« ZurückWeiter »
Mr. SHELTON. No, sir: I do not.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you go ahead in your own words and give
that in this room the acoustics seem to be rather bad. Apparently we will have to make a special effort to be quiet. Confusion bothers the hearing here more than in some of the other rooms. So I shall have to insist that the utmost effort be made to maintain quiet.
Mr. SHELTON. Three other gentlemen and myself came here as representatives.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you name those three gentlemen ?
Mr. SHELTON. I will. Mr. Robert Bishop, a businessman, of Guntersville; Mr. Louis Eckl, the editor of the Florence Times and the Tri-Cities Daily; and Mr. H. E. Monroe, of Huntsville, a businessman and the president of the chamber of commerce, of Huntsville.
Our associations with the Tennessee Valley Authority under the direction of Mr. Lilienthal have certainly proved that the wishes of the people have always been first with Mr. Lilienthal and with the people employed by the Authority. We have found that what we wanted to do in the valley came first; in other words, that the development of that valley was left in the hands of the people and when we wanted to go to the Tennessee Valley Authority for assistance in research or suggestions as to planning of various kinds, we were free to do so. But we have been given no directives of any kind. The development of that valley, which is an experiment, of course, for the United States—it is not ours, but it is for the United States, and we are trying to make a good job of it.
Senator KNOWLAND. In other words, he tossed you the ball and let the local community carry it?
Mr. SHELTON. That is it, Senator. We have found Mr. Lilienthal to be a man of fairness. He is reasonable and is a man of great personal integrity.
Senator KNOWLAND. Since the Tennessee Valley Authority was created there, has there been a noticeable improvement in the economic conditions in the valley ?
Mr. SHELTON. Yes, sir; with the emphasis always on local industry, the development of industry based on our raw materials, and with our local capital and our local brain power.
Senator KNOWLAND. And that local development is in private ownership?
Mr. SHELTON. Entirely so. Let me say from the very outset that the Tennessee Valley Authority has always encouraged private enterprise, private ownership and development.
The CHAIRMAX. In other words, it has been the encouragement of the American system of free enterprise in these local communities in the Tennessee Valley area?
Mr. SHELTON. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. Would you say that there has been a considerable and noticeable improvement in the economic conditions in various communities which had suffered greatly and had lost industries and businesses in the past, where new pay rolls were created ?
Mr. SHELTON. That is certainly our viewpoint of it; yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you find that there were people who originally, when the TVA was proposed, had been very violently against it, and who, as a result of the experience of the last 10 or 12 years, have changed their decision?
Mr. SHELTON. Yes, sir; I do. As a matter of fact, I was not in favor of TVA when it was first created. And our people were not particularly interested in saving a dollar or two on the power bill. What our people needed was work, opportunity. And at its inception, of course, the TVA program, the broad view of the TVA program, was not known to us in the valley. We had worked for years in an effort to bring in industry from other sections of the country. We had had some sad experiences along that line. And I well remember one afternoon when seven of the eight banks in our county were closed and the only industry we had was gone. That was the railroad shops. I do not think things could have looked much darker to us than that.
And four of us who had been doing our dead level best to build that area cornered Dave Lilienthal in the chamber of commerce office. And we were pretty hot under the collar about the situation. The sum and substance of the discussion was, as you stated awhile ago, Sena
, tor: “Now, Mr. Lilienthal, you have got the ball. What are you going to do with it?"
And his answer was: “It is not what we are going to do. It is what you people are going to do for yourselves.”
Yes, sir. I do say to you that conditions have improved to the average people in the Tennessee Valley. Certainly, that is true of north Alabama. I am not too familiar with the other areas.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Shelton, the improved conditions of the people of the valley probably are the direct result of the building of the TVA enterprise and the expenditure of hundreds of millions of public money there; is that not true? That is, that is the foundation that increased prosperity there?
Mr. SHELTON. It certainly is a part of it, Senator; yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think that the conditions in the valley would have been at the present state of satisfaction economically if it had not been for TVA?
Mr. SHELTON. No, sir; I don't think we would have moved ahead as fast as we have without TVA.
The CHAIRMAN. And therefore, a prime support of that prosperity there is, after all, the Public Treasury.
Mr. SHELTON. Certainly, to an extent; yes, sir.
Mr. SHELTON. Well, I think this, Senator: I think there has been a considerable change in the thinking of our people down there. I think that we have become a great deal more confident about what we can do for ourselves than we were prior to the advent of the Tennessee Valley Authority.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, sir. But the point I am trying to find out about here is whether or not the sustaining prosperity or the stimulating prosperity in the Tennessee Valley is the public expenditures through TVA and the setting up of that organization, the supplying of power through that area, for what you would say is the lifeblood upon which business can build and free enterprise can grow.
Has it not stimulated and provided the means by which people can do business?
Mr. SHELTON. Yes; it has stimulated it; certainly, it has. But it wouldn't go anywhere unless you had the people to do the job themselves.
The CHAIRMAN. That is right. But thousands of employees have been brought in. Big pay rolls have been established there in this Government enterprise. And, in turn, merchants can do business, and the banks can do business, and people can prosper.
