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out the items here with the idea of spending the money at some other time and making a saving on the amount of the expenditure, etc., what you could cut out in that way would be entirely insignificant in comparison with the entire amount appropriated, and it would disappear in errors in the estimates. At the same time it would interfere with the efficient operation of the arsenals and would be annoying, troublesome, and hampering in very much the same way that an individual would be hampered with the buttons off his clothes.
ALTERATION AND IMPROVEMENT OF STEAM-HEATING SYSTEM. Mr. SHERLEY. The next item is, “For alteration and improvement of steam-heating system in large gun shop, $7,500.”
Gen. CROZIER. That is another case, and probably a more striking case than any of the rest, in which an increase in the appropriation or an increase in the estimate is called for. The increase is such as would constitute almost a different project. It would constitute practically altogether a different project. It was intended to heat an extension to the large gun shop, and when the bids for the extension were opened it was found that the lowest bid amounted to $10,500, or $3,000 more than the appropriation. But that is not the whole story. It was expected that this $7,500 would not only heat the extension, but that it would also put in proper order the heating apparatus for all the rest of the shop, but the heating apparatus for the rest of the shop is so badly out of repair that it is considered that it would be economical to replace it altogether and not attempt to repair it. Now, if it should be replaced and the cost of the heating should be based on the cubic space to be heated, with the same cost per cubic foot which results from the bids we have had for heating the extension, it would make the whole heating project amount to $66,000 instead of $7,500. This, as I say, would provide not only for the new extension, which amounts to about 1,000,000 cubic feet, but would also provide for replacing the heating apparatus for the rest of the shop, which amounts to about 6,000,000 cubic feet of space.
Mr. SHERLEY. Have you any money for repairing the old system?
Gen. CROZIER. No, sir; there is no sum of money that would make much impression on it. That is the sum that would be required for current repairs.
Mr. SHERLEY. If you put in a new system for the extension, would that interfere at all subsequently with the modernizing of the old?
Gen. CROZIER. No, sir; I do not think it would; but the old system needs such repairs that this sum of $7,500, which was intended both to heat the new and repair the old, ought to be increased to $15,000, in order to cover the project of heating the new and repairing the old.
Mr. SHERLEY. You would spend about $5,000 on repairing the old?
Gen. CROZIER. Yes, sir.
Gen. CROZIER. It is hard to tell. The radiators and some of the piping have rusted through in places. It is difficult to tell how nearly rusted through any pipe is until the leak makes its actual appearance.
No doubt we will get through next winter if you appropriate $15,000.
BUILDING FOR STORING ARTILLERY VEHICLES,
Mr. SHERLEY. The next item is on page 53, as follows: “Ordnance depot: For additional for a building for storing artillery vehicles, $5,500."
Gen. CROZIER. That is in Panama.
Gen. CROZIER. The Panama ordnance depot has been appropriated for and is under construction, and as the construction proceeds and they get closer to what the construction has to provide for, as is nearly always the case, it is found that certain things have not been provided for or have been overlooked, and this is one of them. There has not been sufficient space provided for storing artillery vehicles. I might add also that the project for the defense of the Canal Zone, as it is revised and further looked at, calls for more artillery of the moveable character than the original plans called for. Those two considerations together caused them to revise that estimate.
ROADS, WALKS, SEWERS, LIGHT AND POWER LINES, ETC.
Mr. SHERLEY. The next item is “For continuing and completing the work of installing roads, walks, sewers, light and power lines, and for such permanent ditches, grading, and filling as are necessary to obtain proper sanitation and healthful conditions of the grounds, $30,000." You have $25,000 in 1917 for this purpose.
Gen. CROZIER. That is what the further prosecution of the work has suggested as being needed for this purpose. I have not visited the Canal Zone myself since that depot was commenced.
Mr. SHERLEY. You had $12,000 estimated last year for this purpose, but it was not allowed, I believe. It was $12,500.
Gen. CROZIER. Yes, sir.
Mr. SHERLEY. Suppose you supply in your notes what other data you have touching the need for that?
