« PreviousContinue »
I would suggest this, knowing if they are going to follow these things in the strict, tough manner they are, Mr. Chairman, I think from now on the rules where possible, should reflect care for that individual case that has an individual problem, to take care of it, not to use this law on strict, tough decisions, to chisel the American flag out, but to try to help him get in.
That is what the rules should be used for, not to the financial benefit necessarily only of Continental. Mr. Chairman, I would point out
that in this broad program, this is not only a question of economics, it is not only a question of agriculture. It is important to the economy of this country. It is important to the people in agriculture. It is important to us internationally. It is important to every single segment.
I submit this, Mr. Chairman, that this law should not be interpreted nor the application made in such a manner as to be based purely and simply on whether or not the specific point of law has been met to meet the pleasures of Continental Grain, however wonderful they may be, however noble they may be.
Mr. Chairman, I submit that there are other interested parties in this whole picture and, Mr. Chairman, there are other issues involved other than whether or not they may not lose a dollar or may not lose a day. I suggest, too, Mr. Chairman, that on the overall question, that unless something is done on this it can only lead to further difficulty. We know that we have had great troubles in this industry.
I am happy that you qualified your remarks in one respect, Mr. Chairman. You included some shipowners. I would include also the short-sightedness of some of the Government officials as well. But regardless of where the blame might lay at this late date and it lies in every direction, no one's hands are really clean.
I can show you very irresponsible people in every section of this industry. I can show you drunks. You show me one type of character in one segment of our business, Mr. Chairman. I will show you the identical type across the board. You show me one type of individual who has made one type of mistake in any one segment of our industry and I will match him off for you. So we don't prove anything.
The problem is, Mr. Chairman, we are so busy arguing, so busy trying to save a buck where the buck is not the issue or where in the long range you could save a lot more than the buck, and all of these things are carried on in a welter of feelings and personality.
There is only one basic thing which has been forgotten and that is to make this industry survive, to think on a positive basis, on the basis of moving forward not backward. For goodness sakes, it is a terrible thing for people who make their living on a ship to sit in a room here where you are moving all this cargo that could mean a living for our people and keeping this with the expressed policies of administration of this country and to hear the foreigners already have their half and deciding what part of our cargo is to be removed, all because Henry Dowd does not want to go to the Atlantic companies.
This is a terrible feeling. This hurts and it hurts bad. You see, unlike the shipowner we have to be honest with you. They will reserve certain facts because they do business tomorrow and they are doing business, Mr. Chairman, and this is the point I make for one company, their company, four ships, five ships, six ships.
We are not in that position. We do business with everybody. We sail everybody's ships, all seamen, whether SIU, NMU, or anybody else's. We must be interested in it to all industries. Maybe this is why we are more sensitive to the industry, to see some of these things developing.
I am not an expert on cargo like Gleason is. I am not the expert on the operations that Goodman is. I am a marine fireman. I have been in it most of my life in one capacity or another. I know without belaboring the details some of the objectives here, Mr. Chairman.
I will not say they are not legitimate as to the letter of the law. I will say that they are aimed in one general direction. But see how the remainder of what could be American-flag cargoes could be knocked off. I have to come to that conclusion. I can come to no other conclusion.
I want to point out, I don't intend to belabor this record. Again, there are lots of things that I could have read in here, but fortunately many of the gentlemen here have said those things for me, what I might have read, and some of them did a better job than I could have done.
I think that the point Kahn made relative to the rules and all these things, again these are essential things and I think we have to get down and get to work on them.
One more point, Mr. Chairman, and I will close. You know what bothers me is that in this country of ours every time there is an emergency, the waterfront worker is called on. We are called on to make our sacrifices the same as everyone else. We are called to make our sacrifices in time of war and in time of peace.
There is a problem like Ted Gleason said earlier. Maybe the gentlemen across the aisle cannot maneuver in 15 days for Mr. Dowd, but when there is a labor problem they can maneuver in 20 minutes. This is because they are called on to do something that they don't want to do, to make a contribution to the industry in an overall fashion. I have sat with gentlemen in the room like Mr. Reynolds. I have sat with many of the Federal representatives and talked to people on the waterfront who went against every thing they were raised to believe in only to help the industry and the country.
