American Newcomen, through the years, has dealt often with the fascinating history of the Sea:  of shipping and navigation; of ocean commerce and trade; of far voyages upon the Great Deep!  We have examined that history as related both to the United States of America and to Canada.  Nothing could be more appropriate than that this 15th Newcomen Lecture before the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London should deal with the life-story of Moore-McCormack Lines and with the lives and work of their two distinguished Founders!

         

This Newcomen Address, being the 15th Newcomen Lecture before the United States Coast Guard Academy, deals with the history of Moore-McCormack Lines.  It was delivered at New London, Connecticut, U.S.A., on October 16, 1956.  Admiral Lee [Member of the Newcomen Society, Vice-Chairman of the Board, Moore-McCormack Lines, Inc., New York], the Lecturer, was introduced by the Senior Vice-President for North America, who, in 1942, was the first Newcomen Lecturer before the Academy.  The dinner and meeting were presided over by Rear Admiral Raymond J. Mauerman, U.S.C.G., Superintendent, U.S. Coast Guard Academy; Vice-Chairman of the Connecticut Committee, in this international Society.

 

Introduction

By

Rear Admiral Raymond J. Mauerman, U.S.C.G.

Superintendent

United States Coast Guard Academy

New London

 

Vice-Chairman

Connecticut Committee

The Newcomen Society in North America

My fellow members of Newcomen:

   When this Newcomen lectureship at the United States Coast Guard Academy was inaugurated some fifteen years ago, its primary purpose was to stimulate interest in the history of ocean commerce, maritime trade, and the best traditions of navigation upon the Seven Seas.

         

    We have had Newcomen lecturers of distinction, all of them, yet the present lecture by Admiral Lee is typical of exactly the purposes of this well-known annual series.

         

    We congratulate Admiral Lee and we congratulate Moore-McCormack upon the part each has played in upbuilding America's prestige in marine operations.

 

 

Gentlemen of the Coast Guard Academy and My Fellow Members of Newcomen:

    Last June I had the honor of cutting the ceremonial ribbon in connection with the laying of the keel of a great new ship.

         

    Many of you here, I am sure, have performed similar symbolic acts in your own fields of endeavor, whether it was breaking ground for a new factory, cutting the blue ribbon across a bridge or highway, or throwing the switch that set important, new wheels in motion.

         

    You know then that to those responsible for the policies and the material future of a great enterprise, there is much more to such a ceremony than just bands and bunting.  It is the culmination of past experience and planning.  Above all, however, it is faith in the future, and commitment to a definite line of action.

         

    To us of the Moore-McCormack Lines this ceremony had a double meaning.  It was the beginning of a $313,000,000 newships program, the largest ever undertaken by an American-flag steamship company.  And it meant the reaffirmation of the belief of the company's founders that our trade with South America is bound to expand immeasurably.

         

    That ceremony in which I participated was for the keel-laying of the first of two ultra-luxurious, $25,000,000 passenger ships designed for our South American run.  It was the visionary faith of "Mooremack's" founders in the future of South America that built our company from the smallest of beginnings to what it is today.

         

    That faith led to the development of the Moore-McCormack Lines, Incorporated into one of the largest single units of the American Merchant Marine.  And we are convinced that is as valid today as it was back in 1913.

          

    Naturally, I was pleased and honored that our founder and chairman, Emmet J. McCormack, and our President, William T. Moore, the son of our late co-founder Albert V. Moore, picked me to inaugurate our new ships construction program for South America.

         

    Nowadays it takes a good deal less vision to realize the importance of hemispheric trade than it did forty-three years ago.  There are still plenty of skeptics who feel that occasional political upheavals in Latin America make investments there is a risky matter.  Yet "Mooremack" is in good and ample company in taking the view that much of our future belongs to trade within the Americas.

         

    Things were different in 1913 when Moore and McCormack risked their rather meager "all" in inaugurating a run from New York to Rio de Janeiro.

    It is hard to believe, but when Moore-McCormack's Montara arrived in Rio in 1913, it was the first American ship in 26 years to enter that harbor.  Its presence created a sensation.  The United States Ministerľat the time we had not yet raised the status of our representatives there to the rank of Ambassadorľhurried down to the pier, accompanied by his entire staff, to celebrate the occasion.

    It is also hard to believe that then, and for several years to come, passengers traveled from the United States of America to South America via Europe.  For a time they had to choose this route, as there was no other connection.  And later they continued to travel via Europe because the accommodations on the ships sailing between North and South America were atrocious beyond endurance, until Moore and McCormack realized that here was another gap for them to fill.

