« PreviousContinue »
Doctor WILEY. That makes four in the Treasury; yes, sir.
Mr. SAMUEL. You mentioned the fact that they had one in the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, too; did you not?
Doctor Wiley. No; they did start one there, but I do not think they kept it up after my man left.
The CHAIRMAN. What does the Marine-Hospital laboratory do?
Doctor WILEY. The greater part of the work of that laboratory consists of investigations of the chemistry of pathogenic changes in tissues, due to disease, and all chemical investigations looking to the chemical control of serums. The law requires that all serums made by any private individual in this country be subjected to a central control. That control was originally vested, I think, in the Bureau of Animal Industry of our Department. I think it is now vested, if I am not mistaken in my memory, in the Marine-Hospital and Public Health Service. I could not exactly give the functions of that laboratory, except in this general way, as I do not know what they are doing. I know that it is manned by most excellent men, and doing inost excellent service.
The CHAIRMAN. It is doing purely chemical work?
Doctor WILEY. Part of it is purely chemical. It is what we call biological chemistry, relating to living processes of a chemical nature. It is very important work.
The CHAIRMAN. It involves bacteriology, too, I suppose ?
Doctor Wiley. It involves bacteriology in its relations to chemistry; yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. You have given now the Treasury Department and the Department of Commerce and Labor. Is there any other Department that has a chemical laboratory?
Doctor Wiley. The Secretary of War has a laboratory in the Medical Department of the Army having general control over the remedies which are used in the Army.
The CHAIRMAN. They have one?
Doctor WILEY. They have one. I do not know whether they have more than one chemist or not. They never have had a very large laboratory. They also have chemists connected with the gun factories, to examine the steel and other materials which are used in the manufacture of arms. The Navy also has a chemist in connection with the smokeless powder which is made at Indian Head. They perhaps have three or four chemists down there.
The CHAIRMAN. Would it be practicable to unite those chemists under your Bureau ?
Doctor WILEY. I would not say under my Bureau, Mr. Chairman. The CHAIRMAN. Or under a general bureau of chemistry?
Doctor WILEY. I think it might be under a general governmental bureau.
The CHAIRMAN. A general governmental chemical bureau?
Doctor WILEY. Yes; I think that might be very advantageous in many ways.
The CHAIRMAN. In what way? Describe that, please. Doctor Wiley. In the first place, I would not for a moment think of detaching those men from their present locations. The chemical work is necessarily done in the localities I have mentioned. The advantage would come from having, first, a superior morale in the
service; what you might call an esprit de corps. If you take a chemist and put him off by himself, he gets isolated and sometimes morose and melancholy, just like any other man. He does not seem to be in touch with his professional brethren. He is there by himself. He has no way of communicating directly with his professional brethren. He is detached from the general service. If he could feel himself a member of some fine organization, as an integral part of it, getting his inspiration and often his direction from this head source, I think it would improve his work and his position.
In the second place, if the chemical service of the Government were under a common control, it would undoubtedly prove more efficient in giving a better technique. The man at the head of the service would necessarily inform himself of the character of the work done, and thus be able to suggest improvements here and there which a man working by himself might not think of; and thus the actual character of the work would be improved by some central authority suggesting amendments where they were needed.
In the third place, there would be no danger of actually repeating work five or six times in different localities, which may be done under the present system without anybody knowing anything about it, because each man is perfectly independent, and people engaged in similar work in other parts of the Government service have no idea what he is doing.
For instance, excepting as I meet with my professional brethren engaged on Government work at the Cosmos Club or at the monthly meetings of our society or at the annual meetings of the national society, I do not know what they are doing. We do not consult together about what each of us is doing.
The CHAIRMAN. There may be parallel lines of investigationidentical lines of investigation-being pursued ?
Doctor Wiley. Without knowing it, there may be many parallel lines of work, which nobody would think of carrying on if they knew that other people were doing the same kind of work.
Those are the three chief benefits that would come from a centralization, or from having some central directing and organizing power.
The CHAIRMAN. And then there would be the elimination of the executive directing heads?
Doctor WILEY. I would not, however, Mr. Chairman, even with my ideas of what the benefits would be, suggest that it would be advisable to try to bring together into one place all the chemical work of the country. That would be impossible. It must be done at the spot where it is wanted to be done. My contention is that it might be better done at these spots if there was this uniformity of action throughout.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes: but with reference to the laboratories existing here in Washington, there is no good reason why they should not all be consolidated in one central place.
Doctor WILEY. Another thing would come from that, Mr. Chairman. We could then have, as they have in other countries, an ideal laboratory constructed, because the Government would be willing to have it done.
The CHAIRMAN. I will go into that a little bit later.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you in mind any specific instances where identical or parallel lines of scientific investigation have been carried on in the various laboratories?
Doctor Wiley. There is one very important laboratory that I want to suggest before I go on with this subject, and that is the laboratory of the Geological Survey.
The CHAIRMAN. That we have not reached yet.
Doctor WILEY. No; we have not come to the Interior Department; that is so.
The CHAIRMAN. Perhaps I had better let you go through the various laboratories of the various Departments and then have you, if you can, cite some specific instance where there have been identical or parallel investigations going on at the same time in two or more laboratories.
Doctor Wiley. In the Interior Department they have a very finely appointed laboratory in the Geological Survey. I must say that in my opinion some of the most eminent chemists in the service of the Government are in the Geological Survey. They stand very high. I do not say that in any discriminating way, because I think all of these chemists are first-class men.
The CHAIRMAN. I understand. What is the work that that particular laboratory does?
Doctor Wiley: That laboratory is especially devoted to mineral chemistry, the analysis of rocks and minerals as connected with geological deposits and mineralogical deposits and mines and ores of all kinds every description of material that the Geological Survey handles; and they are doing their work remarkably well.
