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Memoirs of Robert Dollar
Vol. 1 - Chapter Twenty. The Years of 1913, 1914, 1915

The year 1913 opened, as in years past, finding me a director of the Seaboard National Bank, Merchants Exchange, Chamber of Commerce, San Francisco Theological Seminary, Young Men's Christian Association and the San Francisco Port Society, and Chairman of the Foreign Trade Committee of the Chamber of Commerce.

In January of this year, I had an interesting experience. On the evening of the 26th, we sailed from San Pedro on the steamer "Mackinaw," which was en route from Panama to San Francisco with a general cargo. There was a dense fog when we dropped the pilot in the outer harbor, and the captain took over the command. Through a misunderstanding of orders, the wrong course was steered and the vessel struck on the breakwater outside the harbor. The wells were sounded as soon as possible, and a report of "Eight feet of water in No. 2 hold" was made.

I remarked to the captain, "Eight feet of water in ten minutes! You will see the ship at the bottom in about ten minutes more, so get all hands into the boats," which was done without confusion. I stood at the gangway assisting each man who came from below into the darkness, blinded by the bright lights he had left. Almost every man asked me to go first, but I saw them ail safe in the boats before leaving the ship. Strange to say, the steamer did not appear to be going down, so soundings were again taken, and it was found that the water was not increasing. We called the men back on board, and, with the assistance of a tug that happened along, we got her off and up to San Pedro wharf, where we started to take the valuable cargo out of her. The mystery of her not immediately sinking was learned when we got the cargo out. No. 2 hold contained kegs of nails at the place where the hole had been made. This hole was large enough for a man to crawl through when she was on the dry dock. We discovered that there was a bed of kelp where she went ashore, and that some of it had been sucked into the hole and against the smashed kegs, which made it almost water tight. Probably there never has been a similar case on record, and this saved the ship and cargo.



There is nothing small about the committee when they assign to me the duty of telling you of the commerce of Japan, China, and the Philippines and Malay States. Bear in mind this takes in more than one-quarter of the human race. Primarily, our trade with Japan was manufactured goods, but since their late war they have taken a leaf out of our book and adopted a high protective tariff. This becomes necessary for two reasons:

First, on account of the tremendous war debt which necessitates heavy taxation.

Second, they wanted Japan to become a great manufacturing country. In this they have succeeded

Now, the great bulk of our exports is raw material, but we still continue to buy from them on an increasing scale, so that the balance of trade is very much against us.

Last year San Francisco bought from them.....$25,884,698

They purchased from us............ ........ 18,182,316

Leaving a balance of trade against us of.....$ 7.702.382

Then of recent years our exports to them have completely changed from manufactured articles to raw material, but the general trade of Japan with the world has increased by leaps and bounds.

They have paid particular attention to their merchant marine by assistance in subsidies and otherwise, so now they are carting their products to every part of the world, and if we had any American ships in the foreign trade they would be formidable competitors; but seeing we have none, and not likely to have any, we are not affected.

THE HONORABLE LI YUAN HUNG Became President of China June 7, 1916; Resigned from Office August, 1917


The formation of a republic like our own, controlled by men educated in this country, having to a very great degree our manners and customs, gives us a prestige and advantage that no others have.

They have all the natural resources which go to make any nation truly great. In minerals, German scientists who were sent to investigate say that they have more coal than all the rest of the world put together. I cannot give you a better idea of its undeveloped state than to say that they imported from Japan last year, one and a half million tons of coal. Enough iron ore is in sight to assure an unlimited supply for centuries.

In agriculture the richness and productiveness of the soil can best be told by the fact that they have produced enough to feed five hundred million of people. Now that a market is opened, and, since they have the means of transportation, they are producing what sells the best, so a great many of the products of the soil, which were unknown before, will find their way to foreign countries. I have only time to name a few of those.

Soya Beans-—The exportation two years ago was so great that fifty-two large tramp steamers were chartered at one time to carry this product to Europe.

Sessimum Seed—A commodity unknown in commerce a few years ago. From Hankow alone they exported three hundred thousand tons. I may say that the oil from it is one of the best of substitutes for olive oil.

Raw Cotton is exported extensively to Japan.