If we can participate to this degree in our life and our community, Mr. Chairman, I think it is rather silly to exclude us at a time when you decide in the due process of this business of this Administration to set the ground rules on which we will live or die or on which we will go hungry or have food.
I am not suggesting we should muscle in on your business and exercise any prerogative that you have, but in addition to the operator, in addition to the person who is to do the shipping, I would suggest, if it is at all possible, practical, and proper, that we should be allowed in at some point. We are not all idiots, Mr. Chairman. We might not all know the finest and tiniest facets of the business, but we were raised in the business. We work at the trade with our hands. We have ideas, too.
I tell you why it would be perfectly safe, not only safe but in my opinion advisable, because, you see, better than anyone, we understand quite well that without an American ship, no American sailor, without their job, there is no us. So you can be sure that whatever we will do, however headstrong we may appear, or whatever we may say,
that we will be fighting for the preservation of our livelihood, and this segment of America.
I think, Mr. Chairman, that pretty much covers the point I wanted to make today. In closing, I urge you to look at these rules again before this thing deteriorates any further. In closing, I would say just one more thing: In such an open hearing as this, Mr. Chairman, subject to the reservations I have taken earlier, I think this might be a very healthy thing because it gives a chance to put it out in public, you see. I think maybe if you did this frequently, it would be tremendous. I tell you why. It takes an area, a corner of the industry that generally is not too well known. It is a dark corner. It puts it out in the open where everybody can look at it and hear. I congratulate you for it. I would earnestly request that you consider doing it again. Next time you give us a little more time so that we can come documented and prepared.
Thank you for your time.
Mr. GILES. Thank you. I certainly subscribe to your latter sentiments about getting the things out in the open. I am frank to say that I am not anxious that we will have occasions similar to this one for frequent public hearings. Perhaps we can have other and different occasions other than a waiver application.
I would like to make just a few brief comments on some of the points you have made, Mr. Hall, and then you may have an opportunity to make any final, further remarks you wish to make.
On the matter of the rules, the ground rules that we have been mentioning, that term really means to me the terms and conditions of these charters. That is what we have been dealing with. That is what is giving us the trouble.
Now, it never occurred to me. Very frankly, my present reaction is that I don't see on what basis this Government agency would have to say to the owner and to the charterer that they should bring in or that we should bring in, say, the labor union representatives. Now, I will say that as far as I am concerned, I have no objection to it, and would welcome the presence and knowledge of all of our groups. I do look on that as essentially the sort of business transaction which the shipowner makes on any charter. I don't believe it is the general practice on most of these charters or any of them to have that.
Now, this is the Government. This is the point on which you have a valid basis and that is that this is not simply private industry. This is the Government_acting. Therefore, all of our citizens have an interest. On that I have been assuming that the owner was in the position and would look out after his own financial interest. Now, that is simply my comment on that point.
I certainly would have no personal objection, myself, if we got down to something like this in the future. Whatever we have in the way of hearing or whatever, we want to be open, frank, and communicative with all groups. That is my own personal attitude.
Now, you mentioned Mr. Calhoon's telegram. He mentioned five ships, the fact that two of them during the course of today's hearing have been tentatively brought within the fold rather than left out. That is correct, but to me it overlooks the main point of Mr. Calhoon's telegram where he says that these vessels have been declined, in substance, on ridiculous reasons or for transparently ridiculous reasons, Now, I did disagree with the judgment of Continental on two ships that we have mentioned, a tentative disagreement because I want to reserve my final decision on all of these. I do not think on the facts that I have heard that I could agree at all that Continental has turned down these ships for transparently ridiculous reasons. It is just a matter of degree of how much emotion you put on it.
Again, I like to approach these things on the assumption that there is a lot of room for a difference of opinion and that we ought to be able to tolerate that difference of opinion without imparting to it the charges of immoral conduct or stupidity which have been attached.
Your point, to me, about my statement here about Mr. Calhoon in absentia is well taken. It has some validity to it. You have a point. My only reason, if I have one, is that Mr. Calhoon spoke publicly about me in many papers, about the staff and the agency here, and I felt that it was not entirely improper although perhaps humanly weak for me to indicate that I have some show of feeling on that matter. That is why.
