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Operating deficit of Class II and III roads.
Press notice of the United States Railroad Administration
McCloud River Railroad Co..
RETURN OF THE RAILROADS TO PRIVATE OWNERSHIP.
COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE AND FOREIGN COMMERCE,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Tuesday, September 16, 1919.
STATEMENT OF CAPT. S. W. BRYANT, UNITED STATES NAVY,
ACTING DIRECTOR OF NAVAL COMMUNICATIONS.
Capt. BRYANT. Admiral Bullard has prepared a memorandum for you, Mr. Chairman, I believe, on the question of radio transmission, or wireless and its regulation. To our minds the language of the bill is not clear, as to its intent in the proviso contained in the last five lines on page 2 and on the top of page 3. The CHAIRMAN.
Is that the committee print of the bill? Capt. BRYANT. That is H. R. 4378, at the bottom of page 2 and top of page 3. The question in our minds was whether or not this provision exempts the transmission of intelligence between a fixed point in the United States and a fixed point in a foreign country. It would seem to be desirable that the provision of the bill should not apply to transmission of this character, except as to the question of rates to and from shore radio stations, but rather that this should be controlled by international agreement. The regulations covering the transmission of intelligence by means of wireless telegraphy are provided by certain international conventions of which the United States is a signatory party, the one at present in force being the London convention of 1912. This convention, on account, presumably, of the youth of the art, distinctly reserved the regulation of the transmission of information or intelligence by wireless telegraphy between fixed points to the high contracting parties, having in mind, of course, fixed points in different countries and, naturally, claiming no jurisdiction concerning wireless communication between fixed points in one country, as that is a matter of national control and not an international affair.
Another thing, there does not seem to be anything in the bill that exempts the regulation of wireless transmission involving fixed land stations along our coast in communication with ships at sea. This question is entirely covered by the regulations of the present international treaty, and it is a question as to how far local laws would interfere with international treaties or international laws on the subject contained in the London convention or future international conventions.
Mr. HAMILTON. An act of Congress can supersede a treaty, and if we should choose to do that it could be done.
Capt. BRYANT. Yes, sir. The point I wanted to bring out was that it was already regulated by international treaties.
Mr. Hamilton. An act of Congress can supersede the treaty?
Capt. Bryant. Oh, yes,'sir; I understand that. In the London convention, where the international treaty was drawn up, the United States delegation made a reservation as to the matter of rates and abstained from any action with regard to rates. The question of rates has never been brought into question, as they have always been less than those that were arranged by international treaty or convention. We thought that it would not be wise to bring that class of transmission under the regulation of the Interstate Commerce Commission, except as to the question of rates to and from shore stations. We, of course, were very much in favor of that as to rates to or from shore stations. With us it is simply a question of the regulation of the transmission between shore stations and vessels at sea. It is suggested that a proviso might be added.
In line with my remarks concerning the transmission of intelligence by wireless between a fixed point in the United States and a fixed point in a foreign country, I have to recommend that the regiilation of such transmission be exempted. I suggest that the following be inserted in the bill H. R. No. 4378 after line 7, page 3:
The provisions of this act shall not apply to the transmission of intelligence by wireless (1) between coastal stations and ships at sea except in the matter of land line rates to and from the shore station, (2) between points in the United States and points in a foreign country, except in the matter of land line rates to and from the radio stations on United States territory.
The CHAIRMAN. Where would you put that?
Capt. Bryant. I suggest that might come in after line 7 on page 3, or wherever you think it would be most convenient.
The CHAIRMAN. At the end of a paragraph?
Capt. Bryant. Yes, sir. If the provisions of this act do apply to transmission between fixed points—that is, between one point in the United States and one point in a foreign country-I should like to have an opportunity to submit further data on that subject, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. You may extend your remarks in the record of the hearing
Capt. BRYANT. I will do so.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not think it was contemplated when the bill was prepared that it would cover communications between shore stations and vessels of the Navy at sea, that being departmental work under the jurisdiction of the Navy Department, and it ought not to be under the Interstate Commerce Commission.
Capt. Bryant. I was referring to our work in connection with the commercial business that is transmitted. We have to communicate from our coast stations with foreign ships as well as United States merchant ships. We do that business at our coast stations.
The CHAIRMAN. You have that service on the Pacific coast now to Hawaii and the East?
Capt. Bryant. Yes, sir; we maintain a service through to Japan and the Philippines.
The CHAIRMAN. A commercial service!
Capt. Bryant. Yes, sir; we have all of those stations now under the Navy Department.
The CHAIRMAN. The cables are not sufficient to carry the business? Capt. BRYANT. No, sir.