I have mentioned Hankow. It is about the geographical center of China, over seven hundred miles from the ocean, and where for eight months of the year our largest cargo steamers can go. One-seventh of the human race lives on this mighty Yangtsze River and its tributaries. Like the Nile, it overflows its banks every year, thereby making the soil very rich. When the purchasing power of the people is increased, as it will be. it goes beyond man's comprehension to even estimate what the enormous commerce of this magnificent valley will be, as their demands will increase as they get more money; and, if we go after it, what our share of that enormous commerce will be is also beyond our highest hopes. We will not have a walk-over, however, as Great Britain, Germany and Japan are fully alive to the possibilities, and their brightest merchants are already on the spot. I ask you merchants to take advantage of this golden opportunity now, not by staying at home and writing letters or sending circulars in a language the people can't read, but by sending the very best and brightest men in your employ. This is a man's job, don't send a boy!

Then, manufactures are springing up all over the country. They are going into the production of cotton cloths, and while quantities of the raw material go to Japan, cotton mills are consuming a large quantity. Iron is being produced there and some of it finds its way to this country, so I would urge on you to look into these great and varied opportunities.

As to the stability of the Chinese; when the revolution broke out every native bank closed its doors, but I have yet to hear of any firm that lost a cent. Imagine, if a revolution broke out in these Pacific States and every bank closed its doors, what would be the result and would it be possible to get out of it without a heavy loss?

Think of the change that has come over China. Thirteen years ago a decree went forth that all Christians should be put to death, and after the revolution at the request of the new Government all Christendom offered prayers to guide them in forming their government.

The Philippines—

Recently it was my privilege to visit the Philippine Islands; my object being to see what commodities we could introduce at home arid what we could sell to them. I received a favorable impression of the possibilities of increasing our trade. Many of our manufactures could be sold and we could import much more from them. Ten years ago they bought from us $10,775,000. Last year they bought from us $20,600,000, an increase of one hundred per cent, and I claim this is only a commencement. In 1905 we bought from them $12,658,000, and last year we bought from them $21,500,000, an increase of nearly eighty per cent.

In discussing the commerce of the Islands, we cannot separate from it the foolish talk of the independence of the natives. When Mr. Wilson was elected, this talk was renewed and as a result business was paralyzed. During the past few months it has been recovering. Any one who has been there for some time and studied the situation has generally arrived at the conclusion that they are not ready for self-government. Even with the strong guiding hand of our Government, it is no easy matter to keep them straight. The Filipino politicians are the only ones who are clamoring for independence. The real meaning of it is that they want to get their hands into the public treasury. If they ever get there it will be a much worse scramble than is going on at Sacramento. While I am on this subject I might explain the manner of government.

The municipal government is entirely Filipino. The assembly is also entirely Filipino. The commission or upper house has eight members, four Filipinos and four Americans, the Governor having the deciding vote. They have the protection of the United States army and navy. When the Americans went to the Islands there were no roads worthy of the name. Now on every island there are good automobile roads, good harbors, wharves, lighthouses and aids to navigation that are second to none in our own country. At great cost we have made it possible for every boy and girl to get an education, teaching them English so that they can communicate with each other; whereas, during the Spanish regime, the people of one province could not understand the dialect of the neighboring province. They never were so well off before, and probably never would be again if we left them to their fate by allowing them to govern themselves at the present lime. I am sure I voice the sentiment of all true Americans, when I say that from those rich possessions we should never haul down our flag.

The Panama Canal—

Now that the Panama Canal toll question is settled, we call the attention of Congress to the following:

By the Panama regulations as promulgated by Professor Johnson, deck loads must pay $1.20 per 100 cubic feet of space occupied on the open deck. Is this fair or just to the great lumber trade of this Pacific Coast? We, the lumbermen, think it is a gross injustice to make us pay about thirty per cent more Canal dues than are charged for any other commodity. Besides, the method used in determining the Panama tonnage gives to ships a greater tonnage than any other way of measuring. So that it may be understood.


measurement of the steamer "Robert Dollar" is 4483 tons, at $1.20 per ten. amounts to $5379.60. Her deck load is measured and found to contain 137,800 cubic feet, at 100 cubic feet to the ton, amounts to 1378 tons, at $1.20 per ton amounts to $1653.60; a total of $7033.20. This cargo of lumber therefore pays $1653.60 more than any other cargo that is carried under deck, A cargo of general merchandise, coal, iron, etc., by this same steamer would pay $5379.60. The vessel carrying this cargo would be down to her Plunsoll marks, with, say 8800 tons; but carrying a cargo of lumber would not be quite down to her mark, yet has to pay $7033.20 with less cargo. This makes a rate of $1.53 per thousand feet, board measure, while the weight of the cargo would only be 6766 tons.

