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permission from anyone unless trying to transfer to foreign registry. Number two: No; regulates rates and practices only. No legislation has been requested. Number three: Commission does not have power to operate in intercoastal service. Can sell ships to persons who wish to put them to that use or cooperate in building of ships with persons wishing to build for that purpose. But Commission's operations are restricted to foreign commerce. I am working with Mr. Seeley to try to get Maritime Commission to make arrangements to take care of situation.




Washington, D. C.: Re my previous wires: Meeting being being held here today preparatory to Pacific coastwise. Meeting to be held in San Francisco April 11 relative obtaining necessary bottoms properly take care intercoastal tonnage. Situation crucial and ships must be provided if widespread unemployment does not result from present lack. Understanding congressional action necessary give Maritime Commission authority and control. Ar you willing introduce and sponsor necessary legislation for Maritime Commission provide and control intercoastal tonnage. Would also like to have your opinion administration sanction and cooperation.



APRIL 4, 1940. Col. W. C. BICKFORD,

Port of Seattle: Re urtel.: Have been in close contact with situation ever since Seeley arrived bere. I am convinced Maritime Commission anxious to cooperate. Nothing in present law which prohibits Commission making requirement use coastwise shipping of ships which it sells. On the other hand there is no affirmative authorization for such requirement. If bill introduced in Congress should be rejected by Congress Maritime Commission would then be compelled to construe legislative intent to be against inclusion such requirement. Chances are overwhelming that such bill would fail because it would meet with the active opposition of many factors including the railroads and southern pine interests. On April 17 bids for four ships advertised for sale will be opened. I am unwilling to endanger possible satisfactory solution of the problem by injecting legislation which would force Maritime Commission to rule contrary to our interests.




Washington, D. C.: Thanks clarifying telegram. Pacific Coast Association of Port Authorities calling meeting San Francisco 11th. Effort coordinate all interested parties west coast. It is intimated by correspondence received that they will probably decide to send a delegation to Washington, put pressure on Maritime Commission, congressional delegates, and administration for legislation and action allocating vessels necessary. In the light of your wire probably ill advised but situation very crucial and many industries sadly affected. Request your permission to use your wire of this date that no action is taken at this San Francisco meeting which would endanger obtaining relief.



APRIL 6, 1940. Col. W. C. BICKFORD,

Post of Seattle: My suggestion is that you read my several telegrams to the San Francisco meeting and urge them that if they send delegation here present problem such delegation be authorized to act without any resolution specifically binding them to any particular course of action.





Resolved, That shippers and ports wire their Senators and Representatives, urging prompt ratification of House Joint Resolution 509 as introduced by Congressman Buck in the House and Senator Johnson in the Senate, suspending section 510 (g) of the Merchant Marine Act, in order that idle Governmentowned boats may be released to domestic trades; and

Resolved further, That if and when this legislation is enacted, the Maritime Commission be urged to take advantage of it as promptly as possible.


WASHINGTON, D. C., April 8, 1940. Col. B. C. ALLIN,

Director of the Port: Introducing today joint resolution to suspend section 510 (g) of Merchant Marine Act until proclamation heretofore issued by President under section 1 (a) of Neutrality Act, 1939, is revoked. Believe this, if passed, will effectuate ideas you and others have in mind if Maritime Commission will exercise authority thus given.



STOCKTON, CALIF., April 10, 1940. Congressman FRANK H. BUCK,

House Office Building, Washington, D. C.: Leaving this evening to attend meeting of Pacific ports. Can you wire me identification of joint resolution; that is, name of who introduced in Senate or other identifying data, so we can have meeting arrange support this measure? Please reply straight wire.

B. C. ALLIN, Director of the Port.


APRIL 10, 1940

WASHINGTON, D. C., April 10, 1940. B. C. ALLIN,

Director of the Port: House Joint Resolution 509 and Merchant Marine Act, 1936, air mailed you this morning. Senator Johnson introducing bill in Senate today; number not yet available.

FRANK H. Buck, M. C.


