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on the bill that was reported by the House committee, it leaves the same obligation on a railroad that the present law does to file with the Commission a copy of every contract relating to traffic, except as the Commission might by regulation, relieve the railroad from doing it.
We would rather have that provision truned about just the other way. That is, where it would require some affirmative action on the part of the Commission before we had to file a contract, rather than to require affirmative action on the part of the Commission to relieve us from filing. You can see the important difference.
The trouble with it is that in the form as proposed here, we still have the same worry we always had as to what contracts are covered. Unless the Commission said it would cover nothing but some particular thing, we still are up against the same difficulty we have always been. We would like to see that changed. We think that the proposal here would be a big improvement over the present law, but when you are fooling with it at all, we think you should put it in better shape than it is now.
I wanted to call attention in connection with that to the statement that Dr. Splawn filed here, in which he recites an interesting fact: That back in 1939, when there was pending in the Senate S. 2009, which finally became the Transportation Act of 1940, S. 2009, as passed by the Senate, contained a revision of this provision exactly along the line we would like to have it, and it is exactly along the line that Dr. Splawn recommended to the House committee.
I would prefer to see that substituted for what is in the bill here now, if we can get it. That is all I have to say. Senator REED. Thank you, Mr. Souby.
STATEMENT OF ALFRED U. KREBS, COUNSEL, NATIONAL FEDERATION OF AMERICAN SHIPPING, INC.
Mr. KREBS. My name is Alfred U. Krebs. I am counsel for the National Federation of American Shipping, Inc., which is an organization of three major steamship associations representing the owners of approximately two-thirds of the active dry-cargo vessels under the American flag.
Like Mr. Lawrence, I have a prepared statement which is directed to S. 290. However, unlike Mr. Lawrence, the only change brought about in my statement by the substitution of S. 2426 is the change in the number of the bill and the sections to be discussed. I will give the reporter a corrected copy when I am through.
The members of the federation are opposed to those provisions of sections 16, 17, and 18 of S. 2426 amending section 313 of the Interstate Commerce Act so as to authorize the Interstate Commerce Commission to require annual, periodical, or special reports from associations or organizations—
maintained by or in the interest of any group of water carriers subject to this part III which performs any service or engages in any activities, in connection with any traffic, transportation, or facilities subject to this act
specific and full, true and correct answers to all questions upon which the Commission may deem information to be necessary
inspect and copy any and all accounts, books, records, memoranda, correspondence, and other documents of such
associations or organizations.
As Dr. Splawn said, Mr. Thompson pointed out at the hearing on H. R. 5623, that the definition of "association" and "organization" as contained in section 9 of such bill, relating to rail carriers, differed from the definition as contained in the sections relating to motor and water carriers, and freight forwarders.
S. 2426 has corrected this and the definition is uniform throughout the bill. However, I do not believe that either Mr. Thompson or Iand Mr. Thompson is here and can speak for himself-agreed that the change in the definition would remove the objections which we had to the bill.
The proposed amendments appear to be the result of a legislative recommendation in the 61st Annual Report of the Interstate Commerce Commission, dated November 1, 1947, reading as follows:
We recommend that the various provisions of the act, authorizing us to require reports from carriers and others, and to inspect and copy accounts, books, records, etc., (secs. 20, 220, 313, and 412), be amended so as to be applicable to associations or organizations maintained by or in the interest of any group of carriers or freight forwarders subject to the act.
In reporting on legislation in the House of Representatives containing similar provisions, the Interstate Commerce Commission said the following:
The associations or organizations of this kind are numerous. The ones best known are the Association of American Railroads; the American Trucking Association, Inc., and Freight Forwarders Institute. They include rate bureaus and similar organizations.
Such associations are not at present subject to the provisions of the Interstate Commerce Act which authorizes us to require the filing of reports by common carriers and others. Manifestly they occupy positions of public importance with respect to transportation and its regulation, and we believe that they might well be required to file reports.