We expected that the Panama, rates were to be made to meet competition with the Suez, and as the Suez Canal has never charged for deck loads this vessel would save $1653.60 by going through it.

One of the reasons for charging tolls on deck loads, as given by Professor Johnson, is found in his book on page 121, Sec. 4: "In certain kinds of coastwise traffic, the owners of vessels are tempted to put such large deck loads upon vessels as to endanger the safety of the ships and thus place the lives of the crew in peril." Our reply to this is that on this coast more deck loads of lumber are carried


than in all the rest of the world put together; and during the past ten years, Pacific Coast lumber ships have sailed seventy-two thousand miles, carried forty billion feet of lumber, with a loss of only two million feet of lumber from excessive deck loads, and without the loss of one life from this cause. These are not college professors' theories, but cold facts, for which we have the Custom House records of this coast to prove.

The inconsistency of his arguments is better shown by referring to page 35 of his report, which reads as follows-"The necessity of classifying ocean freight traffic and of collecting tolls in accordance with a schedule which includes both class and commodity rates, suggests the controlling reason why the ships rather than the cargo should be made the basis of Panama tolls. Canal charges based on cargo would be administratively impracticable." After all his arguments in favor of not charging on the cargo, he makes a rule that in addition to charging the ship her full tonnage dues, he penalizes the lumber trade of this coast by charging additional tolls on deck loads. Using common slang, "Can you beat it?"

The American lumber trade has received some hard knocks lately. First, in removing the duty and allowing Canadian lumber to come in free; second, causing American ships in the coastwise trade to pay tolls; and, third, making all vessels carrying deck loads of lumber pay thirty per cent more tolls than any other commodity. Add to these the fact that lumber is selling below cost of production, and it is certainly not a very brilliant outlook, although in other lines of business better times seem near at hand.

As long as a ship is not loaded below her marks, she should pay the full amount of her measurement tonnage, irrespective of whether she is loaded with feathers or pig iron, and when such ships pays $5379.60, it should make no difference to the Canal Company whether part of her cargo is on deck or not.

The importance of the lumber industry on the Pacific Coast can be better understood when it is stated that it gives employment to more men than any other industry on the coast. It would seem as though it would only be necessary to call these facts to the attention of the proper authorities to have this discrimination in the charge for deck loads removed. The lumbermen desire to pay as much as other commodities are paying—but no more.

In May, 1914, I made a trip to Washington, D. C., to attend the Foreign Trade Council which was inaugurated there, and was selected as one of the Councillors.

It was in July of this year that the European War commenced. Its effects throughout the world were instantaneous. The Dollar Company had ships in many ports, which were forced to tie up, and the foreign commerce of the United States came to a sudden stop. So much so that on the 7th of August I was summoned to Washington to attend a meeting of fifty men called by President Wilson, who desired to know what could be done to restore the foreign trade of the country, as it had come to a standstill.

A committee was appointed to draft an Emergency Shipping Rill, to be placed before Congress, for the purpose of starting our commerce going again. Those on the committee were James Farrell, Bernard N. Baker, Philip A. S. Franklin and Robert Dollar. These were momentous times, and much to my surprise I was thrust to the front, amongst the giants of finance, transportation and banking. Our work was accomplished in three days, during which time there was not much sleep, but when the work was completed I left for home and was back in San Francisco after the lapse of only seventeen days. Into that short time was probably crowded more and greater events than in many months before. Congress passed the bill we framed without discussion or change.

We made another trip to the Orient the latter part of 1914 and early part of 1915. This visit, like others, was strictly on business. I did not stop off in Japan on account of having water on the knee, and it was only with great difficulty that I could get around; in fact, my leg was in a plaster cast. I remained in Shanghai until after Christmas, during which time many prominent Chinese called to see me.

