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Mr. GILES. But Mr. Dowd is correct that we did after January 8 reconsider many of these items.
But the point I am making is that as of January 17, after hearing many of these points, we did
put out our rather long list of terms and conditions.
So it seems to me that as of January 17, you were by that time fully advised what our position would be on the matter of discharge, and it wasn't until, say, 10 days later, January 27, that you made your offer.
Mr. Dowd. Our only justification: We made an assumption that there would be sufficient business available. If we offered on January 27 and took the business, there would be other American business, other American ships, that would not have employment to date.
And the shippers, Continental, Cargo, would receive a waiver, and displace one American ship or the other.
I don't think it is material, the fact that our ship wasn't offered earlier. We weren't pressed at this time. Perhaps the other owner was already committed and knew where he was going.
Mr. GILES. All right. Mr. Dowd, you have indicated, here, in your conversation, that you will amend your offer to provide the North Atlantic option. Is that correct?
Mr. Down. Yes.
Mr. GILES. And the only point at issue is the date schedule. You have offered for the last half of March, under our schedule of distribution, which we expressed to Continental would be proper. That is filled, that last half, so far as I know.
Captain Goodman, do you have any question about that, as a matter of fact?
Mr. Dowd, could you amend your offer to come within the first half of March?
Mr. Dowd. No. It is not physically possible to ship. It is presently sailing from the Persian Gulf, and won't be here until March 15. We will reserve the ship for cargo or something else.
Mr. GILES. Do you have any other ship you could substitute?
Mr. GILES. What date would you commit yourself on? You can't commit yourself by the 15th of March. What is the earliest date that you would? What is the earliest date after the 15th?
Mr. Down. We generally want at least a 7-day leeway period, to the 22d, but we prefer the 25th.
I'll concede we would do the 22d canceling.
Mr. Down. When we say the 22d, that is the last date on which the ship can arrive. If we arrive prior to that, it immedately goes on hire, but if we arrive after the 22d, the vessel will be canceled and we will be without employment.
Mr. GILES. I understood a while ago you mentioned the 18th.
Mr. Dowd. That is when we expect the ship to be ready for loading, on the 18th. But after all, it is more than 30 days away, and the ship is traveling across the ocean and has to clean for the cargo, and we have to have a little leeway. It is normal to have a 10-day leeway in most shipments.
Mr. GILES. Well, it is sort of abnormal for me to be sitting up here trying to work out a charter, too, and I am trying to see what are the substantive merits, here.
Under all of the circumstances, Mr. Dowd, in view of the fact that it is clear that you did have a considerable period of time to offer in for the last half of March and be in place, be in a position to be accepted, 22 days after the 22d, 7 days after the 15th-that is a whole week—that strikes me as a fairly large margin.
I would like to ask Continental: Again, keeping in mind that Continental has the ground rule in its favor, here, I would like Continental to consider the merits of this in terms of what they could do reasonably under all of the circumstances, without regard to the ground rules.
You are not booked, you do not have your commitments filled, for the first half of March. I think you would concede that this schedule that we have made up is not something that is absolutely firm so far as your physical arrangements are concerned, so far as what you could reasonably do as a business matter is concerned, again apart from the ground rule.
Would you indicate whether or not you would be in a position to accept Mr. Dowd's offer, which he has now amended to give you the full option on the North Atlantic, and give him the 22d date?
Mr. STOVALL. No, sir. Mr. Giles, on the basis of the owner's expected readiness of March 18, which I estimate would put him in the range on March 14 or 15th-there is no cargo available in this position.
Mr. GILES. Well, your position essentially, then, Mr. Stovall, is that you feel you are entitled to stay with our ground rules. Is that it?
Mr. STOVALL. I feel that since we were forced, Mr. Giles, to go along with these ground rules from the beginning, it is too late now to endeavor to deviate from them, because certain commitments have been made on our part with interior offices, et cetera, for this cargo. And this particular period is fully booked, both American and foreign.