         

    But let us go back to the beginnings, not just of the association of Moore and McCormack, but of the two gifted and ambitious men themselves.  By the time they met and formed the Moore & McCormack Company, Incorporated on July 9, 1913, both were 33 years old, and both had a wealth of shipping experience.  Incidentally, the two partners were only 19 days apart in age, and their places of birth, Brooklyn for McCormack and Hackensack, New Jersey, for Moore, were less than 20 miles from each other.

         

    The Sea was young Emmet McCormack's first love, although his first job, at the age of 14, brought him no closer to water than watering the animals in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show when it made its stand in Brooklyn.  This first experience of making money deeply impressed Emmetľit made school seem dull by comparison.  Then, and in the years to follow, he had little liking for the "Abstract."  What fascinated him, what was his second love, were people.  He liked to deal with them, he enjoyed winning them over, in short, he was a born salesman.  It is remarkable how these two traits, Emmet's love for ships and for people, combined in his later career, to form the basis of his success.

         

    Emmet's father, an immigrant from Ireland, had worked on tugboats.  From a deckhand, he rose to become engineer on the seagoing tug Valiant, on which he traveled as far as Russia.  Emmet was only 14 years old when his father died, and the boy had to go to work to contribute his share to the maintenance of the family.

    He could have had a job on one of the many farms in Brooklynľat the time much of Brooklyn was still open country.  Instead, Emmet took the 39th Street Ferry and headed for the shipping district on South Street, determined to find a job.  As it turned out, he found not just one, but four jobs, winding up, at a total of one dollar per week, as a sort of "syndicated office boy" working for four firms in the building at 26 South Street in New York.  One was a ship chandler, the second a stevedore, the third a dunnage dealer, the fourth, John Van Wee, a towboat owner.  In the same building there also was a sailmaker named David Abercrombie, who later became associated with a man named Fitch.

         

    From each of his employers the boy learned something useful, although at the cost of backbreaking work.  To illustrate the low regard employers used to have for human energy, Emmet McCormack likes to tell about the single telephone in the hall of 26 South Street.  A phone call to Brooklyn cost 10 cents, but a ferry ride was only 1 cent during commuting hours and 2 cents during the rest of the day.  So instead of using the telephone, the office boy had to carry messages back and forth between the waterfront sections of Manhattan and Brooklyn.

         

    But Emmet McCormack loved it on colorful South Street which was truly a street of adventure and which, to him, became a street of fate.  The tall masts, the spars and riggings of sailing vessels along the East River from the Battery to the Brooklyn Bridge.  And soon Emmet was no longer satisfied to look at shipsľhe wanted to get out on the water.

         

    His next job was as deckhand on John Van Wee's towboat, and included not just physical labor but also selling the boat's services to sailing vessels that waited to be towed into port.  While he was at it, Emmet tried to sell them dunnage.

         

    He was so good a salesman that he switched and concentrated entirely on dunnage.  As steamships became increasingly important, he took up the sale of bunker coal.  Soon he went into business for himself.  By the time he reached 25, Emmet McCormack was owner of the Commercial Coal Company, picking up coal at railroad terminal sidings and delivering it to ships at their berths.

         

    MooreľAlbert V. Mooreľgave McCormack the first coal contract he ever had.  The two young men met in the offices of the Tweedie Trading Company on Broad Street, where Albert Moore worked, but it was not until years later that they formed their partnership.  In the meantime, Emmet was selling Albert dunnage and coal, and the two got to be friends.

         

    Young Moore was just as fascinated by shipping as young McCormack.  His grandfather was a shipmaster, and his uncle was both owner and master of a ship.  His father had an interest in several ships, although he was a manufacturer.

         

    Albert Moore, a tall, retiring young man, developed into an excellent executive.  Temperamentally, the two future partners were vastly different.  Professionally, they seemed to supplement each other.  Albert Moore was studious, precise, a believer in research.  He developed, even as a young man, into a widely-known specialist in ship chartering, and a successful chartering agent.  After four years with the British shipowners Bowring & Company, Albert joined the Tweedie Trading Company and moved up to secretary of the firm, and to first assistant of its owner.

         

    The Commercial Coal Company was making real headway in the maritime field, and Emmet McCormack was pleased when Albert Moore decided to leave the Tweedie firm and join him as an executive.  He could use the talents of a man who was accustomed to solid, careful planning.

          

    Emmet had been part owner of the 150 ton America when he was only 25 years old.  In 1911, he became head of a company which started a ferry service between Brooklyn and Staten Island, running two ferry boats.  But he was thirsting to own some "real" substantial ships, to get into international shipping if he could.  And so was Albert Moore.  All day and much of the night the two men talked ships.

