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Mr. MARLATT. They feed on any cotton plant that is available.
Mr. MARLATT. We have only the persuasive authority which comes from the recognition by the mill owners and the cotton interests of Texas, the Cotton Association of Texas, and all concerns interested, of the great desirability of taking any measures possible to eradicate the insect. We have found thoroughgoing cooperation on the part of all such men. As an illustration of the way this work is being aided, one company near Eagle Pass had planted 500 acres of cotton on some land on the Rio Grande.
This cotton was up, and the outlook was most promising, but when told by us of the risk of this big cotton area right at the border to the whole country they promptly plowed it all up and destroyed it and accepted the loss themselves, with no question of payment. The millmen have been equally helpful. They have helped in the cleaning up and have given us every facility to clean up about their mills. That spirit of cooperation and helpfulness has been manifested throughout. As I remarked a moment ago, these men who come from the counties that would be affected in Texas, while they urged the postponement of the establishment of this zone, if such action could be postponed, yet they were willing to accept it if necessary; they were willing to hare the zone established and give up the growth of cotton.
The CHAIRMAN. What is it proposed that the State shall do. Is their legislature to meet !
Mr. MARLATT. Their legislature, unfortunately, has had its session and adjourned and will not meet again until the expiration of the two-year period, in 1919.
The (HAIRMAN. Can they not be convened?
Mr. MARLATT. They can be called into extraordinary session by the governor, but I understand there are certain political conditions down there which make it improbable that that action will be taken.
The CHAIRMAN. In view of this great menace to their crop
Mr. MARLATT (interposing). Well, sometimes a personal menace is even greater.
The CHAIRMAN. I want to know, as a matter of record, whether the State of Texas
Mr. MARLATT (interposing). I would prefer to have the Texas representatives give an answer to that question.
The CHAIRMAN. But your information is that it is improbable the Texas Legislature will meet.
Mr. MATLATT. That is the information we get from the representatires from Texas.
The CHAIRMAN. So that so far as Texas is concerned there will not be any cooperation or any additional legislation; at least, for two years, in all probability.
Mr. MARLATT. There is a possibility, of course, that the conditions may change in Texas and a special session of the legislature may be called sooner than that. Mr. SHERLEY. Have the counties of Texas any power to act ?
Mr. MARLATT. No; I should say not.
Mr. SHERLEY. Do you say no just on general theory, because in my country the counties would have a good deal of power, or do you say no upon information?
Mr. MARLATT. On general theory, Mr. Sherley. Mr. Ayers is one of the inspectors in Texas and probably can answer that question.
Mr. AYERS. The counties have no quarantine laws and the quarantine laws are all by the State; in fact, we can condemn disease types, but under the present arrangement can not quarantine an area; and largely what we would have to do along that line would be through voluntary cooperation; but about 95 per cent of the work can be done in that way.
Mr. SHERLEY. Have the counties power to subscribe moneys for carrying on this work?
Mr. Ayers. I am sure they have, because they have assisted in other work.
Mr. SHERLEY. What are they willing to do in that regard?
Mr. AYERS. It has not been brought up to the counties, because most of the counties that would be concerned would be the great losers and it would be pretty hard to ask them to contribute.
Mr. MARLATT. If I get the drift of the question, it is whether
Mr. SHERLEY (interposing). There is never any drift to my questions.
Mr. MARLATT. Whether the State of Texas would assist in this work.
Mr. SHERLEY. It is just a question of what they are willing to do.
The CHAIRMAN. You have stated that the representatives of the State are here and that the original plan could not be carried out because there is no authority to enable the State to do what was proposed; and that is why I inquired whether it was contemplated to convene the legislature in order to consider the question of whether or not that authority would be given; and your statement is because of the peculiar personal and political fortunes of some individual or individuals, the material welfare of the State must suffer. I will accept responsibility for the particular way of putting the statement.
Mr. GILLETT. You could not have a closed zone without the cooperation of the State, could you?
Mr. MARLATT. Probably not, except by the exercise of such drastic action which, while it might be warranted as a last resort
Mr. GILLETT (interposing). What drastic action could you take?
Mr. MARLATT. Under the plant quarantine act the Secretary of Agriculture is empowered by Congress to declare such quarantine as may be necessary to protect one part of the United States from another.
The CHAIRMAN. You could quarantine against the State of Texas!
Mr. MARLATT. The entire State of Texas could be placed under quarantine and the movement of all cotton out of Texas prohibited.
Mr. GILLETT. Or certain sections of it, say, a 50-mile area.
Mr. GILLETT. How could you destroy all the cotton in a 50-mile tract?
Mr. MARLATT. The idea is this: If we carried out the full cotton-free zone, we would give due notice. The crop of this year would be
gathered and harvested and no further crops would be planted. There would be no occasion for the destruction of cotton.
Mr. GILLETT. Would they be obliged to obey you! Suppose they should plant cotton?
Mr. MARLATT. That we could not prevent directly. We would prevent it in an indirect manner. The control is an indirect control. We have here a strip and we declare a quarantine under Federal authority, saying that no cotton grown in this strip shall move out of the State of Texas. That would not be any hardship to those people, because they could move it out of that strip into some other part of Texas and sell it and we would have a great deal of difficulty in following up that cotton and preventing it from eventually getting out of the State of Texas. That would be impracticable. The State of Texas would have to cooperate with us and say to the people in this strip, “ You shall not move out of this strip into other parts of Texas any of the cotton grown therein or the products therefrom.” There would be no point then in growing cotton in that district, because they could not move it out.
The CHAIRMAN. And the only way to get Texas to do that is to do the other thing!
