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CONFIRMATION OF MEMBERS OF UNITED STATES
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 6, 1930
UNITED STATES SEXATE,
Washington, D. C. The committee met, pursuant to call of its chairman, at 10 o'clock a. m., in room 312, Senate Office Building, Senator Reed Smoot presiding.
Present: Senators Smoot (chairman), Watson, Reed, Shortridge, Couzens, Greene, Deneen, Bingham, La Follette, Thomas of Idaho, Simmons, Harrison, King, George, Walsh of Massachusetts, Barkley, Thomas of Oklahoma, and Connally.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. We will proceed to an examination of the members of the United States Tariff Commission, and Mr. Henry P. Fletcher, of Pennsylvania, nominated for a term expiring June 16, 1936, will be the first witness. I should like to ask the members of the committee if they desire the witnesses sworn.
Senator HARRISON. I do not see any reason why it should be done. The CHAIRMAN. All right. We can proceed in the usual way.
Senator Harrison. It is the chairman only who has suggested that they be sworn.
The CHAIRMAN. I was merely asking the preference of the committee.
Mr. FLETCHER. I am perfectly willing to be sworn.
Senator HARRISON. No request has been made by anybody for the nominees to be sworn, except the chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. And I merely asked an expression of the views of the committee. I did not want any question to be raised on the floor of the Senate.
STATEMENT OF HON. HENRY P. FLETCHER, OF PENNSYLVANIA,
NOMINATED TO BE A MEMBER OF THE UNITED STATES TARIFF COMMISSION
The CHAIRMAX. You gentlemen may proceed.
Mr. FLETCHER. I graduated from Chambersburg Academy and prepared for Princeton. Not having sufficient money to go to Princeton I became a stenographer and studied law. I was the court reporter of the Franklin County courts when about 18 and was admitted to the bar when I was 2i. I practiced law until 1898 when I joined Roosevelt's Rough Riders as a private—and I came out as a private. I then went back to the practice of law in Pennsylvania and stayed there, where I was practicing with my uncle, Judge Rowe
Senator WATSON (interposing). Did you say that you came out as a private?
Mr. FLETCHER. I did, and with typhoid fever.
Senator WATSON. Well, you are the only one I ever heard of who did come out as a private.
Mr. FLETCHER. I came down to see Mr. Roosevelt after he became President—and I do not know whether this will amuse you or not, but he said, “Well, Fletcher, what do you want!" I said, “ Mr. President, I don't want anything." He said, “ The rest of them are all in office or in jail." As a matter of fact, to be serious about it, I went to the Philippines as first lieutenant in the Fortieth Infantry and served there two years. I then came back home and assumed my place in the firm as a very junior partner. I then was appointed second secretary to the legation in Cuba by Mr. Roosevelt in 1902 at $1,500 a year.
From there I went to China as second secretary. From there I went to Portugal, and from there back to China as first secretary and was in charge for a year. After Mr. Rockhill was sent to Turkey, or to Russia, and I have forgotten which, I was made minister to Chile by Mr. Taft. Then when Mr. Wilson came in and the legation was raised to an embassy, I was made ambassador to Chile. From there I was transferred to Mexico. I remained in Mexico until after the war, when I resigned. I was out of the service for a year, and then Mr. Harding asked me to become Undersecretary of State, which I did. I served there for a year and was then made ambassador to Belgium, and from Belgium I was transferred to Italy, where I served five years and resigned last year. That, I think, is as nearly as I can remember it my experience.
Senator REED. Have you ever taken an active part in any agitation with regard to the tarifl?
Mr. FLETCHER. No, sir.
Senator HARRISON. Mr. Fletcher, have you been active in politics in Pennsylvania?
Mr. FLETCHER. Well, I have hardly had time to be, Senator Harrison. I have been away from there a great deal. I have taken an interest in politics to a certain extent, as we all do, but that is about all.
Senator HARRISON. Well, of course, they are divided up there in Pennsylvania within the Republican Party. I take it that you are a Republican?
Mr. FLETCHER. Yes, sir.
· Senator HARRISON. They are divided into various groups and factions up there in Pennsylvania.
Mr. FLETCHER. Yes. Senator REED. There is nothing like that in Mississippi, Senator Harrison, is there?
Senator HARRISON. Oh, no. Everything is unanimous down there. Mr. Fletcher, there are some groups and factions no doubt that were formed while you were serving the country in the various places that you have named.
Mr. FLETCHER. Yes.
Senator HARRISON. When you were in Pennsylvania as to what connection you did have with politics, what particular faction have you been associated with?
Mr. FLETCHER. I have not been associated with any of them.
Mr. FLETCHER. In my time there were not very many factions. It was Mr. Quay and Mr. Penrose who ran it.
Senator HARRISON. Then you belonged to Mr. Quay's and Mr. Penrose's crowd ?
Mr. FLETCHER. Not exactly. I secured their support for the job of second secretary in Cuba. Mr. Roosevelt said he would appoint me if I could get the Senators to endorse me. I asked them to do it, and that was the last time I asked anybody, except Senator Reed when I wanted to be transferred from Brussels to Rome. I then asked him if he would say a good word in that connection, and he did, and also I believe Senator Pepper. I think that is about all.
Senator HARRISON. Then you did not feel that you were one of the cogs in the Penrose-Quay machine!
