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COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY.
THOMAS P. GORE, Oklahoma, Chairman. GEORGE E. CHAMBERLAIN, Oregon.
FRANCIS E. WARREN, Wyoming. ELLISON D. SMITH, South Carolina.
CARROLL S. PAGE, Vermont. HOKE SMITH, Georgia.
ASLE J. GRONNA, North Dakota. MORRIS SHEPPARD, Texas.
JAMES H, BRADY, Idaho. JOHN F. SHAFROTH, Colorado.
GEORGE W. NORRIS, Nebraska. JOSEPH E. RANSDELL, Louisiana.
WILLIAM S. KENYON, Iowa. WILLIAM H. THOMPSON, Kansas.
JAMES W. WADSWORTH, JR., New York. EDWIN S. JOHNSON, South Dakota.
J. ROY THOMPSON, Clerk.
SUBCOMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE THE IMPORTATION OF SISAL AND MANILA HEMP
AND THE PRODUCTION OF BINDING TWINE.
SENATOR RANSDELL, Chairman.
D. of D.
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C. The subcommittee met in the committee room, Capitol, at 10.30 o'clock a. m., pursuant to the call of the chairman. Senator Joseph E. Ransdell presiding.
Present: Senators Ransdell (chairman), Gronna, and Wadsworth.
Also present: Hon. Walter L. Fisher and Mr. Philip Wells, representing the International Harvester Co.; Mr. A. P. Loring, president Plymouth Cordage Co.; Dr. Victor A. Rendon and Mr. Walker Spencer, representing the Comision Reguladora del Mercado de Henequen; Mr. Sol Wexler, Mr. Lynn H. Dinkins, and Mr. Levy Mayer, representing the Pan-American Commission Corporation, of New York; and Mr. C. D. Orth, representing Hanson & Orth, of New York.
The CHAIRMAN. The subcommittee has met pursuant to S. Res. 94, which is as follows: Whereas binding twine is one of the large items of expense in the production
of grain; and Whereas it has been alleged in the public press and by individuals that the
present price thereof is exorbitant and is fixed and controlled by certain persons and corporations: Therefore be it
Resolved, That the Committee on Agriculture and Forestry of the Senate, or any subcommittee appointed by said committee, be, and is hereby, authorized and instructed to investigate and report to Congress what companies and corporations are engaged in the importation of said sisal and manila hemp and the production of binding twine and to what extent, if any, they control the price thereof, and whether there are any combinations or agreements to fix and control the wholesale or retain prices of sisal and manila binding twine in the United States.
The committee is authorized to administer oaths, subpoena witnesses, and send for persons and papers in the prosecution of the said investigation.
The ('HAIRMAN. Before proceeding, gentlemen, I wish to state that the committee has decided that they desire to obtain all the facts in this matter. They will conduct the examination themselves, but in order that either side may have an opportunity to cross-question, if it is so desired, if those who have questions to ask will jot them down as the examination proceeds and submit the questions to the committee, they will propound them, if pertinent and proper, so there will be full opportunity given to have propounded to the witnesses any searching questions that you desire to have asked. We will begin with Dr. Rendon.
STATEMENT OF DR. VICTOR A. RENDON, OF THE COMISION
REGULADORA DEL MERCADO DE HENEQUEN, MERIDA, YUCATAN, MEXICO.
The CHAIRMAN. Where are you from, Doctor?
Dr. Rendon. Attorney general in fact of the Comision Reguladora del Mercado de Henequen. That is the name of the institution.
The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, will you explain in your own way the origin of this organization, which, I understand, is a Government agency
Dr. RENDON. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. And how you have conducted your business and what connection you have with these two New Orleans bankers, Messrs. Dinkins and Wexler. Just explain it in your own way, and then we will ask questions.
Dr. Rendon. I begin by asking you gentlemen a little indulgence for my English. It is not very correct, but I will try to make myself understood.
Allow me to go back a little to explain to you this business of the sisal hemp. The sisal hemp is a plant of the Agave family, species Agave sisalana. It takes seven years in Yucatan from the planting to the cropping of the plant. The total output at present represents half a century of hard work. In the northern part of the peninsula they can not raise anything but hemp. Corn, for instance, only yields about 24 bushels per acre, and everything is the same way. So all the people are devoted to hemp. It is the chief industry of Yucatan, and we may say that seven-eighths of the population are devoted to the cultivation of hemp. The Government derives its treasury from the henequen, or the sisal hemp. It is the only source of revenue they have. Yucatan exports a little chicle-chewing gum—but very little, and some hides, but very little. So all the efforts of the inhabitants and the Government are directed to supporting the cultivation of hemp, because it is the life of the State.
The CHAIRMAN. About what is your population, Doctor?
Dr. RENDON. It is about 35,000 kilometers; it is about 26,000 square miles.
Previous to 1902 and 1903 there were several buyers and exporters of sisal in Merida, and several buyers in this country. Almost everybody knows the condition of the laboring men in Mexico in general, and Yucatan in particular, because much has been written about that. They were in a condition of peonage. They were paid what the planters wanted to pay; they were compelled to stay on the farms, and so on. Those conditions have changed now. The present revolution has brought them freedom. Now they can go and work for anybody they want, and if they do not get what they think they are entitled to they go somewhere else.
At that time, previous to 1901 and 1902, there was a lively competition in the henequen market. The prices sometimes were lower