Page images

Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. I noticed you referred to your company. What is that company, Mr. Link?

Mr. LINK. That is the American Airship Co., organized in 1923 under the laws of the State of Arizona.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Link, let me ask you, Does your testimony upon the occasion referred to call attention to the defects in this design?

Mr. LINK. No; it does not.

The CHAIRMAN. And explain why it is not satisfactory for military and naval purposes?

Mr. Link. No; but after these hearings I have kept continuously in touch with the case, preferring to go to the head of the Government; and I wrote some letters to two past Presidents, and also the present occupant of that office. In one letter to the Secretary of the Navy, and in that I do define, and I have a copy with me of a letter which I wrote.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you think that letter points out the defects and makes suggestions as to a better type of ship?

Mr. LINK. It does not make suggestions as to a better type; no. I had no idea at any time of advertising my own product. I simply referred to the fact that a better type was in prospect, but I do point out the defects on this ship, and that they are incapable of operation.

The CHAIRMAN. Well, I think any testimony that would show the defects on this ship or other ships that the Government has built or purchased would be pertinent.

Mr. LINK. Then, if I may, I will read a few extracts from this letter.

The CHAIRMAN. If you have prepared a statement showing those defects, I suggest, if it meets with the concurrence of the committee and our counsel, after counsel examines it, that it ought to be inserted in the record, without taking the time of the committee at this time.

Mr. LINK. No; I have not prepared that, but given a little time I can give you that, work it all out in detail, and I will also show, an answer to some of the questions that you yourself have asked in regard to the consumption of fuel and to the altitude that these ships can go and all that sort of thing, that would take a little bit of time to

The CHAIRMAN. Could you prepare that and hand it to counsel at the end of the day or tomorrow morning, so that after he examines it if he thinks it is pertinent he can put it into the record.

Mr. LINK. All right. This letter does point out some of those things and I might read a few extracts from it.

The ChairMAN. Just hand the letter to the counsel, and if he deems it pertinent he will put it in the record; he is authorized to put it into the record and you may supplement that letter by any other statement pertinent to this inquiry showing the defects and any observations you might make as to the kind of craft which the Government for military or naval purposes should authorize or acquire.

Mr. Link. May I say this, Mr. Chairman, that this letter, while it is addressed to President Hoover, was forwarded by him to the Secretary of the Navy

The CHAIRMAN (interposing). We are not interested in that.

Mr. LINK. I want to simply show the obstructions in the Navy Department.

prepare it.

The Chairman. We are not interested in that. The question we are interested in is as to whether or not airships have any utility for naval or military purposes, and if you have any observations to make in regard to that or criticism of the present design, I am sure that would be pertinent and I am sure the committee would receive it. If you have any data here of that character, that will be all right, but I do not think the committee is concerned in the fact that you submitted correspondence and it was not properly received.

Mr. LINK. I was going to say in that connection I was advised that what I had stated in my letter to the President had no foundation in fact, and I took occasion to point out in a later letter that it had.

Now, then, as to the utility of this particular type of ship in the national defense, of course, if it cannot live up to the preformance requirements, if it has not the range that is accredited to it, then it cannot perform the scouting duties which are its particular mission. The range is given as 10,000 miles at 40 knots. This requires 712 days. The fuel required for the operation of the engines at a speed which would produce 50 knots an hour is in excess of the total useful lift of the ship; in other words, she could not get off the ground with the fuel necessary for that trip, if she did not carry anything else, food, men, munitions, and with that statement I have said all I care to.

The Chairman. If there is anything further you care to supplement or add to your statement just hand it to the counsel.

Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. Mr. Link, are you an engineer?

Mr. LINK. Yes, sir; I claim to be an electrical engineer, primarily, and I claim to be something of a scientist. I have asserted, or at least I have signed myself as an aeronautical engineer once or twice, but I will say this in that connection, that I am not a graduate of any college, as a matter of fact, I have not matriculated yet, I am still studying, but I am satisfied from the testimony I have heard, that I

as thoroughly conversant with aeronautical engineering as applied to airships as anyone else.

Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. Have you built an airship, Mr. Link?
Mr. LINK. No.

Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. Have you been associated with an enterprise that has built an airship?

Mr. LINK. No, sir; and that question was asked me when I began my testimony before.

Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. I am not asking you that to embarrass you, but to get your background.

Mr. Link. In 1926 when that question was first asked me, when I was before the Naval Affairs Committee, it was of course based on the question of what my experience might have been, as to whether my knowledge was worth anything, because of lack of experience. I do not think that those with whom I have been in contact and they have been principally aeronautical engineers, would question the reliability of any statement I might make concerning airships.

Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. Nor would I, Mr. Link.

Representative DELANEY. Did you make any attempt, Mr. Link, to sell your ideas to the Navy Department?

Mr. LINK. None whatever.

Representative DELANEY. Well, you said you met with rebuffs in the Navy Department?


Mr. LINK. Yes, and I have voluntarily given them certain suggestions which I thought would be beneficial to them. I was the originator of the idea of placing the keel at the top of the ship, and I gave that to the Navy Department.

Representative DELANEY. But you did make an effort to convince them that your ideas about lighter-than-air ship construction, that your ideas were good, and that you tried to have them adopt your ideas, did you not?

Mr. LINK. No; again I would like to qualify that; I recognized that if we, those of us who have commercial interests, had to wait for the demonstration of the commercial value of these ships by the Navy Department we were going to have to wait a long time, and we did, and it was my policy all of the time in dealing with the Navy Department, as I have expressed to certain members of the Bureau of Aeronautics, it was my purpose to prevent, if possible, their making the tremendous blunder which I saw they were destined to make in the building of these ships.

