The United States after the World War

By James C. Malin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXVI
ECONOMIC POLICIES: TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATION

THE MERCHANT MARINE

THE program for the promotion of trade in the post-war period entailed the active development of an international transportation and communication system under government encouragement. The merchant marine received the most definite consideration. The Shipping Act of 1916 outlined a policy under the stress of war conditions. Its preamble stated the purpose of "encouraging, developing, and creating a naval auxiliary and naval reserve and a merchant marine to meet the requirements of the commerce of the United States with its territories and possessions and with foreign countries. . . ." American ownership was a prerequisite to American registry; and a ship to be American- owned must be owned by a citizen or by a corporation in which the controlling interest was American, in which the president and managing directors were American, and which was incorporated under American laws. The administration of the merchant marine was vested in a Shipping Board of five commissioners with terms of six years. Authority was granted, with the approval of the president, to construct ships in American shipyards or to purchase, lease, or charter vessels to meet commercial demands or for use as military or naval auxiliaries, provided that such vessels as were already in American service should not be acquired by the Shipping Board unless it was necessary to retain them in operation. Vessels in the possession of the board could be sold, leased, or chartered to citizens of the United States,

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