Mr. FLETCHER. No; I did not have that feeling exactly.
Mr. FLETCHER. Well, I have only met Mr. Grundy about three times in my whole life.
Senator HARRISON. He never solicited you for campaign funds?
Mr. FLETCHER. He never did, not that I know of. He might have as secretary of the committee, but if so I don't remember it. I never have had very much money to contribute to campaigns.
Senator HARRISON. Maybe that is the reason he did not call on you. He was after bigger fish.
Mr. FLETCHER. Maybe so. Senator HARRISON. Did you contribute to any of the campaigns Mr. FLETCHER. Yes; to the national campaigns, but not to the State campaigns.
Senator HARRISON. Not to the State campaigns? Mr. FLETCHER. No. Senator HARRISON. You have contributed pretty well for a number of years, have you not?
Nr. FLETCHER. No. I think it was about $500 or $1,000, but I never gave more than $1,000 in any campaign.
Senator HARRISON. And not to the State campaign?
Mr. FLETCHER. No. I gave to the treasurer of the national committee, you know, to the State treasurer for the national committee. Who was this, Senator Reed?
Senator REED. I confess I don't remember.
Senator REED. I do not know. But it went to the national committee. I remember your contributing in the last campaign to that.
Mr. FLETCHER. Yes.
Senator REED. I know that your check went to the national treasurer.
Mr. FLETCHER. Yes.
Senator HARRISON. Have you been associated financially with any interest in Pennsylvania that was seeking protection?
Mr. FLETCHER. Not that I know of.
Senator HARRISON. Aren't you interested personally in any industries?
Mr. FLETCHER. No.
Mr. FLETCHER. I have a few shares of Westinghouse airbrake, and perhaps of the Westinghouse Manufacturing Co. Those I bought about three or four years ago; and of the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Co. that I bought about three or four months ago when I thought they looked cheap. But I do not know that they are interested in the tariff in any way; in fact, that was the reason I bought them. I had some shares of stock which I thought might be affected by the tariff and I sold those and bought others which I thought would not be.
Senator HARRISON. Would you mind telling the committee what those shares were?
Mr. FLETCHER. Which ones?
Senator HARRISON. What kind of industries they were in. You say that you feared that they might be interested in the tariff and you got rid of them?
Mr. FLETCHER. Because of the oil investigation, which I noticed by resolution we were instructed to go into, in regard to the marketing of oil from Maracaibo on the domestic production, and I had some few shares of Phillips Petroleum and Gulf Oil. I sold those before I came onto the commission. I thought that maybe that matter would be raised. I thought I should like to feel I was perfectly free to do my job down there. If anything were to come up, of course, before the commission in which I was interested, either directly or indirectly; that is, if any of my family had any interest, if I knew of their connection, I would certainly not participate in the investigation.
Senator HARRISON. Did you belong to any organization in Pennsylvania with which Mr. Grundy was connected or anyone else was connected that sought higher duties by way of the tariff?
Mr. FLETCHER. No; I have not been interested in the tariff in any way.
Senator HARRISON. I am asking you these questions to find out, you understand.
Mr. FLETCHER. I am very glad for you to ask them. I should be very happy for you to fully understand the situation.
Senator HARRISON. Have you been interested in copper?
Mr. FLETCHER. I had some shares at one time in Kennecott Copper, as an investment.
Senator HARRISON. Was that while you were minister to Chile? Mr. FLETCHER. No, sir.
Senator HARRISON. Were you interested in any of those stocks at the time when you were minister to Chile?
Mr. FLETCHER. No; I do not think so. When I was minister to Chile I bought 10 shares of stock, and amounts like that, occasionally, of General Electric, say, and tried to get some stock that was safe, and so forth. As I had an opportunity to make a little investment I would buy a little stock. I tried in every way, however, never to buy
Senator HARRISON (interposing). Were you interested in any nitrates?
Mr. FLETCHER. No, sir.
Senator HARRISON. Were you ever interested in any American getting any contracts with reference to nitrates!
Mr. FLETCHER. No, sir; not that I know of. Well, I believe that the DuPont Co. was purchasing a nitrate field during my time there. I might have helped their representative to make his contacts, but I rather think that was done before I came.
Senator HARRISON. That was in Chile?
Mr. FLETCHER. Yes. My attitude was always one of helping any American industry that came there that wanted to establish itself.
Senator HARRISON. You merely helped them as minister?
Mr. FLETCHER. I did. I knew the young boy, who is now minister to Cuba; yes.
Senator HARRISON. Well, he was interested in the copper industry, was he not?
Mr. FLETCHER. Yes. I think the Guggenheims came into Chile after I left there. I left there in 1916, and I don't know when they really took over the property. I think it belonged to the Braden interests first, but I don't remember.
The CHAIRMAN. Copper has been on the free list always .
Senator COUZENS. But there was a campaign on to put a tariff on it.
Senator HARRISON. I understand that copper has been on the free list. And I take it that the Senator from Utah knew that I knew that, didn't he?
The CHAIRMAX. Well, I wasn't sure about that. Senator HARRISON. Mr. Fletcher, how long were you minister to Chile?
Mr. FLETCHER. From 1910 until 1914, about October, it was raised to an embassy and I was called ambassador from that time on until 1916.