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Government agency has the best equipment and is most acceptable. I do feel that the Coast Guard enjoys a feeling of affection in the minds of the public in no way attained by the other bureaus.
The CHAIRMAN. I think the admiral put that well this morning about the affection of the people for the Coast Guard.
Father WALSH. Certainly.
The last point I had was this, with regard to that Labor Mediation Board: I should say, as a friend of labor, being frequently myself in between disputes between employers and their help, that this is a thing that should not frighten them; it is all up their alley. The merchant marine should not in that respect be deprived of the same protection that industry gets on land under the Wagner Act. · There disputes between employers and employees have to go through this machinery, and frequently the idea of a slow-functioning third party is a good one. People won't have exaggerated claims of first prejudice so often accepted today. The quickness of decision which seems to be required as their desideratum seems to make me a bit suspicious.I would rather have a little longer time, so the slowness would not, I think, be to me a substantial factor.
The CHAIRMAN. Father, is there some justification in the desire of the unions to have aboard the ships committees in order that there may be speedy settlements of disputes aboard ships?
Father Walsh. Certainly. That, it seems to me, could be made a part of the whole set-up. Of it may be something that could be referred to the committee on arrival. In other words, it seems to me that this labor-mediation proposal is subject to a great deal of elasticity and could be adopted to sea conditions. The very wording of the labor mediation proposal there suggests that elasticity.
The CHAIRMAN. When we passed the Housing Act—this latest Housing Act—as I understand the matter, the Government advanced or insured 90 percent of the cost.
Senator MALONEY. Up to $6,000.
The CHAIRMAN. Above that it was 80 percent. Even at that, 20 percent would be better than 25. If the owner could make a down payment of 10 percent and then regular payments, the investment, from the staidpoint of the Government, would pretty soon be reasonably safe, would it not?
Senator MALONEY. Not if they do not manage them better. Not if the shipowners do not manage them better.
Father WALSH. I think they are in the mood.
Father WALSH. This idea of having someone on board, not as a permanent member of the personnel, but as what I like to thing of as a member of a roving panel, will help. I say this without consultation with the industry; I think they would welcome further intervention of the Government in that respect, because they feel that masters on many ships have lost authority already.
The CHAIRMAN. What we are worried about is what would be the attitude of the masters toward these roving officers.
Father WALSH. As the Admiral summed it up clearly, the master is in absolute command of the ship once he casts off, once he is afloat, until he ties up again, except when the pilot comes on, and even then the master is responsible. It is not that there would be divided authority; you cannot divide authority on a ship. A cap
tain is either in control or not in control of that floating projectile that may endanger hundreds of lives aboard it.
Therefore, the presence of this other so-called inspector would be, it seems to me, similar to the inspectors who go around to Army posts. On arrival at a given post, such an officer would not outrank the commanding officer, but he would observe what was happening and make notes of anything that had to be taken up later through the commanding officer.
So, the existence of authorized inspectors need not bring up the question of jurisdiction, except as he is an officer sitting down to discuss a problem, but even then the ultimate decision is the master's. In making that decision, I think the presence of someone of the type described would be an enormous help. I do not see how labor could object to it. If labor did object to it, it would raise some unpleasant suspicions, because this is precisely what old Andrew Furuseth used to beg for--more of this protection against the operators, and all the rest.
The CHAIRMAN. Father, I voted for the continuous-di harge book, but when the bill happened to carry my name I got damned from hell to breakfast.
Father Walsh. The continuous discharge book is in common use in England, sir. It can be made to safeguard the seaman's position, and it could be used, incidentally, maybe, as a blackballing agency by the operators, but not with this other feature of more intervention by the Government, although I am not at all of the philosophy that approves concentration of governmental power from the States or others beyond a certain needed and agreed-upon amount.
Nevertheless, I should say that I admit an entirely different situation where the Government not only has the responsibility of supervising something that would be a wit in the Naval Reserve, and therefore is an insurance in our national defense, but, secondly, it has invested in it 75 percent to 90 percent of the cost, and it has a right to know where the taxpayers' money is going. The amount of control the Government exercises on land, of course, is, as we know, very full, with respect to the right to investigate, and so on. Now that the Government might be going into this more than ever before, I would also say that it has the right to see that nothing should imperil it. The thing that is taking place more than anything else is the industrial relationships on board ships.