         

    Finally, the decided to become partners in what they always wanted to do:  charter, and eventually own ships.  Moore & McCormack Company, Incorporated, came into being, capitalized at $5,000, and for the moment limited to physical assets consisting of two desks in the Commercial Coal Company offices at 29 Broadway.  Twenty-five years later this company was one of the nine companies to be consolidated in today's Moore-McCormack Lines, Incorporated.

         

    At the time of consolidation, in 1938, the new company was capitalized at $4,800,000.  Today, Moore-McCormack Lines capital is approximately $75,000,000.  It operates a fleet of 37 ships from the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts of the United States to the East Coast of South America, and from the United States to Scandinavia and the Baltic.  The names of its operating subsidiaries are:  American Republic Line; American Scantic Line; and Pacific Republics Line.

         

    But back to the original Moore & McCormack Company the directors of which were keeping an eagle eye on any business opportunity that might come along.

    "When we finally got our chance, it was a 50-50 proposition," relates Emmet McCormack.  "Either we would be launched in the shipping business on a very profitable charter or we would be minus a ship.  Why?  Because our contract called for hauling dynamite from Wilmington, Delaware, to Rio de Janeiro."

         

    For this historic trip, the partners chartered the aging Montara, built in 1881 in Chester, Pennsylvania.  She was an antique but she was a "real" shipľ315 feet long, 39 feet beam, 21.8 feet draft.  She was of 1,695 net tons and 2,562 gross, with two decks, five bulkheads, and 217 nominal horsepower.

         

    Obligingly, the Montara did not explode, not even when she rocked by the huge welcome of the American colony in Rio.  But even without the effects of dynamite she was ready to fall apart after just one more trip to Rio, and had to be retired.

         

    Like so many other young men starting a business of their own, the partners had ideas, energy and push, but very little working capital.  Like many another blue-chip outfit of the future, they managed to swing their first few deals by the skin of their teeth.

         

    The next one of these deals after the Montara came along in form of the 5,000-ton erstwhile British cargo ship Dunholm, which burned down to the water line and was salvaged by Merritt & Chapman, forerunners of today's Merritt-Chapman & Clark.  The owners abandoned the ship.  There it lay peacefully on the beach, until the budding motion picture companies of the day discovered it, and started using it as an inexpensive backdrop for their sagas of the Sea.

         

    The wreck was finally bought by the Clinchfield Navigation Company, for whom Moore & McCormack had acted as agents.  By the time the Dunholm was rebuilt, the First World War had broken out, and a sudden demand arose for ships.  Thanks to their good connections with Clinchfield, who wanted to sell the Dunholm, Moore & McCormack got an option to buy, found a buyer, and sold the ship at a good profit without having to invest any money.

         

    Using this profit, Moore &McCormack had to go all the way to the Great Lakes before they could find two bottoms they could afford to buy.  The Gettysburg, an ancient 1,099 gross ton steamer, was built of white oak and yellow pine.  She took quite a bit of rebuilding before they dared take her out to sea, after renaming her Barnstable.  Their second purchase, the Jesse E. Spaulding, was of 1,290 gross tons.  It was given, for the first time, the name Mooremack, a name well known today to all seafaring men, and to anyone in touch with international commerce.

         

    While these two ships were being readied for the South American run, Emmet McCormack swung an important deal in Europe.  In view of the war, the Svenska Lloyd Line stopped its runs to British ports and was looking for protected waters for its ships.  After long negotiations, the Saga, with 2,809 gross tons, with electric lights and with refrigeration on board, was not only by far the biggest ship the company had ever handled, it was also the first passenger ship they ran.  During the war it was the only passenger ship between the United States and Rio, and among the celebrities it carried was Enrico Caruso.

          

    In 1917, ships operated by Moore & McCormack made 15 sailings to South America; in 1918, the number rose to 18; steadily increasing in the following years.  At first, Rio was the only port of call.  But slowly Pernambuco, Bahia, and Santos were added, then Montevideo and, for the first time in 1919, Buenos Aires.  Mooremack chartered more shipsľthe Seguranca, Graecia, Anglia, Calabria, Malm, and Fagerľand operations grew to an impressive size.

    Many of the ships chartered came from Scandinavian sources, and Mooremack got them thanks to the contacts which Emmet McCormack had built up in those countries.

         

    All of us who travel Abroad have had the experience of impressing and flattering people by speaking to them in their own language.  During a crossing to Europe in 1914 on the Norwegian-American Line, Emmet McCormack made it a point to pick up a number of Norwegian and Swedish phrases.  Bandying them around without inhibitions after his arrival, they helped him "make friends and influence people," resulting in ship charters, in contracts to supply bunker coal to ships along the Atlantic Coast, and in a series of sailings to Scandinavian.  Those sailings were the beginning of Mooremack's extensive Scandinavian and Baltic business.

