Mr. MAYER. Mr. Hatch, are you a member of the firm-the MidCity Brokerage Co. ?

Mr. HATCH. I am its attorney; one of the attorneys for the company.

Mr. MAYER. And do you know where Mr. Cook got this information? Mr. HATCH. I do not know where he got that information; it was handed to me by him.

Mr. MAYER. You do not know from what sources he got the information?

Mr. HATCH. No; I do not.

Mr. MAYER. I have done a little adding which may be interesting to you.

Mr. HATCH. Certainly.

Mr. MAYER. This statement shows, Senator Curtis, that of the total distribution of sisal in 1914 the International Harvester Co. purchased and distributed 561,956 bales and the Plymouth Cordage Co. 145,485 bales, or a total of 707,441 bales, and that the largest distributor or user other than those two mentioned on that list is the Minnesota State Prison of 40,494 bales, and the Kansas State Penitentiary

Senator CURTIS. About 5,000.

Mr. MAYER. As you have stated.

Mr. HATCH. That was in 1914. They had a disaster, in fact, they burned down, and they rebuilt. Their consumption there will be

three times that amount this year.

Mr. MAYER. That would be 15,000 bales?

Mr. HATCH. Nearly that.

Senator CURTIS. That is stated in the statement I read.

Mr. MAYER. The contention has been, Senator Curtis, without my giving it either the indorsement or accuracy or inaccuracy, that prior to the Comision Reguladora, which became effective in October or November, 1915, but which has been in existence since 1912-but it became really effective in operation in October or November of last year the contention of the Yucatan farmers has been-many of them are in this room-that the International Harvester Co. and the Plymouth Cordage Co. have for years controlled by purchase, between 80 per cent or 90 per cent of the total sisal output of Yucatan, and that the Plymouth Cordage Co. through its agent, Mr. Peirce, and the International Harvester Co. through its agent, Montes, the son-in-law of the Governor of Yucatan, for years have ground down the Yucatan farmers and fixed a price so that the Yucatan farmers have received for their sisal in Yucatan 24, 3, 3 or 4 cents a pound, and that now they are receiving a minimum of 4 cents gold a pound, with a distribution of whatever is in excess at the end of each year. That has been the contention of the Yucatan farmers.

Assume that it is a question whether the International Harvester Co. and Plymouth Cordage Co. shall control 80 or 90 per cent through their agents, one of whom was the son-in-law of the governor, or whether the farmers of Yucatan, who constitute the Comision Reguladora, whose five members of the board of directors are Yucatan planters, shall control their own commodity regardless of the question of whether they are creating a monopoly there, or the two companies I have mentioned, has that been brought to your attention?

Senator CURTIS. No; but it seems to me that the question would hardly be justified at this time, and under existing circumstances, if this affidavit is true. If this affidavit is true, this gentleman, who represents the Kansas City firm which supplies the western penitentiaries, was ready to buy all the product he could get down there. If so, there would be another competitor in the field, and one from whom our western penitentiaries could buy.

Mr. MAYER. Without now disputing the accuracy or inaccuracy of the affidavit, has it been brought to your attention that the Comision Reguladora fixes the same price now to the Kansas State Prison or Michigan Prison as it does to the International Harvester Co. ?

Senator CURTIS. No; it has not.

Mr. MAYER. And that the testimony has developed that the International Harvester Co. wished a preference, by reason of the fact that they bought these large quantities, and that the Comision Reguladora has put every buyer, whether 5,000 bales or 500 bales, upon an absolute basis of equality?

Senator CURTIS. I believe that was stated by Mr. Browne, according to his statement, that they wanted to fix the same price.

