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Secretary Taft. I presume that by the loss of employees they increased it. But the congestion which occurred by reason of quarantine occurred later. That occurred in July and August.
Senator MORGAN. It was not possible that Admiral Walker in the conduct of his administration of that business on the Zone there bad delayed assembling the material in order to avoid just such a congestion, and in order to be prepared to receive laborers and accommodate them with housing and food, as they might come into the Isthmus?
Secretary Taft. No, sir. I can not understand how that would account for the failure to deliver medical supplies ordered through General Davis in August that did not reach there until February; indeed, had not reached there on the 8th of February.
Senator MORGAN. It is alleged--I do not know with what degree of propriety, as to its being a good justification—that the medical supplies were delayed because of the red tape in getting the approval of officers necessary to their being purchased and forwarded.
Secretary Taft. I do not think that is true, sir.
Secretary TAFT. The statement of the Commission was, at least, as I recollect it, in the discussion that arose over a complaint of Doctor Reed, that they had turned the matter over to the Army surgeons and that they were furnished promptly. This was not at that time, but afterwards.
Senator Morgan. Did the old Commission do any digging there with reference to the opening of the canal as a permanent work, or was it with reference to making the same experimental tests that Mr. Wallace afterwards pursued?
Secretary Tarr. Oh, it was the same thing. Mr. Wallace worked under the old Commission.
Senator MORGAN. Mr. Wallace worked under the old Commission?
Secretary Tatt. No, sir. They were stopped on the 1st of August. I do not mean to say that things are not being done now that might be used probably with more safety as a basis for judgment than those which were carried on under Mr. Wallace. The things which are being done now, however, are not for the purpose of experiment, but are for the purpose of constructing the roads at levels along which it is intended hereafter to put the cars on which the material, the waste, is taken up and run them down to the various places where the waste is to be dumped.
Senator MORGAN. Then the work of experimentation has ceased and the work of construction has actually begun?
Secretary TAFT. It is not work of construction, in the sense that it is not work of excavation. It is work of preliminary construction, on which to put the spur tracks, which will be necessary when excavation really begins.
Senator Morgan. Then the situation is that the preliminary work necessary to the carrying on of the ultimate work is still being conducted?
Secretary Taft. Yes, sir; but it is nearly completed.
Senator MORGAN. Did Mr. Wallace conduct it with diligence while he had charge of it?
Secretary Taft. I have no doubt he did.
Secretary Taft. Well, I am not competent to pass on that. He himself testifies to the difficulties that he had, and the reason why what he did was not as useful as it might have been if conducted under the same conditions that excavation is likely to be conducted under in the future. He describes the use of insuliicient cars, of the old Belgian pattern, insufficient locomotives with rigid axles, and insufficient tracks of the French which, in the wet season, would slip and throw the cars off. He
that the reason why that occurred-and I have no doubt it is true, and it is a good justification for the fact that he was not able to do better, though it may not be a justification for his doing it at all-was that the material which he båd ordered for that purpose was not sent to him.
Senator MORGAN. Well, I suppose the difficulties of every sort in the organization of so great a work, both at Panama and everywhere else, were very, very great?
Secretary Tarn. Oh, yes, sir; and I am not offering what I have offered here as any criticism of Mr. Wallace as an engineer at all. I realized at the time, and I think in my statement I have said, that the difficulties that Mr. Wallace had to encounter were very heavy:
Senator MORGAN. Up to the time of his resignation, or rather his dismissal, had you ever found any objection to his work, or to his skill and ability, or to the reasonableness of his forecast and arrangement for conducting work afterwards? Did you make any objection to his continuance in office?
Secretary Taft. I had not.
Senator MORGAN. So far as bis official duties were concerned, he was all that you expected or desired?
Secretary Taft. So far as I knew.
Senator MORGAN. Yes. Do you think that it was possible for the first Commission, starting as they did and in the condition that the work was in, during the first year of their service-during the term of their service-to have made any additional preparations for conducting the permanent work on the canal that they failed to make?
Secretary TAFT. Yes, sir.
Secretary Taft. They failed quite markedly in the organization of a purchasing and employing department.
Senator Hopkins. Will you let me ask a question right there, Senator?
Senator MORGAN. Certainly.
Senator HOPKINS. Is it not a fact also, Mr. Secretary, that in selecting Mr. Redfern they took a man who was utterly incapable of discharging the duties of the position in which he was placed, and took him from the police force here at the Capitol without experience and without ability?
Secretary TAFT. Well, Senator Hopkins, I am not familiar with Mr. Redfern's previous history. I only knew that he was a clerk or an employee in the Department. I believe that he was active, and that he did what he could.
Senator HOPKINS. Yes.
Secretary Taft. But I do not think that his experience was such as to justify selecting him as, in effect, the purchasing agent for so large an enterprise. Mr. Redfern was subsequently employed by Major Gallagher as a forwarding agent, rather than as a purchasing agent, at New Orleans. Mr. Redfern is, so far as I know, an excellent young man, but not adapted to the task which gradually grew and thrust itself upon him.
