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mittee are convinced that it is not a case of obstinacy, but a case of principle, a case of logical belief that the course recommended in the other resolutions is not the wise course; and until I could be convinced that it was such I could not .consistently indorse it.
I also wish to say that in the discussions of the committee there were no radically conflicting views.
As some of you know, I have not been, up to this time, an .advocate of a central bank, for the reason that it was difficult for me to see how it was possible for a central bank to be free from control either by special financial interests or by political influences.
Now, I am glad to say that in reading the plan of Senator Aldrich I am most favorably impressed with the thoroughness with which that plan endeavors to guard against that very condition of affairs, and I am free to say that at the moment I think it is possible for a central organization of that kind to be without undue control by those interests, although yesterday, before I saw that plan, I doubted the possibility of it. A year ago, when the question was discussed
A upon this floor, the gentleman who advocated a central bank was unable to show how it was possible to control a central bank without one of those interests controlling it. Going further, however, into the plan of Senator Aldrich, I was not altogether satisfied with the functions of the central National bank, and yet, as I explained to the members of the committee, it is quite possible that after each one of those details is carefully considered, judged from all points of view, I might favor every feature recommended by the New York Chamber of Commerce.
I want to say right here, that because of my personal study and investigation of public questions, that I fully appreciate what those resolutions of the New York Chamber of Commerce represent in the way of patient research in formulating the concrete and specific financial plan as recommended, and I am sure that a large part of the credit is due to our friend Mr. PAUL WARBURG, whose thorough study of the science of finance, and whose personal knowledge of the practices and requirements of extensive banking, entitles
all of his recommendations to the most serious consideration. So that there is no radical difference between myself and the rest of the committee as to what should eventually be adopted as the best financial system for this country.
But this is what I want to call attention to: Senator Aldrich, in presenting his document, which we got yesterday afternoon for the first time, starts out with this statement:
I, of course, do not expect the immediate approval of the commission or that any formal action will be taken upon it. The plan suggested is a personal one that I fully believe will answer the requirements of changed conditions. It will certainly furnish to the commercial organizations of the country, who are now considering this subject, a basis for criticism and discussion.
From this statement it is evident it was the purpose of Senator Aldrich that this tentative plan, which is the first specific declaration upon the part of the Monetary Commission as to its probable action, was intended to be discussed all over the country for the purpose of bringing out the very best thought of the people in every part of this country, so that finally a bill could be framed which would be as ideal as could possibly be framed. Now, that is further borne out by this statement, on page 4:
I recognize the fact that the formulation of a definite plan is the task of the commission, and can be accomplished only after the subject has been studied with care in all parts of the country. Discussion will certainly modify and improve its details.
In other words, Senator Aldrich did not present his tentative plan as a completed plan, but as a plan to start the discussion of this important subject. He follows it with this statement:
While we have found much that is admirable in the operation of the various government banks of Europe, none of them is applicable to our needs here. The good results they have obtained, can. I believe, be reached without the creation of such a central bank.
You will notice in his article that he calls his proposed institution, not the central bank, but the Reserve Association of America, and also says:
I feel that the plan which is proposed reaches those results without being open to the objections which may well be brought gainst such an institution.
I am calling your attention to this in order to show what seemed to be in the mind of Senator Aldrich in furnishing this tentative plan. In the first place, that he wants it to serve simply as a basis of discussion; and, in the second place, that he does not want the term “central bank” used, whether this Reserve Association might be technically called a central bank or not; but in any event, Senator Aldrich has reasons for not calling it a central bank.
Now, there is one criticism which is sometimes made regarding the action of the National Board of Trade, and also of similar organizations, which is that we meet together, appoint a committee to consider and report upon a subject, and after a few hours' discussion we reach conclusions which we believe to be final and absolutely sound, although the same subject may require months and months of investigation and discussion in Congress before reaching a satisfactory conclusion. Very often the criticism has been made that the conclusions of the National Board of Trade, and of similar organizations, with but very brief time for consideration, cannot be other than superficial.