Mr. MAYER. And that there is no brokerage paid and, further, it is contended-which will be for the committee to determine whether the contention is true or not that the Yucatan farmer who is getting a minimum of 4 cents in gold now, and who pays the freight from Merida and Progreso, and who pays the freight from Progreso to New Orleans, and that the freight rates have increased, the testimony so far of some witness or witnesses has shown, from under 20 cents 100 pounds to $1.35 100 pounds, or to nearly 13 cents freight from Progreso to New York, and that if you add the 11 cents increase in freight to the average price of sisal in the United States during the last 25 years, which the testimony tends to show is 53 cents; that the difference between the present price of sisal, which in New York to-day is 7.25, and the price that has prevailed for 25 years, is only nine-sixteenths of a cent a pound, and that the prices in Yucatan on flour and bacon and so on have gone up a great percentage? Mr. SPENCER. And labor wages about 300 or 400 per cent.

Mr. MAYER. Labor wages, that is, the wages of the former peon, who was earning

Senator CURTIS. Has not the development in the way of modern machinery, and so forth, enabled you to produce it very much cheaper in Yucatan than heretofore?

Mr. MAYER. I understand no, but that is only hearsay. We have the Yucatanians here in this room.

Senator CURTIS. I want to say to you now-of course, I have not been there but a good, modern machine in the Philippine Islands would make a wonderful change in the cost of production.

Then, in addition, you state that this commission pays in gold. If this affidavit of Mr. Cook is true, you pay in scrip, which is dis


Mr. FISHER. That is right.

Mr. HATCH. Scrip worth 20 cents on the dollar. [Handing piece of paper money to Senator Curtis.]

Mr. SPENCER. Or in the equivalent of that gold in current rates of exchange.

Senator CURTIS. Here is one of the little bills (indicating]. I do not know whether this is the one used or not. I judge it is, from the picture. It might be put in evidence for whatever it is worth. Of course, I know nothing personally about this situation, and do not pretend to.

(The Yucatanian currency here submitted by Senator Curtis is as follows):


Mr. HATCH. We introduce that. That is the scrip they used to pay the peon for the sisal.

Mr. MAYER. I want to ask one or two more questions, Mr. Hatch. Mr. HATCH. Yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. Do you know what commodities this Mid-City Co. handles?

Mr. HATCH. It handles oils and various merchandise used by the penitentiaries-oils, grease, and different commodities.

Mr. MAYER. Does it sell to and deal with the penitentiaries only? Mr. HATCH. Well, not exclusively. It deals with other concerns, but more especially with penitentiaries.

Mr. MAYER. That is, the larger volume of its business is done with the penitentiaries?

Mr. HATCH. Yes.

Mr. MAYER. And that includes not merely sisal, but grease, oil, and other merchandise?

Mr. HATCH. Other merchandise.

Senator GRONNA. Immediately before we took a recess I made a statement which, it has been suggested to me, might be misunderstood. I said something with reference to the prison-made twine to the effect that it is in a way regulatory of prices. Of course, I meant in that immediate community. I did not want anybody to understand that these prisons control the price of twine. It would be silly to make such a statement, because I gather from the statement just handed to us by Senator Curtis that in North Dakota the prison used somewhat over 5,000 bales-5,748 bales, to be accurate-which would be somewhat over 2,000,000 pounds. Well, I suppose we used more than 20,000,000 pounds in North Dakota. In Minnesota, according to the figures given to us by Senator Curtis, they have

bought, or did buy in 1915, 40,000 bales, which would be about 15,000,000 pounds. That would be hardly enough for the State of Minnesota.

The idea I wanted to convey was this, that the competition we have had in twine in our immediate community has been the competition that has been created by reason of the fact that these prisons have manufactured twine. And as a rule they have made the prices lower than the prices of any machine firm or anyone else who had twine for sale.

The CHAIRMAN. They have been positively beneficial to the people of their States?

Senator GRONNA. Oh, absolutely; yes.

Mr. MAYER. Senator Gronna, do you know what the penitentiary of your State has been paying for sisal?

Senator GRONNA. No; I do not.

Mr. MAYER. In other words, I asked the question merely to compare, if I can, the price it has paid with the price that the International and the Plymouth Co. have been paying in Yucatan.

Senator GRONNA. I suggested to the chairman that we notify the warden of the prison, Mr. Frank S. Talcott, whom I know very well, that if he would like to come and give his testimony

The CHAIRMAN. I have requested the clerk to notify him.

