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(The statement is as follows:)
[From the Congressional Record, Aug. 30, 1961]
A FOREIGN TRADE ZONE, A HALL OF STATES, AND AN INTERNATIONAL RECEPTION AND INFORMATION CENTER FOR ANCHORAGE, ALASKA, AIR CROSSWAYS OF THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE
Mr. GRUENING. Mr. President, on behalf of myself and my colleague, the Senator from Alaska [Mr. Bartlett], I introduce, for appropriate reference, a bill to provide for establishing and operating a foreign trade zone, a Hall of States, and an international reception and information center at the Anchorage International Airport, Anchorage, Alaska.
It was my privilege recently, in connection with a trip made to Scandinavia for the Senate Committee on Public Works, during an informal Senate recess, to spend on the way home a brief period at the airport at Shannon, Ireland, and I had an opportunity to inspect the free port operated so successfully there. I soon realized that Shannon has its counterpart in one location-and one location only-in the United States; namely, at Anchorage, Alaska.
At the Anchorage International Airport foreign visitors, in ever-increasing numbers, are obtaining a brief respite in their journeys across the pole while their planes are being refueled. The planes then take off for another foreign country, so that the Anchorage International Airport is the only glimpse they have of the United States of America. In addition to our American airlines passing through Anchorage are such foreign carriers-Orient or Europe bound-as SAS, the Scandinavian Airway System, Air France, Japan Airlines, and KLM, the Netherlands line. Others may be expected.
Latest figures show that foreign visitors to the Anchorage International Airport in between 2 foreign countries now number close to 150,000 annually. It seemed to me that at the Anchorage International Airport the United States is not taking full advantage of this great influx of visitors. We, too, could have our "Shannon," where not only could duty-free goods of other nations be sold but where we could have an opportunity to sell goods manufactured and produced in the 50 States of the Union, giving these foreign visitors a glimpse of and an opportunity to buy or order some of the many and varied products produced under the American system of free enterprise.
There could be exhibited and sold at such a free port textiles made from the fine cotton grown in our Southern States; salmon and king crab from Alaska, as well as Alaska's native arts and crafts, the painting of Alaskan artists; turquoise and silver jewelry from the southwestern part of the United States; monkey pod bowls, shell bracelets and necklaces and macadamia nuts from Hawaii; from California and Florida, citrus fruits and jellies; from New York, Steuben glassware and Syracuse china; from Connecticut Lionel trains, silver from the various silver manufacturers in that State; from Wisconsin choice cheese products and luggage; leather goods from Delaware; maple sirup and maple sugar candy from Vermont; tobacco products and spirits (from Kentucky; from Virginia the finest in milk glassware; from West Virginia the State's famous Fostoria glassware; canned meat products from Iowa and Texas; glassware and toys from West Virginia; apparel from Missouri; the finest mechanical toys from such States as Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and St. Louis, Mo.; dolls from Massachusetts; and shrimp products and pecans from the Gulf States.
I shall not continue to enumerate the infinite variety of superlative products grown or manufactured in the United States which might be sold at the foreign trade zone at the International Airport at Anchorage. Those I have enumerated are only a few of those which come readily to mind. Many States would be able to exhibit and sell at such a foreign trade zone many different types of products for which those States have become famous. Sales at the foreign trade zone might well be just the thing to initiate a lively foreign commerce in the products of many States.
But the trade zone can be used for more than the sale of products from the various States. It would be used also as a showplace of and for the United States, showing the natural scenic wonders and splendors as well as the manmade achievements in the various States and serving as a vibrant invitation to these thousands and thousands of visitors to our country to come back and spend some time here. Against the backdrop of some of Alaska's mighty mountains, foreign visitors at the Anchorage International Airport could be
shown, by slides and pictures, the charm of New England, the manmade glories of our great cities, New York, Washington, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Charleston, S.C., to name only a few, the natural wonders of Yellowstone, of Niagara, of the Grand Canyon, and of the scores and scores of scenic beauties, of hunting and fishing spots that should lure the foreign visitor to return for a longer stay in the United States.
It is for this reason that I am proposing that there be established at the foreign trade zone at the Anchorage International Airport a Hall of States where each State, individually, will be given an opportunity to exhibit those characteristics which make each State of the United States so unique.
With respect to these many foreign visitors we are also missing a golden opportunity to show them by word and picture democracy's ideals and to win them over to the side of freedom. In the great world struggle for the minds of man in which we are now engaged it is certainly a wasted opportunity not to welcome to our shores these thousands of foreign visitors and seek, in the brief space of time available, to give them something of the flavor of the United States and of the democratic principles under which we live.
The idea of establishing an international reception and information center at the International Airport at Anchorage, Alaska, was first put forward some time ago by the mayor of Anchorage, the Honorable George Byer, who has since devoted much time and effort in pressing forward to make his idea into a reality.
In the bill I propose, therefore, I have made provision for the establishment and operation at the Anchorage International Airport by the U.S. Information Agency of an international reception and information center so that visitors to our shores may be properly greeted and their questions about the United States answered.