         

    By the end of the First World War, the Moore & McCormack Company had developed into a substantial shipping line, with a promising future ahead.  What made the real difference to the future of Mooremack and several other American lines, however, was not the profits they realized during the war years, but their competitive position in the post-war era, when the low-wage, low-cost competition of other countries would once again be felt.

         

    It benefited not just the shipping lines but our Nation as a whole when it became apparent that we had learned a lesson from the ship shortages of the war.  Our merchant marine was totally neglected at the outbreak of the war, in 1914.  We had been persuaded to rely on ships of other nations, but as they themselves suddenly faced problems created by the war, they abandoned us quickly and completely, leaving us literally high and dry.

         

    The piers in our harbors were jammed with cargoes waiting to be loaded on ships and moved out to sea.  Miles and miles of trains backed up behind the railheads, without a chance to unload.  It was a serious and terrifying situation in which we found ourselves at the outbreak of war in 1914.  A situation which caused our farmers and our industry a loss estimated at four billion dollars.

         

    But, fortunately, it left an impression on the Nation's leaders.  They finally concluded that we should never again denude ourselves of American-owned shipping.  A program was launched by the United States Government to establish an adequate American merchant marine which would link our principal ports with the markets of the world.  This was done by offering for operation by American companies of as many of the 2,311 wartime merchant marine vessels as seemed suitable to commercial operation.

         

    Several of today's ship lines owe their coming-of-age to such government aid.  Moore & McCormack were solidly established at war's end, but the new government policy helped the firm to expand and to acquire added importance.  As an outward sign of progress, in 1919 the company with its greatly increased office staff moved to the ground floor of the building at 5 Broadway in New York, the same building which still houses our main offices, except that nowadays we occupy more floors.

         

    With the Seven Seas waiting, Moore & McCormack sat down to consider the areas most likely to need a first-class shipping service.  We established a service to Ireland, with stops in Cork, Dublin and Belfast, but, by 1925, we realized that there were no adequate cargoes for the westbound run, and we discontinued the service.

         

    We also started two other services in 1920 and 1921, to the Levant and India.  Mooremack ships called not only at key ports of the Indian sub-continent and the Mediterranean.  They also visited the Black Sea ports, including such Russian ports as Odessa, Sevastopol, Novorossick, and Batum.  It was the first time that American-flag ships called at Soviet ports.  About eight years later, Mooremack followed up this pioneer contact with the Russians.  In the Second World War it turned out to be a good thing that we had worked with them, for the mutual experience in operating methods helped immeasurably in expediting Lend-Lease.

         

    But Mooremack's principal targets were the same after the First World War as they are today:  South America and Scandinavia.  The line was particularly interested in developing its Scandinavian business, based on the so-called "M.O.4 Agreement."  This, as some of you may recall, was an arrangement whereby the government furnished war-built ships to operators and, in return for their establishing services over essential routes, paid them certain fees and commissions and the operating cost of the vessels employed.

    It all seemed so easy that in no time Mooremack had nine American competitors on the Scandinavian run.

         

    This, perhaps, is the proper spot to point out something which to most of you, considering the background of American Newcomen, must sound as a truism.  Yet even at the danger of being trite, I think it can be repeated over again because it is a basic fact of "Material History."

    Given identical circumstances, identical advantages of financing the same kind of operation, what is it that makes nine out of ten enterprises fail while the tenth one flourishes?

         

    The only answer I know is:  The People Who Run Them.  Their abilities, foresight, energy, and dedication is what makes the difference between successful growth in business, and failure.

         

    I do not know of a more glaring example of this than what happened to the Scandinavian run after the First World War.  Despite the government subsidies, all nine operators went out of business, caused partly by the revival of the Scandinavian-flag lines.  In 1926, the U.S. Shipping Board seriously considered eliminating American service entirely.

         

    Then Moore & McCormack urged and finally persuaded the Board to place the American Scantic Line of the market.  Mooremack bought the line, has successfully operated it ever since, and has introduced on it a number of "firsts" of which the company is rather proud.

         

    Four cargo ships were converted into real passenger carriers, with facilities for 90 passengers per ship.  These were the "Scan" ships which many former passengers even today remember for the unusually high quality of the service renderedľthe Scanmail, Scanpenn, Scanstate, and Scanyork.  The average cargo ship on this run was 5,300 gross tons and had a speed of 13 knots.  Eastbound from the United States, about 40 percent of the cargo consisted of automobiles; westbound we brought back mostly woodpulp and paper.