Mr. MAYER. This is very useful information, I think, We would like to know of whom these penitentiary commissioners have been purchasing this sisal; where they bought it, and how much they have paid. Because if the Plymouth Co. and the International have been able to buy sisal in Yucatan for 2 or 3 cents-and I am told that the testimony of these farmers will show that at times they got 3 cents and under-and your penitentiary commission had to pay 5 cents, you were at a disadvantage in the purchase of sisal to the extent of 1, 2, or 3 cents in comparison with the International and the Plymouth Co., a differential which has now been eradicated.

Senator GRONNA. I will say that I have no knowledge of what the price has been to the penitentiary. I know, however, in a general way, what the prices have been when they sold the twine.

Mr. MAYER. We are going to give you some official and thoroughly accurate information [exhibiting two volumes produced by Dr. Rendon]. This information is official and not made by us, giving you the sales and the prices at which sold-an official record made in Progreso. It gives the names of the purchasers, the amount purchased each month, and the prices.

Senator GRONNA. I think it is important that we should have that. Mr. MAYER. It won't go by guesswork, gentlemen. This book goes back to 1900

The CHAIRMAN. Can you describe the book, to identify it?

Mr. MAYER. It is a book marked, "Agencia Comercial, Sociedad Anonima; José Rosada, director," which contains an official epitomenot guesswork, gentlemen-of every bale that was sold, to whom sold, and the price.

The CHAIRMAN. For what years?

Mr. MAYER. 1900 to December 31, 1915.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee can not be expected to publish that whole book.

Mr. SPENCER. We have extracted it, Senator, and calculated it from kilos into pounds, and the price in Mexican currency.

The CHAIRMAN. I would suggest that you submit the extract, and then let the gentlemen on the other side compare it to see that you have done it accurately.

Mr. MAYER. The man who protests too much sometimes overdoes it. We can assure you that we are overkeen to have the committee get the real, fundamental, rugged underlying truth, not by hearsay. Necessarily hearsay information will get into a hearing of this kind, but here is an authoritative, analytical statement of every bale that has been sold, to whom sold, and the price. Of course, I recognize that is a Herculean job for the committee to go through these books, but we will put them at the command of the committee, and we will make statistical deductions for both sides.

The CHAIRMAN. I suggest you leave the books and let us compare them ourselves if we wish.

Mr. FISHER. Just a moment, before we go on with Mr. Dinkins. This book which has been introduced is really in two volumes Mr. MAYER. Two volumes.

Mr. FISHER. And the documents contained in it are in Spanish, are they not?

Mr. MAYER. They are.

Mr. FISHER. And you say that it gives the price of the purchases made by each one?

Mr. MAYER. No; the average price for each month.

Mr. FISHER. That was not quite the statement. Let us get that correct, because the committee might have a misunderstanding. By examining the documents you will see, gentlemen, that it gives the amount of the purchase in quantities, the number of bales, and the exporters are given on the other side. They are not necessarily the purchasers; they are the persons who export. This is a record taken, I assume, from the exportations at the port. It relates only to exports. It gives the name of the exporter in the first column; the name of the consignee in the second column; the destination, as, for instance, Mobile, New Orleans, or what not, in the third column; the name of the steamship in the fourth column; the number of bales in the fifth column; and the amount in weight in the sixth and last column. Then below it gives "for exportation" the number of packages.

Mr. SPENCER. That is a recapitulation.

Mr. FISHER. Yes. In the above you will notice it starts out with the exporter; for instance, Avelino Montes, or whoever it may be, and then comes the number of different shipments, and then below it is bunched together to give the totals. Then it gives the amount exported between the 1st and 30th of the month-in that month of that year as compared with the previous years; first, the exportation of a given year, and they follow with the previous years, the number of bales, and the weight.

Mr. SPENCER. And the price.

Mr. FISHER. Yes; the value of the total exportation. Then below that, in this one, it gives the amount of stock on hand. Then it gives the entries into the port by railroad during the month and the entries into the port by vessels proceeding from various other ports. Now, there are, as you see, no prices except that total price-the value for exportation.

« ForrigeFortsett »