Mr. Sligh. If they had furnished troops, the Secretary of War. ir.
August, we could just as well have had six to eight millfon a month
under the management as being conducted, because when I wa*- '^
charge there â€” ^because during the last tvo months I was in charge we
did produce nearly 8,000,000 feet under bad conditions, and by
Mr. Frear. It is half past 12, and I would like to discuss with ^ou
immediately after the lunch hour something in regard to the rioting
that was done out there, and also in regard to some of the railways
that were built out there. We will adjourn imtil 2 o'clock.
CWhereupon the further hearing by the commission was adjourned
until 2 o'clock p. m. of the same day, Monday, August 11, 1919.)
2 o'clock p. M. august 11, 1919.
The committee met pursuant to recess.
Present, same as before.
Maj. Charles R. Sligh resumed the stand and fiu-ther testified as
Mr. Frear. If you have any letters you offered to introduce in
evidence we will put them in.
Mr. Slioh. There is a copy commandeering.
Mr. Frear. This is the order when the Secretary gave the order
for conmiandeering the spruce.
Mr. Sligh. Yes.
Mr. Frear. And the others will be placed in the record.
Mr. Sligh. There are several items here I will leave copies.
Mr. Frear. What are those?
Mr. Sligh. These are copies of the telegram sent to me by Col.
Disque. And the other
Mr. Frear. This is from Norman McClave. From where?
Mr. Sligh. Grand Rapids, Mich. I wired to Michigan to find out
who he was and he says who he is.
Mr. Frear. That is the one you asked about.
Mr. Sligh. I referred to that one.
Mr. Frear. Mark these. You may introduce them right in the
record, I think, that is the way they were ; they were very short, all
Mr. Sligh. Those are copies of letters from Mr. Roth out in Oregon;
I thought you would Uke copies.
Mr. Frear. The first is tne order of the Secretary of War, com-
mandeering the spruce.
(Said letter is as follows) :
[Copy of telegram.]
(In pencil: 'Tommandeered.*')
September 5, 1917.
Under the proviaion of section 120 of the act of Congress approved June 3, 1916 (39
Stat., 166), entitled **An act making further and more effective pro\'ision for the na-
tional defense, and for other purposes^" vou are hereby ordered to proceed with all
poflflible haste in the production of airplane spruce on the order placed with your
company by the Ec^uipment Division of the Signal Corps. In nllin^ this order,
you are further required to give preference thereto over all other orders without regard
to the order or date of contracting therefor, provided that this order shall not operate
to interfere with necessary Navy work for the Government of the United States.
By direction of the President.
Newton D. Baker,
Secretary of War,
600 WAR EXFBNDITURBS.
O. K. S. D. W.
O. K. H. E. Coffin.
This is a copy of order used in commandeering spruce and brfore
being signed by the Secretary of War was approved by the fonowing:
R. S. Lovett, president U. P. R. R.
S. D. W. (Waldon), colonel, EJquipment Division, Signal Corps.
G. O. S. (Squires), major general, Simal Corps.
H. E. Coffin, chairman Aircraft Production Board.
The document was prepared by the attorney of Aircraft Produc-
tion Board at my request.
Charles R. Such.
Mr. Frear. Tlie second is a telegram from Norman McClave to
Maj. Shgh, dated December 12, 1917.
(Said telegram is as follows:)
[Copy of telegram from Norman McOlavo to Maj. Charles R. SliKh.]
Grand Rapids, Mich., Decemhtr li^ ;v;:.
Maj. Charles R. Sligh,
^649 Woodley Road, Wushinyton, D. V.
Saw Brown to-night, first chance. He knows Disque l>etter than the fellow Â«b^'
made hini. Says he has no more business head than a child. Was captain of < Â»v-
alry ; extremely selfish : not liked in Army. Wernicke found him and sponsored him
says governor has letter from him several typewritten pageci in effort to Â»t safe jolv
whilch shows Disque yellow on every page; says Drison over million in debt and m-
vestigation would show Disque incompetent; not long enough at prison, however, ti
do great harm. He has promised to write you to-morrow, and I told him to ^ thor-
oughly into details (he does not believe Thompson and Disque connected *. Sit tieht
until you get Brown letter and more information. Send me a copy of hia letter.
Norma X Md'LA^Â£
Mr. Frear. The third is a letter from St. Johns Lumber (V..
addressed to J. C. Roth, representative of the car service sectiou.
United States Railroad Administration, dated June 14, 1918, and t
reply â€” is it ?
Mr. Sligh. Yes.
Mr. Frear. From J. C. Roth, under date of June 14, 1918.
(Which said letters are as follows:)
United States Railroad ADMiNisTRATfos.
Division of Tramspostatiox.
Portland, Oreg., Jnm H, Wf^
St. Johns Lumber Co.,
St. Johns, Oreg.
