Mr. Franklin D. Mooney, Chairman of the Committee of American Steamship Lines, to Mr. Joseph Mayper of the Trans-Atlantic Passenger Conference 15
Dear Mr. Mayper : I have received your letter of April 5th16 with reference to the meetings which the Committee representing [Page 939]the Foreign flag Lines interested in cruises and services from United States Atlantic ports to the West Indies and other nearby ports have held with the Committee of the American flag Lines interested in similar services, and which meetings have been terminated due to inability to agree upon the minimum number of days’ duration that a cruise vessel shall be operated by any Foreign flag Line.
These meetings, which have been held at the suggestion of the Foreign flag Lines, were to determine what the points at issue were and whether or not a satisfactory understanding could be reached between all Lines concerned.
There are six (6) principal points involved as follows:
- —Discontinuance of cruises to “nowhere”;
- —Discontinuance of calls by “cruise” ships at Florida or other United States Atlantic Coast ports south of Cape Hatteras;
- —The elimination of calls by “cruise” ships at Puerto Rico;
- —Discontinuance of direct one-way business between New York and Havana and/or Mexican Gulf ports;
- —Agreement in principle that for the port to port one-way transportation of a passenger on a vessel making a “cruise” from an Atlantic port of the United States to the West Indies (other than Havana and/or Mexican Gulf ports) and/or Bermudas and Bahamas or between ports in the West Indies and/or the Bermudas, Bahamas and/or Mexican Gulf ports, to establish a differential minimum fare to be agreed upon in favor of any party to the agreement regularly engaged throughout the year in the operation of vessels in such port to port trade.
- —Minimum duration of “cruises” or “cruising voyages”.
It is the understanding of the American flag Lines that as a result of the meetings above referred to and for the reasons discussed at the various conferences, the Foreign flag Lines tentatively agreed to recommend to their principals the acceptance forthwith of five of the six items.
At the last meeting the American flag Lines, while unwilling to agree that Havana should be the first port of call by a Foreign flag cruise ship, stated that they were entirely willing that that port might be the last one before sailing for a U. S. Atlantic port if the foreign flag ship cared to make it so.
The American flag Lines do not share the view of the Foreign flag Lines that the short cruises by the large trans-Atlantic Foreign flag ships from U. S. Atlantic ports to nearby Foreign ports do not compete with or draw business from any of the regular American services.
The American flag Lines regard the placing of trans-Atlantic liners, which were never intended for such services, on these short [Page 940]voyages as most prejudicial and unfair to the regularly established Lines engaged in the West Indies and nearby Foreign trades and in the Atlantic coast wise services of the United States. It is not a question of the right to trade between two ports of different nations, but of unfair competition. It is the latter which the American Lines are seeking to eliminate.
While the American flag Lines appreciate the friendly spirit shown by the Foreign flag Lines at the various meetings held, they believe that cruising voyages of less than seven days’ duration by the large ships are a distinct menace to them, and for that reason must continue their efforts to protect American flag Lines from such unfair competition.
It is believed that if an agreement is reached as to fares and their maintenance, differentials, agency commissions, rules and practices to govern the trade, responsibilities of charterers, arbitration of disputes, etc., it will prove decidedly beneficial to all.
The American flag Lines, while in no way relaxing their efforts to accomplish a result which it is believed by them will be mutually advantageous, will always be glad to hear from the Foreign flag Lines.
Very truly yours,