Mr. MARLATT. By tying up the entire crop of Texas for the benefit of the whole United States. In a State like Texas, which has not got the insect in it at the present time, I do not think we would be justified in doing that, even as a matter of coercion. I think Texas would resign from the Union of States.
The CHAIRMAN. You would be justified if it was necessary to protect the cotton crop of the United States; you would be justified in tying up the crop of any particular State if the State officials declined to attempt to exercise the authority they have.
Mr. MARLATT. I say we have authority to do that; I think we have under the wording of the act.
The CHAIRMAX. You have stated it would cost $160,000 for this particular work. Is that because of this modification of the estimate of $300,000?
Mr. MARLATT. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. The work would be of a different character and would not require the same organization?
Mr. MARLATT. It would require a less organization. We have cut the organization in half.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, as to the proposed work in Mexico. Mr. GILLETT. Before we go into that I would like to ask a question. I may be obtuse, but I confess I do not understand how you propose, even with the cooperation of the State, to have a 50-mile zone where there will not be any cotton cultivated. How are you going to enforce that, provided we give you the money!
Mr. MARLATT. That is taking up the absolute zone and not the modified zone which we are now recommending.
Mr. GILLETT. Yes. Suppose you have the cooperation of Texas, how would you do it?
Mr. MARLATT. The State undoubtedly, under its police authority, can enact laws which will empower it to prohibit
Mr. GILLETT. Is that your purpose? That is what I wanted to know.
Mr. MARLATT. Either to prohibit or prohibit indirectly the growth of cotton
Mr. GILLETT. What do you mean by indirectly?
Mr. MARLATT. The State now, under its nursery law, which is a similar law, has authority to destroy property in Texas. "Most States have such authority.
Mr. GILLETT. What is your exact program to prevent the growth of cotton in a 50-mile area, provided you have the cooperation of the State and the United States? Just what would you do?
Mr. MARLATT. The Federal quarantine would prohibit the interstate movement of cotton so grown.
Mr. GILLETT. What laws would you enact?
Mr. MARLATT. We would enact a quarantine prohibiting the interstate movement of cotton grown in this strip from Texas to other States. That would stop the interstate movement and the State could then, if it had proper legislation, enact a State quarantine prohibiting the movement of cotton grown in that district out of the district.
Mr. GILLETT. That would be your method, then, would it?
Mr. MARLATT. The two together would hold all the cotton grown in that district in the district, and cotton so held in the district would be worthless to the district.
Mr. GILLETT. Then you would not propose directly to prohibit the growth of cotton in that district ?
Mr. MARLATT. The plan I mentioned is the one we discussed and the one we had in mind. I do not know whether the State could prohibit the growth or not. Of course, if it could, that would be a much simpler solution of the matter. I mean, if they could under their constitution.
Mr. GILLETT. Your plan is a quarantine both by the State and by the United States?
Mr. MARLATT. That was the plan; yes. We have discussed that with the planters of that district and they accept that as an absolute estoppel of the growth of cotton; that is, there would be no point in growing cotton if they could not sell it.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you believe that without legislation by the State you could accomplish the same result through the voluntary cooperation of the growers?
AIr. MARLATT. I think we can accomplish results which will meet the present need. There may come a time, if the insect gets close to the border, as it may this year even--it may develop this fall—that the only solution would be in the establishment of an absolute cotton free zone. In that case it might be necessary to undertake these drastic coercive measures we have discussed, but at the present time, with the present known distribution of the insect, we feel perhaps we have gone far enough if we adopt this modified cotton free zone; that is, we clean up all the waste cotton and the volunteer cotton, we keep a very close surveillance of the commercial fields of cotton in a fairly small district, and we do the same thing on the other side of the border.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the acreage of the commercial cotton in those two counties? Mr. MARLATT. About 24,000 acres this year. The CHAIRMAN. In the proposed zone?
Mr. MARLATT. No, sir; I mean the acreage in these three counties. The CHAIRMAN. How many bales of cotton would that mean?
Mr. MARLATT. I suppose it might mean 15.000 bales. The average yield during a series of years of those counties has been way below that.
The CHAIRMAN. That would be a safe prediction—15,000 bales?
Mr. MARLATT. I should think so. Mr. Hunter thinks that would be excessive. Mr. Hunter has some figures showing the actual production of those counties, if you care to have them put in the record.
The CHAIRMAX. Yes. I do not have in mind so much the entire production of the counties as the production within this zone.
Mr. MARLATT. The total area?
Mr. VARIATT. The production outside of these two or three counties is comparatively insignificant. There is a small area in cotton running up a little beyond Eagle Pass, but only in isolated patches; and beyond that there are five or six or eight hundred miles with no cotton at all, where you go over mountains and highlands, and so on: and then there is a little cotton beginning to be cultivated in the vicinity of El Paso. Records of cotton produced in the proposed cotton free zone on the Rio Grande. [Figures are from reports of the Bureau of the Census and the bales in equivalents of
500-pound bales. ]
XOTE.Xo records exist of the production of cotton in any of the remaining counties in Texas along the Rio Grande. These are Webb, Valverde, Terrell, Brewster, Presidio, Jeff Daris, Culberson, and El Paso.
The CHAIRMAN. What have you done so far in Mexico itself!
Mr. MARLATT. On the discovery of the insect we immediately undertook negotiations through the State Department with the Government of Mexico, and after considerable time and after consultation with the ambassador designate here we made arrangements for a joint survey of the Laguna district. We sent an expert of the department and the National Museum, Mr. Busck, who perhaps knows more about this moth and other similar moths than anyone in the world, and ho was to be met by a designated expert from the department of agriculture of Mexico City. Unfortunately Villa happened to get active just about the time they were going to meet and neither one got there. They both got pretty close to the district, and Mr. Busck was able to