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Mr. COKER. We are invited to have dinner with Mr. MacRae. On behalf of that committee I will accept that invitation for all
It is very important that we have a publicity committee that is really going to do something constructive. I don't feel competent to appoint that committee. I know a number of men who would serve excellently. I think the chairmen of the different States should themselves select a State committee. The chairmen should act as The executive committee on the general publicity program, and each State committee should handle the publicity matters within its own State. If that meets with your approval, I think we may ask the chairmen of the different States that are present here—all are present, I believe-to name a committee of not less than three, and as many more as in their judgment they may see fit to name, as the publicity committee for this movement.
Doctor MEAD. Mr. Chairman, how would it do to announce that in the morning after consideration to-night?
Mr. COKER. O. K. It will be announced in the morning as to whether this plan is proper, and the chairman will be prepared to dicuss it and if agreed on to announce the names of that committee.
Doctor MEAD. I wonder if the people interested in this publicity committee could meet in my office for about one-half hour in the morning.
Mr. COKER. The chairman with those they have designated on the publicity committee will please meet in Doctor Mead's office promptly at 9 o'clock.
Unless there is some other business we will adjourn and let the motion-picture man start to entertain us.
Colored lanter slides were then shown by Doctor Mead, illustrating planned community development in Australia, Scotland, and Germany, followed by a few scenes on the irrigation projects of the West, showing the primitive homes of the early settlers and the present homes of well-to-do water users. Then followed two reels of motion pictures showing scenes on the tracts in the South which have been under investigation by the bureau, and planned community development on the MacRae colonies near Wilmington, N. C.
The conference convened at 9.45 a. m., December 15.
Doctor MEAD. The hour has arrived for our conference to begin its work. I wish all the people in the house would move down front.
I had a telephone message from Senator Harris yesterday expressing his interest in this meeting and saying he would be here this morning. It will be impossible for him to be here this afternoon. When he comes I hope it will be agreeable to everybody if a place is made for him on the program so that he can talk to us.
Mr. Hugh MacRae has kindly consented to preside this morning.
Mr. MACRAE. Doctor Mead, gentlemen of the conference, and Miss Schnurr, I am very glad to preside for one reason. My friend Mr. Coker presided yesterday and I want to get back at him during the morning if I can.
So far as the business of the meeting is concerned, it is set forth in the program and we will follow that quite consistently in order to save all the time we can.
The first address of the morning is to be made by Hon. E. C. Finney, the First Assistant Secretary of the Interior. I will say that Judge Finney is in the legal department of the Interior and has for years very wisely guided the department in all matters of legislation which, as you know, is very vital for the proper functioning of a great department. Because of his long service he has a thorough knowledge of the activities of the Department of the Interior. I think we are very fortunate to have him to address us. [Applause.]
ADDRESS BY HON. E. C. FINNEY, FIRST ASSISTANT SECRETARY
OF THE INTERIOR
Mr. Chairman, ladies, and gentlemen, I was reading in one of the newspapers the other day an account of a tribe in Central Africa whose custom it was to require a speaker to stand on one foot to limit the time of his speech. As soon as the other foot came down he was out, and the next man took his place. I don't advocate applying that rule to those men who are going to address you who really have an important message to give you, or some suggestions that might help in attaining the objects of this conference; but I would not object to having that rule apply to myself. I am afraid I will not offer anything useful. My excuse is my desire to be present and to be counted among those who ardently desire to accomplish southern reclamation and development. Also, as stated by your chairman, I have had some little experience in legislative matters, and I hope to be of some assistance in formulating and passing upon legislation to this end and possibly may be able to help if and when legislation is had and in administering the law, so that is my excuse for taking up a few moments of your time this morning.
As you are aware, 25 years ago the Federal Government embarked on the policy of reclaiming arid public and private lands in the Western States by irrigation. The moneys for this purpose-receipts from sale and leases of public lands and resources were diverted from the general miscellaneous receipts in the Treasury of the United States and set apart in a special fund in the Treasury called the “reclamation fund.” This was to be repaid by the water users and to constitute a revolving fund for the continuance of the work of reclamation. The fund was supplemented by an appropriation from the Treasury in 1910, to be repaid with interest.
This work of reclamation by irrigation is still going on, but the results already accomplished have more than justified the predictions of those responsible for its adoption. It is true that disappointments have occurred, but by and large the results have been not only beneficial locally, but nationally. There are those who contend that this work should not be continued, or that it should be curtailed, on the ground that there is ample agricultural land in the Eastern and Middle States for crop production; and that the adding of additional areas to reclamation will tend to depreciate the prices of farm products. I do not hold with this view, but am clearly of opinion that the industrial development flowing out of the creation of these new projects has created a demand for machinery, equipment, automobiles, and other commodities purchased in the Eastern or Middle States which would counterbalance any imagined disadvantage, and which, of course, indirectly benefits the agricultural interests in the States where the goods, machinery, etc., are manufactured.
