« PreviousContinue »
STUDY OF ALASKA TRANSPORTATION
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21, 1961
COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE,
The committee met at 10:30 a.m., pursuant to notice, Senator E. L. Bartlett, presiding.
Senator BARTLETT. The committee will be in order.
This is another in a series of hearings being conducted on the Pacific coast by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce.
The first hearing was held October 4 at San Rafael; the second October 12 at Seattle, Wash.; and subsequent hearings have been conducted at Dillingham, Naknek, Homer, Kodiak, and Fairbanks. From here, following the conclusion of the hearings on Monday, the committee will go to Cordova, thence to Juneau, and conclude at Ketchikan.
In California, and in Seattle, testimony was exclusively on the subject of the Pacific fishery. Here most of the testimony to date has been on the same subject. However, at Fairbanks there was an emphasis on transportation problems. Here in Anchorage the hearings will be divided into four parts.
First, we are going to hear testimony on the bill introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Gruening relating to the establishment of an International Reception Center at the Anchorage Airport. This bill was cosponsored by me. I think that it might be more appropriately called the Byer bill, because it was the former mayor of Anchorage, George Byer, who inspired the movement which led to the introduction of the bill.
Then we are going into the fishery, and thence into transportation. During the afternoon-this afternoon-we are going to take a little time out and hear testimony on a bill which is not before this committee but instead is before the Senate Committee on Post Office and Civil Service. It is a bill numbered S. 2593, and is entitled "A bill to improve and encourage collective bargaining between the management of the Alaska Railroad and representatives of its employees, and to permit, to the extent practicable, the adoption by the Alaska Railroad of the personnel problems and practices of the railroad industry."
The chairman has just been advised that Senator Gruening will testify on the airport bill and on other matters Monday morning.
To continue on the subject of S. 2593, the Alaska Railroad personnel bill, it is the chairman's understanding that this is somewhat controversial and although the bill is not before the Commerce Committee, it is my intention to place testimony in the record with the
intention of transmitting it to the Senate Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, because it is highly unlikely that that committee will hold hearings in Alaska on the bill.
At Fairbanks I read, and shall not repeat the reading here, a letter addressed to Chairman Magnuson of this committee by Secretary of the Interior Udall noting that:
The officials of the city and port of Anchorage have lodged complaints against the Alaska Railroad with this Department, and with the Federal Maritime Board, and the Federal Maritime Board has sent a team of investigators to Alaska to investigate the complaints.
Later on in the letter the Interior Secretary suggests that Senator Magnuson might want to have his committee inquire into these
In his reply Chairman Magnuson stated that:
Senator Bartlett will be in Alaska some time after adjournment of Congress and will hold hearings while there in connection with fishery matters. I have given him the additional assignment, and he has accepted it, of making the inquiry you suggest relating to transportation.
So we will go into those matters as well.
I note the presence in the hearing room of Anchorage's new mayor, Mayor Sharrock. I wonder, Mr. Mayor, if you have anything which you would like to relate by way of testimony or by way of greeting or whatever to the committee before we go forth.
Mr. SHARROCK. Senator Bartlett, ladies and gentlemen.
We are very happy to have these meetings here to give the people of Anchorage an opportunity to express their opinions.
In regard to the specific bill on the International Reception Center, I would like to yield to former Mayor Byer and let him make his presentation.
Senator BARTLETT. With me here is Mr. Jerry Grinstein, committee counsel.
Since much of the meeting will be devoted to transportation, I consider it a privilege to invite Mr. Charles Herbert, chairman of the State commission, to join us, if he cares to.
The first witness today will be former Mayor George Byer.
STATEMENT OF GEORGE BYER, ANCHORAGE, ALASKA
Mr. BYER. Thank you.
Hon. Senator Bartlett, ladies and gentlemen, Anchorage, Alaska, has a role and destiny to play in the international picture of tomorrow. It is one of the new and promising international cities of the world. Anchorage, Alaska, can well become the new Geneva between the East and the West. Anchorage, Alaska, is unique, distinct, and unusual.
