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was generally conceded, and in the law which we passed and which is now on the statute books which provides that coastwise vessels shall pay no tax, there is also a provision that the President of the United States has authority under the law to make a rate for American vessels engaged in the foreign trade less than the rate provided for foreign vessels. So that we have already put that construction on it ourselves in the passage of that act. If you have that act here I will point it out to you.

Senator BRISTOw. Eliminating any specific construction of language, you base that theory on the fact that the canal having been constructed by the United States, by the expenditure of its money, through its own agencies, and on territory ceded to it for that purpose, that it has the right to do that, so as to favor its own commerce if it sees fit to do it?

Senator NORRIS. I certainly would like to have that right. I would go as far as any man would honorably to get that right if we wanted to exercise it. Of course, having the right to do it and the doing of it are two different propositions. While I am very much opposed to the exemption of our coastwise vessels, because I believe it is a subsidy, I do not want to argue that here. I am opposed to a subsidy. I think it is nothing else but a subsidy. I can conceive, however, that there might come a time when I would want to do that. If, after we have operated the canal awhile, we find it is necessary, I should like to exercise that right if we possess it. As I said, I think I would be in favor, at least after the canal is in operation awhile, so that we can get some definite ideas about the shipping and the cost, and so on, of its maintenance, of giving a preference right to American vessels engaged in trade with South America. I should like to develop that trade, and if by giving them some preference right in the way of lighter tolls, after the canal had been in operation long enough 80 I could base my figures on something definite, I would be glad to do it, and I want to save that right to the United States. I do not want, by the passage of this law, to put the Senate and the House in such a condition that it can be said afterwards, "You passed this law and practically construed this treaty as not giving you the right to prefer American shipping in case you wanted to." That is the reason offer this amendment.

Senator BRISTOw. There is a proposition now before the Senate in the form of a resolution to utilize some of the ships that we have as scouts for the Navy as commercial vessels. They belong to the United States and would be operated by the United States, and if not used in connection with the Navy they are to handle the commerce of the people of the United States.

Senator NORRIS. Yes, I am familiar with the resolution.

Senator BRISTOW. You, as I understand it, do not feel that we could take any action that could be construed as compelling the United States to charge itself tolls on its own vessels if they went through its own canal?

Senator NORRIS. If I understand you right, I agree with your proposition. I would not want to take any action that would do that. Senator THOMAS. Senator, I should like to ask a question, if you do not object. Suppose that the Government should repe 1 all parts of the existing laws referring to tolls and make the canal free to all

the commerce of the whole world, would you regard that in the light of a subsidy either to American shipping or any other shipping?

Senator NORRIS. While I do not think, Senator, that question has any bearing on this amendment beyond

Senator THOMAS. I do not think it does, candidly. I want to get your view.

Senator NORRIS. I believe it might be considered as a subsidy to the shipping of the world, all the ships that use the canal.

Senator BRISTOW. Before you leave, if you will pardon me, Senator, I want to ask you this: Do you think that the use of the canal free of charges is any different from the use of any other canal which the Government owns, or any other river which it has made into a canal to some extent?

Senator NORRIS. Of course, that has not anything to do with this, in my judgment. In answering the question, which is going into a discussion of the merits of the proposition, if it was free to the shipping of the whole world there would be no difference, but I do not believe there is anything in this proposition that your question, Senator, evidently refers to, that because we have some other canals here that are free that is the reason why we should exempt the coastwise shipping. It strikes me, to make that illustration complete, that we would have to make the canal free to all the ships of the world, because our canals are open to the ships of the entire world where they are free, and it is not proposed now seriously by anyone to make the canal free to all the world. If we did that then the two cases would be parallel.

Senator BRISTOw. That has been proposed by Senator Thomas. He has a bill before the committee for that purpose.

Senator NORRIS. When I said that I did not mean to say that there were not a lot of people who believed in that theory. I know there are. I am not sure but what in time that may be the proper theory, and I may believe in it myself then. I am opposed to it now. I do not believe we should be called upon to spend this large amount of money, then spend the money for the expense of maintaining it, and then throw it open to all the world.