"SEC. 510 (g) An obsolete vessel acquired by the Commission under this section which is or becomes twenty years old or more, and vessels presently in the Commission's laid-up fleet which are or become twenty years old or more, shall in no case be used for commercial operation, except that any such obsolete vessel, or any such vessel in the laid-up fleet may be used during any period in which vessels may be requisitioned under section 902 of this Act, as amended, and except as otherwise provided in this Act for the employment of the Commission's vessels in steamship lines on trade routes exclusively serving the foreign trade of the United States."

That section 902 of the Merchant Marine Act, 1936, as amended (49 Stat. 2015; U. S. C., 1934 edition, Supp. IV, title 46, sec. 1242), is amended to read as follows:

“SEC. 902 (a) Whenever the President shall proclaim that the security of the national defense makes it advisable or during any national emergency declared by proclamation of the President, it shall be lawful for the Commission to requisition or purchase any vessel or other watercraft owned by citizens of the United States, or under construction within the United States, or for any period during such emergency, to requisition or charter the use of any such property



Washington, March 8, 1940. Mr. B. C. ALLIN,

Director of the Port, Stockton, Calif. DEAR MR. ALLIN: The receipt is acknowledged of your letter of February 27, setting forth your views with respect to the plan of the Quaker Line to dispose of a number of the vessels in its fleet. We have noted particularly your inquiry as to whether it would be possible for a company disposing of its vessels to replace them either by vessels chartered from the laid-up Government fleet or by the purchase of new vessels now under construction.

We fully appreciate that the war in Europe has attracted many vessels from the domestic trades to service in our foreign commerce which at present is a far more lucrative trade. In addition, the high prices for tonnage offered in the foreign market has permitted a number of owners of obsolete vessels to dispose of certain of their tonnage at a very favorable price.

The Commission is giving very serious consideration to the tonnage situation in the intercoastal trade, but you will probably readily understand that it presents quite a problem. We have no control over operations of vessels in the domestic trades except the regulatory functions prescribed by the Intercoastal Act, 1933, nor does the Government render any form of assistance through subsidy to owners of vessels in such trades. We cannot require the maintenance of any kind of service nor can we prevent an owner from selling his vessels to another American citizen operating in foreign trade, selling them for scrap, or laying them up. We can, of course, under section 9 of the Shipping Act, 1916, refuse to grant approval of the sale of the vessels to aliens, but in so doing we would merely be depriving the owner of a sale in the best available market.

As you probably know, the Government has something over 100 vessels in its laid-up fleet, but under the provisions of the Merchant Marine Act, 1936, may dispose of only such of these vessels as are under 20 years of age and then only by competitive bidding and for operation in foreign commerce. There are only about 20 vessels which are less than 20 years of age and each of these would probably require an expenditure of almost $100,000 to place them in operating condition. For the present, the withdrawal of vessels from the intercoastal trade may work hardships on certain shippers and certain localities, but ultimately, when conditions are restored to normal, we are hopeful that a more healthy condition will be brought about by the permanent elimination of vessels which have been greatly in excess of the normal requirements. Meanwhile, I should like to assure you that the Commission is watching the situation very closely. Sincerely yours,

(Signed) E. S. LAND,


(The following communication was placed in the record by Congressman McCormack:)


South Boston, Mass., April 22, 1940. House Joint Resolution 509. Hon. John W. McCORMACK,

House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. Sir: The above joint resolution was introduced by Representative Buckon April 9, 1940, and was referred to the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries.

The purpose of the resolution was to relieve a condition which has become burdensome to Pacific coast shippers and which is now starting to handicap New England industries requiring cargo space from this territory.

The record will indicate that ships in Atlantic-Pacific intercoastal general-cargo trade have diminished 36 percent since September 1, 1939, because of diversion of steamers to more attractive routes.

To offset the loss of this necessary tonnage and provide adequate intercoastal service, it is proposed through the subject resolution, to suspend paragraph (g), section 510 of the Merchant Marine Act, 1936, during the present European war.

This action would enable the Maritime Commission to allocate to the intercoastal trade, such ships which in its judgment are necessary to provide proper service.

Immediate enactment of this joint resolution should assist in removing a handicap to Massachusetts trade.