Mr. SHELTON. Now, Senator, I am not a very good man at figures, but as I remember it, we have some 3,000,000 people, I think, or maybe it is 5,000,000 people, in the Tennessee Valley. My good friends from Alabama could tell me that. And I think the number of people employed by the Tennessee Valley Authority is around 11,000 at the present time. Those figures may not be correct, but I think that relatively they are correct.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not want to pursue the point. I am merely suggesting that there have been thousands of people employed consistently over a period of years around there in the development, building construction, and a tremendous amount of public money has been expended down there over the years that the Tennessee Valley has been growing.
Mr. SHELTON. That is true, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. And I am merely suggesting that at least a substantial portion of the present prosperity can be traced directly to that stimulus.
Mr. Shelton. I think it is a fine thing, if that is what you are trying to get me to say. The CHAIRMAN. You think it has helped ? Mr. SHELTON. Yes, sir; I do. The CHAIRMAN. That is all. Are there any other questions? Senator MCKELLAR. I have a few questions, Mr. Chairman. The CHAIRMAN. Yes, Senator McKellar.
Senator McKELLAR. You are talking about banks closing down there while this work was going on. Were not banks closing down all over the country at the time? Mr. SHELTON. Yes, sir; they surely were.
Senator McKELLAR. Well, that was the thing that applied to everybody.
Now I want to ask you this. The first dam in Alabama was built at Muscle Shoals before this Commission was ever formed; was it not?
Mr. SHELTON. Yes, sir.
Senator McKELLAR. And it was at that time the only dam that had been built.
Mr. SHELTON. Yes, sir; I think that is right.
Senator McKELLAR. And as for the next two dams, the first was the so-called Wheeler Dam at Florence, Ala., and the next was the socalled Norris Dam in Tennessee.
Was that not the order in which they were built?
Mr. SHELTON. Yes, Senator; I guess so. I don't know what order they were built in.
Senator McKELLAR. Then I will ask you if you do not recall that the Wheeler Dam was one of the very first built after the Muscle Shoals Dam, when Mr. Lilienthal did not have anything to do with it, and the third one was in Alabama, near the Alabama line, part of it in Alabama, the Chickamauga Dam; is that not right?
Mr. SHELTON. Senator, I just do not remember when those dans were built.
Senator MCKELLAR. Yo do not remember!
Senator McKELLAR. Do you remember when the Pickwick Dam was built?
Mr. SHELTON. Well, yes, sir. I remember its being built.
Senator MCKELLAR. You guess so. Well, that was built over Mr. Lilienthal's opposition. Do you remember that? He came up and lobbied against that at that time, when I got it built down there in Alabama.
Mr. SHELTON. Good for you, Senator.
Senator McKELLAR. Well, if that is all you know about the dams, I am going to let you go, after asking one question: Did the TVA ever buy any advertising from your paper?
Mr. SHELTON. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any other questions? Thank you, Mr. Shelton.
Mr. SHELTON. Thank you, sir.
Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
Mr. BISHOP. Yes, sir.
TESTIMONY OF R. W. BISHOP, GUNTERSVILLE, ALA.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you state your name and address and occupation, Mr. Bishop.
Mr. BISHOP. Robert W. Bishop, Guntersville, Ala.
The CHAIRMAN. How long have you lived in the Tennessee Valley area!
Mr. Bishop. I have lived there all my life, 42 years.
The CHAIRMAN. Therefore, I take it that you are familiar, at least as far as the average person is familiar, with the operations of the Tennessee Valley Authority there, during its life?
Mr. BISHOP. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. And do you have a prepared statement this morning!
Mr. BISHOP. No, sir; I do not.
The CHAIRMAN. I believe you came here to testify with respect to Mr. Lilienthal, primarily?
Mr. BISHOP. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. Will you proceed in your own words and make whatever statement you care to make?
Mr. Bishop. Well, I would like to state this: That I come from a very small community, Guntersville, Ala. We have been greatly
Senator McKELLAR. Huntsville, did you say? Mr. BISHOP. Guntersville. We have been very greatly affected by TVA. It has changed the picture of our town considerably. And during the changing period, I was on the city board of my small town and had an opportunity to have quite a bit of dealings with TVA. And to begin with, we were rather skeptical. We had people who were against the TVA coming in and changing the picture of our community and our town, the geographical location, you might say. So I, myself, was against it until we begain to deal with them and found that they were wanting to help us and they were not interested in harming our little town.
We have had all kinds of dealings with them, in changing our water system and our sewage system, and all those things. And when we found that the policy was to be helpful to us instead of harmful, we started doing business with them and have always found them to be fair and square in all their dealings.
The CHAIRMAN. Has TVA furnished engineering advice and construction aid to your town?
Mr. Bishop. Engineering advice? If they have, I don't remember it.
The CHAIRMAN. Have they furnished materials for any construction in your town?
Mr. BISHOP. No, sir.
? Mr. BISHOP. Yes, sir. Senator RusseLL. Have you discussed matters of Government, matters that affect the economy of that section of the country and the Nation generally?