Gen. CROZIER. The estimate of $12,500 submitted last year, but for which no appropriation was made, and which is now repeated, is for another purpose.
In a letter dated November 28, 1916, the commanding officer of the Panama ordnance depot states that a detailed study of the municipal work required for the Panama ordnance depot shows that a satisfactory installation of roads, walks, sewers, water, light, and power for the buildings authorized, can not be effected for less than approximately $55,000. Of this amount $25,000 has already been appropriated, leaving $30,000, the amount now asked, to be provided. Because of the absence at the time of the submission of the first estimate of any definite layout for the depot, the extent of the work required and its cost could not be definitely determined.
GRADING DEPOT RESERVATION.
Mr. SHERLEY. I perhaps misled you a moment ago, because it was probably the next item I had reference to. The next item is, “For grading, leveling, and filling in the western portion of the depot reservation, to reclaim ground for building purposes, to prevent mosquito breeding, and to prevent nuisance from Rio Grande ditch, $12,500.” That is probably the item I had reference to.
Gen. Crozier. That item was in before the last bill was passed.
Mr. SHERLEY. It has different language. You can put a statement in the record about that item.
Gen. CROZIER. As stated in the estimate, this amount is required for grading, leveling, and filling in the western portion of the depot reservation to reclaim ground for building purposes, to prevent mosquito breeding, and to prevent nuisance from the Rio Grande diversion ditch. The estimate was previously submitted, but no appropriation for this purpose was made. The commanding officer of the Panama ordnance depot repeated the item in his recent estimates, with the statement that the work is urgently required for the completion of the depot.
FENCE TO PROTECT STOREHOUSES AND MAGAZINES.
Mr. SHERLEY. The next item is, “For a fence to protect storehouses and magazines of the depot, $9,000."
Gen. CROZIER. That is an afterthought, like some of those other things.
Mr. SHERLEY. You had an estimate of $5,100 for that.
Mr. SHERLEY. There is no particular reason for a fence there, is there?
Gen. CROZIER. Well, we consider it worth while to put fences around the working portions of most of the arsenals in this country, and to light the fences by large projectories so as to make the guarding of those places easier. Of course, there is no really unclimbable fence, but a fence increases the difficulty of approach to places where one might want to commit a dynamite outrage, and the fence, taken in conjunction with the lights, will diminish the number of watchmen necessary to prevent that kind of depredation.
Mr. SHERLEY. That would apply here rather more than on the zone where you have a military government and where the whole area is somewhat under protection and patrol.
Gen. CROZIER. Well, a person who is looking out for chances for doing surreptitious damage is apprehended down there as well as here.
Mr. SHERLEY. But right at this time, if it were necessary to swing a barbed-wire fence around there, they have all the facilities down there for doing it?
Gen. CROZIER. I do not know about that.
SET OF QUARTERS.
Mr. SHERLEY. The next item is, “For a set of quarters, single family cottage, for armament machinist at Fort Grant, $2,700.”
Gen. CROZIER. Certain funds have been appropriated before for giving a living place for the man who is to take care of the artillery material, and this is for quarters at another place where there are not any now.
FRIDAY, August 17, 1917.
ORDNANCE PROVING GROUND-PURCHASE OF KENT ISLAND, MD.
(See p. 774.)
STATEMENT OF HON. JESSE D. PRICE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MARYLAND.
Mr. Price. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, first of all I want to thank you for giving us the opportunity of being heard on this matter, and also for the privilege extended these ladies and gentlemen from Kent Island. I want to say in the beginning that we are not here to oppose anything that the Government needs for the prosecution of this war. We are not here to embarrass the administration or the War Department, but we are here to protest against the acquisition of and to show you gentlemen, if possible, why we think it unnecessary to take the place known as Kent Island for the purpose of a proving ground. Now, as to whether or not a proving ground is a necessity at the present time for the war emergency, I am frank to say I do not know, but I do believe, and I know this committee well enough to know, that you will ascertain that fact before you appropriate $3,000,000 for such a purpose. Of course all of us who are Members of Congress know that a great many projects have been presented here under the guise of war emergencies, relying upon the wave of patriotism that is sweeping over the country when we are at war. Whether or not this is one of them I do not know, but I feel sure that this committee will ascertain that fact. As I say, we are not here to oppose the purchase of a proving ground if it is a necessity. If it is necessary to win this war, we ought to have one.
