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MERCHANT MARINE NEEDED FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE

Ex-Senator Chamberlain of Oregon, Member of United States Shipping Board, Makes Plea for Ship Subsidy Bill--Emphasizes Use of Vessels in War

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Mr. Chamberlain was for 12 years Senator from Oregon, being Chairman of the Senate Committee on Military Affairs during the war. He is now a member of the United States Shipping Board.

What the Ship Subsidy Bill is designed to accomplish is the building up of American steamship lines flying the American flag and employing American officers and men to the end that these all-American lines may be the servants of the American people and of the American people first and foremost. Men and women who have for years voted for a protective tariff on farm products and manufactured goods are today doubtful as to whether they should support a plan for the protection of the American shipping industry when upon its protection at this time depends the future for the already protected farm and factory products.

Abraham Lincoln said:

"If I buy a pair of trousers abroad for $10, I have the trousers and they have my $10; If I buy them at home I have the trousers and we have the $10 at home."

Thus, if we carry our foreign commerce, or the major part of it, as we aim to do, the freight money, instead of being paid into foreign hands, will be paid into American hands, the great bulk of it to be spent in this country. It is generally estimated that ocean freight charges represent about 8 per cent of the value of the goods carried. It is easy to understand, then that if nine-tenths of our goods are carried in foreign ships, which would be the case without an American merchant marine worthy of the name, our ocean freight bills will run into millions of dollars annually. If the subsidy results in cutting this freight bill in half it will pay for itself over and over again.

Quotes Freight Rate Totals

Take a look at the figures on imports and exports for the calendar year 1921. Leaving out the trade on the Great Lakes and the oil carrying, our exports for that period totalled $3,806,955,000 and our imports $2,186,365,000. Figure our freight charges at 8 per cent of the total value of exports and imports and we find that $478,000,000 was paid out to those who carried this commerce. Who got this money? We find that the ships of various nations received freight money as follows: United States  $171,000,000 Great Britain  172,000,000 Japan  33,600,000 France  20,100,000 Norway  18,800,000 Holland  18,500,000 Italy  14,300,000 All Others  29,300,000

Here we see that $307,000,000 went out of America in ocean freight rates. An additional $100,000,000 must be added for marine insurance charges on the cargoes. At least half of all this would stay in America if the pending Ship Subsidy Bill were a law and in operation.

The necessity for an adequate merchant marine as for a national defense is so well known to New Englanders that it may be unnecessary for me to mention it here. At the same time, the national defense is one of the principal points and it may be well to refresh our memories regarding that subject.

Our geographical situation is such that we do not need a big standing army, for a treaty that has stood a century keeps us at peace with Canada, our neighbor on the North, and conditions are such that we do not apprehend aggressive action toward us on the part of Mexico, our neighbor to the South. But on the East and West we have long seacoasts which need protection, and their principal protection is our navy.

Needed in Time of War

Our fighting craft must be supported by what are known in naval parlance as auxiliary craft. These include scouts, transports, colliers, oil tankers, ammunition ships, aircraft carriers and various other craft with specialized equipment. A certain number of these vessels have been specially constructed for naval purposes and are useless for anything else. They belong to the regular navy just as much as do battleships and other armored fighting craft.

But working with these there should be a number of vessels, the regular cargo boats for carrying supplies, passenger ships to carry troops, colliers and oil tankers which are not specialized and which may be used in valuable commercial pursuits during peace. And there is where the Merchant marine comes in. With a healthy, well developed merchant marine in operation, a nation need not spend so much money on its actual naval auxiliary, since, when war comes, its merchant marine is immediately called into service to support the navy. For many years America has been without that necessary support.

A glance back to the events that have occurred within less than a quarter of a century will prove this. When the war with Spain came we had not real auxiliary support for the navy. In order to carry his fuel and other supplies into Manila Bay, Admiral Dewey was compelled to hire British vessels. He chartered the Nanshan and the Zafiro, two British colliers, for that purpose. Suppose Great Britain had then been at war? It just so happened that these vessels were available in Pacific waters. And what was the situation on the Atlantic?

