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I started an investigation down at the water front when they were issuing false tickets. They say, “You are an agitator."
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think there is communism on the ships?
Mr. Smith. To a certain extent there is. I will not say what the percentage is, but there is communism, to a certain extent.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you mean to a dangerous extent?
Mr. Smith. I would not say to a dangerous extent. Shipowners recognize the International Seamen's Union. The men join the I. S. U. I have heard it in New York, San Francisco, San Pedro, in practically every big company in America, the Dollar Line, the Panama-Pacific Line, the Munson Line
The CHAIRMAN. What did it mean to you?
The CHAIRMAN. I know; but what was the significance of it? If you have information about communism, give it to the committee.
Mr. Smith. I did turn over whatever information I had on Nazis and Communists, and so forth, to Mr. Dickstein about 4 years ago. As far as fighting them, I am not fighting them, Senator. It is just a case of my explaining my views. I cannot go and make a job for the simple reason that they say, “You are working with the shipowners.
When we organized our organization we charged $1 a year. They charge $10 today.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, Mr. Smith, we have had the background. What have you to say about this bill?
Mr. Smith. About this bill, Senator, I have a letter here dated June 28, 1933, from the New York State Merchant Marine Academy. I think, Senator, that one of the finest things that could be done is to build a merchant-marine academy operated by the Maritime Commission or whatever department they see fit to operate it, to take youths and put them on ships and train them, like you send boys out into the C. C. C. camps. It is only a matter of time; it may be 2 years or 5 years, when war may come. During the last war I sailed in the Army transport service. War has got to come sooner or later. Why not be prepared? The Government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars for ships. Why not have trained crews, civilized crews?
It has only been since 1934 that the new seamen's certificates came into effect, whereby aliens with a 3 years' certificate can sail on United States subsidized vessels as citizens. Most of them came down and got their certificates. Along came the "fink” book, and they got that. Then along came another ruling, and they got certificates. I have certificates now, but I cannot make a job.
Senator MALONEY. Are you a seaman?
Mr. Smith. Yes, sir. I have sailed for probably every company in America.
The CHAIRMAN. You do not have a job because you do not belong to the union?
Mr. Smith. I can't join the union. They say I am a radical, that I am working with the shipowners. They accuse me of everything under the sun.
The CHAIRMAN. You have my deep sympathy.
Mr. Smith. I can prove by records that I spent $4,000 out of my own money coming to Washington and sending telegrams, out of my own pocket. Why? For one piirpose: to see that we have United States citizens aboard United States mail subsidized vessels.
The CHAIRMAN. Did we not do pretty well in our law?
The CHAIRMAN. The freighters have crews that are 100 percent American?
Mr. SMITH. Yes. Seventy-five to 85 percent right now; 100 percent on deck and 75 percent in the stewards’ department right now.
The CHAIRMAN. Then we have done something?
Mr. Smith. The same thing as the mediation bill they had last year or the year before. I think a bill of that sort would be all right to a certain extent, if the unions and the Government should have an equal amount of representation, with the President of the United States appointing an arbitrator, an honest man. There should not be any trouble on ships. The men are getting more money than they ever got before. The food is lousy on some ships. I have been in the glory hole with the steward on several ships, but it is getting to a point now where they are remodeling the ships and putting in new quarters, new mattresses, new blankets. The shipowners are hollering that they have not any money, but they can get the money; they can cut down their overhead on the docks. They pay too big dividends.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, tell us about the bill. Do you think it is a pretty good bill?
Mr. Smith. The bill, as is outside of a few changes, the bill itself is not a bad bill, providing labor gets an equal break in representation.
The CHAIRMAN. We are glad to have had your testimony. Is there anything else you want to say?
Mr. Smith. That is all, Senator.
STATEMENT OF DR. B. M. GANCY, DIRECTOR OF THE FILIPINO
LEAGUE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE, NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS,
Dr. GANCY. B. M. Gancy, director of the Filipino League for Social Justice, with national headquarters here in Washington.