Mr. GILES. Mr. Dowd, you have heard all the conversation up to this point. Again, because I don't know any other questions to ask, in an effort to enlighten me, first you concede that the ground rule or the technicality is in favor of Continental. There is no question about that; is there?
Mr. Down. Yes.
I would also like to enlarge on that. I think technically the ground rules are in favor of all the grain houses compared to the American shipowners. They negotiate the sales contract without any of our advice. They have every advantage to obtain waivers along the line, which might be good business for them.
Mr. Giles. Well, now, Mr. Dowd, I don't believe I could regard that as relevant, here, because what you are saying there is that you are really talking about a situation, if that exists, that is applicable across the board, as a business matter, in any transaction, and I am talking about all commercial transactions, even where the Government isn't involved.
I cannot sit here, I don't think-I think it would be grossly improper, even if I had the authority, which I don't think I do—I cannot sit here and, in the midst of trying to administer and help police this particular requirement-I can't sit here and revise or reform well-established shipping practices.
Mr. Dowd. This isn't an established shipping practice, to have range.
Mr. GILES. I am saying so far as the flexibility or the relative advantage that you mentioned that all charterers have, I can't make decisions based on changing that.
Now, what I want to ask you is: Under the circumstances, when, as you concede, the ground rule point is in favor of Continental, I have asked them to consider, in effect, waiving this point in their favor and accepting your amended offer as of the 22d. They have indicated that they do not want to do that.
Would you like to comment-and if you do not, I think it is all right-very frankly as to your feeling about the situation as it now stands? Do you feel strongly that Continental is being completely unreasonable? Or, putting it another way, do you feel that on what is now before me, I could properly rule in your favor?
Mr. Dowd. No. 1, as far as Continental's position goes, I believe they could adjust their schedule and accommodate the vessel.
Now, this would entail a substantial financial loss by Continental to do this. As far as us, as shipowners, on this particular cargo, as soon as cargo comes on the market, we will offer the vessel for Russia. We will obtain employment for our ship on the next sale, which I understand has already been consummated.
I can also understand Continental's position in not giving way at this time, because they figure that cargo will gain by all ships that are weighed.
As long as a shipping program is set up by the people sending the cargoes, and they are not forced to live up to a 50–50 requirement over an extended period, the American shipowners will not participate to 50 percent. The owners for 80 cargoes are quite different. The onus in that case is on the foreign government.
The foreign governments so arrange their schedule to take American ships. They don't arbitrarily allot a certain period to American ships.
The approach to this is such that it is going to be impossible for the American ships to obtain the tonnage. It is a question of intent.
Mr. GILES. Mr. Dowd, we are getting into generalities, when you talk about approach or the results. I think the results we now have before us, right now, refute any suggestion of impossibility, so I would have to simply disagree with the import of your general comments.
I do think you have a good point, a valid point, in your remark, though, about setting up our schedules, not living or not having to live to the exact letter of some schedule that we have set up.
And I would like to suggest to the captain that if and when we get any further shipments in our initial conversations with the exporter, I think we should make it clear that we want him to set up a schedule of even distribution, but we also want an understanding that if a given case arises, where it is reasonable for that exporter to make some adjustment in that schedule, to go over the line a little bit, either one way or the other, it seems to me that would be a proper rule or understanding for us to have.
Now, that is not going to help me too much with Mr. Dowd.
I would like to ask you this, Mr. Dowd. Would you agree to offering your ship to Continental, with the date of the 22d, and with the option—and this is the 22d of March we are talking about; that is a good long ways off—and would you also agree with Continental that if there are any further sales, and I do not have the official information at this moment as to what has been done, except what has been in the papers, that if there are any further sales, loading from the gulf or the North Atlantic to Black Sea ports, you would endeavor, if it is possible to do so, to work out a charter with the other exporter and release Continental?
Would that be a reasonable approach for you?
Mr. GILES. I would like to ask Continental: Would you accept that, with the understanding that if there are other sales, we apply this same requirement? And I read the papers, which indicate there will be, or there are.