         

    Then in 1928, Moore & McCormack embarked on an expansion involving Scantic Line ships which was to have far-reaching consequences for the conduct of the Second World War.  I am proud that Emmet McCormack and Albert Moore selected me to conduct the negotiations in Moscow which led to the signing of a contract making Moore & McCormack shipping agents for the Russian Government.  At the time we had not yet recognized the Soviet Union diplomatically, but were trading with that country on a growing scale.

         

    Scantic Line ships made Leningrad a port of call, and were the only United States ships calling there.  Their manifests reflect history as they outline the economic growth of the Soviet Union.  We transported complete factories purchased by Amtorg in the United States.  Our ships hauled all of the electrical equipment used in connection with the huge Dnieperstroi Dam, which was completely demolished by the Germans.  On the return run, the Soviets shipped a little of everything, items ranging from lumber and chemicals to furs and caviar.

         

    When we became allies of the Soviets in the Second World War, we were faced with a tremendous supply problem in trying to assist them.  Without the knowledge gained by Mooremack during the peacetime dealings with the Russians, it would have been almost impossible to bolster the Soviets in the way we managed to do.  Perhaps it was the best indication of how valuable was such concrete working experience.  Other branches of our Government drew upon the talents of Mooremack personnel to accomplish the job we set out to do.

         

    Even before Mooremack entered into a contract with the Soviets, the company started expanding eastward along the Baltic, participating in one of the most dramatic adventures in transportation.

    I am referring to the fantastic transformation of a bleak coastal strip into the modern Polish harbor of Gdynia, a feat which seemed crazy to attempt and impossible to accomplish.  Another paradox about it was that while it seemed to help avert war with Germany by giving Poland a harbor of her own, it actually hastened the advent of that war by creating a serious competition for the big German ports.

          

    Among the grave errors committed by the Versailles Treaty was to cut off Poland from the sea, giving her only a narrow "corridor" which ended on a seemingly useless beach.  The Poles had hoped to get Danzig as their port, but that city, only 15 miles removed from the Polish Corridor, was turned into a "free port" under League of Nations supervision.  By denying Danzig to both Germany and Poland, the Versailles Treaty was supposed to mete out justice.  Actually, it created a dangerous source of friction.

         

    As to Poland, she was determined to develop a seaport, even if it had to be done in the only spot available, at Gdynia.  The Poles, familiar with the operation of the American Scantic Line, advised Moore & McCormack about their plans and invited the line to participate from the start in planning the port.

         

    I was sent by the company to talk with government officials in Warsaw, and to inspect the harbor site at Gdynia.

     I shall never forget a scene along that beach.  I was riding in a motor launch through the marshy waters, surrounded by Polish officials who were determined to go ahead with their projects.  Every few seconds one of them would jump up excitedly and full of enthusiasm point to the spot where he would build a quay, a channel, or some other facility.  After a while I guess I got caught in the spirit.  I suddenly found myself jumping up, pointing to a spot and yelling to drown out the engine:

    "And that is where we will build the Mooremack warehouse."

    To my own amazement, as well as that of many other shipping men, the Poles, with the aid of French and Danish contractors, managed to construct an excellent harbor.  It was a tremendous job, but it was far from being the solution to all of the Poles' problems.

         

    If anyone labors under the impression that the sole function of a steamship line is to transport passengers and freight, let me correct him right here and now.  Those functions need to be supplemented by any number of others.

   In Gdynia, for instance, it fell to Moore & McCormack men to teach a new generation of longshoremen how to handle cargo, and how to use modern equipment.  It also became their job to acquaint Polish banks, which had no previous experience, with the processing of shipping documents.  But this was only a beginning.

         

    Mooremack assisted the Poles in market research in the United States, advising them what to export.  It turned out that Polish hams became extremely popular in the United States because of their unique, delicate flavor.  With hams suddenly a major export item, the refrigerated space in the "Scan" ships was filled in no time.  So the Poles tried their hand at canning hamsľand were unsuccessful.  Those cans lookedľfor all the worldľas if the village blacksmith had turned them out with the sweat of his brow.  Finally, Mooremack persuaded the American Can Company to establish a plant in Poland.

         

    When Hitler came to power in 1933, many United States importers shunned not only German manufactured goods but also anything that was transported in German vessels.  Exports from Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Austria were piling up on German docks.

         

    Mooremack suggested that some of these exports be routed through Stettin on the Baltic, and in nine months' time the cargo volume of Scantic ships increased to 1,000 tons per call at that port, but then the U.S. Post Office Department ruled that Moore & McCormack was not supposed to touch Stettinľalthough the Scantic Line ships called there only on the westward trip.