We arrived in Hong Kong on the steamer "Mackinaw," which had a cargo of peanuts loaded in Chinkiang for Canton. To those not engaged in shipping, it probably seems like a fairy tale that a large steamer should load a full cargo of peanuts from one port for another port in the same country.

I remained three weeks in Hong Kong, attending to business and learning to walk again, and also made many calls on British and Chinese, but on account of the war great changes had taken place. The entrance to the harbor had beer mined, and the city was under military rule. All Germans had been arrested and placed in a detention enclosure at Kowloon, with a regiment of Indians guarding them. Their families were in a large tenement house, and their palatial residences locked up and their business in the hands of receivers appointed by the Government. As they had been doing more than half the business of Hong Kong, business was much depressed and disorganized. What a terrible backset the German business has received by this war! It will take them many years to get back to where they were, inasmuch as they had been going ahead by leaps and bounds for several years before the war. It is certainly a calamity to the merchants, exceeded only by the war itself. The great foreign commerce of Germany has got a set back that will take years to recover—their colonies all gone, and their competitors have taken their places. This will be keenly felt after hostilities cease, and shows the folly of having military rulers, and the necessity of taking power out of their hands in every country.

I visited Canton, and renewed acquaintance with many Chinese and foreigners whom I had known. The war disturbances and political influences have also had a serious effect on business here.

We crossed over to Manila on the steamer '"Bessie Dollar," which finished loading there for San Francisco. On arrival, we found the steamer "Robert Dollar" discharging a cargo of coal that the Germans attempted to force us to deliver to their fleet, then near Falkland Islands, but as our charter called for Batavia or Manila we insisted on our rights and the cargo was discharged at Manila. This was the subject for an article by Peter B. Kyne, in the. Saturday Evening

Post, entitled "Ireland Uber Alles." The "Robert Dollar" loaded a general cargo, and we returned to Hong Kong on her. Business on the islands is good. As they are neutral they were not affected by the war except in the excessively high freight rates.

Just before we sailed, the Board of Trade gave Dr Wu Ting Fang and myself a luncheon at the Manila Hotel, which was one of the largest gatherings of merchants that had been held in Manila for a long time. Governor Harrison was present. Both Wu and my self had a very enthusiastic and hearty reception, of which account the following appeared in the Manila papers:

"The Chairman, Chief Justice Johnson, introducing the speakers, said:

"By co-operation with the United States Chamber of Commerce through the Manila Merchants' Association and Captain Robert Dollar, in the expansion of the trade between the Americans and the Orient; by the letting down of the bars against Chinese labor in the Philippines, to enable these islands to develop to the fullness of their resources, by the importation of two million or so argriculturists from the neighbor's republic, and by an alliance of friendship and mutual confidence, for the development of trade, between China and the Philippines, consummated by Dr. Wu Ting Fang, these islands are shortly going to be made to produce enough to support a population of fifty million people; the Dollar line steamships will bring cargoes of silver and gold to these shores, departing deeply laden with the fruits of the Philippine soil, and this much-depressed commercial community is to be lifted out of the rut to ride buoyantly on the crest of the great wave of prosperity that is destined to roll in as a result of the big confab between China's eldest states man, the maritime magnate from the homeland, and local dignitaries at the Manila Hotel yesterday afternoon.

"The luncheon tendered Dr. Wu Ting Fang and Captain Dollar yesterday was the biggest boost function held here in a long time, and was attended by about 250 local business men, including a number of Government officials.

"Justice Johnson spoke of Captain Dollar's interest in the physical development of the Philippine Islands, and turning to Captain Dollar, said: 'Let us hope that your ships will bring tons of dollars and take out full cargoes of products from here." * * *

"When applause had subsided Mr. Pitt arose, and in his introductory remarks leading up to the presentation of Captain Dollar, said:

"The lifeblood of civilization is commerce, and the great essential of commercial development is transportation. Associated with the wonderful worldwide development in transportation and commerce that has marked the past 50 years is the name of Robert Dollar.

"'Gentlemen, it is a great honor to present Captain Robert Dollar.'

"Captain Dollar expressed thorough appreciation of the great turnout of Manila business men to do honor to Dr. Wu and himself, and then launched out on the proposed development of the commerce of the Pacific. He spoke of the enormous amount of ocean traffic in the Atlantic, and said: 'I don't know whether you gentlemen appreciate the magnitude of it, but the center of the commerce of the world is coming to the Pacific. There are men in this room who will live to see more commerce on the Pacific than on the Atlantic. That is a big statement to make.'

