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lines as he may deem necessary and desirable; and he may utilize in carrying on the work herein provided for any and all machinery, equipment, instruments, material, and other property of any sort whatsoever used, purchased, or acquired by or under the direction of the Isthmian Canal Commission, so far and as rapidly as the same is, in the judgment of the Isthmian Canal Commission, no longer needed in its work; and the said Isthmian Canal Commission is hereby authorized to deliver said property to said Alaska Railway Commission, and no charge shall be made therefor.
Sec. 3. That the President, through the said commission or otherwise, shall proceed as promptly as possible to segregate such coal reserves for the Government and its various departments as he may dcem necessary, and shall designate and reserve the same in such tracts as to include therein the largest quantity of the best quality of coal, having due regard to economical mining and transportation; and the lands contained in such reserves shall not be subject to sale or lease or any other disposition according to the laws of the United States. That the President, through said commission or otherwise, as he may deem best, shall, in connection with the construction and operation of said railroad, develop and operate a coal mine or mines within the area so reserved and deliver the coal mined at such point or points as may be necessary for the purposes of the Government, and he is authorized, through said commission or otherwise, to provide all the necessary facilities of all kinds and character to accomplish this purpose: Provided, That any coal mined and not needed for Government purposes may be sold to the public at not less than six per centum more than the cost at the place of delivery, such cost to be ascertained and determined by the commission.
Sec. 4. That any line of railroad designated and constructed under the provisions of this act may connect with the line of any existing railroad in Alaska, and in such case the existing line shall be operated in connection with the new line as a through route with through rates upon à fair and reasonable apportionment of revenue and expenses.
Sec. 5. That the Secretary of the Treasury is hereby authorized to borrow, on the credit of the United States, from time to time, as the proceeds may be required to defray expenditures authorized by this act (such proceeds when received to be used only for the purpose of meeting such expenditure), the sum of $40,000,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary, and to prepare and issue therefor coupon or registered bonds of the United States, in such form as he may prescribe, and in denominations of $20 or some multiple of that sum, redeemable in gold coin at the pleasure of the United States after ten years from the date of their issue, and payable thirty years from such date, and bearing interest, payable quarterly in gold coin, at the rate of three per centum per annum; and the bonds herein authorized shall be exempt from all taxes or duties of the Unites States, as well as from taxation in any form by or under State, municipal, or local authority: Provided, That said bonds may be disposed of by the Secretary of the Treasury at not less than par, under such regulations as he may prescribe, giving to all the citizens of the United States an equal opportunity to subscribe therefor, but no commissions shall be allowed or paid thereon, and a sum not exceeding one-tenth of one per centum of the amount of the bonds herein authorized is hereby appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, to pay the expense of preparing, advertising, and issuing the same.
Sec. 6. That it is the intent of this act to authorize and empower the President to do any and all things necessary to carry out and accomplish the purposes of this act.
Present: Senators Chamberlain (acting chairman), Hitchcock, Walsh, Owen, Nelson, Bristow, and Lippitt.
The Acting CHAIRMAN: Gentlemen, the purpose of this meeting this morning-I trust I may be permitted to state in the temporary absence of the chairman-is to consider Senate bill 48, introduced by me, to authorize the President of the United States to locate, construct, and operate railroads in the Territory of Alaska, and for other purposes. Just a brief statement from me in reference to this bill and the motives which inspired it may not be out of order. state that substantially the same bill, or a bill having for its object the building of a railroad in Alaska, was heretofore introduced and referred to the Committee on Public Lands, and a number of hearings were held at the last session of Congress. The present bill, while it does not differ essentially from the bill as introduced, as I recall it now, has the same object in view; that is, the construction of a railroad
a by the Government in Alaska to connect one or more of the open
Pacific Ocean harbors on the southern coast of Alaska with the navigable waters of Tanana, the Yukon, and the Kuskokwin Rivers in the Territory of Alaska.
You gentlemen understand that most of the land in Alaska has been withdrawn from disposition under the land, mining, and other laws of the Government, and Alaska, as it stands to-day, is a vast mineral reserve, a storehouse, belonging absolutely to the Government; so that private enterprise has not gone into the development of the Territory with that energy and vigor that has usually characterized the development of the western part of the country.
Now inasmuch as that condition exists to-day, it has seemed to our western people particularly--and I think the East appreciates the situation as well—that Alaska ought to be developed, if not by private enterprise and capital, by the Government, inasmuch as the Government is the proprietor of the forests and the proprietor of the mineral lands inclosed in that Territory. Take it along the Pacific coast (and I can speak from experience). I have paid as high as $12 and $14 a ton for coal when coal was within easy reach of us in Alaska. I have used in my own home coal that has come to us in bottoms from Australia, and the condition which has confronted me is a condition which has confronted nearly all the people along the Pacific coast. That is a condition that ought not to be permitted to exist in this country, particularly when there is not only coal, but sufficient Government resources within easy reach of us they can but be developed.