         

    The next step for Mooremack was to encourage the movement of Czech and other European exports via Gdynia, in competition with German ports.  And then it turned out that no international railroad tariff existed for Gdynia.  So the ship line was instrumental in encouraging a conference between the Polish Railroads and the Czech Ministry of Transport, which wound up setting a favorable freight rate to Gdynia.  The Germans did not like this one bit.  They were in the process of expanding not of losing business.  Experts say that the "provocative" behavior of Poland and Czechoslovakia, their joint moves to develop Gdynia at the expense of German ports, had a decisive bearing on Hitler's decision to speed up the invasion of those two countries in 1939.

         

    As the war spread, with the United States still outside the group of belligerents, Mooremack ships got a foretaste of things to come.  The Mormacsea was in Trondheim when the Germans invaded Norway.  The Nazis, still polite, asked for permission to cross the Mormacsea which was tied up alongside of a pier.  Instead, Captain William A. McHale told them that he would move the ship away.  The Germans let him go, and only after McHale arrived in New York did they find out, through press, radio, and television interviews, that the Mormacsea had $4,500,000 Norwegian gold on board which she picked up just before the Nazis arrived on the scene.

         

    In the steamship business you have to be flexible and move in and out of business situations the way outside influences make them occur.  Thus, in 1923 Mooremack entered coastal shipping and did a substantial business throughout most of the 'Thirties.  One source of revenue was the Florida real estate boom, when whole towns were laid out on the drawing boardľand not only there.  In any event, Mooremack delivered an entire shipload of bathtubs to one Florida port, although we don't know to this day what became of them.

         

    From small beginnings, the Mooremack Gulf service developed in 1928.  Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Miami, Tampa, New Orleans, Houston, Corpus Christi, and Brownsville were linked on regular schedules.  Other ports were visited when cargoes were offered, which was often.  Then, towards the end of the 'Thirties, interest seemed to wane in this service, and Mooremack turned elsewhere.

         

    The only Moore & McCormack service which showed a continuous, unwavering upward trend ever since its modest beginning in 1913 was the service to South America.  Following Mooremack's lead, several operators ventured into this service, assisted by the Shipping Board which was concerned with developing and maintaining American-flag trade routes.  Switching ships from one operator to another, it formed American Republic Line, which in 1926 was taken over by Moore & McCormack.  When Mooremack wanted to buy the line the year before, it was awarded to the Munson Steamship Company.  A year later, the line was taken away from Mooremack and given to C. H. Sprague & Company of Boston for operating.

         

    Continuing its important South American operation with the ships it had before this interlude, Moore & McCormack received a great, new boost on that run in 1936, after President Roosevelt's goodwill trip to Buenos Aires.  Seeing the impressive array of shiny new ships in the harbor belonging to other nations, President Roosevelt was shocked to note the few, shabby vessels representing the United States.

         

    Immediately after his return, he directed that priority be given to the creation of a first class passenger-cargo service linking the East coast of the United States and the great ports of Brazil, Uruguay, and ArgentinaľRio, Santos, Montevideo, and Buenos Aires.

         

    A second event in 1936 had a profound influence on the future of the Company and upon the entire American shipping industry.  A Merchant Marine Act was passed, the objective of which was to encourage the construction of new tonnage for American flag operation.

         

    To divert for a moment from the Company's South American operation, it might be pointed out at this point that the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 brought great activity in the nation's shipyards.  The building program initiated eventually resulted in the construction of the ships necessary to the waging of the War.  Moore-McCormack Lines had the first ship to be launched by the Maritime Commission under the new Merchant Marine Act.  It went down the ways at the Sun Shipbuilding Company's yard at Chester, Pennsylvania.  The Donald McKay was purchased from the Maritime Commission by Moore-McCormack Lines.

    She was a 6,000-ton ship, 459 feet long, and had a beam of 63 feet and a draft of 40 feet.  She was built to make 15Ż knots.  She had accommodations for 12 passengers.

         

    Trim and proud, the Donald McKay commanded the interest of the whole maritime world and on her maiden voyage to Baltic ports, quickly demonstrated her unusual capacities.

         

    In the next year, five more ships of this type were launched.  Mormachawk, Mormacwren, Mormacdove, Mormacgull, and the Mormaclark.  All were assigned to the Scantic run in line with the Company's program of operating a fleet of modern fast ships between the United States and the Baltic.

         

    To return to the South American end of the business, shortly after President Roosevelt's direction for the creation of a first class passenger cargo service to Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina, the Munson Steamship Company and the Panama Pacific Line discontinued operation.  But the Maritime Commission acted quickly.  It purchased the three liners operated by the Panama Pacific and had them modernized at a cost of $1,000,000 and advertised for bids.