It is apparent from the foregoing that the Interstate Commerce Commission requested legislation of this nature for the purposes of obtaining information from associations and organizations having to do with the fixing of rates, or the publication of tariffs.
The National Federation of American Shipping, Inc., and its member associations,the American Merchant Marine Institute, the Pacific American Steamship Association and the Shipowners' Association of the Pacific Coast, do not have anything to do with the fixing of rates, or the publication of tariffs, nor are they involved in any way in these practices. They are trade associations whose primary objectives are to promote the welfare of the shipping industry and to encourage the interest of the public therein.
Furthermore, the associations are not "maintained by or in the interest of any group of water carriers subject" to part III of the Interstate Commerce Act. Practically all of the members of the associations are engaged in operations in the off-shore or foreign trades, and are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States Maritime Commission under the Shipping Act of 1916, the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, or the Merchant Marine Act of 1936. Not more than 2 of the 30 members of the American Merchant Marine Institute are engaged
exclusively in a trade which is subject to part III of the Interstate Commerce Act. Only 1 of the 16 members of the Pacific American Steamship Association is engaged exclusively in such a trade. The same is true with respect to members of the Shipowners' Association of the Pacific Coast.
The associations have nothing to conceal and would be quite will-. ing to furnish any information to the Interstate Commerce Commission which would be helpful in the discharge of its functions and duties if they possessed such information. However, the foregoing review of the activities of the associations and their members indicates that the associations do not have any such information in their possession. The only result of enactment of legislation of this character would be to further burden these associations with time-consuming and valueless paper work.
We urge that S. 2426 be amended by striking out sections 16 17, and
Senator REED. Mr. Krebs, what is the essential difference between your federation and the Association of American Railroads, or the American Trucking Associations?
Mr. KREBS. Well, Senator, I must confess that I don't have an intimate knowledge of the activities of those two associations. I do say that as far as our own association is concerned, we have nothing at all to do with the fixing of rates, publication of tariffs, schedules, or practices of any kind to be observed by the members of the association the steamship companies. It is my understanding that this is not true. of some of these other associations.
Senator REED. Does the American Trucking Association, Mr. Lawrence, have anything to do with the making of rates?
Mr. LAWRENCE. The only thing we do, Senator, is to publish a classification. But we do not make rates.
Senator REED. Mr. Souby, the Association of American Railroads do not even publish classifications, do they?
Mr. SOUBY. No, they have nothing to do with rates at all.
Mr. KREBS. Of course, Senator, I might point out that there is this very real difference between our association and the others, and that is that the members which they have are subject exclusively to regulation by the Interstate Commerce Commission. That is not true with respect to the members which we have.
Senator REED. Well, if you leave the word "exclusively" in there, that might be true.
Mr. KREBS. Well, perhaps it is not a good idea to use the word "exclusively." I would rather put it this way: As I have indicated, not more than one of the members of the Pacific American Steamship Association is engaged in a trade which is exclusively subject to regulation by the Interstate Commerce Commission. Mr. Gatoff, who is president of the Pacific American Steamship Association, so stated in testimony before the House of Representatives on H. R. 5623.
As far as the American Merchant Marine Institute is concerned, which is the biggest of the three associations, not more than two of its members are engaged in a trade which is exclusively subject to the jurisdiction
Senator REED. Let us leave out that word "exclusively."
Mr. KREBS. Well, it seems to us that it is rather pointless for an association to file reports where not more than 2 of its 30 members would have information which would be of interest or help to the Interstate Commerce Commission in performing its functions and responsibilities.
With respect to those carriers who are engaged in coastwise and intercoastal activities in addition to foreign trade activities, the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Maritime Commission see to it that duplicate reports are not filed. The report is either filed by the carrier with the United States Maritime Commission under the authority of section 16 of the Shipping Act of 1916, or with the Interstate Commerce Commission, pursuant to Part III of the Interstate Commerce Act.