Now the purpose of this bill is to assist in the development of Alaska. It authorizes the President, largely in his discretion, to proceed to construct a railroad under the provisions of the bill. The powers and duties which devolve upon him under it are not unlike the duties which devolved upon the President with reference to the construction of the Panama Canal. The selection of route and the selection of agencies for the purpose of carrying out the purposes of the bill, are left to his discretion, and in the very necessities of the case it has been deemed best by us, who prepared the bill, to leave these large discretionary powers to him.
I do not propose to go into the details of the bill. The bill itself provides for the issuance of a bond, I understand, of $35,611,000, just as steps were taken to construct the Panama Canal, and only a million dollars is appropriated for the immediate purpose of commencing this work, if the bill should become a law.
There are a number of gentlemen present here this morning who are familiar with Alaska from personal inspection and experience. Judge Wickersham is here, as Delegate, representing Alaska, and these gentlemen would like to be heard, or, the committee would like to hear from them, and they will go into the details involved in this
Senator WALSH. Before we enter into that, Senator, will you have the kindness to let us know how this amount proposed to be appropriated, $35,611,000, is arrived at, if at all ?
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. I am not familiar with that. Some of the gentlemen who will testify here will go into that matter. I think it is, possibly, from the report of the commission appointed by President Taft to investigate conditions up there and make report.
Senator Walsh. Yes; I am more or less familiar with that commission.
The Acting CHAIRMAN. Mr. Wickersham, who will be heard first ?
Mr. WICKERSHAM. If the committee will permit me, I think I will make the opening statement.
STATEMENT OF HON. JAMES WICKERSHAM, DELEGATE FROM
THE TERRITORY OF ALASKA.
The Acting CHAIRMAN. Judge Wickersham, representing Alaska, is familiar with this whole subject.
Mr. WICKERSHAM. Gentlemen of the committee, as I view the bills now pending before this committee, there is a matter of very grave concern to the whole country involved, as well as the building of a railroad in Alaska. I am informed by a gentleman, in whom I have some confidence, that if, unfortunately, the United States were to be dragged into a war, for instance, with Japan tomorrow, there is not coal enough for your Navy on the Pacific coas to last for 90 days. There is no naval coal in Mexico of easy transportation to the Pacific coast. There is no coal in California. Practically, there is no coal in Oregon except a low-grade coal near Coos Bay, which is not fit for naval use. There is no coal in the State of Washington fit for naval use. There is a better coal in Washington than either California or Oregon. There is a better coal in British Columbia, but it is in a foreign country, and in case of war with Japan or any foreign nation we would not be allowed to buy it. It is not naval coal, anyway. There is no naval coal in the United States territory west of the Mississippi River except one small area, I think, in Colorado, except that which is in Alaska. There is an area of naval coal in Alaska, in the Bering River field, where there is a highgrade naval coal in abundance. In the Matanuska field, at this point (indicating) there is a high-grade naval coal in abundance, and the Government of the United States might need that coal in the next 90 days to preserve our national life.
Ön principle I am opposed to the Government's going into the business of running coal mines or railroads, or any other business indiscriminately for profit. But it has been found that this Government, like all other Governments, is entitled to do all those acts which are necessary to protect the Nation and to perform acts which all Governments have the right to perform. We have built the Panama Canal and are supporting it. We have built a railroad parallel to the canal and are supporting and operating it in the name of the United States because it is a war measure; it is one of the great measures necessary possibly to the preservation of the very life of this Government, and I urge now upon this committee and upon Congress that the building of a railroad to these highgrade naval coals in Alaska may be just as important to the preservation of the national honor as the building of the Panama Canal, and it is upon that ground and upon that theory that I stand here to urge the Government, or to urge this committee, to support a bill for the building of a Government railroad in Alaska. I want to make myself perfectly clear on that point, because generally I am opposed to that sort of a measure.
There are two bills before the committee-one introduced by Senator Jones, of Washington, and the other introduced by Senator Chamberlain, of Oregon. Substantially they are the same. In Senator Jones's bill, however, there is this difference: It provides for the creation of a commission and proposes to give the commission certain power in the way of building the railroad. Senator Chamberlain's bill gives all the power to the President of the United States. It makes him responsible; it places all power with him and gives him the right to appoint all the agents or agencies necessary to enable him to carry out the purposes of the act, and makes an appropriation of $35,611,000 for the building of the railroad, and provides a limitation of 733 miles of road to be constructed.
The last Congress passed an act creating an elective legislature for Alaska, and one clause in that bill provided for the appointment of a railway commission to go to Alaska and to examine into the situation. You gentlemen have all received copies of the report of that railway commission, and I have a copy of it here. It is entitled "House Document No. 1346, Sixty-second Congress, third session; Railway Routes in Alaska; Message from the President of the United States Transmitting Report of Alaska Railroad Commission.” It is a public document and is easily obtained by all of you. The commission went to Alaska; they examined the situation; they went over the routes as well as they could and made as thorough an examination of the railway situation in Alaska as they could within the time alloted to them, and this report is the result of their inquiry. The commission consisted of Maj. Jay J. Morrow, Corps of Engineers of the United States Army, chairman; Alfred H. Brooks, geologist in charge Division of Alaska Mineral Resources of the United States Geological Survey, vice chairman; Civil Engineer Leonard M. Cox, United States Navy; and Colin M. Ingersoll, consulting railway engineer, New York City. It seems to have been a thoroughly good commission; they seem to have done good work. They report in their conclusions that 733 miles of railway ought to be built in Alaska; that it will cost $35,611,000 to build that 733 miles; and the bill has evidently been drawn with the purpose of giving the President of the United States power to build exactly that much railroad.