I realize it is late in the session and there is little chance for action on this bill before adjournment. I do hope, through the introduction of this bill, to stimulate thinking and discussion on this proposal and to receive suggestions for the improvement and refinement of this idea.
I ask unanimous consent that there be printed at the conclusion of my remarks a copy of my bill, a copy of Resolution No. 1220 adopted by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, a letter dated August 9, 1961, from myself to the Secretary of Commerce, the Honorable Luther Hodges, and his reply to me dated August 17, 1961, and a resolution reported favorably by the resolutions committee of the American Municipal Association now holding its 38th congress in Seattle, Wash.
The VICE PRESIDENT. The bill will be received and appropriately referred; and, without objection, the bill, resolutions, and letters will be printed in the Record.
The bill (S. 2484) to provide for establishing and operating a foreign trade zone, a Hall of States, and an international reception center at the Anchorage International Airport, Anchorage, Alaska, and for other purposes, introduced by Mr. Gruening (for himself and Mr. Bartlett), was received, read twice by its title, referred to the Committee on Commerce, and ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:
"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there is hereby authorized to be established, operated, and maintained at the Anchorage International Airport, Anchorage, Alaska:
"(a) a foreign-trade zone in accordance with the Act entitled 'An Act to provide for the establishment, operation, and maintenance of foreign-trade zones in ports of entry of the United States, to expedite and encourage foreign commerce, and for other purposes,' approved June 18, 1934, as amended; and,
"(b) A Hall of States where each State shall be provided with suitable space in which to have an exhibit in which it may display therein information concerning its traditions and may sell the commodities and merchandise it produces and manufactures.
"SEC. 2. The United States Information Agency (hereinafter referred to as the 'Agency'), acting in cooperation with State and local officials of the State of Alaska, and agencies of the Federal Government concerned with the foreign policy and international objectives of the United States, is authorized to establish an international reception and information center at said Anchorage International Airport, to provide for its staffing and operation, and to take such other action in connection therewith, in accordance with the provisions of this Act and other provisions of law, as may be necessary to create for foreign visitors a
climate for better understanding the United States and its ideals and at the same time provide a facility for the operation of a foreign trade zone and a Hall of States.
"SEC. 3. (a) In carrying out the provisions of this Act the Agency is authorized to prepare plans and specifications for the construction, at or adjacent to the Anchorage International Airport, of a suitable building with requisite equipment, approaches, architectural landscape treatment of the grounds, and connections with public utilities. The preparation of such drawings and specifications and all work incidental thereto shall be under the supervision of the Administrator of the General Services Administration in accordance with the provisions of the Public Buildings Act of May 25, 1926, as amended.
"(b) The Agency shall operate an international reception and information center in such building when completed.
"SEC. 4. The Agency is authorized to accept from the State of Alaska a lease or conveyance of such land as may be necessary for establishing the international reception and information center and additional facilities herein provided for and, as total compensation to the State of Alaska for such lease or conveyance, shall provide to the State of Alaska or to the city of Anchorage sufficient space in said center so that the said State or city may:
"(a) Provide for the establishment, operation, and maintenance of the foreigntrade zone authorized by section 1 of this Act;
"(b) Arrange for a Hall of the States authorized by section 1 of this Act; "(c) Establish and operate, directly or through lease arrangements, lounges and concessions for the comfort of foreign visitors.
"SEC. 5. Foreign or domestic commodities or merchandise sold in the Hall of States or the foreign-trade zone, hereby authorized, shall be sold subject to the provisions of the Act of June 18, 1934, as amended, hereinabove referred to.
"SEC. 6. There are hereby authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act."
The resolutions and letters presented by Mr. Gruening are as follows:
"Resolution requesting the Governor of Alaska to arrange for a reception center at the Anchorage International Airport for international travelers
"Whereas the International Airport at Anchorage, Alaska, is a unique air world transit stop between two foreign continents on the polar route Europe the Far East; and
"Whereas the airport will host some 12,000 international travelers during the month of July 1961, and service as many as 60 international flights a week; and "Whereas Anchorage International Airport is among the top five American cities for international travel and is host to world leaders, ambassadors, diplomats and travelers the world around: Now, therefore, be it
"Resolved, That the Honorable Governor of the State of Alaska, William A. Egan, make the necessary requests to the Federal Government to construct, at the State-owned airport in Anchorage, an International Reception Center, to include the picture story of America, its ideals, its philosophies, its heritage, and its people-to-people endeavors. Let it further be known that for Anchorage and Alaska it is a distinct honor and privilege to portray to thousands of foreign travelers the story of America, its 50 States, during their brief rest; and to many, it is their only opportunity and occasion to set foot on American soil.
"Publication of this resolution shall be made by posting a copy hereof on the city hall bulletin board for a period of 10 days following its passage and approval. "Attest:
Hon. LUTHER H. HODGES,
"GEORGE H. BYER,
"City Clerk." AUGUST 9, 1961.
"B. W. BOEKE,
DEAR MR. SECRETARY: Anchorage, Alaska has been steadily developing a large flow of international passengers who stop over briefly at the airport while their planes are being refueled and then continue on to another country. They fly between the Orient and over the Pole to Europe. Serving this traffic now are:
Air France, S.A.S., and Japan Air Lines. Latest figures given me indicate that upward of 12,000 such passengers arrive in Anchorage monthly.