Mr. Halaby, the Director of the FAA, when he was here but a few weeks ago, said that Anchorage will become a main point on the supersonic jets of tomorrow.
Anchorage is unusual because of its geographical area, world and jet location in which some 15,000 foreign travelers and 60 international flights a month pass through here. People of every country of the world have passed through Anchorage. Not long ago 60 people of the Leipzig Orchestra from Germany passed through, and the
Olympic teams went through here by the dozens to Melbourne. This is unique and distinct because no city in America can quite equal this unusual situation whereby these people for 1 hour see only Americathe airport.
What makes it unusual and takes it away from the number of cities across the land is that they don't go into the city, they don't travel to any other cities in America as they would if they went into New York, Miami, New Orleans, Houston, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. They have no opportunity or occasion to visit any other American city.
Through the bill by Senator Gruening and Senator Bartlett they will be able to learn about the populations, to see Niagara Falls, Yellowstone Falls, Grand Canyon, American cities, the plains, farms, superhighways, and so forth.
In the international part of the reception center they are able to see how and when America was discovered, the first flight, Declaration of Independence, Abe Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, the 50 States intermingled, colleges, supermarkets, and our way of life.
In the trade zones the passengers may make small purchases such as cheese from Wisconsin, pottery from New Mexico, citrus fruit from California, jade and furs from Alaska, and so on and so on. There can be a place at the center where people could meditate on world religions for a few brief moments, or see the world time zones around the world and the weather. It is not difficult to visualize, as more direct flights become possible in and out of Anchorage to New York, Chicago, and the west coast, to someday have a wholesalers' market where people can come and look at and order products from around the world, woolens from England, laces from India, rayon from Japan, and so on and so forth.
It is not only an honor and privilege and distinction for Anchorage and Alaska to show America to all the foreign travelers, but to show Canada also.
Vision is a hard thing to sell. I realized this some 5 years ago when I first started to see the picture unfold last week at Canadian Pacific's international inaugural jet flight to Tokyo. I proposed the situation to the Senators, and Senator Brunt of Ontario liked the idea and accepted it, and asked me to forward all material to them in Ottawa so he could present the case to the Senators, and he will personally take it to Prime Minister Diefenbaker and report to Senators Gruening and Bartlett that they would like to join the exhibits.
Miami, New York, San Juan, Honolulu, and Anchorage are the five top international cities in America today. They have given their wholehearted support because they feel here is a distinct move for cities such as theirs to become a new showplace for America.
The U.S. mayors, some 1,500 strong, in June, also wholeheartedly endorsed the resolution for the Senate.
The resolution committee of the American Municipal Congress in Seattle wholeheartedly endorsed it. Last year when President Kennedy, then Senator, was here, a year ago September, I talked at length with him about it when he arrived at the airport. He was amazed and interested and said he would do what he could.
The Honorable Vice President Johnson, on July 18, 1961, said, and I quote:
I certainly believe that your idea of an international reception center at Anchorage is a good one. It is one which will afford travelers from all over the world a brief glimpse of America, and a brief glimpse is better than none.
State Department officials; Congressmen; civic groups; Rotaries; Senator Fong, of Hawaii; other Senators and Congressmen; mayors of Miami, New York, San Juan, Honolulu; editors of magazines, foreign and domestic; Mr. Erwin, General Counsel of the U.S. Information Agency; the Department of Commerce; the chamber of commerce president; the People to People Sports Committee and others have wholeheartedly endorsed and supported this.
With all this it needs repetition for all to see the full picture. If the picture is seen in its right light without jealousy and selfish interests, Anchorage's true role and destiny can be realized, for we are one of the promising of the newest of international cities.
May I publicly extend on behalf of Anchorage, Alaska, our warm and sincere appreciation to you, Bob, to Senator Gruening and Congressman Rivers, for your interest and efforts. May we wish you well.
