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COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE AND FOREIGN COMMERCE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
SAM RAYBURN, Texas, Chairman
GEORGE HUDDLESTON, Alabama
JOHN G. COOPER, Ohio CLARENCE F. LEA, California
CARL E. MAPES, Michigan ROBERT CROSSER, Ohio
CHARLES A. WOLVERTON, New Jersey PARKER CORNING, New York
JAMES WOLFENDEN, Pennsylvania ALFRED L. BULWINKLE, North Carolina PEHR G. HOLMES, Massachusetts VIRGIL CHAPMAN, Kentucky
SCHUYLER MERRITT, Connecticut PAUL H. MALONEY, Louisiana
B. CARROLL REECE, Tennessee WILLIAM P. COLE, JR., Maryland
JAMES W. WADSWORTH, JR., New York SAMUEL B. PETTENGILL, Indiana EDWARD A. KELLY, Illinois EDWARD A. KENNEY, New Jersey GEORGE G. SADOWSKI, Michigan JOSEPH P. MONAGHAN, Montana JOHN A. MARTIN, Colorado EDWARD C. EICHER, Iowa THEODORE A, PEYSER, New York THOMAS J. O'BRIEN, Illinois DAVID D. TERRY, Arkansas
ELTON J. LAYTON, Olerk
CLARENCE F. LEA, California, Chairman SAMUEL B. PETTENGILL, Indiana CHARLES A. WOLVERTON, New Jersey JOSEPH P. MONAGHAN, Montana
JAMES WOLFENDEN, Pennsylvania EDWARD C. EICHER, Iowa
Ewers, Ira L...
PANAMA CANAL TOLLS
THURSDAY, JANUARY 24, 1935
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
AND FOREIGN COMMERCE,
Washington, D. C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10 a. m., Hon. Clarence Lea (chairman) presiding.
Mr. LEA. The committee will come to order.
We meet this morning to have a partial hearing on H. R. 1399, a bill to provide for the measurement of vessels using the Panamá Canal, and for other purposes.
(H. R. 1399 follows:)
(H. R. 1399, 74th Cong. 1st sess.]
A BILL To provide for the measurement of vessels using the Panama Canal, and for
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the first five sentences of the third paragraph of section 5 of the Act of August 24, 1912 (37 Stat. 560, 569), as amended by the Act of June 15, 1914 (38 Stat. 385), are hereby amended so as to read as follows: “Tolls on merchant vessels, Army and Navy transports, colliers, hospital ships, supply ships, and yachts shall be based on net vessel tons of actual earning capacity, determined in accordance with the • Rules for the Measurement of Vessels for the Panama Canal' prescribed by proclamation of the President, November 21, 1913, and as may be amended from time to time by order of the President, and shall not exceed $1 per net vessel-ton so determined, nor be less than 60 cents per net vessel-ton so determined, on laden vessels, and on vessels in ballast without passengers or cargo shall be less than the rate of tolls for vessels with passengers or cargo: Provided, That no charge shall be made for deck load, which is defined, for the purpose of this Act, as cargo situated in a space which is at all times exposed to the weather and the sea and which space is not included in the net tonnage determined under the said “Rules for the Measurement of Vessels for the Panama Canal.' Tolls on other floating craft shall be levied on displacement tonnage at rates to be prescribed by the President. In addition to the tolls based on measurement or displacement tonnage, tolls may be levied on passengers at rates prescribed by the President but not to exceed $1.50 for each passenger. The levy of tolls is subject to the provisions of article XIX of the convention between the United States of America and the Republic of Panama, entered into November 18, 1903, and of article I of the treaty between the United States of America and the Republic of Colombia, proclaimed March 30, 1922.”
SEC. 2. That this Act shall take effect and be enforced on and after January 1, 1936.
During the last session of Congress, we held a hearing at length on a similar bill. So, it is not the purpose of the committee to go over the whole matter again, certainly not from the standpoint of the Government, but inasmuch as some of the shipping companies
desire to present their viewpoints, we have decided to give this opportunity.
As a member of the committee I do not see much advantage in thrashing over the matters that were covered in the former hearing, because it is here and available to all members and all interested parties, but, of course, we do not want to interfere with you gentlemen representing the shipping companies in presenting your case in your own way, because it is for you to decide what you want to present.
The bill (H. R. 1399) is practically, if not identically, the same as the bill which passed the House during the last session. That was H. R. 7767.
Subsequent to the hearings in the last session the question as to the amount of tolls was taken up, as all interested parties are aware, and it was determined by the Governor that if this bill should become a law, his recommendation would be that the tolls be fixed at not more than 90 cents a ton, instead of $1 a ton as permitted in the bill. That is the maximum amount permitted by this bill.
I think that everybody interested understood at the time the last bill was presented to the House, that the tolls would actually be 90 cents, instead of $1. The theory of that charge was that the object to be accomplished was not to increase the tolls of the Canal in the aggregate, but rather to provide what was believed to be a more equitable system of apportioning those tolls.
Now, how many of you gentlemen want to be heard, and is there anyone that is particularly anxious to be heard in order that he may get away promptly? We can hear you in your own order, if you have any preference.
STATEMENT OF IRA L. EWERS, REPRESENTING THE AMERICAN
STEAMSHIP OWNERS' ASSOCIATION
Mr. LEA. We might take the names of all the witnesses who want to appear. You may proceed, Mr. Ewers.
Mr. EWERS. My name is Ira L. Ewers, and I am representing the American Steamship Owners' Association.
Mr. LEA. You may proceed in your own way.
Mr. EWERS. Mr. Chairman, I am not going into the merits of this controversy other than to mention them in connection with our present difficulties.
This subject has received considerable attention by both the Canal officials and the industry over a long period of years, and I believe most of you are familiar with the views involved and the difficulties of an equitable solution.
With that in view, the association appointed a committee, some five or six members, to collect the factual ta, to prepare recommendations to the association for a solution of the problem. That committee has requested various data from the offices of the Panama Canal which they believe will enable a more intelligent comprehension of the problem. The shortness of time has not enabled the Canal officials to prepare and submit that information nor, of course, our committee to consider it. We have been informed by the Canal officials that it is hoped that the informat on that we have requested might be air-mailed from the Isthmus by January 24,