That you may have a fair view of the railway laws now in force in Alaska, I call your attention to the act of May 14, 1898, passed by Congress. It provides that "the right of way through the lands of the United States in the District of Alaska is hereby granted to any railway company duly authorized under the laws of any State or Territory by Congress of the United States," etc.
Senator WALSH. That relates to Alaska? Mr. WICKERSHAM. That is an act of Congress approved May 14, 1898. I will put into the record at this point, if the committee will permit me, a copy of that act, and without reading it to you in full at this time, I will say that there is not, in my judgment, anywhere in the United States territory more power granted to railroads, to private individuals, to private corporations, nor is ampler power granted to build railroads anywhere in the United States territory than Congress has already granted in Alaska. The law of 1898 inviting railway building in Alaska is as follows:
AN ACT Extending the homestead laws and providing for right of way for railroads in the District of
Alaska, and for other purposes.
(May 14, 1898, II Supplement, chapter 299, page 755.] Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. (Relates to homesteads on public lands.)
SEC. 2. That the right of way through the lands of the United States in the District of Alaska is hereby granted to any railroad company, duly organized under the laws of any State or Territory or by the Congress of the United States, which may hereafter file for record with the Secretary of the Interior a copy of its articles of incorporation, and due proofs of its organization under the same, to the extent of one hundred feet on each side of the center line of said road; also the right to take from the lands of the United States adjacent to the line of said road, material, earth, stone, and timber necessary for the construction of said railroad; also the right to take for railroad uses, subject to the reservation of all minerals and coal therein, public lands adjacent to said right of way for station buildings, depots, machine shops, side tracks, turn-outs, water stations, and terminals, and other legitimate railroad purposes, not to exceed in amount twenty acres for each station, to the extent of one station for each ten miles of its road, excepting at terminals and junction points, which may include additional forty acres, to be limited on navigable water to eighty rods on the shore line, and with the right to use such additional ground as may in the opinion of the Secretary of the Interior be necessary where there are heavy cuts or fills: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to give to such railroad company, its lessees, grantees, or assigns the ownership or use of minerals, including coal, within the limits of its right of way, or of the lands hereby granted: Provided further, That all mining operations prosecuted or undertaken within the limits of such right of way or of the land hereby granted shall, under rules and regulations to be prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior, be so conducted as not to injure or interfere with the property or operations of the road over its said lands or right of way. And when such railway shall connect with any navigable stream or tidewater such company shall have power to construct and maintain necessary piers and wharves for connection with water transportation, subject to the supervision of the Secretary of the Treasury: Provided, That nothing in this act contained shall be construed as impairing in any degree the title of any State that may hereafter be erected out of said District, or any part thereof, to tide lands and beds of any of its navigable waters, or the right of such State to regulate the use thereof, nor the right of the United States to resume possession of such lands, it being declared that all such rights shall continue to be held by the United States in trust for the people of any State or States which may hereafter be erected out of said District. The term navigable waters” as herein used, shall be held to include all tidal waters up to the line of ordinary high tide and all nontidal waters navigable in fact up to the line of ordinary high-water mark. That all charges for the transportation of freight and passengers on railroads in the District of Alaska shall be printed and posted as required by section six of an act to regulate commerce as amended on March second, eighteen hundred and eighty-nine, and such rates shall be subject to revision and modification by the Secretary of the Interior.
Sec. 3. That any railroad company whose right of way or whose track or roadbed upon such right of way, passes through any canyon, pass, or defile, shall not prevent any other railroad company from the use and occupancy of said canyon, pass, or defile for the purposes of its road, in common with the road first located, or the crossing of other railroads at grade; and the location of such right of way through any canyon, pass, or defile shall not cause the disuse of any tramway, wagon road, or other public highway now located therein, nor prevent the location through the same of any such tramway, wagon road, or highway where such tramway, wagon road, or highway may be necessary for the public accommodation; and where any change in the location of such tramway, wagon road, or highway is necessary to permit the passage of such railroad through any canyon, pass, or defile, said railroad company shall, before entering upon the ground occupied by such tramway, wagon road, or highway, cause the same to be reconstructed at its own expense in the most favorable location, and in as perfect a manner as the original road or tramway: Provided, That such expenses shall be equitably divided between any number of railroad companies occupying and using the same canyon, pass, or defile, and that where the space is limited the United States district court shall require the road first constructed to allow any other railroad or