It is therefore highly regrettable that, at a time when the United States is seeking actively to cultivate international good will, these thousands of visitors should be permitted to leave our shores with only the impression of the United States which they can glean from their brief stay at the airport. Unless they should return to the United States at some later time, for many this will remain their only impression of our country.
Moreover, their being permitted to stop off would be a great help to the tourist travel which this administration is trying to promote. Why not give that effort this easily achievable assistance?
Would it not be possible to amend the charters of the carriers carrying these international passengers so as to permit brief stopovers in Anchorage, conditioned on these passengers continuing on the same carriers which brought them to Anchorage?
I have written Alan S. Boyd, Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board, but in view of the great emphasis which this administration has put on tourist business, I hope you will lend your active support to this. Obviously, 12,000 passengers monthly would leave quite a bit of money in the United States, if they were allowed to stay for a day or two, or a week.
I would appreciate your giving this special attention and establishing contact with the CAB to see whether this cannot be done without delay.
The Honorable ERNEST GRUENING,
THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE,
DEAR SENATOR GRUENING: I am very sympathetic with the contents of your letter of August 9 regarding the encouragement of visitor stopovers in Anchorage. Certainly other travel-minded countries are doing this, and Shannon is a good example.
Hon. ERNEST GRUENING,
U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.:
I assure you of my active interest in this matter. Not only that, but the mayor of Anchorage on a recent visit to Washington asked us about assistance in a U.S. travel display at the Anchorage Airport.
I am asking the Director of the U.S. Travel Service, Mr. Voit Gilmore, to go into these matters on my behalf. We are most conscious of the tourist-generating possibilities of Alaska and share your wish to develop them fully.
LUTHER H. HODGES.
SEATTLE, WASH., August 29, 1961.
Whereas the International Airport at Anchorage, Alaska, is a unique geographical air-world stop between foreign countries on the polar route; EuropeFar East; and
Whereas the airport was host to an estimated 15,000 international travelers during the month of July 1961, and service as many as 60 international flights a week; and
Whereas Anchorage International Airport is among the top five American cities for international travel, and is host to world leaders, ambassadors, diplomats, businessmen, students, and travelers and the world around: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, that the American Municipal Association further requests that the administration, through the U.S. Congress, act in this session of Congress, to appropriate the necessary funds for an international reception center so that the majority of the thousands of foreign travelers who have no occasion or opportunity to set foot on American soil other than at Anchorage, can make a direct contact with the culture of our Nation and see "America through Anchorage."
Senator BARTLETT. Mr. Milton, we are very glad to have you here and would be pleased if you would give your full name and address to the reporter, and then make any statement you care to.
STATEMENT OF LEONARD MILTON, WINDSORGATE,
Mr. MILTON. My name is Leonard Milton. My address is Windsorgate, Great Neck, N.Y.
Thank you, Senator; and George Byer, ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States initiated the people to people programs in order to establish and maintain good will between the peoples of the world and the people of the United States. In line with that, the President not only has taken an active part in the people to people program, he is an active member of our people to people sports committee, of which I have been honored to serve as vice president.
Our program is to establish, through sports, good will between the peoples of the world and the peoples of the United States. This international reception center, in my mind, is another facet in the programs of good will which will establish good will between the peoples of the world and the people of the United States, which is in line with President Kennedy's thinking, and I am sure our people in Congress and the people of the United States.
So I heartily endorse this program because it is a factor of goodwill which I am working for in the people to people program. Senator BARTLETT. Thank you, Mr. Milton.
How do you think this would work here? How would it aid this program?
Mr. MILTON. I have been both a visitor to Alaska and a passenger going through Alaska to the Orient. I can recite an incident which I feel would point out the importance of an international reception
This past June I was going from New York to Anchorage to Tokyo. There were many foreigners on the plane, as well as Americans. The plane was delayed here for 6 hours. Most of the people were mulling around the airport, lying on the couches with absolutely nothing to do. I felt ashamed that there was not better facilities, something to engage them in their time, to let them know more about America.
I have been in many of the airports around the world, and in some of the smallest countries or islands and out-of-the-way places they have wonderful airport facilities which I think we should not copy but even surpass to maintain good will and to provide the comforts and interests of the people passing through.
Senator BARTLETT. During that 6-hour layover would a foreigner, I should say, during that 6-hour period, be able to leave the terminal building?
Mr. MILTON. Yes, they were able to leave the terminal building, but, unfortunately we came in about 11 o'clock at night, and most of the people stayed around the airport, whereas I took a taxi with some of my friends and showed them a little bit of Anchorage and went into the Westward Hotel. Of course it was too late at night to see anything else.
Senator BARTLETT. A person from another country would stay at the airport and would be discouraged after a 6-hour wait.
Mr. MILTON. They were lying and sleeping on the couches. Senator BARTLETT. You see a situation which could be created here where you would have a wonderful display, an opportunity to buy if