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Senate Passed Act
Section 113: Same as enacted Act.
Mr. HART. I thank the Senator. My I assume, and I should like to have second question has to do with a feature the RECORD clearly show-if I am wrong, of the bill which I shall not say gave the I can be corrected—there was no intencommittee trouble, but which involved tion on the part of the distinguished problems that we spent considerable time chairman of the committee to infer that identifying and resolving—the section manufacturers could not rely on the inthat deals with the applicability of the terpretations contained in the letters of antitrust laws.
the Department of Justice. The Senate committee approved the I noted some time ago that in the dissection of the bill that deals with the ap cussion in the House the explanation plication of the antitrust laws to cooper- was given that reliance could be had on ative activities in the field of safety, the interpretation of the Department. which was passed by the Senate as sec- Without further delaying the adoption tion 113 and was passed, in identical lan- of the report, I inquire of our able chairguage, by the House as section 116, and man whether this is solely reflective of has now been accepted, of course, by the the purpose and intention. conferees.
Mr. MAGNUSON. I think that I can I have the clear impression that when answer that question for the Senator. this section was approved by our Com It is the clear understanding of the mittee on Commerce and was approved committee that the manufacturers can unanimously-we did it on the basis of rely on the interpretation of antitrust the understanding that our committee laws contained in the letters of the Dereport would contain an explanatory partment of Justice. As the Senator restatement. A statement is made at page calls, the committee went over that mat13 of the committee report; but it had ter very carefully. That is the reason been my understanding that that state- why we did not add any more specific ment would make clear that manufac- language embodying these interpretaturers could rely on the interpretation of tions in the bill itsell. the antitrust laws that was given to us,
I think I can speak for the conferees as contained in the Department of Jus
that this was the intention of the contice letters that are a part of our record.
ferees and the intention of the Members I thought our conclusion was that the re
of the House when they adopted similar port would go on to say that a more de
language. tailed amendment incorporating this in
Mr. HART. I thank the chairman terpretation was not necessary. The report, however, states only that since the
states only that since the very much. more detailed amendment would be merely declaratory of existing law, the amendment was not necessary.
Senate Committee Report Senate Report 1301, Pages 13, 14, and 32
APPLICATION OF ANTITRUST LAWS For the reasons set forth below, the committee included a provision in the act providing that "nothing contained herein shall be deemed to exempt from the antitrust laws of the United States any conduct that would otherwise be unlawful under such laws or to prohibit any conduct that would be lawful under such laws" (8 113).
Although the committee firmly believes that competition among automobile manufacturers in the development of safety improvements is essential for the achievement of rapid progress in automotive safety, the committee is aware that cooperation in research and testing among manufacturers can also play a significant role in safety development. To this end, the bill authorizes the Secretary to advise, assist, and cooperate with manufacturers of motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment, among others, in the development of motor vehicle safety standards and the testing of motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment (§ 107).
The committee considered including a provision in the bill to the effect that cooperation among manufacturers in developing safety devices or in exchanging information about safety standards is not illegal per se, but may be justified under the "rule of reason” to the extent consistent with the antitrust law's and without creating any exemption from the antitrust laws.
However, the committee was advised by the Department of Justice that such a provision was unnecessary, since cooperation in the development of safety devices and in exchanging information about safety standards would not be unlawful per se under the antitrust laws but would be permissible under the “rule of reason” where joint efforts seem necessary and constructive and are not accompained by any unduly restrictive collateral agreements. Since the provision under consideration would have done no more than confirm this interpretation, the committee decided that that amendment was unnecessary.
The committee by this indication of its views in no way intends to change the application of existing antitrust laws with respect to cooperative activities among automobile manufacturers in the field of safety development.
The advice received from the Department of Justice, as summarized above, is contained in a letter from Assistant Attorney General Donald F. Turner to the chairman of the committee dated April 6, 1966, and a further letter from Deputy Attorney General Ramsey Clark to the chairman dated June 2, 1966. An extract from the letter of April 6 follows:
Nor is there anything persuasive in the general argument that the vagueness of the antitrust laws prevents the formation of any cooperative effort to develop safety devices or to exchange information concerning standards. The antitrust
laws do not prohibit such arrangements where joint efforts
APPLICATION OF ANTITRUST LAWS
Sec. 113. Nothing contained herein shall be deemed to exempt 32 from the antitrust laws of the United States any conduct that would otherwise be unlawful under such laws or to prohibit under the antitrust laws of the United States any conduct that would be lawful under such laws.
Contains nothing helpful.
As H.R. 13228 in the House and S. 3005 in the Senate: contains no comparable provision.