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CONGRESS

SECTION 20 OF THE ACT TO REGULATE COMMERCE.

MARCH 14, 1916.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state of

the Union and ordered to be printed.

Mr. ADAMSON, from the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Com

merce, submitted the following

REPORT.

{To accompany H. R. 722.]

The Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 722) to amend section 20 of an act to regulate commerce, approved February 4, 1887, as amended, and for other purposes, having considered the same, report thereon with a recommendation that it pass.

The provisions of the bill herewith reported have been several times recommended by the Interstate Commerce Commission, the decisions of the Supreme Court having rendered the passage of the bill absolutely necessary to enable the commission to perform its duties. The commissioners have appeared in person and represented to your committee the absolute necessity for the amendment proposed, and your committee reports the bill without amendment with a recommendation that it do pass and that it shall not be referred to the joint committee proposed in Senate joint resolution No. 60, and that its consideration and passage shall not be delayed by the passage of that resolution.

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VIEWS OF MR. RICHARD WAYNE PARKER. I agree, but the bill should include indexes and should be limited to correspondence, etc., that is material, competent, and relevant, or it may be held unconstitutional.

The purpose of this bill is to aid the Interstate Commerce Commission to all material information, including material documents and correspondence, and because I sympathize with that purpose, I hope that the bill will be made complete and constitutional.

1. Special stress was laid by the witnesses upon the indexes to correspondence and documents without which it would be almost impossible not to get lost in the great mass of railroad business.

The bill should be amended by inserting after the word “ pondence” wherever it occurs, the words, and indexes thereto."

2. In order to make this bill constitutional as a reasonable search, the right of inspection by subordinate inspectors should be limited to such documents, papers, and correspondence as are material, competent, and relevant, and the words, “material, competent, and relevant" should be inserted after the words "including all," wherever they occur in the bill.

As amended, the first insertion will be "including all material, competent, and relevant documents, papers, and correspondence and indexes thereto now or hereafter existing and kept or required to be.”

It is of the greatest importance that this section should be constitutional, and there is much correspondence in the carrier's files which has nothing to do with any matter before the commission. The correspondence must necessarily contain suggestions, possibilities, hopes, views as to personal character, etc., especially in the management of law cases, laying out of new lines or connections, decisions as to policy, selection of men, and many other matters essentially private. Letters can all be brought before the commission by subpæna under another section of the interstate commerce act, subject only to the decision of a court as to whether they are material and competent.

The railroad does a public duty and so do the Senate, Cabinet, the courts, and the Interstate Commerce Commission itself. What they do is public, but the information, deliberations, and consultations of all these bodies are often private. While Congress regulates the acts and the work of common carriers, it seems unwise to risk making this bill unconstitutional by providing that any mere inspector may see really confidential correspondence as to confidential matters-say the evidence to be prepared in a suit or the character and history of persons applying for place. The right of inspection should be limited to what they have a right to see what is material, relevant, and competent.

RICHARD WAYNE PARKER.

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ACT TO REGULATE COMMERCE.

MARCH 14, 1916.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state of

the Union and ordered to be printed.

Mr. ADAMSON, from the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Com

merce, submitted the following

REPORT.

[To accompany H. R. 308.]

The Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 308) to amend the act to regulate commerce, as amended, and for other purposes, having considered the same, report thereon with a recommendation that it pass.

Your committee has long been of opinion that this bill should pass. In the Sixtieth Congress this committee reported to the House and the House passed a bill increasing the commission to nine members because it was then manifestly necessary in order to transact the increasing business of the commission, which had largely been increased by the Hepburn bill of 1906 and other bills. The business of the commission has been much more largely increased by several enactments since, and it is not only necessary to increase the number but also to permit the body itself, by authority of law, to subdivide itself into different units so as to distribute the work and give adequate consideration to the various important matters committed to that commission. The work at present is so onerous and diversified that it is impossible for the commissioners to give personal attention to the various cases and complaints filed and there is occasional discontent and criticism that the cases can not receive the personal attention of the commissioners themselves but have to be heard and passed upon by agents and examiners. It is believed that if this bill passes these complaints will cease because the cause thereof will be removed and a commission with nine members, with authority to subdivide itself into three or more subdivisions each with authority to act, will be able to give its own official attention to all matters of business that come before it.

The President himself in urging the joint committee thought that this matter should not be referred to the joint committee pro

posed in Senate joint resolution 60 nor have its consideration delayed nor provented by the passage of that resolution. Although strongly recommending that the joint committee be raised as provided in Senate joint resolution 60, the President has expressly requested that this bill should be reported separately and passed by Congress, as it is urgently demanded to meet the present emergency.

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