"Taking up the subject of shipping he said that Congress had legislated the American merchant marine off the ocean, and then told something about the laws which were passed three years ago permitting a foreign built ship to fly the American flag, but he declared that any man, no matter how much money he might have, who undertook to operate ships under the Stars and Stripes, would become bankrupt if he stuck to it long enough. Here he explained that the difficulty at the outbreak of the European war was not so much lack of ships as it was the financial situation. 'Bills of exchange.' he said, 'are chiefly negotiated through London, and when the moratorium was declared everything was tied up for a time.'

"Captain Dollar next spoke of the Emergency Bill, which was passed to enable foreign vessels to take the American flag, provided they passed into American ownership through bona fide purchase. Such vessels, he explained, can now operate under the same conditions as under the former foreign flag. The government of the United States, he said, was disappointed at the small number of vessels transferred under the new law, which was passed for a period of only two years, he told of a conference with President Wilson at which the shipowners asked, 'What are you going to do after the two years?'

"'I said to the President,' the pioneer skipper declared, 'we don't ask for any advantage over the foreign ships, but we demand to be put on an equality, or we won't play in your backyard. There are nearly 2,500,000 gross tons of American owned ships now flying foreign flags,' the Captain asserted, 'which would make a nucleus for an American merchant marine if the laws would permit them to operate economically to meet the foreign competition.' Here he explained that the expense of operating a vessel under the American flag was about three times as great as under other register.

"He touched on the La Follette Bill, which, he said, was aimed principally to put the Pacific Mail Company out of business. This bill, he explained, would make -t compulsory for the crew of an American ship to be of the same nationality as the officers, who are required to be American. The competitors of the Pacific Mail, he explained, were the Japanese, the Toyo Kisen Kaisha line being the chief one. Those ships were exempt from the Seamen's Act.

"As to the Ship Purchase Bill, now in Congress, the Captain said the Government could of course operate vessels cheaper than private owners and would compete with private owned ships, if there were any, but as there were practically no private owned ships flying the American flag the passage of the bill could not hurt anybody.

"At this juncture, the maritime magnate took an optimistic turn in his speech, and referring to finance, said: 'The meat in the cocoanut in banking is confidence. Uncertainty and lack of confidence,' he declared, 'were the most serious drawbacks to business.' Here he assured the assembled merchants that they now had every reason to be optimistic. He told them of President Wilson's assurance that the big- business interests of the country need have no further fear from the legislators.

"'I want to say to you,' the Captain exclaimed, 'the worst has been done. Go ahead without thinking what is going to happen next.' He dwelt at some length on the subject of confidence as the mainstay of business, and referred to China, where commercial paper is not much in use. 'When a Chinaman says "can do," ' Captain Dollar declared, 'that settles it, and don't you forget it.'

"In the United States, he asserted, the situation has been relieved, and the big business interests have started a reconstruction on confidence. To illustrate the necessity for confidence, he pointed out that, although the United States was at peace with the world at the outbreak of the European war, yet a war tax to raise one hundred million dollars had to be levied, showing the interdependence of nations these days.

"Here Captain Dollar turned to the subject of Philippine progress, comparing the unsanitary conditions that met his eyes on former visits here with the present appearance of the city and outlying districts. In trips about the harbor and along the coast, Captain Dollar observed, he said, greater aids to navigation than anywhere in the United States. As to land transportation facilities, he said, 'When I was here before, there were no roads, just mud; that is all you could call it. Now you can go anywhere comfortably by automobile.'

"'I tell you to relieve the despondency that exists here,' he said. 'A little over thirty years ago there were only five steamers running across the Pacific. Now one Pacific Mail liner could take all that those five could carry, in one load. What will the progress be in the next thirty years?'

"At this point he took up the subject of the campaign now being waged by the United States Chamber of Commerce and the Foreign Trade Council, to promote closer co-operation between the commercial interests of the countries bordering on the Pacific. 'I tried to get them to come here,' he said, 'and urged that President Pitt of the Merchants' Association continue to engage the attention of the national commercial organization in the States, with a view to the speedy development of the trade with the Orient.' He told of the campaign now being conducted in the South American republics, how the people down there had no money to buy raw material to sell, and how new industries were developing in the States to handle the raw products of the South American customers for American manufactured goods—industries that never existed in the United States before.