         

    The ships were extremely attractive in their new garb.  They had tiled swimming pools, air conditioned dining rooms, and greatly enlarged staterooms, reducing the number of cabins from 720 to 500.  One of the most striking changes in their appearance was redesigning them from twin stackers to single stackers.  To carry out the President's wishes in the direction of creating good will, the ships were renamed Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina.

         

    The Moore & McCormack bid for this fleet was accepted.  Mooremack got in addition to the three passenger vessels seven freighters.  This latest expansion was such an important milestone in the company's history that it called for a complete reorganization, including a change of the company's name to Moore-McCormack Lines, Incorporated.  The day was September 8, 1938.  It also was the day on which Mooremack gave its South American complement the name of Good Neighbor Fleet.

         

    Contrary to some gloomy predictions in the shipping world, the new South American passenger service developed into an obvious success.  Passenger bookings rose from 15,000 in 1939 to more than 20,000 in 1941.  That was the year in which Mooremack was to put four additional ships of the C-3 design into service.  These "Rio" class ships were of 17,600 displacement tons and designed to carry 150 passengers in luxurious comfort.  But they never entered the passenger service.  War already had started in Europe and was looming at our doorstep.  The  Navy requisitioned the four new ships and had them converted into baby flattops for the British, who renamed them into Avenger, Biter, Charger, and Dasher.  Before we ever actively entered the war Mooremack gave up a total of ten ships for national defense.

    But while we were losing ships on one side, we were adding them on the other.  In 1940, the Maritime commission offered for sale the three ships operated by the Pacific Coast-Argentine-Brazil Service, and Mooremack was the successful bidder.  Before we ever got a chance to run these ships on their regular routes, however, a tremendous movement of war materials got underway to Russia, from Pacific Coast ports.

    Most Americans have forgotten this phase of our war effort, yet it represented a fabulous achievement.  At the request of the War Shipping Administration, Mooremack formed a subsidiary, the Commercial Dispatch Company, to forward all Lend-Lease materials to Russia.  Staffed by Moore-McCormack personnel, all of whom served as dollar-a-year men, we loaded 1,600 ships for the Russians on the West Coast.  Among countless other items, we shipped several complete diesel trains, and 1,068 steam locomotives.  At one time there were 150 Russians working with us in Portland, Oregon.  Altogether, we handled more than 20 million tons of such cargo.

         

    And then the shooting war engulfed the United States along with the other combatants.  There is a human and a statistical side of Mooremack's war story.  On the statistical side, the Government took over 42 new cargo vessels we had just built, or had on the ways.  It converted our passenger ships into troop carriers.  At the same time, Mooremack quadrupled its operations, expanding them to more than 150 ships.  Between Pearl Harbor and V-J Day, we carried one million troops, often right into battle, and more than 34 million tons of cargo.  Eleven ships were lost.  Three masters died with their ships.

         

    The human side of the merchant marine story can be illustrated by the story of one ship, the Mormacstar which was on her maiden voyage, one day out of Rio, when the Japs attacked Pearl Harbor.  She raced for Trinidad for a coat of gray paint, was armed by the U.S. Navy in San Francisco, made several trips in the Pacific, then was converted into a troop transport in New York.

         

    Christened the U.S.S. Elizabeth C. Stanton, the "Lizzie" carried 2,000 troops with full equipmentľand her crew of 600ľinto a long series of amphibious landing operations.  She moved into the beach at Fedala, North Africa, on November 7, 1942.  Next came landings at Gela, Sicily; the Salerno beachhead; and St. Tropez in France.

         

    With the war in Europe nearing its end, the "Lizzie" rushed through the Panama Canal to join Admiral Halsey's Task Force 58.  She saw Guadalcanal, Kwajalein, Eniwetok, the Carolines and Marianas, Guam, Tinian, Saipan, and finally Okinawa, where the happy news of victory and peace reached her.

         

    It meant no quiet, however, for the "Lizzie" and the other ships of the merchant marine.  Troops had to be brought home, and the rebuilding of a shattered world began.  Europe in particular needed food, fuel, steelľeverything.

         

    Before the end of 1945, Mooremack resumed cargo service on all three of its peacetime trade routes.  We made a three million dollar down payment for seven new C-3 cargo-passenger vessels, meanwhile continuing operations on a scale almost as large as the wartime record figures.

     Thus, in 1946, Mooremack operated 41 ships of its own, and more than 41 others chartered from the Maritime Commission.  The peak was reached in 1947, when we chartered a total of 76 ships, in addition to running our own.