Mr. SAMUEL. They do it entirely for the Government?
Mr. SAMUEL. They do not do anything for private individuals or corporations?
Doctor WILEY. No; nothing at all; not to my knowledge.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there any other laboratory connected with the Interior Department?
Doctor WILEY. No; I do not believe there is, to my knowledge. There is no other one connected with it, so far as I know.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any other Departments that have laboratories?
Doctor WILEY. The Post Office Department has all of its chemical work done by our Bureau. I do not think they ever have any done anywhere else.
Mr. SAMUEL. Has the Navy Department a laboratory?
Doctor WILEY. The Navy Department has the same kind of chemists attached to its service that the War Department has. They have one pharmacist or chemist, who is a general director over their medicines, and it is, I think, the Navy Department instead of the War Department that has these chemists for the guns that I spoke of a while ago. I think it is these big gun factories for the ships of the Navy that have these chemists of whom I have spoken; but the War Department has all of its chemical work that is done in Washington, in so far as its examination of food stuff's is concerned, done in our Bureau. They send a great many samples to us.
I believe I have now mentioned all of the chemical laboratories in the service. I doubt if all of them put together have as many men employed as we have in our one laboratory. Their laboratories are are small and are working entirely independently of each other, and they are doing, I must say, Mr. Chairman, most excellent work.
Mr. Suvel. They require special qualifications in their special lines, do they?
Doctor Wiley. Oh, yes. They are all trained chemists to begin with, and then they follow these lines until they get to be experts on these lines-experts of the highest character.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you have in mind any instance where there has been a duplication of work, or work going along in several laboratories at the same time on identical or parallel lines? If so, give it.
Doctor WILEY. I do not recall any instances where there has been any duplication of work except what was incidental. For instance, the examinations in the Treasury Department for the levying of duties require that there shall be certain compositions-I can best illustrate that, Mr. Chairman, by an example. I think that is very much better. It is concrete.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Doctor Wiley. For instance, the tariff law provides that pineapples which are canned and imported in their own juice shall pay a certain rate of duty, but that if they have sugar added to them in their preparation, for their preservation or otherwise, they shall pay an entirely different rate of duty. That is a good illustration, because it shows where our Bureau comes in. The Treasury Department at New York made analyses of imported pineapples in cans and decided that they had had sugar added to them, and therefore should pay the higher rate of duty. The importers protested: and the importers agreed that they would refer the matter to the Secretary of Agriculture for decision. There, of course, there was a duplication of work, but it was incidental. The Treasury Department had to do that work to get at the duty. When it was referred to us we went into it as a research and did the same work that the Treasury had done. So we duplicated their work, but we did more. We sent to our consuls, through the State Department, at every place where pineapples were canned, and had pineapples put up under the supervision of our consul without any sugar and certified to by our consul, and we had them sent to us for examination. Then we took samples at the port as they came in without any certification-just the ordinary, merchantable samples. We brought those down here and examined both, and we found that the Treasury Department was exactly right; that their chemist had come to the conclusion which was inevitable from the examination of these two sets of samples.
There was a place where we, at the request of the Treasury Department, duplicated their work for the sake of settling a difliculty and not going into court, and all parties were perfectly satisfied with the work which we had done.
Mr. SAMUEL. Does your department analyze food stuffs for adulteration ?
Doctor Wiley. Yes; we analyze them for adulteration. I was just coming to that.
When we examine a food product for adulteration we doubtless might do, and probably do do, some of the work that the Treasury Department does in examining it for duty; and in that case one examination, if it could be arranged, might be sufficient.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Doctor Wiley. There are probably a good many examples of that kind—that is, where we trespass on the rights of the Treasury. They do not trespass on our rights, because we come in after them. They were already doing the work, but if they do our work at all it is only incidental.
The CHAIRMAX. If it was all done under one general bureau
The CHAIRMAN. The result of your investigation would be there to answer both purposes?
Doctor Wiley. It could answer both purposes, and that much would be saved. There would be an economy there.
The CHAIRMAX. Have you any knowledge to what extent that. would prevail throughout the service in connection with these separate and independent laboratories?
Doctor Wiley. I could not tell unless I were more familiar with what the Government chemists do. I am only familiar with them as I have come into contact with them as an adviser or a referee. The Secretary of the Treasury very frequently, under the authority conferred upon him by Congress, refers such matters to uis. Dozens of them have been referred to the Department of Agriculture for arbitration.
The CHAIRMAN. Is your Bureau generally used as a court of last resort on chemical propositions?
Doctor Wiley. In that way, where the law permits it; yes, sir.
Mr. SAMUEL. In your examinations for adulterations, etc., you carry out the examinations to a certain point for your own purposes?
Doctor WILEY. Yes; then we stop.
Mr. SAMUEL. If the examination was carried beyond that would it answer the purpose of another examination by some other Department?
Doctor Wiley. It certainly would.
Mr. SAMUEL. As it is now, they have to go over and duplicate part of your examination?
Doctor Wiley. I think it would be better to put that the other way: We go over and duplicate part of theirs, as they started before we did—that is where we trespass, you might say, on their ground to a certain extent; but it is only incidental. As a rule, the examinations which we make are not made by the Treasury officials. For instance, we look for a preservative in a food. They never do that. It does not matter to them whether it contains a preservative or not, so far as duty is concerned. Or we look for contamination from the can, from the zinc or the tin. They do not do that. But, for instance, we do look for glucose instead of sugar; so they would, too, because glucose and sugar have a different rate of duty. There is where we would cross.
Mr. SAMUEL. In making your examinations in the case of pineapples, you would examine that can for adulterations, etc.?
Doctor WILEY. Yes.