I did not come here to make any complaints about the present bill as it is. It is not my province to say anything about the bill, although I am a very attentive listener at the present hearing.
The CHAIRMAX. You have been a very patient one, because you have been present at all of our hearings.
Dr. GANCY. Yes, Senator. I have a very serious problem for my people. I am really grateful for the privilege that you have accorded me today. I came here as a Filipino citizen and as a subject of the United States, and also as director of the Filipino League for Social Justice, a national organization of Filipinos in the United States and in the Territories of Hawaii and Alaska.
The Filipino League for Social Justice was formed almost 3 years after the passage of the Tydings-McDuffie Act, better known today as the Philippine independence law.
The CHAIRMAN. You may recall that I was opposed to that bill.
Dr. Gancy. I am glad you were, Senator. Thank you for the information.
The CHAIRMAN. I was all alone in my opposition.
Dr. GANCY. The history of that law is undoubtedly familiar to all of you and the history of the Filipinos' plea for freedom is likewise a very familiar cause among members of both Houses of Congress. The Filipinos, as you very well know, have come before Congress for almost two decades, pleading for the fulfillment of the covenant entered into by the people of the United States and the Philippine Islands, promising the Filipinos their independence as soon the establishment of a stable government became a reality in the Philippines.
To all these pleadings by Filipino leaders who have come to Congress you have all been extremely kind and exceptionally receptive. As a consequence, Congress on August 29, 1916, wrote into the law bill sponsored by the late Congressman William A. Jones of Virginia, giving the Filipinos the first major test of their ability to run and manage an autonomous form of political government. The passage, however, of that act did not lay to rest the incessant agitation of race and party antagonism of the Philippine problems.
Year in and year out, Filipino missions came to Washington and appeared before Congress pleading for the complete freedom of the Filipino people, as promised by successive American administrators and morally supported by successive Congresses. If some Filipino missions in some fashion have become nuisances to Congress because of their many demands for immediate Philippine emancipation, the Members of this Congress and of past Congresses have listened to all of them most patiently and in many instances patronizingly.
In March 1934, Congress passed the historic Tydings-McDuffie law, writing the final chapter in the statute books of Philippine-American relations the provisions designed for the final termination of American stewardship over the Philippines. That law, as you very well know, gentlemen of the committee, received the overwhelming approval of the Filipino people at that time. Into that law was written the provisions which have today become the basis of grave social and labor problems of Filipinos residing in the United States and the Territories.
It is not my intention, gentlemen of the committee, to criticize here, that provision of the independence law which placed my people in the category of aliens in this country, because that section only pertains to and affects Filipinos who wish to enter the United States, or affects Filipinos in the United States who wish to become naturalized citizens
But I say to you, gentlemen of the committee, that I do criticize the leaders of the Philippine Government for their lack of foresight and their lack of interest in making adequate provisions in behalf of thousands of Filipinos residing in the United States and in the territories of Hawaii and Alaska, when the Tydings-McDuffiie Act was being drafted.
Senator MALONEY. May I interrupt you there?
Senator MALONEY. Are you going to discuss this bill in your statement?
Dr. Gancy. I am not especially discussing the bill, Senator. I am merely giving the basis of why the problems of the Filipinos at present are so acute.
Senator MALONEY. I wonder if it would satisfy your purpose to just put your statement in the record, if it does not concern this bill.
Dr. Gancy. It does concern it very intimately, Senator.
The CHAIRMAN. You know, Senator, the Filipinos are denied inclusion in the crews. That is the point, is it not?
Dr. Gancy. Yes. It is very brief, Senator, I assure you.
The CHAIRMAN. I think, though, that you might put your background and legal interpretation in the record, because there are only two or three of us here, and then present your argument for inclusion in the record. We will print it as if you had read it all.
Dr. Gancy. All right; but I would like to just finish this paragraph, if I may, Senator.
The CHAIRMAN. Proceed.
Dr. Gancy. I criticise them for their failure to reasonably provide for my compatriots in the United States and in the Territories with some legislative proposals or plans to afford our thousands of expatriates in this country an opportunity to readjust themselves in the changed political relationship, at least during the transition period provided for in the Tydings-McDuffie Act.
