth of effect upon the Senate. The committee will be divided; that is well known. Whether the committee is a tie or whether it slightly preponderates one way or the other I am not in position to say, but in my opinion a report of this committee on the House bill without any recommendation to the Senate will accomplish exactly the same purpose as though we considered this matter, heard testimony for two months, and then reported by a vote of 8 to 6 or 7 to 7, or one or two Senators varying one way or the other. It will have absolutely no effect upon the Senate. The Senate is already engaged in debate upon it, and we have read the debates in the House. We have read what debate has taken place in the newspapers and Senators are now preparing their speeches upon the question. And in my opinion the fact that this committee hears a lot of witnesses and then gives its conclusions will not have the slightest weight upon the Senate. Senators will make up their minds on this question as individuals and express their opinions on the floor of the Senate, in my opinion, without the slightest consideration of whether this committee stands 7 to 7, 8 to 6, or 10 to 4. But, as I say, I am not going to protest any more. I am going to vote against hearings to anybody. If you hear from Mr. Wheeler, and from San Francisco, Seattle, and Boston, and go into the infinite details of how much it costs to carry a box of shoes from Boston through the canal to San Francisco, and whether the
ultimate consumer gets one-tenth of 1 per cent difference in the retail price because a dollar net per ton has been imposed at Panama, or whether the transcontinental railroads will reduce their freight rates from New York to San Francisco more or less because the vessels have not to pay a dollar a ton, you will get an infinite variety and jumble of ideas from fellows who do not know any more about it than you do now. It will be an absolute waste of time and money.
I have said all I care to say.
Senator BRISTOW. The hearings before, as Senator Brandegee has said, covered a very wide range. The Senator reflected upon Mr. Wheeler in a way that was not justified, I think.
Senator BRANDEGEE. I did not reflect upon him.
Senator BRISTOW. Well, your language indicated to my mind that it was a reflection. You said he was the attorney, at a very large retainer, when he is not an attorney and was not here as the attorney of anyone.
Senator BRANDEGEE. He so testified.
Senator BRISTOW. No; not as an attorney. If you will read the testimony, you will find that you were mistaken in your statement. Senator BRANDEGEE. I will admit it if I find I am mistaken.
Senator BRISTOw. The shipbuilding interests that were here were brought here by Mr. Schwerin, who is the general manager of the Pacific Mail Steamship Co., and was for a great many years the purchasing agent of the Southern Pacific Railroad Co. He got up a fanciful scheme, as the members of the committee will remember, of building 10 or 12 or more large steamers that were to ply between New York and all points on the earth and use the canal. And he had bids submitted, or requested bids, from various shipbuilding interests on these proposed ships in the event that the Pacific railroads would be able to use the canal, and crush competition, as they always have. And these shipping interests that were brought here were brought here by him as his witnesses against the proposition to bar railroad ships from the use of the canal. There was very little discussion as to free tolls. It was a railroad fight and the question of whether the canal should be free from the domination of the transcontinental railroads and should be an open waterway, and where competition was possible. And there was also a question as to the government of the Canal Zone. We spent a great deal of time on that question also, and heard various representatives upon it.
Senator PERKINS. Also on fortifications.
Senator BRISTOW. And also the question of fortifications. It has been suggested here by Senator Thornton that possibly there are some ulterior motives here to bring about an unusual delay, or somethingI do not know
Senator THORNTON. Outside, if you please. I did not say here in the committee.
Senator BRISTOW. In the country, I will say.
Senator THORNTON. I confined it to the coastwise shipping inter
Senator BRISTOW. I should like to know what interest the coastwise shipping interests have in this controversy? It has been alleged by a commission that was appointed by the House of Representatives to investigate coastwise shipping that 85 per cent of the American