Carnegie lines up with Roosevelt on trust regulation

January 12 1912
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 12, 1912 (UP) -- Andrew Carnegie lined up with the anti-trust view of Theodore Roosevelt as against the trust dissolution plans of President Taft to-day in his testimony before the Stanley steel committee.

The little iron master engaged in a lengthy argument on the theory of the control of trusts and with enthusiastic gestures declared for the control and regulation of the large trust units by the government.

"In the solution of this trust problem," said Carnegie, "there are two lines of thought in this country. One is the idea of President Taft that these big corporations should be broken up and dissolved. The other, as expressed by former President Roosevelt is that under existing law we should look to the recognition of these large units under careful, close governmental regulation.

"I know the views of Mr. Roosevelt and I agree with them," the witness answered. "I think for the present that we should allow large business organizations to continue. You should pass laws regulating these corporations and then wait to see what further legislation is necessary."

"Do you believe the Sherman law should be replaced or that it should be strengthened to hasten the dissolution of these corporations?"

Carnegie was not in favor of the strengthening of the law.

"Do you believe that the dissolution of the steel trust would reduce the price of steel to the consumer?" asked Gardner.

"I do not," answered Carnegie, "the only way to do that is to give the government power to regulate prices.

It was observed that in his examination to-day Carnegie did not attempt as much evasion as yesterday. It was assumed here that the iron master adopted the more willing attitude as a result of a conference which he had last night with Senator Root. (R., N.Y.), and the two Reids - one the father, Carnegie's personal counsel, the other, the son, representing the steel trust, before the committee.

Carnegie was in an effervescent mood when he reached the committee room and he trotted about, shaking hands with the members of the committee and acquaintances among the spectators.

Before the iron master took the stand J. Howard Bridge, author of a book on the "Inside History of the Carnegie Steel Company," was called to identify and place in the record portions of the book giving extracts from the book and documents of the Carnegie firm.

Bridge's examination was brief. Carnegie was then called.

Representative Young (R., Mich.) took up the question of the enormous profits of the Carnegie company from 1890 to 1900. Carnegie asserted they were due to an enormous increase in production.

"Do you think the Dingley tariff law had an effect on the price of steel?" asked Representative Sterlin (R., Ill.)

"As I have already said," replied Carnegie, "the tariff could have no effect on the price of steel."

The witness reiterated his declaration that the steel industry needed no tariff protection. "America to-day makes more steel than all the rest of the world," said Carnegie, irritably. "You legislators need not bother your head about protecting the steel industry."

Under examination by Representative Bartlett (D., Iowa), Carnegie renewed his scheme of control of the great corporations by an industrial commission.

"What in your opinion has brought practically every big corporation to the frame of mind in which they recommend this solution," asked Bartlett.

"Why they have seen, as I saw long ago, that the American people will not submit to huge combinations without regulation," shouted the little Scotchman, as he rose in his place and pounded the table before him. He pushed the steel-bowed spectacles back to the top of his head and proceeded with a lecture on the right of Congress to regulate all business.

"I certainly do," exclaimed Carnegie with eager emphasis. "You can't trust human nature. Any man is justified in doing everything that he can under the law. It is certain that sooner or later offenses will force the making of the law."

Bartlett wanted to know if the recent Standard Oil and tobacco decisions of the Supreme Court had not accelerated Carnegie's conviction in this regard, but the witness denied it. Carnegie then entered a long discussion of his idea of legal and moral wrong.

During the examination yesterday afternoon it developed that Philander C. Knox had been attorney for the Carnegie Steel Corporation.

Mr. Carnegie flatly told the committee that he believed there was no necessity for a protective tariff on steel. He said in the infancy of the industry it was needful, but that infancy had been outgrown long ago.

"I have consistently advocated reduction in the tariff before Congress," he said, "and I told President McKinley just before he went to Buffalo to make his reciprocity speech in 1907 that America needed no tariff on steel. I would make an exception of needles, because that is a great business and as yet we make none in this country so far as I know.

"Mr. Carnegie explained that this country need not fear foreign importation of steel in case of free trade."

When asked if he did not think the government regulation, which he recommended, was bordering dangerously on socialism, Mr. Carnegie declared that socialism had no terrors for him.

"My motto is," he said, "that all is well since all goes better. The world is growing better every day. I have faith in human nature. That's what makes me optimistic."

Mr. Carnegie also insisted that the distribution of wealth from the hands of the few to the hands of the many was increasing yearly.

Mr. Carnegie was questioned at length about the price of steel rails, the committee seeking to establish if possible whether $28 a ton for rails was a fair or unfair price, or the price for which they have sold since the organization of the steel trust.

Representative Gardner of Massachusetts and Mr. Carnegie had it tilt, Mr. Gardner becoming quite agitated and Mr. Carnegie refusing to be flustered.

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