Senator WALSH. What distinction do you draw between that and the ordinary harbor which is developed by public expenditures on which ships are permitted to enter without any charge?

Senator NORRIS. As I said in answer to Senator Bristow's question, in the first place I am rather inclined to think if it was a new proposition put before me I would be opposed to the Government of the United States paying the expense of putting the ships through the canal. I might give them the canal free, but make them pay the actual expense that is necessary to put the ships through, and help maintain the canals and the locks, whatever that may be. But because we permit ships to go through a lock connected with the Great Lakes free is in my judgment no reason why we should exempt coastwise vessels from the payment of tolls at Panama. But it would be a good reason, and a good argument, as I look at it, to make the canal free to all the world, and if it were a small thing I would be in favor of doing it. I think the very size of the canal in the way of expense, I mean the expense of maintenance is something that differentiates it from any lock or any other canal that we own, or that exists anywhere.

Senator SIMMONS. Senator Norris, I understand your position about that to be that by negotiating the treaty for the purpose of building this canal we expressly made it an international waterway? Senator NORRIS. It seems that way to me; yes.

Senator SIMMONS. And we are bound to provide for its use according to the terms of that treaty?

Senator NORRIS. Oh, yes. I think all sides agree that we ought not to violate our treaty. No matter whether it hurts or not we must keep our word.

Senator SIMMONS. Then you think in that treaty we did surrender or give up to a considerable extent the absolute control and regulation of the canal?

Senator NORRIS. Yes. Of course, that question is one involved in the construction of the treaty.

Senator SIMMONS. As to whether we gave it up with reference to our own ships, I understand your position to be that is a question that is disputed?

Senator NORRIS. Yes.

Senator SIMMONS. Between the two parties to the contract?
Senator NORRIS. Yes.

Senator SIMMONS. And your idea is that neither one of the parties ought to assume the positive right of construction?

Senator NORRIS. Exactly.

Senator SIMMONS. And therefore you incorporate in your proposition a provision for arbitration?

Senator NORRIS. I do.

Senator SIMMONS. That is how I understand you.

Senator NORRIS. That is strictly a question of law, as I look at it. I should like to have that question arbitrated by a board consisting, let us say, of three members of our Supreme Court and three members of the highest court of Great Britain; and I would expect to get an opinion absolutely unbiased, and perhaps unanimous. I would not want to submit this arbitration to a biased board, and with many that is the objection to arbitration. They say the other nations are interested in it. But it is on the construction of a few words of the treaty that the judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, sitting with the judges of Great Britain, could pass and bring in an opinion that I believe would be unanimous.

Senator THOMAS. Would you require the opinions to be unanimous in order to be binding?

Senator NORRIS. Of course, that would be one of the details. I would not myself. I would let it go just as all our courts do. But, gentlemen, it would be the greatest victory for arbitration that has ever been won in the history of civilization, and it would not only be that, but coming from us, of whom it is said all over the world that we are standing alone on this proposition, although I do not believe that near to the extent that it is claimed, but this proposition to arbitrate coming from us would place the United States at the head of the list of nations and give it a position among the other nations of the world that it has never attained before, and that it is far from holding at the present time.

Senator BORAH. What particular proposition is it that you propose to arbitrate-the question of whether or not we have exempted the coastwise traffic?

Senator NORRIS. The construction of the treaty; yes.

Senator BORAH. How would you get an impartial tribunal to determine that?

Senator NORRIS. I have just said

Senator BORAH. The tribunal you suggest would be composed of the two interested parties?

Senator NORRIS. Yes. Let us say-and that is only a suggestion, of course we might have four, or five, or more; but let us say three. Let us provide by an agreement with Great Britain that three members of our Supreme Court, selected, if you please, by Great Britain, and three members of the highest judicial tribunal of Great Britain, selected, let us say, by the President of the United States.

Senator BRISTOw. If you will pardon me, let me say that as the President of the United States has decided against our own country and in favor of England, why would you let him select them?