If such a provision or such a plan was made a part of the intimate consideration of the whole Philippine-American relations, there would have been no need for my appearance before you today. There would have been no problem, except the ordinary problems which attach to ordinary members of a community. There would have been no need for me to plead before this committee and before the American people to grant the Filipinos in the United States and the Territories, an opportunity for an orderly readjustment of their labor and social privileges.
Had provisions been made for these orderly processes of social and labor readjustments, the Filipino League for Social Justice would not have come into being.
My appearance before this committee was the outcome of many factors which contributed to the acceptance of that ill-conceived independence plan. That plan, gentlemen of the committee, was the result of the over-hasty desire of our ambitious leaders to bring home something which looked like freedom in order to please our hysterical mob in the Philippines which at that time dominated Philippine politics.
It follows therefore that since the passage of the Tydings-McDuffie law, a succession of events transpired, all tending toward the complete relinquishment of all legal and moral responsibility of the people of the United States insofar as it affects the status and well-being of Filipinos in the United States and the Territories.
Among these, the passage of the Emergency Appropriation Act of 1937, giving preference to American citizens only, affected about 3,000 Filipinos in the United States alone. Today their position is desperate.
Many Filipino industrial workers are also being discriminated against because of the misinterpretation of that particular section of the Tydings-McDuffie law classing Filipinos as aliens even if that law is only for purposes of immigration.
Thousands of Filipino wage earners in this country are being discriminated against because of the growing trend of thought that the Filipinos ever since the passage of that law are no longer American subjects.
Last year Congress passed what is known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, and among other things contained therein, was that particular provision in section 302, requiring that only citizens of the United States shall be permitted to serve in merchant marine and fishing vessels of the United States, except the small quota allowed to aliens.
This same provision and this same law which placed the Filipinos in the category of aliens, insofar as serving is concerned is today the very act which this committee proposes to revise. I am therefore, presenting to this committee the bare facts surrounding the unfortunate plight of Filipino seamen from the time the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 became operative and section 302 of said law took effect.
Gentlemen of the committee, the history of Filipino seamen who have helped man the United States merchant marine and fishing vessels dates back as early as 1901. Many Filipinos who since that time became eligible for service in the Unitde States Navy, upon their discharge found employment in American merchant marine and were in most cases assigned to the stewards' departments. But even earlier than 1901, in fact as early as the seventeenth century, during the Spanish galleon trade with Mexico, Filipino seamen were recruited to man and serve in Spanish vessels. Many of those seamen migrated to the coast towns bordering the Gulf of Mexico and many finally settled in what is now known to be the State of Louisiana on or about 1823.
They were a hardy lot, these Filipino seamen of that century but even hardier still were the Filipino seamen who came year after year since Admiral Dewey conquered the Spanish fleet at Manila Bay. Hundreds of these Filipino seamen, after they have been acclimated with things American have chosen this country as their home. Hundreds of them today have no thoughts whatsoever of returning back to the land of their birth, no matter what final disposition may be reached regarding American-Filipino relations.
Almost all of the approximately 3,000 Filipino seamen who are today unemployed came at a time when the American shipping industry accepted Filipinos on the same level with American citizens. All of them, without exception, came before the passage of the Philippine independence law. . Almost 95 percent of them had lived in the United States for at least 5 years. Many of them have lived in this country for a great number of years and have so established themselves in many communities where employment in their trade is available. About 20 percent of these Filipino seamen are today married to American-born women. Many of their children who are in law American citizens are either in schools or gainfully employed. The sons oftentimes followed the vocation of their fathers. These Filipino families have, therefore, become a fixed part of American community life. Like their fathers, they are loyal American subjects and citizens, and as a whole a thoroughly law-abiding group.
I ask you, gentlemen of the committee, to look at their unfortunate plight from all angles, from a purely legal standpoint, from a purely constitutional point of view, from the accepted or natural point of view and also from a very humane point of view.