Admiral Cervera's fleet was somewhere in the Atlantic between Spain and America, and the Flying Squadron was formed to guard our Atlantic Coast. In 1891 Congress passed the Ocean Mail Act providing for a subsidy for fast vessels carrying the mails and suitable for naval auxiliaries. The American Line proposed to purchase two large British passenger vessels if it could obtain for them the American registry necessary to bring them to the terms of the Ocean Mail Act. By a special act of Congress this was permitted on condition that the American Line build, in American yards and according to navy specifications, two other ships, equal or superior to those purchased. The ships purchased from the British were renamed "New York" and "Philadelphia". The vessels built in this country were named "The St. Louis" and "The St. Paul". These four ships, made possible by subsidy, were the only merchant vessels of good speed and ocean going size that the United States possessed.

Spanish War an Example

Promptly upon the declaration of war with Spain all four were procured by the navy and fitted with guns and naval crews. Because of their speed and steaming radius they were sent scouting for Admiral Cervera's fleet. They were all we had in the way of auxiliaries capable of this work and they were available only because of the mail subsidy.

But even after this we did not learn our lesson. In 1908-09 President Roosevelt, because of certain situations abroad, sent an American fleet around the world. Did American auxiliary colliers and supply ships go along with the American fighting ships? No. The United States Government hired merchant ships and colliers from foreign lines to do this work. Some of these ships were manned by Chinese. Then came the World War and this, is so recent that everybody knows of the money that had to be spent to build ships to carry our troops and supplies across the Atlantic.

At times our naval officers were directing the movements of at least four hundred and fifty merchant ships. In addition to these, the War Department chartered and utilized the services of an immense number of merchant ships flying the flags of our allies and others to carry men, ammunition and stores across. It is a well-known fact that it would have been impossible to have moved our troops in such large numbers or our stores in such large quantities had it not been possible for us to call on ships flying foreign flags. Due to the fact, and I would like to call special attention to this point, that practically every important shipping nation except the enemy was our ally, we could draw upon them for assistance in the form of ships Not only were they in a position to let us have their ships, but were anxious to have us take them and use them, and thereby help out the situation

Enemy Must Come by Sea

We can never expect such a favorable condition to exist again. In any future war to which we may be involved, the enemy must come from the sea in some direction; and, as stated above, the Navy cannot afford to wait in our harbors until the enemy arrives, but must go out to meet him, to occupy the ports or places on his probable line of approach, etc. To do this, the Navy must not only have suitable ressels to accompany the fighting vessels to carry fuel, ammunition and supplies, but there must be suitable vessels to transport troops to hold bases or points on the lines of communication.

Thus it will be sent that auxiliary vessels are absolutely necessary for successful use of our fighting forces in time of war. And it is quite as necessary that these vessels should be readily available. This can only be the case when we ourselves have the vessels under our own flag, vessels of suitable type and in ample numbers. Recent history has emphasized the fact that any form of delay in readiness to attack or meet the enemy in the beginning of the war is not only expensive in men and money, but often fatal in final result.

Here we see that $307,000,000 went out of America in ocean freight rates. An additional $100,000,000 must be added for marine insurance charges on the cargoes. At least half of all this would stay in America if the pending Ship Subsidy Bill were a law and in operation.

The necessity for an adequate merchant marine as for a national defense is so well known to New Englanders that it may be unnecessary for me to mention it here. At the same time, the national defense is one of the principal points and it may be well to refresh our memories regarding that subject.

Our geographical situation is such that we do not need a big standing army, for a treaty that has stood a century keeps us at peace with Canada, our neighbor on the North, and conditions are such that we do not apprehend aggressive action toward us on the part of Mexico, our neighbor to the South. But on the East and West we have long seacoasts which need protection, and their principal protection is our navy.

Needed in Time of War

Our fighting craft must be supported by what are known in naval parlance as auxiliary craft. These include scouts, transports, colliers, oil tankers, ammunition ships, aircraft carriers and various other craft with specialized equipment. A certain number of these vessels have been specially constructed for naval purposes and are useless for anything else. They belong to the regular navy just as much as do battleships and other armored fighting craft.