"'Efforts are being made,' the Captain said, 'to establish a discount market for foreign exchange in that, in case of future emergencies, the commercial interests in San Francisco and New York will have the facilities which were lacking in the recent emergency.' The Captain concluded by explaining that the object of the United States Chamber of Commerce was to get the merchants together. 'Great results are attained from unity,' he exclaimed, 'and co-operation is very necessary. All that is needed now is confidence. We have reached the bottom, and we are going to go up."

As the steamer "Robert Dollar" was waiting for us, we left the hotel and went directly on board, to sail immediately for Hong Kong, en route to Shanghai.

I found that much dissatisfaction existed among the merchants on account of the continued turmoil that bobs up every now and then about independence. Now the Jones' Bill is before the House, to give the Philippines immediate independence, although any one knows, who is at all familiar with the natives, that they are utterly unable to carry on a separate government, and should our soldiers be recalled, another nation would immediately take possession.

We returned to Shanghai and paid a visit to Hankow, arranging to materially increase our business and to buy-quite a large piece of land for a lumber yard in the center of the foreign concessions. I am fully convinced of the great future of this center of population, situated as it is on the crossroads of the railroad system of China.


Our firm is now well established, owning a city block on the river front and in the center of the city, an office and a comfortable house, a place we can call home. Our business has been increasing in a very satisfactory manner.

I visited many of the prominent Chinese, and was entertained by them. We were here in January, when the weather was very cold, the thermometer often falling below zero; there is not much business doing until March, when it opens in full swing.

We next visited Peking. I was agreeably surprised with our Minister, Mr. Reanch, Being a college professor, I expected to find him academic and not interested in commerce, but I found him a worker, ready and willing to assist in commercial matters as if he had been a business man all his life.

I met several members of the Cabinet, but as the Japanese controversy was at its height and they were having conferences every day, I did not trouble the President. I had an invitation to lunch with Li Yuen Hung, the Vice-President, and spent an interesting two hours alone with him. We met in the house that he occupies, which formerly was the residence of the late Emperor. I was shown the Emperor's bedroom. which is kept just as he left it. The house is on a point of land on one of the lakes in the Forbidden City, with a narrow neck of land connecting it to the shore, and is therefore easily guarded. (Vice-President Li is now President on account of the untimely death of Yuan.) Our conversation was mostly on foreign affairs. He was anxious to know of the affairs of the world, in general, and of the United States, in particular. He has a great admiration for our country and has been tracing its wonderful advancement of the last one hundred years, and hopes that the advancement of China will be equal to ours. He is a great and good man. and I hope he may be able to carry out his high ideals of a united and progressive China. On his assuming the Presidency, I had a very friendly complimentary telegram from him.

We (when I use the plural "We"' I mean that I am always accompanied by my faithful companion and counselor, my wife) next visited our business interests in Tientsin.

1 had an interesting visit with Liang Shoi Yei, who was said to be the power behind the throne. The subject discussed was the development of the Yangtsze valley trade. I also had a pleasant visit with Dr. Morrison—that stalwart British adviser to the President, and probably the best living authority on Chinese politics. He is the right man in the right place. Another pleasant call was on Mr. Collins, the representative of the British Anglo-French Corporation, of which I am a director. He is also manager in China for the China Mining & Metal Company.

I also spent a pleasant and profitable week calling on and renewing old acquaintances in this city. The weather was intensely cold. We had a snow storm and a dust storm, so we got about all that Peking had to give, even the extremes of the weather.

I had two very pleasant visits and a luncheon with Chang Chien. the Minister of Commerce, and arranged with him about the return visit of the Chinese Chambers of Commerce, to supplement that which we made in 1910. He was working hard to get representative men to go. It was arranged that they would come on the steamer that I had decided to voyage home on. We returned to Tientsin for a couple of days, then went back to Shanghai, where it was very much warmer. At Shanghai, we had several banquets and farewell entertainments, and a great number of the merchants came to see us off on the boat.