In ending I would like to say, Edward Everett Hale said:
If we neglect this great heritage of freedom so dearly purchased, we shall fail to meet the true challenge of our time.
A true challenge that tells a story of America to those who otherwise would never have such an opportunity, now presents itself in S. 2484. Let us all join this honored and privileged endeavor to let the world see America through Anchorage.
I would like, Senator Bartlett, if I may, to introduce Mr. Milton, vice president of the International People to People's Sports Committee, and maybe Mr. Milton would like to testify a few words. May I do that?
Senator BARTLETT. Thank you very much, Mr. Byer.
Does that conclude your statement?
Mr. BYER. It does.
Senator BARTLETT. We will be very glad to hear from Mr. Milton in a few minutes.
What do you estimate as the cost of such a building?
Mr. BYER. I talked with the contractors and some of the State Department officials to make the building worthwhile. They feel that $2,500,000 will be a logical figure.
Senator BARTLETT. Has there been a further estimate of the annual cost to the Federal Government?
Mr. BYER. No, there hasn't. We have discussed nothing exactly. Senator BARTLETT. You mentioned the names of several highly placed persons in public life who have endorsed the bill, or at least the concept of the bill. I should add that although he has not done that, because he has not had opportunity to study it carefully, Senator Mike Monroney, of Oklahoma, chairman of the Aviation Subcommittee of the Commerce Committee, is greatly interested.
Breaking the bill down into sections, it is noted that section 1 authorizes the establishment and operation of a foreign trade zone and Hall of States. George, since you are certainly the author of the idea of the proposed legislation, would you tell us what your concept of the foreign trade zone is?
Mr. BYER. As I get that, Bob, that is more or less Senator Gruening's idea. I think it is a very worthy one. I see no reason why it will take anything away from local merchants in that, to purchase any articles in this trade zone, they would have to have through passage. This is merely a place to have these States present some of their best, smaller items for purchases for foreigners. I think it is a great showcase of American products.
Senator BARTLETT. And this would be a duplicate, more or less, of that which is found at Shannon Airport in Ireland?
Mr. BYER. I have never been there, but from hearing Senator Gruening, I think it is very much like that.
Senator BARTLETT. When Senator Gruening testifies Monday, I think we will go into this further. It is just possible that we are going to have to switch this around and arrive at a different approach.
The foreign trade zone, I am advised, while desirable and helpful in many instances, may not fit exactly here.
Section 2 of the bill, according to my understanding provides that the U.S. Information Agency, cooperating with State officials and Anchorage officials, would construct and maintain the building housing the International Reception Center and the Hall of States and also the foreign trade zone. Is that right?
Mr. BYER. That is my idea. Not my idea but my understanding of it.
Senator BARTLETT. And would also staff the foreign trade zone and Hall of States sections.
Mr. BYER. I would think so.
Senator BARTLETT. Section 3 makes it possible for the USIA to prepare plans for the building and equipment, subject to the approval of General Services Administration.
Section 4 authorizes the USIA to develop from the State the land on which the building would be placed. In return for the donation of that land, USIA would be required, under the terms of the bill, to provide the State and the city space in the building.
Section 5 provides that foreign and domestic commodities sold in the foreign trade zone shall be subject to the provisions of the Foreign Trade Zone Act. This means essentially that goods purchased in the area and taken out of the United States could be bought free of any duty or tax.
Mr. BYER. I think that Governor Egan has already given the land permission, and that is all worked out.
Senator BARTLETT. The land will be available?
Mr. BYER. Yes.
Senator BARTLETT. Section 6, being the final section, but a very essential one, authorizes an appropriation to carry out the provisions of the act.
Mr. BYER. I would say that is very, very essential.
Senator BARTLETT. You are right. Thank you, George, very much. Mr. BYER. Thank you very much.
Senator BARTLETT. Mr. Milton?
Before Mr. Milton comes on the stand, I am going to offer for incorporation in the record a statement made in the Senate August 30 last, by Senator Gruening on introducing the bill.