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UNITED STATES SENATE,
COMMITTEE ON INTEROCEANIC CANALS,
The committee met at 10.30 o'clock, a. m., pursuant to the call of the chairman.
Present: Senators O'Gorman (chairman), Thornton, Shields, Walsh, Thomas, Simmons, Brandegee, Borah, Crawford, Bristow, Perkins, and Page.
Also present: Senators Ransdell and Jones.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. Senators, regarding the proposed legislation affecting the Panama Canal, the committee has been called to consider the bill H. R. 14385, an act to amend section 5 of an act to provide for the opening, maintenance, protection, and operation of the Panama Canal and the sanitation of the Canal Zone, approved August 24, 1912, which provides for the repeal of the coastwise shipping exemption, which is as follows:
[H. R. 14385, Sixty-third Congress, second session.]
AN ACT To amend section five of "An act to provide for the opening, maintenance, profection, and operation of the Panama Canal and the sanitation of the Canal Zone," approved August twenty-fourth, nineteen hundred and twelve.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the second sentence in section five of the act entitled "An act to provide for the opening, maintenance, protection, and operation of the Panama Canal and the sanitation and government of the Canal Zone," approved August twenty-fourth, nineteen hundred and twelve, which reads as follows: No tolls shall be levied upon vessels engaged in the coastwise trade of the United States," be, and the same is hereby, repealed.
SEC. 2. That the third sentence of the third paragraph of said section of said act be so amended as to read as follows: "When based upon net registered tonnage for ships of commerce the tolls shall not exceed $1.25 per net registered ton, nor be less than 75 cents per net registered ton, subject, however, to the provisions of article nineteen of the convention between the United States and the Republic of Panama, entered into November eighteenth, nineteen hundred and three.'
Passed the House of Representatives March 31, 1914.
SOUTH TRIMBLE, Clerk.
We also have the following Senate bills and resolutions on this subject to consider:
S. 4694, introduced by Senator Chilton;
S. 4893, introduced by Senator Owen (which is the same as the House bill):
S. 5086, introduced by Senator Lewis;
S. J. Res. 84, introduced by Senator Weeks;
S. J. Res. 16, introduced by Senator Newlands, Sixty-third Congress, first session;
S. 96, introduced by Senator Root, Sixty-third Congress, first session; and
A proposed amendment to H. R. 14385, submitted by Senator Norris.
The chairman would be glad to receive any suggestions from the members of the committee as to the program that should be adoptedwhether we should invite the authors of these various bills to come before the committee and present their views.
Senator BRISTOW. I think that would be a good suggestion. Senator CRAWFORD. Should not we take up the House bill, and then any suggestions found in these other bills could be presented in the way of amendments, if desired? We could take the House bill as the basis on which to work.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Ransdell desires to be heard.
Senator RANSDELL. Just one moment. I have received certain telegrams on this subject, Mr. Chairman. One is from the general manager of the New Orleans Association of Commerce, which is the largest commercial body in the city of New Orleans. It has, I think, 2,100 or 2,200 members. It reads:
Hon. Jos. E. RANSDELL,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C.:
Please ask for hearing before Interoceanic Canal Committee on canal tolls matter for association of commerce. Will have one and not more than three representatives. Kindly keep me posted.
M. B. TREZEVANT, General Manager New Orleans Association of Commerce.
I have another telegram from the president of the New Orleans Board of Trade, which is the second largest commercial organization in the city of New Orleans, with several hundred members-a very powerful organization. It reads:
We respectfully urge your good office in behalf of having open hearings before Senate Interoceanic Canal Committee on Panama Canal tolls repeal measure.
JEFF D. HARDIN, President New Orleans Board of Trade (Ltd).
I wish to file those telegrams, and to request that the hearing be granted to those gentlemen, if you decide to give any hearings at all. I understand that New Orleans was not heard when this measure was before Congress in 1912. A good many people there are very much interested in the subject now. I can not state what the real general sentiment of the community is, but I know that there are many people there who are intensely interested in it, and I know they honestly wish to be heard.
Senator THORNTON. As a member of the committee, and also a Louisiana Senator, I will say, as I said to you a week ago, that if the New Orleans people wish to be heard I think they ought to be heard, as they were not heard at the time before, although I had specially arranged with the chairman of the committee to have them heard, and wrote to them, but they declined to come, stating that they did not care to come. But that does not interfere with their rights to be heard at this new hearing if they wish to. As they were not