I asked Gen. Crozier as to the Sandy Hook Proving Ground and why it was inadequate, and he undertook to point out to me why it was inadequate. He said he had a land range of something like 4 miles, but they had an unlimited water range, which was sometimes interfered with on account of shipping, and that they required a land range of 14 miles and 16 miles of water range, as well as I understood, and I also had a letter from the Secretary of War to the same effect. But in looking around for a site for a proving ground it is well to bear in mind what they say is required, and I have here a letter from the Secretary of War which may throw some light upon it. The Secretary of War says:
I find that a site to be satisfactory for this purpose must provide a land range not less than 14 miles long and a total range of 30 miles, preferably in two directions diametrically opposite, of which 16 miles in one direction may be over water. The land range must be comparatively level, at least 2 to 3 miles wide and of loamy or sandy soil free from rocks. The site must be accessible by rail or water transportation, preferably both, and of a character to permit the handling of seacoast cannon of the latest types.
Now, they are the requirements as stated by the Secretary of War. In looking around for a site to meet those requirements they have set upon Kent Island, and when we protested to the War Department (before they had asked you gentlemen for an appropriation) they told us that it met the requirements; that they had been searching for à site for 25 years and this more nearly met the requirements than any place they had yet found. The Secretary asked me, when I protested in the name of these people, if I could suggest a place. I told him I had given the matter no thought, that I was not an expert, but that I would be glad to suggest some places which his department might investigate. I suggested a place on the Atlantic coast, a long strip of land absolutely barren, uninhabited, where they can get a range 40 miles long, if they want it, without interfering with a living soul and without destroying an acre of fertile soil.
Mr. SHERLEY. What protection has it?
Mr. PRICE. I was coming to that, gentlemen. He said that the objection to that was that in time of war if our Navy should not command the sea, an exposed place upon the seacoast would not be desirable.
Mr. GILLETT. Where was that?
Mr. Price. It is in Maryland and Virginia, on the Atlantic coast, in Worcester County, Md. It starts there and goes south. It is a long strip of land, and if you had a map here I could show it to you in a moment. That was the objection they offered to that site. As a matter of fact, that site had been considered and the Government had had options upon some of it. Now whether or not that argument is good, I do not know. That land could be bought, I suppose, for $100,000 or less, and probably a good deal less, because it is really worth very little. Now if you are asked to appropriate two or three million dollars for a site as valuable as this, it seems to me that if you fortified the other site at a cost of $1,000,000 you would still make money.
Mr. SHERLEY. You do not think you could fortify it for $1,000,000, do you?
Mr. PRICE. That I do not know.
Mr. Price. It might cost more. I simply suggested that place because they had had it under consideration themselves. I suggested some other places. As a matter of fact, gentlemen, the location of a proving ground does not have to be in the vicinity of Kent Island. The people of the department say, themselves, that they have looked over all the territory east of the Mississippi River for a proving ground. They point out that it must have either land or water transportation, preferably both, but it is not necessary to have both. They also say that an all-land range is very desirable, but that land and water will do. Now it is not any function of mine or any Member of Congress, for that matter, to find a site for a proving ground. It is a function, of course, of the War Department, but it does seem to us that they have not exhausted all the territory east of the Mississippi Valley and found only Kent Island. It seems to us to be-I was about to say—a preposterous proposition. As I said a little while ago, I am not an expert, but I do believe I could find at least two places in my State outside of the Atlantic coast that would be available and that would disrupt very few homes and destroy very little land that is valuable. I have suggested one or two of those since that time, and they told me it was too late; that they have decided on Kent Island.