Just before leaving, I addressed the Saturday Club, of which the following is a newspaper report:

"American shipowners have been accused of lack of enterprise in not having ships in the foreign trade. I will endeavor to tell you that they are not to blame, and also to show you who is responsible for the present condition. Inasmuch as I operate vessels under both the British and American flags, I have the cost of operating each, from data on my books.

"In 1862 the tonnage of the ships under American registry exceeded that of any other nation. In China, previous to this, more than fifty per cent of the carrying trade was in American bottoms. The trade of the Yangtsze was opened by American steamers, whereas, now, there are no American ships there.

"The statement published in the China Press of yesterday, which was copied from the New York Sun, was written by myself and is correct. It was that an 8000-ton steamer costs $17,236 more per annum to operate than a ship of the same size of any other nation.

"Boiler inspection, and inspection requirements are so drastic that it increases the operating cost materially, and to cap the climax, the Seamans' Bill has just become a law, which, unless modified, will absolutely prohibit the Pacific Mail from operating and make it easier for ail Japanese ships.

"I have information from Manila that the agents of the Pacific Mail have received orders not to book any freight or passengers after September, when the law will come into force. Is it any wonder that the American flag has disappeared from merchant ships on the ocean?

"Then the European war came on us like a thunder bolt out of a clear sky. The result was a complete tie-up of all American foreign trade, and for three weeks practically none of our products left our shores. At that our people woke up (they had been sound asleep before) to the fact that we had no American banking facilities in foreign lands, no American ships to carry our commerce, and we had just started to market the biggest crop we ever had. Then came a cry from every part of the country that we must have ships, so President Wilson called fifty business men of the country to advise with him as to what was to be done. The result was, American citizens were allowed to register foreign-built ships to engage in foreign trade only. Up to the present, something over five hundred thousand net register tons of shipping has changed to American register. Most of it had been owned by Americans, but by our laws were not allowed to fly the American flag. At that time over two and a half million gross tons of ships were owned by Americans, and were flying British and other flags.

"I consider it an international misfortune that one of the largest nations of the world should have no ships. Our allies were certainly of that opinion when they required supplies from America, and there were no American ships to carry them, with German cruisers menacing their ships; whereas if there had been American ships the commerce of the Atlantic would not have been paralyzed as it was.

"What would be the condition in the world of commerce today if both sides were able to keep plenty of commerce destroyers on the oceans?

"Many more ships would have come under the American flag had it not been for the uncertainty as to what Congress would do in the way of changing our laws. After all the talk and excitement of wanting a merchant marine, not a single effort has been made to permanently change our laws so as to enable us to operate our ships on as favorable terms as our competitors; and, as the new temporary measure is only a makeshift for two years, if our laws are not changed, all the vessels that have come under the flag will be compelled to return to their former register, because it is a financial impossibility, under normal conditions, for any ship to be operated under the stringent American regulations. The prospects of again seeing American ships engage in foreign trade, in the proportion that a country of the importance of the United States would warrant, are still very remote, or to put it in plain English, the United States must enact laws permitting her citizens to operate their ships on the same terms and conditions as the ships of all other nations, or their citizens will be compelled to put their ships under foreign flags.

"To give you an idea of the lack of support given to our ships by our Government: The mail contract was awarded to Japanese ships to carry the mail from San Francisco to Honolulu, although there are several American vessels running on that route.

"All this has reference only to the vessels engaged in foreign trade, as those engaged in coastwise trade are protected against foreign competition, and are enabled to make 'The dear American public' pay for the excessive cost of operating.


"All the American shipowners ask is to be permitted to buy their ships where they can get them cheapest, and to be permitted to operate them on the same terms and conditions as their competitors. They ask no advantage or preference. If this is granted they will feel able to give the nation a merchant marine worthy of the name.''

We sailed from Shanghai, on the 9th of April, on the steamer "Manchuria," with eighteen Chinese Commissioners in the party. I left the ship at Kobe and went to Tokio to have a conference with the officials of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce there, and called at the American Embassy to see Ambassador Guthrie and found he was all ready to depart for America. He and Mrs. Guthrie came over with us on the same steamer, which made it very pleasant.

We arrived in Honolulu on the 26th of April, 1915. The Chamber of Commerce there gave us a banquet, and we had a very pleasant time, the principal merchants of Honolulu being present.