That Mr. Dowd will endeavor—and you will know what will be going on—will endeavor to work out for the Marine a shipment within this same period, that is, the 22d ?
Now, that can be any time up to then, but we will endeavor to work out a shipment with the new exporter. If he does, and he will make an honest effort on that part, then you will be released from the commitment to use a ship. If he does not, we would want you to use his ship.
Mr. Dowd, would you indicate the latest date—and I think Continental would need to have this—the latest date on which you would want to notify Continental definitely?
Mr. Dowd. We could wait until February 25.
I think the question is that Continental would like us to wait as late as possible, but February 25 would give us a chance to obtain other business, in case. If they are going to guarantee the ship, we will wait until March 1.
Mr. GILES. All right.
I want to ask Continental: Can you indicate whether this would be acceptable to you? And are you in a position at this point to give a definite answer? If you are not, I will defer this and let you have further consideration.
And I would like to hear from both of you by the end of the day, and we will arrange, after this session, to consult with both of you together.
But are you in a position at this time to indicate whether Mr. Dowd's proposal is acceptable ?
Mr. STOVALL. Mr. Giles, I will say it is not acceptable, as I stated before.
We have chartered and are fully booked in that position, and I believe it would be unfair to Mr. Dowd at this point to indicate any optimism as to being able to fix this vessel.
We, of course, as you know, can do no further sales to the Soviet Union.
Mr. GILES. That is right.
Mr. STOVALL. Consequently, it would seem to me that there would be more justice in telling him now that it doesn't seem possible, and let him work his vessel for other business as it becomes available.
Mr. GILES. I understand.
Mr. Down. I would like to remark that in the negotiations it has been difficult, but with Maritime Commission having some hard trading,
the approach by the Maritime Administration has been fair, but I do believe there is a great deal of work to be done on the program in the future, that the possibilities for the program will continue, that there should be a little closer collaboration in meetings between the exporters and the shipowners in conjunction with Maritime Administration, and we can eliminate some of the problems in the future.
Mr. GILES. Mr. Dowd, that is about the best sermon I have heard today. I agree wholeheartedly that there should be better collaboration between the exporters and the shippers. And looking back on it, I wish that some of the meetings that I had held had been with both groups together at the same time.
But you know how these things
You have a valid point, there, and it is well taken. In such responsibilities as I may have in the next few days or weeks, I will certainly give careful consideration to that.
Well, I believe we have finished with this matter, Mr. Dowd. My tentative conclusion and this is a very difficult one-my tentative conclusion is that for purposes of passing on this waiver, Mr. Dowd's proposition, here, contingent as it is, is a just one. Technically, it has some failures. But I am going to tentatively rule that Mr. Dowd's ship should be accepted on this basis, and that will be subject, as all of these, to further consultation.
Gentlemen, I would like to read the schedule that we have on these remaining specific ship offers, and I will follow this, simply because this is the way it is laid out, unless by mutual agreement some of you have some time problem and can switch places with somebody else. That is the fairest way.
For my part, I want to accommodate anyone who may have a time problem and may need to come in as soon as he can to make a plane, or whatever. But if we do do some switching around on this, I would like to have it done on the basis of mutual agreement with the other parties.
The next item on my list here is the National Defender, Mr. Thomas
Mr. Coles. Mr. Administrator, Mr. Spears was unable to come, gave me the information, and asked if I would present it to the Administrator. I am prepared to do so, and don't think it would take terribly long.
Mr. GILES. Let me read these others out.
The Trans-Bay and Trans-Hartford, of Hudson Waterways, Mr. Joseph Kahn.
Mr. Kahn is present and does want to participate.
The Montpelier Victory—that is Victory Carriers—Mr. Peter Spald-
Mr. GILES. All right. Without objection, gentlemen, we will go ahead on this schedule as I have pointed out.
Mr. GLEASON. I represent the Longshoremen's Union, and I would like to get a chance to talk after this gentleman, because I have some business back in New York. If it is possible, I want to make out my position very clearly as far as this grain is concerned.