But working with these there should be a number of vessels, the regular cargo boats for carrying supplies, passenger ships to carry troops, colliers and oil tankers which are not specialized and which may be used in valuable commercial pursuits during peace. And there is where the Merchant marine comes in. With a healthy, well developed merchant marine in operation, a nation need not spend so much money on its actual naval auxiliary, since, when war comes, its merchant marine is immediately called into service to support the navy. For many years America has been without that necessary support.

A glance back to the events that have occurred within less than a quarter of a century will prove this. When the war with Spain came we had not real auxiliary support for the navy. In order to carry his fuel and other supplies into Manila Bay, Admiral Dewey was compelled to hire British vessels. He chartered the Nanshan and the Zafiro, two British colliers, for that purpose. Suppose Great Britain had then been at war? It just so happened that these vessels were available in Pacific waters. And what was the situation on the Atlantic?

Admiral Cervera's fleet was somewhere in the Atlantic between Spain and America, and the Flying Squadron was formed to guard our Atlantic Coast. In 1891 Congress passed the Ocean Mail Act providing for a subsidy for fast vessels carrying the mails and suitable for naval auxiliaries. The American Line proposed to purchase two large British passenger vessels if it could obtain for them the American registry necessary to bring them to the terms of the Ocean Mail Act. By a special act of Congress this was permitted on condition that the American Line build, in American yards and according to navy specifications, two other ships, equal or superior to those purchased. The ships purchased from the British were renamed "New York" and "Philadelphia". The vessels built in this country were named "The St. Louis" and "The St. Paul". These four ships, made possible by subsidy, were the only merchant vessels of good speed and ocean going size that the United States possessed.

Spanish War an Example

Promptly upon the declaration of war with Spain all four were procured by the navy and fitted with guns and naval crews. Because of their speed and steaming radius they were sent scouting for Admiral Cervera's fleet. They were all we had in the way of auxiliaries capable of this work and they were available only because of the mail subsidy.

But even after this we did not learn our lesson. In 1908-09 President Roosevelt, because of certain situations abroad, sent an American fleet around the world. Did American auxiliary colliers and supply ships go along with the American fighting ships? No. The United States Government hired merchant ships and colliers from foreign lines to do this work. Some of these ships were manned by Chinese. Then came the World War and this, is so recent that everybody knows of the money that had to be spent to build ships to carry our troops and supplies across the Atlantic.

At times our naval officers were directing the movements of at least four hundred and fifty merchant ships. In addition to these, the War Department chartered and utilized the services of an immense number of merchant ships flying the flags of our allies and others to carry men, ammunition and stores across. It is a well-known fact that it would have been impossible to have moved our troops in such large numbers or our stores in such large quantities had it not been possible for us to call on ships flying foreign flags. Due to the fact, and I would like to call special attention to this point, that practically every important shipping nation except the enemy was our ally, we could draw upon them for assistance in the form of ships Not only were they in a position to let us have their ships, but were anxious to have us take them and use them, and thereby help out the situation

Enemy Must Come by Sea

We can never expect such a favorable condition to exist again. In any future war to which we may be involved, the enemy must come from the sea in some direction; and, as stated above, the Navy cannot afford to wait in our harbors until the enemy arrives, but must go out to meet him, to occupy the ports or places on his probable line of approach, etc. To do this, the Navy must not only have suitable ressels to accompany the fighting vessels to carry fuel, ammunition and supplies, but there must be suitable vessels to transport troops to hold bases or points on the lines of communication.

Thus it will be sent that auxiliary vessels are absolutely necessary for successful use of our fighting forces in time of war. And it is quite as necessary that these vessels should be readily available. This can only be the case when we ourselves have the vessels under our own flag, vessels of suitable type and in ample numbers. Recent history has emphasized the fact that any form of delay in readiness to attack or meet the enemy in the beginning of the war is not only expensive in men and money, but often fatal in final result.

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