On the way over. I had a number of conferences with the Chinese Commissioners, which took up several hours for many days as they were endeavoring to find out what they might expect to learn on their visit to America.

We arrived in San Francisco on the 3rd of May, where the Commissioners were tendered a hearty reception by representative men of the city and members of the United States Government. The official report of the reception follows:

The Honorary Commercial Commissioners of China arrived at San Francisco on the Pacific Mail liner "Manchuria" at 5:10 o'clock the afternoon of May 3. A committee of representatives of the National, State and City Government boarded the steamer at quarantine and were received on the promenade deck by President Cheng-Hsun Chang of the Commission. J. O. Davis, Collector of the Port, extended a welcome to the Commissioners on behalf of President Wilson: President W. N. Moore and Vice-Presidents Frederick J. Koster and Robert Newton Lynch of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce; Hon. Chester Rowell on behalf of Governor Johnson, and Mayor James Rolph on behalf of the City of San Francisco. When the Iiner docked. Judge Thomas Burke, President of the Associated Chambers of Commerce of the Pacific Coast, under whose auspices the tour was made, and C. B. Yandell, Executive Secretary of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Committee on Arrangements for the Associated Chambers, boarded the steamer and took charge of the visitors, who were presented to a reception committee consisting of Edward T. Williams, head of the Bureau of Far Eastern Affairs, Department of State; E. C. Porter, representative of the Department of Commerce; Commissioner General Anthony Cammetti, Department of Labor; Commissioner Samuel W. Backus, Bureau of Immigration,

They were given as much, perhaps more, entertainment than they could stand. On account of the pending trouble with Japan and a telegram stating that war was inevitable, the party thought best to abandon the tour and return. But by an extraordinary effort on my part, after a long and confidential conference of three hours, I persuaded them that they must go through with the itinerary that was laid out. I assured them that the Japanese demands would be modified so as to avert war. and to cap the climax, before I had finished my appeal, a cable from China was handed in, stating that a settlement had been arrived at.

The reception accorded the Commission could probably be summed up by the remark of the Mayor of New York City, that he never had seen such a hearty reception given to any foreign visitors. The climax was reached in that city, where the plans were carried out to perfection, and nothing was left undone for the comfort and pleasure of the visitors.

The result of this visit has been a decided and tangible increase in American trade, and, through conferences with the merchants of twenty-six cities, has produced a feeling of friendship (which is the forerunner of commerce) that will never be forgotten. The visitors travelled 10,392 miles, had forty-three banquets, and, best of all, visited two hundred and forty-three factories.

Those of us who have given our time and money have certainly been repaid over and over again by the beneficial results to our commerce and more especially by the increased friendship that now exists between the two countries.

The following is my report to the Associated Chambers of Commerce:

That the visit of the Chinese Commission to America was a great success is admitted by all. The large cities vied with each other in entertaining them until they reached New York, when the climax was reached. The arrangements and the order in which the program was carried out was perfection itself. One of the big merchants told me no foreign party of merchants had ever received so hearty a reception as this party. As to the results commercially, I know of several large transactions that have been consummated, both in selling and especially in buying. A steamship line and a large banking enterprise are about to be established. Such visits produce a much greater friendship between nations, and in this particular visit this very desirable condition has been fostered and much increased. For the future, we can confidently look forward to an increased friendship which naturally will enable us to increase our commerce to this country that is destined to show by far the greatest development of any part of the world: and, if Congress would only permit our citizens to operate American ships between China and America, we certainly would get our fair share of this tremendous increase. As, by an Act of Congress, the entire control of the Pacific has been completely turned over to the Japanese who are to be our most active competitors, the situation as far as Americans are concerned is discouraging in the extreme. This is especially to be regretted, for the Chinese are most friendly to us and certainly treat us as a most favored nation, so if we don't get a big share of their business it will be on account of our own restrictive legislation, and not on account of the Chinese.

In 1915 Mrs. Dollar and I presented to the Presbyterian church of San Rafael a set of chimes, which were installed in the belfry and added greatly to the attraction of the town The gift was appreciated by the citizens, as old familiar tunes are played every Sunday. There are ten bells in the set, and on the largest is the inscription: "Presented to the First Presbyterian Church of San Rafael. California, by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Dollar."

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