Gentlemen : Referrring to conversation with Mr. Ayer to-day. I have been diwciri
by Col. Brice P. Disque to withhold the placement of all care from your mill nutd
Yours, truly, J. 0. Row
Jink 14. Wl^
Mr. J. C. Roth,
Representative Car Service Section,
United States Railroad Adminxstration.
Dear Sir: We beg to acknowledge receipt of your favor of this date, iIk* 1*'^
instant, in which you state that you have been instructed by Col. Disque to Â«* ll**
we are furnished with no cars for loading lumber.
We regret this action on the part of Col. Disque. as it will necessitate the sbutw
down of our plant and prevent us from doing our share toward supplying matcrisl : '
our Government in ship construction, aeroplane stock, and for raurraftd work.
For the first four months of this year 42 per cent of our cut was for Government re-
quirements, so that the closing down of our mill will be felt to a certain extent. As
far as the prompt loading of cars and of loading cars to maximum capacity is concerned,
we believe you wiil agree with us that we have done as well as any mill in your district.
As we suggested to you a few days ago, we would be pleased to meet, through you.
Col. Disque, to discuss any grievances that he had with us. We also told you that we
were very loath to be forced to close down, on account of our anxiety to do our hit.
As yoii were unable to get Col. Disque to rescind his order, is there not some one
higher in authority that you can place this matter before, so that you may l>e able to
get us cars so we can resume operation? If thel^e is, we should be pleased to have you
make every effort in this line, as we believe it is only your patriotic duty to do so.
Yours, very truly,
St. Johns Lumber Co.
Mr. Frear. What is this in reference to, Mr. Sligh ?
Mr. Sligh. That is in reference to â€” Disque arbitrarily cut off his
supply of cars and made him shut up his sawmill because he could
not make him do what he wanted about it. That is his complaint
Mr. Frear. This is a complaint from St. Johns ?
Mr. Sligh. Yes.
Mr. Frear. The next is a telegram.
Mr. Sligh. From the American Export Lumber Co.
Mr. Frear. Addressed to Charles K. Sligh, imder date of January
3, 1918, and this telegram is from Seattle, Wash.
Mr. Sligh. Yes.
Mr. Frear. Seattle, Wash. What is this in relation to ?
Mr. Sligh. That is in relation to the general condition of affairs
Mr. Frear. This had better be inserted in the record.
(Which said telegram is as follows:)
Seattle, Wash., Janwrry 5, 1918,
Charles R. Slioh,
26A9 WoodUy Road, Washington, D. C:
Careful canvas entire coast district shows not over two million feet spruce ship-
ments possible each month, January to April, inclusive, and this by camp and
mills operating on their own plans and management much larger production by
otl^r camps and mills would now be possible had experienced Government super-
yiidon ana assistance been furnished. \Vhen you or anyone else think that an oi^n-
ization of inexperienced Army officers who never saw spruce trees before can get
results as compared with experienced Pacific coast operators you are mistaken. How
can you expect increased spruce production and cooperation of mills and loggers
when you allow Disque to offer through press bonus for inferior split spruce over
superior sawn spruce? He has only disrupted entire spruce situation for camps and
nulls by allowing large timber owners to induce him to announce through press exhor-
bitant increase spruce stumpage values.
That man Leadbetter in washinp^ton has, we understand, succeeded in carrying
out his scheme for Government to install useless cutting-up plant near his old saw-
nail 1 jjroperty at Vancouver, Wash., which has been idle for 10 years; he is now offering
his mill for sale at $150,000, five times its value, claiming its wonderful advantage by
its close proximity to the new Government cutting-up plant and offering large Govern-
ment lumber contracts as an inducement to buyer. You or some other successful
and experienced operator should personally investigate this spruce situation and put
it under safe, sane policy with good management. Increased spruce production is
poesible only by increased log production, and this by experience and proper man-
American Export Lumber Co.
Mr. Frear. The next is signed by John L. Alcott, to Maj. Charles
R. Sligh, under date of December 28, 1917; and what is it regarding?
Mr. Sligh. Brokers^ contracts.
602 WAR EXPENDIXURBS.
Mr. Freak. Brokers' contracts ?
Mr. Sligh. Yes. Those two refer to the same thin^ practically.
Mr. Frear. The same is true of another letter from John L. Alcock
& Co., or Alcott; which is it?
Mr. Sligh. Alcott, A-1-c-o-t-t.
Mr. Frear. Alcott.
Mr. Sligh. Of Baltimore.
Mr. Frear. Of Baltimore, of August 24, 1917. That is one you
referred to ?
Mr. Sligh. Yes.
(Which said letter of December 28, 1917, is as follows:)
Baltimorb, Md., December tS, 1911.
Maj. Charles R. Sligh,
Chief Signal Officer of the Army, Washington^ D. C.