Representative DELANEY. Did you feel that the Navy Department should be a pioneer in building ships so that the success of their efforts be followed by commercial airships, and then let the United States Government pay the expense of those experiments?

Mr. LINK. Never; just the reverse.

Representative DELANEY. You want to have the commercial interests show the Navy?

Mr. Link. And let them do it on their own, and then I want to emphasize this again, if the commercial development has to await the perfection of the airship by the Navy Department, we never will have it.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Link.
(Witness excused.)
The CHAIRMAN. Is there anything else?

Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. Yes, sir, there are several little things; among other things the chairman asked that we should get the contract.


Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. We have that; what is the chairman's pleasure? Does he wish that in the record?

Representative DELANEY. That refers to what contract?
Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. For the Akron.

The CHAIRMAN. I suggest that you abbreviate it and put in the material things.

(An extract of the principal provisions of the contract will be prepared and furnished by the clerk, to be included as an appendix with this report.)

Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. Then there is a short memorandum here; I cannot get the bids, the competitive bids, because they are all sent back, but we have a memorandum here about them.

The CHAIRMAN. That may go in the record. (The document is as follows:)


SEPTEMBER 5, 1928. Class I (design) coupled with classes 2 and 3 (bids to construct two airships and one airship) comprise a “design competition" under the terms laid down in section 10 (a) to (h) inclusive, of the Aircraft Procurement Act approved July 2, 1926.

The prices quoted by the several competitors are given below. It should be understood that in a matter so involved as this, direct comparisons between bid prices are inpracticable. A full knowledge of all qualifying clauses, reservations, guarantees, and other pertinent matters is necessary before any real comparison of prices is possible.


American Brown-Boveri Electric Corporation.

$ 100, 000 Geisler & Seth.

75, 000 Goodyear-Zeppelin Corporation: Design I.

1, 750, 000 Design II

1, 750, 000 Design III

1, 650, 000 Max Keastner..

255, 000 Schuette & Co., no price quoted.

Submitted for such consideration as Navy Department is able to give.

Gustav Wilhelm Hagemann, no price; E. Pollak, $25,000; S. V. Trent, no price.

Quoted prices for construction of two airships (class 2) and one airship (class 3}

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Representative DELANEY. May I suggest in that connection, Mr. Chairman, it might be a good thing if the Navy Department in future contracts of that kind, they should retain at least a copy of the bids, because in that way they could defend themselves in the event any possible action should arise.

The CHAIRMAN. I think it was very unwise, if not culpable negligence, not to do so.

Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. I should like the chairman's views as to the correction of testimony. We have the testimony of one witness which has been very amply corrected. As far as I know, it does not change the essential meaning of the testimony too considerably, but quite a good deal of correction has been made.

The CHAIRMAN. So far as I am concerned, I will leave that with counsel. If he feels the corrections are vitally material, I think he ought to be authorized to recall the witness and ask for such explanation as he deems proper. I am willing to leave that with counsel. Does that meet with your approval, gentlemen?

Representative DELANEY. Do we not have a report from the Department of Justice regarding the testimony that Congressman Fish gave the other day?

Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. Yes, sir; we have.
Representative DELANEY. Is that available for the record ?

Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. It is, sir. This happens to be about a 500-page record. Counsel has read that; Mr. Galvin made a careful study of that last night. It is our feeling that this record does not disclose-it is the opinion of counsel that this record does not disclose anything that would be fruitful in further investigation by this committee whether or not there was this sabotage. The record shows that a large and ample staff of inspectors inspected every article that went into this ship and said it was all right. However, for the purpose of the record, I would recommend the insertion of a letter written by the United States attorney for the northern district of Ohio.

The ChairMAN. Without objection it is so ordered. I was going to suggest-have you any further report to make concerning that, Colonel?

Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. No, sir; I have not. Mr. Galvin has read this from cover to cover, and any questions that the committee would like to ask him he is prepared to answ

Representative DELANEY. What was the final decision, Colonel, of the Department of Justice regarding this?

Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. That nothing constructive could come from a further pursuit of the matter:

No. 1. Successful prosecution is doubtful.

No. 2. Unsuccessful prosecution would give aid and comfort to irresponsible persons.

He has a rather short 2-page letter supporting his reasons. Representative DELANEY. Is that from the Department of Justice?

Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. Yes, sir; this is the Department of Justice file on this matter. This letter is from the United States attorney at Cleveland.

The CHAIRMAN. In view of the repeated statements which have been made concerning the importance of this report, and Congressman Fish's statement, it occurs to me that perhaps it would be wise to have one member of the committee and our counsel go through that again. Then let them make a résumé and a statement as the view of the committee, and I am sure we shall approve of their report.

Senator KEAN. Mr. Chairman, the only accusation here is that a man left out two rivets.

The CHAIRMAN. It is more than that, Senator; I was going to suggest that the vice chairman, who has been so faithful in connection with the work of this committee, together with the counsel and his associate there make such examination and such report as they deem the facts in that report warrant, and that would be incorporated in the record, and if either of the other members of the committee desire to read that record it will be available for them. Does that meet

your views?

Representative HARTER. I think the suggestion is a very good one. Representative HOPE. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. Carried. (The report of the vice chairman and counsel of the committee will be furnished for inclusion in the record. It shall appear as an appendix to the report.)

Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. It would be the normal procedure to call a representative of the Navy Department to rebut or to comment

« PreviousContinue »