Senator MORGAN. I suppose Mr. Redfern had as much experience in the position to which he was then newly appointed, the work that he was required to do, as Mr. Bishop has in regard to the duties of a Commissioner or the engineering conditions on the Isthmus.
Secretary Taft. Well, Mr. Bishop is a very much higher order of Senator MORGAN. I do not know why.
Secretary TAFT. Because he is a man who is older, of very much wider experience, and in the capacity which he was called upon to till is, I know, a man of ability.
Senator MORGAN. Well, Mr. Redfern had done some work in his life, had he not, of a practical sort?
Secretary Tatt. I do not know about that.
Senator MORGAN. Do you know of Mr. Bishop's ever having done any?
Secretary Taft. I think intellectual work is quite as important as manual labor.
Senator MORGAN. I said practical.
Senator Morgan. Has he any reputation or education as an engineer?
Secretary TAFT. No, sir.
Secretary Taft. No, sir; not that I know of.
Senator MORGAN. He has acquired all the power that that experience would give him, I suppose?
Secretary Taft. Yes, sir.
Senator MORGAN. In the execution of the great duties of a Commissioner!
Secretary TAFT. Yes, sir.
Senator MORGAN. I did not wish to contrast Mr. Redfern with Mr. Bishop, but the situation seemed to require it, and I thought I would present the situation.
Senator HOPKINS. I wanted to bring out the fact that this man was taken from the police force, and that that had been his experience, and the Commission, in my judgment, was not warranted in taking a man
of that limited experience and putting him in the responsible position in which he was placed.
Senator SIMMONS. Who was responsible for Mr. Redfern's appointment?
Secretary Tatt. I have understood, and I think Colonel Edwards is my authority for it, that he was under Admiral Walker in some capacity. Perhaps General Davis can say. Was it at the Metropolitan Club!
General Davis. No, sir. I can tell you something of Mr. Redfern. Under the old Isthmian Canal Commission, the Walker Commission of 1899-1901, Mr. Redfern was the disbursing officer for that Commission.
Secretary TAFT. Thit is it.
General Davis. And purchased and forwarded supplies, limited as they might be, instruments, etc., to the working force that were engaged on the line in Central America, Nicaragua, Panama, etc. When this Commission of 1904 was organized he was continued first as a disbursing officer for it, in the first few weeks, and then he was transformed into the purchasing officer.
Senator Hopkins. Did you know him when he was on the police force?
General Davis. No, sir. I never saw him in my life until I saw him in 1904.
Secretary Taft. I never saw him, so far as I know.
Senator Simmons. Before he was appointed he had had a limited experience, then?
General Davis. Yes. He had had that experience which I state. He had beer. disbursing officer of the old Commission during two or three years of its existence, and had purchased such supplies as they required for their provisions for the working parties, instruments, stationery, etc., and attended to transportation by ocean and rail, and such things as that.
Senator HOPKINS. How much of a force, General ?
General Davis. I could not say offhand, but I think that the number of engineers and rodmen and chainmen, foremen, laborers, and so on, numbered 500.
That is only a guess.
General Davis. He had to purchase such supplies as that force required.
Senator HOPKINS. The provisions they ate?
General Davis. Instruments, stationery, tools--I only know this by hearsay, Senator. I am not speaking from personal knowledge.
Senator Hopkins. It was not a very responsible position, was it, under the old Commission?
General DAVIS. Oh, no, sir.
Senator MORGAN. I wish to examine you a little bit about Mr. Redfern, General Davis. When did you first know him?
General DAVIS. I first saw him in 1904.
Senator MORGAN. After he had served a tour of service with the first Walker Commission?
General Davis. Yes; after that.
Senator MORGAN. Had he not been employed by the previous Com-
Senator MORGAN. You do not know that Mr. Redfern had to follow them about over the world, wherever they went, and supply them?
General Davis. I do not; no, sir. As I say, my knowledge is hearsay. My knowledge of him is all derived from hearsay.
Senator MORGAN. But you continued him in the service. He was continued in the service of the new Commission?
General Davis. He was under pay when the Commission was created, in 1904.
Senator MORGAN. Yes.
General Davis. He was continued in that service by Admiral Walker and his colleagues. I went to the Isthmus directly, so that I bad really nothing to do with the determination of the policy.
Senator MORGAN. You did your work down there, and the balance of them did their work here. That is how it happened?
General Davis. Yes, sir.
Senator Morgan. Did any body on the Commission complain of any defect of judgment or industry or sobriety or loyalty on his part?
General Davis. So far as I know, no sir. "My knowledge, you know, must necessarily be meager.
Senator MORGAN. So that the complaint seems to be that he was once on the police force in Washington?
General Davis. I do not know anything about that. I never heard that before. No doubt it is true, as the Senator bas stated it.
Senator MORGAN. Did you ever hear that Mr. Farnham, a member of the board of directors, had been a secret-service man?
General DAVIS. No, sir. Senator MORGAN. I do not say that that would be an objection to him. I think that he would be needed. (Laughter.)
General Davis. No, sir; I never heard that, except as I have read it in the testimony of the hearings here, or seen references to it in the testimony.