If this had been a private statement, or a statement made in private conversation, such as you mentioned your group having the meetings earlier, in the last year or two, I think that would have been different and I think my own reaction would have been different.
On the matter of supplementing the foreign-flag ships, I heard the explanation here given by Continental as to why they fixed foreignflag ships in those earlier days. It seemed to be reasonable. I don't regard that we have handled this in such a way as merely to supplement the foreign-flag ships. I am impressed with this very frankly and that is during this particular period, during December, during January, February, March, and April, happily the American merchant marine is pretty busily employed. This is a good season.
Now, the unfortunate thing or the bad thing, you might say, is that we can't count on having a similar good season next year. But we have to take our seasons as they come, as you know far better than I do, the peaks and valleys of the merchant marine.
So we have got a good, busy season now. To me, the fundamental point that comes out in all of this, and I frankly had no way to guess as late as 4:30 or 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon what we would finally come up with on this particular Continental shipment, I read as many rumors as anyone else. I thought a few times that we would have more than enough American-flag shipping to cover all of this 500,000 tons. As I remarked to some of my colleagues yesterday morning, and the day before, if that is the case, we will have a rather short and, for me, a very sweet meeting because I will have no waiver applications to pass on.
But that was not the situation. The vessels simply were not offered in, even in controversy, to cover the full 500,000 for whatever the reason. So certainly underlying all of that is a fortunate circumstance that this is a good, busy season generally. It is much better than last year. I think that all of us, the shipowners, the labor union leaders who have a very valid interest, should recognize that. I would have it in context with some of these technicality points.
It is true when you get down to trying to administer a program of this sort and you have to keep inching into each and very little detail on which somebody can take issue, the Government quite often is put
in almost an impossible position; that is, the position to decide the details of business transactions where you don't have the problem except for the fact the Government is in it.
I simply mention that point again to put it in context.
I don't think our ground rules or our terms and conditions and our approach on that, I don't think our approach has been inflexible. We have tried to regard the realities of the situation and to work out what we thought were proper decisions. I could not do my job and accept every recommendation of the shipowners any more than I could the other. I made it plain to Continental. I first met them in connection with this—that we had a 50-percent shipping requirement. My job was to police that and to see that it was accomplished, if it was there. That is the approach we have made. I am sure we have made some mistakes measured by any good, high, standard of achievement, intellectual achievement, anyway. We are bound to have made some. But I guess we will just have to stick with them.
So I sum it all up by saying this in connection with our whole effort: I am going to have to make a decision here on this particular waiver application. There is going to be some of the shipping lacking: The biggest amount here, the 50,000 tons of the National Defender, is still in question, but certainly there is a strong possibility that that cannot be worked out by the owner. That means that there will be for our consideration, say, tomorrow, whenever we get to it and have all the facts, the possibility of a waiver on a fairly substantial amount of tonnage. To me a substantial amount is 100,000 tons. It may not be as much as that. I don't know.
When we come up with that again I will just have to deal with these specific cases regardless of the general result and do the best we can with it. I hope that you and your associates, in the maritime labor movement, who do have such a vital interest in this, will consider what we have tried to do, will consider our explanations and the basis of our decisions, and then make your own judgments accordingly.
Mr. Giles. Does Continental have any comment you would like to put on the record in connection with any of these remarks by Mr. Hall or myself?
Mr. STOVALL. I would like to make one statement, Mr. Giles. I can well appreciate Mr. Hall's partisan viewpoint. I don't believe for one moment that he would let this assembly believe that ours is a pushbutton operation, where the operation of the steamship has many complexities. I would submit that this operation has as many, if not more complexities as the steamship owners do.
Consequently, we at this late stage of the game must be as inflexible in some respects as the steamship owners are. With respect to the rates paid, for Mr. Hall's information, we have paid the full Maritime rate for every vessel which has been chartered in this program and the $17 figure of the vessel mentioned before, the Mount Washington, is a matter which Maritime and Maritime only would settle in accordance with their guideline rates.
A vessel of this size-40,000 tons with a 50-foot draft—when they offer against this business the rate is subject to consultation. We were informed at the beginning of these proceedings--rather at the beginning of this operation--that Maritime Administration had a formula which would be applied against these vessels taking into account construction cost and many, many other fact