The objection I mention is like the old opposition of laborers to the installation and use of machinery due to the fear that it would cause unemployment. Just the reverse has happened. Every application of such a new invention opened up new fields for labor and added to the sum total of human efficiency and well-being.
I am one of those who believes that the United States is one country, and as we are all under one flag, devoted to the common good, we would not be justified in holding back the development of one section of the United States of America on the theory that to do so would financially benefit another section. Each section of our country, be it north or south, east or west, is entitled to its “place in the sun,” and that means an opportunity to develop and utilize its natural resources. Among the resources of the South are these areas of unused lands, of little or no value in their present condition, but susceptible, through reclamation, of becoming exceedingly valuable and productive, and capable of adding tremendously to the prosperity and well-being of the Southern States. They should be reclaimed and developed, and I am glad to say that in a small way I have been cooperating toward this desirable end ever since the question of southern reclamation came to the front. [Applause.] What Federal agencies have done and are doing for the West should be done for the South [applause] by advice, supervision, and help, in such form and to such extent as conditions may warrant. This conference is another step toward that goal.
The plan appeals to me because it is constructive, because it means building up and developing. Objecting, criticizing, or even dull inaction, if you please, never accomplishes anything, either mentally, physically, or spiritually. It is forward movements like this that stimulate the individual and the Nation.
We are here to counsel and cooperate in formulating a program which will best attain this development. You have already heard from distinguished and capable men and you are to hear from others this morning. They are so much better informed on these subjects than I, that I shall not take time which they can better use. But they can not excel me in my admiration for the resources and possibilities of the South and for its genial and hospitable people.
Permit me to repeat what I said on a previous occasion about the importance of wise selection of settlers. After all, the man is the vital thing. Industry, perseverance, courage, and patience should be characteristics of the would-be settler, together with skill in agriculture or the ability to acquire it.
It appears to me that the time is particularly opportune for definite progress to be made. We are fortunate in having as Secretary of the Interior one who has had personal experience in farming and reclamation, and in having as Commissioner of Reclamation an eminent engineer, with a world-wide experience in reclamation of various types and in land settlement. The far West, the Orient, and the Southern Hemisphere have been visited by Doctor Mead, and he has studied their projects and their possibilities on the ground. He thus brings to those problems not only a sympathetic, understanding mind, but the wisdom gained by long experience and careful investigation. Others present have devoted years to a study of the South and its possibilities, particularly that of land settlement, and this combination should go far in securing early and effective results.
· Back to the soil ” is a slogan which can not be too often repeated. Man is happpiest when closest to nature. The open country makes for health and happiness and breeds independence. In the soil are the germs of life.
If I had been king of Egypt,
In a gilded room
In a carven tomb,
For a king should know
They are empty show,
“I'd have bade them lay my body
Where my dust, set free
In a flower or tree,
Each spring might have had rebirth.” [Prolonged applause.]
Mr. MacRae. This morning the remark was made by a gentleman who is a good judge that never in his experience had he known of speeches to be made in succession which all focused so directly on the subject under consideration, and had such an important bearing on it. I thought the Secretary of the Interior made a 100 per cent talk and I think the speech just made was not only very fine but is vital from a legal standpoint. There is no one in the United States better qualified to speak on that than Judge Finney. He is a man who has spent years as a specialist devoting his time to this subject, and he tells us that the South's position is all right. He is to be a vital factor in helping us realize our ideal.
I see Mr. Leach is in and I have Mr. Coker and Mr. Leach together. I made the remark a little while ago that if the information which five men in the South had could be disseminated it would carry out our idea. I want to modify that statement by saying that if the information Mr. Coker and Mr. Leach have could be generally used it would make the South a new country.
Mr. Charles F. Leach grows alfalfa successfully on acid land, without the use of lime. He produces eggs from his farm flock at 2 cents per dozen. He provides abundant grazing for five milch cows, during at least eight months of the year, on 1 acre of land. He economically builds up the fertility and productivity of any type of soil by the use of Cherokee clover. He makes the statement, and proves it, that there is no such thing as “poor land."
Mr. David R. Coker is a veritable magician in the improvement of seeds. He determines what he wants them to do and then makes them do it. He has the boll weevil beaten and thoroughly discouraged ; and raises as much cotton, profitably, under boll-weevil conditions as he ever did prior to the coming of that pest. He has developed the best producing herd of purebred Guernseys in the South, and one of the best, if not the best, in the United States. He has employed for years a corps of scientists working on problems which require solving as a part of the proper development of southern agriculture.
The ideas of Mr. Leach and Mr. Coker can be transferred to communities, but it is extremely difficult to get them to widely scattered farmers.
The next speaker is a man who has done a great deal for Mississippi in legislative matters. He is a member of the House Com