         

    Even back in 1945 we had great plans for expanding our service, particularly our passenger service, to South America.  The Maritime Commission invited bids for two new, fast passenger ships, each to carry 550 passengers, and we were in there pitching, when plans had to be dropped because of the steel shortage.

    Instead, we had to be satisfied with sending our three passenger ships, the Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina to shipyards, for reconversion from troop carriers into luxury liners.  The job took a long time.  It was January 1948 when the first of the ships, the Argentina, resumed service.

         

    The Good Neighbor Fleet was once again in full operation.  Then, in 1949, Moore-McCormack Lines reached two important milestones.  We refunded to the Maritime Commission $3,449,250, the full amount of the first ten-year subsidy paid for operation of the Good Neighbor Fleet.  In practice, this meant that we had serviced this "essential" route at no cost to the Government.

         

    The second milestone was reported by the late Albert V. Moore "with a sense of accomplishment and great satisfaction" to our stockholders:  Moore-McCormack Lines eliminated all ships' mortgages from the balance sheet.

         

    During the Korean conflict, four of Moore-McCormack's ships were chartered to the Military Sea Transportation Service for operation.  The Mormacsun was among the first to land military equipment in Korea.

         

    One of our ships and its Captain were the central figures of what was perhaps the most dramatic and best-remembered incident of the Korean War.  In December 1950, when the Communists suddenly descended on Hungnam, a panic-stricken mob of South Koreans reached the coast and was about to be driven into the sea.  Then Captain Leonard P. LaRue of the Moore-McCormack cargo ship Meredith Victory opened his vessel to the refugees.  The unbelievable number of 15,000 Koreans rushed aboard the ship which had no accommodations for passengers.  Packed literally as tight as sardines, they spent four anxious days on their journey to Pusan.  And they were saved.

    After Korea, business continued on a high level.  Moore-McCormack resumed planning for expansion of the South American service.  We filed an application with the Federal Maritime Board for construction of the two 23-knot passenger ships that would be fast enough to cut eight full days off the roundtrip to Buenos Aires, the southern terminal of our Line.

         

    With plans underway for these two luxury liners, the company suffered a severe loss in January 1953, when Albert V. Moore died suddenly.  His had been a life-long career in the shipping industry.  He devoted 40 years of undeviating service to the business.  The patterns which have established Mooremack's continuing growth and progress were established under his leadership as president of the company.

         

    Mr. Moore identified himself with American-flag ships operations at a time when the Country's merchant marine was in a state of grave neglect.  He lived to see the merchant marine firmly established as a vital organ of national policy.

         

    In the reorganization that followed Mr. Moore's death, Mr. McCormack was elected chairman of the board.  Mr. William T. Moore succeeded his father as president.  I became vice-chairman of the Board.

         

    Almost four years after our application was filed with the Federal Maritime Board for construction of the two new ships, the keel of the first of these ships was laid.  This occurred in June of 1956.  But great ships of this order are neither designed in a day, nor is it possible to agree in a flash on contractual details with the Government.  As you know, the law provides that in the interests of furthering American shipbuilding, the Government absorbs the differential between the low-cost construction areas Abroad, and domestic rates.

    It is no small matter for the Federal Maritime Board to selectľin our case the Netherlandsľthe low-cost area and to determine the differential.  Just as it was no small matter for Moore-McCormack to settle on the final plans for the two ships which will replace the S.S. Argentina and the S.S. Brazil.

    While we are receiving a subsidy in form of a construction differential, we are particularly proud of one fact:  this is the first time since the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 that American-flag ships for essential trade routes are being privately financed, not by government loan.

         

    For us at Moore-McCormack Lines, our $313,000,000 shipbuilding program represents a tremendous investment.  We are undertaking it largely for expansion of our South American business.  Obviously, it reflects our unshakable confidence in the future of mutual exchange between the United States of America and our Latin American neighbors.  The great countries of South America have barely begun their economic development.  Their wealth is so tremendous that what they have done so far merely scratched the surface of their resources.  As they develop, so is our trade with them bound to increase.  A great part of our Nation's economic future lies in the trade with the Americas.

         

    Emmet McCormack expressed this in the best way I could imagine.

    That day last June, while I was cutting that ceremonial ribbon in Pascagoula, Mississippi, a reporter approached Mr. McCormack.

    "Is that a golden ribbon?", he wanted to know.

    "No, I must confessľbut it's worth its weight in gold!" said Uncle Emmet.

The End

"Actorum Memores simul affectamus Agenda!"

 

(Booklet courtesy of Karin Cleary.)

Permission was granted by The Newcomen Society of the United States for this Address to be uploaded, and once it was typed, it was forwarded to The Newcomen Society for placing on their web site.

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