Your constant efforts to assist the port of Boston leads me to believe that this measure has already received your support and that a favorable reply may be anticipated. Yours very truly,


Traffic Manager.

(The following communication was placed in record by Congressman Williams of Delaware:)


Wilmington, Del., April 22, 1940. Hon. GEORGE S. WILLIAMS,

House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: There has been introduced in Congress, House Resolution 509 and S. 246 pertaining to the suspension of section 510 (g) of the Merchant Marine Act, 1936, during the present European war.

We ask that you support this resolution, as we feel such would be very beneficial to us and our various Pacific coast customers. It has lately been very discouraging to find goods reach the ports on the Atlantic seaboard in ample time for scheduled sailings, and to be informed that the steamer is full and cannot accommodate.

This means a delay, against which our Pacific coast customers are vigorously protesting, and if too frequent, such events will no doubt result in cancelation of orders with us.

The transfer by sale and charter of intercoastal vessels has left that trade in a very deplorable under-tonnaged condition, and with the temporary suspension of section 510 (g) of the act, we feel that a sufficient number of vessels will be available to properly. take care of the commerce.

The goods forwarded by water could not bear the over-land expense, and without proper water transportation, we will likely suffer, and our very good Pacific coast customers also will be unable to maintain the usual trade.

Relief is possible by the employment of more vessels, and the only source now is the fleet of idle vessels in the hands of the Maritime Commission, out of service by the restriction of the Maritime Act of 1936.

We trust you may vote to lift such restriction during this emergency and would be pleased to hear from you. Yours very truly,

GEO. A. PIERCE, Traffic Manager.

(The following communications were placed in the record by Congressman Harter, of New York:)


Buffalo, N. Y., April 12, 1940. Hon. J. FRANCIS HARTER,

House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR CONGRESSMAN: I wish to call your attention to Joint Resolution 509 to suspend section 510-G of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, restricting the use of vessels of the laid-up fleet of the Maritime Commission.

The insufficiency of steamer service from the eastern seaboard to the Pacific coast has been gradually increasing until it has become practically impossible for many of our industries to move their products via rail and water to the Pacific coast. This inability has made it impossible in some instances to supply Pacific-coast customers because of the all-rail rates.

This subject was considered by the traffic council of the Associated Industries at their meeting early in March, and the attention of the Maritime Commission was called to the situation existing at that time with a plea that some action be taken to give relief.

The Niagara Frontier Industrial Traffic League at its meetings in March and April discussed reports of existing conditions and many of its members stated that they were seriously affected. If the resolution above referred to is favorably acted upon, it is thought additional boats might be put into service and thereby relieve the situation. It is suggested, therefore, you use your efforts to secure passage of this resolution. Very truly yours,


Traffic Commissioner.


Buffalo, N. Y., April 15, 1940. Hon. J. FRANCIS HARTER,

House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: American shippers on both the east and west coast are confronted with a serious shortage of cargo space on ships of the Intercoastal Steamship Lines, operating through the Panama Canal. This shortage, as you know, is due to the sale or transfer of many vessels, formerly employed in this trade, to foreign governments or others.

It is our understanding the Maritime Commission is anxious to relieve this situation and have under their jurisdiction some 100 old vessels, but are prevented from selling or otherwise turning these ships over to the intercoastal carriers by amendment of Congress in 1939 to the Shipping Act of 1936, this restriction being contained in paragraph G, section 510 of the act, as amended.

It is our further understanding that Congressman Buck introduced in Congress a joint resolution (509), and Senator Johnson presented to the Senate a similar resolution (246) asking for suspension of paragraph G, section 510 during the present crisis. If prompt and favorable action is taken by both Houses, it will clear the way for the Maritime Commission to dispose of these old vessels and their eventual entry into the intercoastal trade.

As large shippers of cereals from the east to the west coast, we urge you to give your full support to this measure so that there may be available and as promptly as possible, an unlimited amount of space for this water-borne traffic. Very truly yours,

HECKER-H-O-DIVISION, (Signed) R. HAMILTON, Traffie Manager.

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