Senator RADCLIFFE. Father, the seamen feel that they must have a fair opportunity to present their case. They feel that the set-up is such that there cannot be a clear and judicial interpretation of the merits of a controversy which has leveloped on a particular trip. If they do feel that way, do you think this traveling inspector or adjuster or observer would tend to obviate that objection?
Father Walsh. Yes, sir; I do. I think that, as the admiral used the word this morning, which caught my attention, he would be a referee. He would be just like a referee.
Senator RadclIFFE. Not so much as to the determination or settlement of the matter at the time on the water, but after the return to harbor?
Father WALSH. I think he could function as to both.
Father Walsh. I do. That does not exist at present. You have frequently two conflicting direct reports. Frequently the passengers will voluntarily send in communications.
You would not have enough men to put on every ship, but you would have at least a new sort of atmosphere, and to oppose that and not want it at all would appear very suspicious to me. It would raise grave suspicions in my mind not to want it ahead of time.
I think those are most of the observations I have to make.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any questions? We have here an informed disinterested witness.
Senator Gibson. This question may not be just in point. We have one version of labor that we received from the labor people, another version from the shipowners, and a mixed version from the traveling public. It is essential that the Congress determine the absolute truth as to the labor situation.
What do you say as to an open, full, and free investigation by a special committee of the Senate?
Father Walsh. Senator, I think we have the data. I doubt if it would be necessary to impose on an already overworked body a new group for that, because, both from this investigation and from the hearings with respect to the act itself, there has been developed a considerable amount of authoritative data which probably would be merely renewed, confirmed, and possibly added to.
But my first offhand view, without any deep measurement of it, is that we already have an impressive amount of testimony.
The CHAIRMAN. I think the Senator has in mind this new element, the communistic element, which has entered into labor.
Senator GIBSON. Yes. Father WALSH. Oh, that. Senator Gibson. Then, too, this committee has no money with which to operate. There is no power of subpena, such as a special committee would have. This committee cannot go as deeply into the subject in determining the absolute truth as a special committee, duly constituted and authorized.
Father WALSH. Focusing it down to that particular point, I do not think that particular point has been followed up yet. The testimony has been of the situation in the large, so to speak, with respect to determining the direction or the source of this. That would be something special.
Senator GIBSON. We are dealing with two elements. We have built up this Nation through struggle. Now we have a group that would tear it down and substitute in place of it the dictatorship of labor. On the other hand, we are advancing step by step, toward a dictatorship of capital. One is just as bad as the other.
Father Walsh. I quite agree. In between, we, the common people, are squeezed through the pockets and through the emotions.
I know that in New York and in other ports, day after day, we are losing passengers. Because of the fact that we have discussed this here, it is publicity, and it has its effect on the traveling public.
Senator Gibson. I think the record should show, if it does not already show it, that Father Walsh is vice president of Georgetown University and regent of the School of Foreign Service.
Father WALSH. There is one other point, sir. I noted in the proposed amendment with respect to the establishing for labor in the merchant marine a minimum wage to improve conditions. That the wage is low is clear. Seventy dollars a month is the outside, and it goes even lower than that in some classes, but I raise the question merely as to whether it would be advisable to enact by statute for the merchant marine, by special amendment, a minimum-wage provision while that whole problem is being controverted with respect to land industry.
The CHAIRMAN. The present law provides that on subsidized ships of the Maritime Commission there be established minimum-wage manning scales.
Father Walsh. That is an authority to the Commission to do that. It is merely a question, to me, of policy. Is it wise to anticipate for the merchant marine alone a great controversy of political economy before such a policy is adopted for land industry? I do not know; I merely raise the question. You are prejudging a possible later discussion of that in a court. The question of the constitutionality of minimum-wage enactment has not been passed on, as far as I know. We do not yet have a Federal law enacting it. This would seem to create a highly controversial thing. This print, I take it, is a reproduction of the amendment.