There is a very real distinction between the water carriers and the other groups which are regulated by this bill.
Senator REED. Well, this bill, in and of itself, does not propose to put any burden upon you. All it says is that the Commission "is hereby authorized to require annual, periodical, or special reports."
So I assume that if this should be enacted into law you would get in touch with the Commission to find out what they wanted from you. Mr. KREBS. Yes, sir. I understand that the bill does not say that you "shall file." It does authorize the Commission to require it.
Senator REED. And the Commission shall "prescribe the manner and form in which such reports shall be made.”
I do not suppose that it would require reports from water carriers that would be of no consequence and of no importance. I can hardly conceive that the Commission would add to its burdens.
Mr. KREBS. That is reasonable, Senator. And yet the Commission is authorized under this bill to require any type of information which it feels would be helpful to it in the discharge of its functions and duties.
Senator REED. Well, if the Commission's experience would be the same as my own in dealing with the various types of carriers, I think I have had as many requests and suggestions and conferences and discussions with water carriers as I have had with the railroads. Mr. KREBS. In connection with what, sir?
Senator REED. With regard to the general business of legislation. So the water carriers are an important part of the total carrying capacity and system. I do not know why the Commission should not have such reports from the water carriers as it deems necessary.
Now, I am assuming that the Commission would not want to be brothered with anything that was not necessary or important for their purposes of regulation.
Mr. KREBS. I don't think that this should be lost sight of in that connection, Senator. The Commission is already obtaining information of this nature from the carriers. If the Commission was being authorized for the first time to obtain certain information, then I could see where there might be some necessity for it. However, the Commission is already receiving information of this nature from the carriers who are required to file with it.
Senator REED. Are you required to file any information with the Interstate Commerce Commission? Your National Federation of American Shipping?
Mr. KREBS. No, sir; not that I know of. Senator REED. Neither does the Association of American Railroads, although it always has done so.
I should fancy that is true, it is not, Mr. Lawrence, of the American Trucking Associations? There is nothing in the law that requires you to make reports to the Interstate Commerce Commission, is there? Mr. LAWRENCE. Not at this time, sir; no.
Senator REED. But you do give them information?
We are just making it mandatory; that is, we are giving the Commission authority to require it, Mr. Krebs.
Mr. KREBS. I understand that, Senator. And yet I say that there is a very real difference between our group and the other groups.
Senator REED. There is no difference in the pressure that the different groups put on Congress. I can testify personally to that. There may possibly be some difference in their relation to the Interstate Commerce Commission. There is no difference between the pressure that the shipping interests put on and that put on us by the truckers and freight forwarders and everybody else.
I do not know why you should be excluded from making reports if the Interstate Commerce Commission regards them as necessary. Mr. KREBS. Thank you, sir.
Senator REED. Mr. Letts?
STATEMENT OF DAVID S. LETTS, REPRESENTING AMERICAN TRANSIT ASSOCIATION
Mr. LETTS. Mr. Chairman, my name is David S. Letts. My address is 901 Tower Building, Washington 5, D. C. I am attorney for the American Transit Association.
Senator REED. Tell me what that is. That is a new one to me.
Mr. LETTS. That is the national association of street railways and motorbus carriers of passengers in urban, suburban, and interurban mass transportation.
Senator REED. I notice you oppose the enactment of S. 290 in its present form.
Mr. LETTS. I appear here in behalf of our electric interurban members.
I had a prepared statement of S. 290, but I understand that it is superseded by your bill, S. 2426. The new bill removes the objection that we had to S. 290, and since this one does supersede the old one I think we have no objection.
Senator REED. This bill S. 2426 is in satisfactory form?
Mr. LETTS. Yes, sir.
Senator REED. All right.
Mr. LETTS. Thank you, sir.
Senator REED. Mr. Bristol, general counsel of the Union Tank Car Co., I understand does not desire to testify and has asked to be excused.
Mr. Thompson, do you have anything further that you want to say?