Now, I want to call attention to this feature. I think the National Monetary Commission has been appointed about two years. They have no doubt carefully studied the various works published on the subject. I have been honored by receiving copies of many of their publications, but I am frank to say that I have not read all of them, and I doubt whether many gentlemen in the room have read all of them. Perhaps Mr. VREELAND has- I will not ask him.
Mr. VREELAND.-I hope not. [Laughter.]
Mr. ACKER.—There is a great mass of valuable information which has been gathered and which is available for helping to determine this question. Now, I am not betraying
. confidence when I say that speaking of this matter to a member of the Monetary Commission, he said they were not in a position to decide upon this plan at once; that the only practical way would be to have careful consideration given to every detail of that plan, to draw all the adverse criticism from all interests and all localities, and then determine whether the adverse criticism was tangible.
That being the case, I felt that the influence of this organization would be weakened if, after two hours' discussion by a number of gentlemen, this National Board of Trade should formulate and send out to the people of the United States a "complete plan of monetary reform,” which the Monetary Commission itself is not yet committed to. And, on the other hand, I also felt, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, that the general public would be justified in feeling that the conclusions had not received the serious consideration which the importance of the subject demands, because of their knowledge that in so short a time all the pros and cons of this important question could not have been properly considered. I also felt that many commercial organizations, with the actual facts before them, would fail to attach the desired importance to the conclusions of this body, while their hearty co-operation could be secured by a more tactful course That tactful course I have embodied in this resolution, which is not antagonistic to the other, but which would guide the movement in an entirely different way :
WHEREAS, A tentative plan for the revision of our monetary system has just been formulated by Senator Aldrich, chairman of the National Monetary Commission, which plan displays masterly thought and wide observation; and
WHEREAS, In the introduction to said tentative plan Senator Aldrich expresses the opinion that he does not expect its immediate approval by the commission, but that it will furnish to the commercial organizations of the country, who are considering the subject, a basis for criticism and discussion;
Resolved, That in response to and in conformity with the above suggestion, the Business Men's Monetary Conference earnestly recommends to all financial and commercial organizations a thorough, analytical study of the tentative plan of Senator Aldrich, together with such desirable modifications or changes as may be suggested in the progress of such discussion, with the view of correcting any error which may be disclosed, or for strengthening the plan to meet the varied requirements of the nation prior to action thereupon by Congress.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I offer this resolution, as I said before, appreciating the delicacy of appearing singly in its indorsement; but in this case, as in all cases with which I have been connected, I think the members of the National Board of Trade realize that I act from no spirit of perverseness, because it is always more pleasant for me to agree than to disagree with my colleagues. But after carefully considering the question, I feel that if the proposed elaborate and specific resolutions are recommended at this time, and under these circumstances, that they will not bring about the necessary monetary and banking reform so soon as we can by the plan that I have suggested.
Had I gone through all the financial investigation which Mr. WARBURG has, and particularly had I been affiliated with the same interests, it is quite possible that I would have been ready, individually, to indorse every one of these recommendations. But I have not done so, and probably but few who are now present will claim to have made so thorough a study of the subject as to qualify them to intelligently support every detail of those resolutions. The public at large will know that we could not have given sufficient study in one day's time to the questions involved to attach very serious importance to our conclusions, and it is for the purpose of aiding monetary discussion, and facilitating wise and prompt action by Congress, that I have offered this substitute for discussion.
A DELEGATE.—I second the motion of Mr. ACKER, that his resolution be adopted.
The PRESIDING OFFICER.—The substitute offered by Mr. ACKER is before the house.
Mr. Wood, of Philadelphia.--Mr. Chairman, when the subject was brought before our local body for the purpose of acting upon it and bringing it before the National Board of Trade, we felt that it was impossible to analyze the proposition in the time before us; but we felt that the care with which it had been prepared and the demand for some comprehensive plan for reform in banking and currency justified us in sending it to the National Board of Trade for their consideration. I cannot say that the little time which I have been able to attend the sessions has added very much