The CHAIRMAN. This is the act. This is in the law today.
Father WALSH. This was from Mr. Kennedy's report. He repeated all the amendments.
In reading that, there flashed through my mind the thought that here is a question which is not res adjudicata. You are adding it to the law for one branch of industry, namely, the merchant marine, and it is still being debated by Congress with regard to the others.
Senator THOMAS of Utah. This is one branch where it can be properly applied. There are constitutional inhibitions in the land industries, because there is the conflict between the jurisdiction of States and Nation. So, constitutionally speaking, this is a simple proposition as far as ships in foreign trade are concerned, because no one would doubt the right of Congress to pass such an act if Congress deemed it good policy.
Father Walsh. I understand, Senator, that the question of constitutionality which arises by reason of the State aspect does not affect the jurisdiction of Congress over the merchant marine on the high seas?
Senator THOMAS of Utah. Yes; there is no constitutional doubt about congressional control of labor on the high seas.
The CHAIRMAN. The present law provides that the Commission may authorize minimum manning scales and minimum wage scales and reasonable working conditions for all officers and crews. That is all fixed in the contract.
Father Walsh. It is permissive power; it is not mandatory? Is that a permission to the Maritime Commission, or is it mandatory?
Mr. MINN. It is mandatory. The law now provides that each operating subsidy contract must state that the contractor shall pay at least certain minimum wages and observe certain minimum working conditions. The Martime Commission, after extensive hearings, established and prescribed those minima. Under our subsidy system the Government pays the difference between the American and foreign wages, so it is quite in order for the Government to require a minimum wage on subsidized ships.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there other questions to ask of Father Walsh ?
Father, we are very much obliged to you for taking time out of your busy life to come here and testify.
Father Walsh. You are very welcome.
STATEMENT OF RAYMOND F. CRIST, WASHINGTON, D. C., REP.
RESENTING THE FILIPINO COMMUNITIES OF AMERICA AND THE FILIPINO SEAMEN'S WELFARE ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK
The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed with your statement, Mr. Crist.
Mr. CRIST. My name is Raymond F. Crist. I represent the Filipino Communities of America and the Filipino Seamen's Welfare Association of New York.
Mr. Chairman, something was said, just preceding me, that was very impressive, in the question raised as to communism and communistice influences aboard ships.
Fundamentally, communism is a product of western civilization and not of the Orient. There are no communistic theorists among the orientals. Among the Filipinos, particularly, there is none, because the Filipinos are the only Christian people of the Orient. Their history has been such that they have always been loyal to their government.
As to the insidious movement, I can tell of the Communist agitators I witnessed a very short while ago in Brooklyn. I was attending a meeting of the Filipino Seamen's Welfare Association, which is a corporation organized under the laws of the State of New York, and which has its office in Brooklyn at 211 South Thirty-ninth Street. The president of that organization is Mr. Gabriel Trance. The executive officer of the association is Mr. Amilio A. Alba, Jr.
I have been brought into this by the original action of the Filipino Communities of America, which represents the seamen of the Gulf coast. Mr. Frank A. Reyes is the president of that organization. This organization brought us into contact with the Filipino Welfare Association in New York through meeting Mr. Alba here recently at a hearing of this committee over in the caucus room. As a result of this meeting, I was invited by Mr. Charles F. Tucker into this activity.
Mr. Tucker was formerly district director of naturalization when I was Commissioner of Naturalization and had jurisdiction over the States of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. Later he was transferred to New Orleans, and while there performed some service for a year or so and resigned last September. After his resignation the Filipino Communities of America approached him and asked for his services as an attorney to come to Washington to endeavor to secure relief for these Filipino seamen who are out of jobs. They were turned out of their work by the Maritime Act of 1936. I understand there are about 3,000 of them. This number I learned from the conversations we have had in the office of the Filipino Commissioner in the last few weeks. It was through them that we met Mr. Alba.
Mr. Tucker and I attended a meeting of the Filipino Seamen's Welfare Association in Brooklyn last month, and I again went over