Senator NORRIS. That is a matter of detail. Let somebody else do the selecting. Let us pass a law that the judges—some of their own members to sit as arbitrators. If you want an odd number, and want an umpire who does not represent a country in which there is a direct interest, then provide that the President of the Republic of Switzerland shall act as the odd member of the court, or that the President of Switzerland shall select a citizen of Switzerland as a member of it. I think you will have then as unbiased a tribunal as it would be possible to get.

I am very much obliged for giving me the opportunity to present my views.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee is obliged to you for your infor


Senator Thomas, do you care to present your views regarding your bill at this time?


Senator THOMAS. Mr. Chairman, my views regarding my bill, strictly speaking, are the views of the late Admiral Robley Evans, as declared and published very shortly prior to his death. They are too long to be stated here in any reasonable length of time, and they are too complete to permit of very much abridgement. I have given notice that I shall present them to the Senate to-morrow, and unless something unforeseen occurs I expect to do so. Any summary that I state concerning them is necessarily, therefore, incomplete, and I am sure will be unsatisfactory to the committee.

But, primarily, I may say at this time that when these articles were published I read them with a great deal of care, and read them several times. That was before this controversy arose or was thought of, and consequently at a time when one's judgment would not be affected or influenced at all by the passions and criminations and recriminations that unfortunately have been indulged in so much recently, and that have obscured the real question, not only obscuring it, but which may have more to do with deciding it than they should


The primary purpose of the construction of that canal was to promote and develop American commerce, as well as the commerce of

the world, and to provide a great waterway that would at all times be independent of the control of the lines of transcontinental transportation, and not only expand our commerce, but also equalize and reduce the rates of transportation between the two oceans. And the argument is that the only manner in which that primary purpose can be accomplished is by throwing the canal open free of charge to the commerce of the entire world, by analogy to the policy which we have pursued and always will pursue in the matter of our coastwise improvements, lighthouses, buoys, the deepening of harbors, the removal of derelicts, the improvement of our rivers, and the building of such artificial channels as the Sault Ste. Marie Canal, for which no tolls whatever are exacted, the profit to the Nation coming as a consequence of these conditions and which are too obvious to require any discussion. Of course the canal is a great international highwayeverybody recognizes that-and one which all the commerce of the world will have and ought to have access to on equal terms, not only by the treaty, but by the ordinary principles of international polity, commercial enterprise, growth, and requirements.

I suppose that all of the tonnage available is fully occupied at present with the commerce of the world and certainly our coastwise shipping is being taxed to its fullest capacity. Hence that tonnage has got to be increased to meet the new demands consequent upon the completion of this canal, and the coast-to-coast trade is going to benefit from the construction of the canal. The building of new ships must be encouraged precisely as the inducements for this increased building may be given, and I can conceive of no greater inducement than the free use of the canal.

So far as international commerce is concerned the lines of traffic are fixed; they have been hardened, as it were, by years of use and it is an extremely difficult thing to divert traffic from its usual courses for many reasons. Of course nearly all of the great routes of foreign commerce with the Orient are through the Suez Canal and while there is a toll charge there, there is also the advantage of a number of coaling stations and of cheap coal; besides which that route is shorter to all the ports of the Orient, except those of Australia and New Zealand.

Senator BORAH. Have we any coaling station in Central America? Senator THOMAS. So far as that is concerned I can not answer definitely, but my impression is we have not up to the present time. Senator PERKINS. No, we have not, I am sure.

Senator THOMAS. There will be one at one end and probably one at each end of the Panama Canal, necessarily.

Now, in addition to the facilities offered for trade by the Suez route at so many ports that are between the port of departure and the canal and between the canal and the port of arrival, and the fact that there are so many coaling stations where coal can be obtained at a reasonable price, comparatively speaking, contrasted with the fact that there are no points for trading purposes between European ports and Panama and comparatively none between Panama and Australia and Australasia, except a few islands in the Pacific Ocean, all indicate that our expected tonnage of foreign commerce through the Panama Canal is not going to be as considerable as a great many people have assumed. The difference in the cost of coal, to my mind, if we are going to charge tolls at the canal, would of itself prohibit the diversion

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