Bear Sir: We received a telephone call from Mr. Edward Brown, who is eogiged
in the walnut business in Missouri. We knew Mr. Brown many years ago. and boi^t
from him considerable quantities of black walnut logs and lumber.
Mr. Brown tells us that he is visiting you, with a view to undertaking aomeooa-
tracts for walnut, and beg to say when we were dealing with Mr. Brown we found hn
reliable and trustworthy, and got from him a very good grade of walnut logs.
We do not know what position Mr. Brown is in to furnish manufactured lomber. bat
at his request are glad to write you of our acquaintance and experience wita him.
We take this opportunity of expressing our appreciation of the thoiougji and htm-
ness manner in whicn you worked the dimoult problems of the spruce supply, and ibo
the adjustment of outstanding contracts.
(Pencil memorandum inserted here as follows:)
[^Made by millmen with broker and which I adjusted on basis of GO per cent.'l.
We appreciate very much your attention to the matters relating to our interasU ii
this adnunistration, and wishing you the compliments of the season, truBt that yon tmy
liave health and strength for the task which comes before you in the present nsedi of
Yours, very tnily,
John L. Atc<*n.
(The letter of August 24, 1917, is as follows:)
Baltimore, Md.. August f-f. 19/*
Charles R. Slioh, Â£sq.,
Washington, D. C.
Bear Sir: We beg to confirm telephone conversation with you yesterday, aad m
we did not hear from you by telegram presume you did not conclude the confwMf*
relating to future policy regarding aeroplane spruce.
We have thought a great deal over your suggestion that the mills now holding <^mi'
tracts for export orders be allowed to furnish 60 per cent of the unfiUed qiiantitT. to
be of the Government grade and price.
We are inclined to support your idea this 60 per cent will go aa far as the total quaa-
tity of "G" list grade.
In any case it is a ver>' fair proposition for the adjustment of present conditions. sM
will allow the foreign buyers a big proportion of the stock manuiacturMl in the im-
We hope if this policy is adopted instructions will be sent to the milla to watk mt
these phmks immcKiiately, and thus clear the way for new buainees under the vmanrr
in which your joint conference may see fit to adopt.
May we again assure you that we shall be very glad indeed to cooperale and jiA
with you in bringing about the ultimate aim of the Aircraft Production Board. tc>J
will be elad to respond at any time that we can be of service.
Yours, very turly,
John L. Alcocs A < <^
Mr. Fbeab. The next is a letter from Charles R. Sligh
Mr. Sliqh. To you personally.
Mr. Frear. August 9.
Mr. Sligh. In relation to National Defense report that I referred to
Mr. Freak. What is this ?
Mr. Sligh. The affidavit of Edward L. Wallace.
Mr. Fbeab. What is it in relation to ?
Mr. Sligh. In relation to me personally â€” no; it is in regard to
Howard E. Coffin's address.
Mr. Fbeab. Is it important ?
Mr. Sligh. Yes; I think so.
Mr. Fbeab. A copy of an affidavit signed Edward L. Wallace,
dated December 10, 1917.
Mr. Sligh. Regarding the address made by Howard E. Coffin.
(Which said letter and affidavit are as follows:)
Grand Rapids. Mich., Augvut 9, 1919,
Hon. jAMEfei A. Frear,
Chairman Select Committee,
Washington, D. C.
Dear Sir: I wish to briefly give you a memorandum regarding some of my services
Would state that in the first report of the Council of National Defense on page 18 you
will find the following regarding the management of the spruce section. This was
written in August and published about the Ist of September, 1917, and it says:
" A man of experience in woodworking operations, who very quickly succeeded in
aecuring new cutting specifications that produced much larger percentage of aircraft
wood from the log, who eliminated the waste, purchased direct from the mills instead
of through brokers, and reduced the cost to tne Government about one-half" â€”
My name is not mentioned, but this refers to my work and was consummated while
Gen. Disque was still warden at Jackson Prison and before he had reentered the Army.
You will also find in the official records of the Aircraft Production Board of Septem-
ber, , when I appeared before the board on their invitation, and explained to
them the spruce situation, that I was very highly commended bv Gen. Squires, who
made the statement that my explanation of the matter was the first intelligent state-
ment r^arding the spruce situation that he had heard, and he moved that the thanks
of the board be extended to Maj. Sligh, and that his remarks be made a part of the
minutes of the meeting.
I was personally commended on several different occasions by Mr. H. E. Coffin, by
Col. Deeds, Col. Waldron, Gen. Saltzman, and various members of the foreign mis-
sions, representatives of England, France, and Italy.
I was also, on September , 1917, invited before the board to explain to Sir
Joseph F. Lavell, Canadian representative in charge of aircraft production, our method,
and which he requested me to present to him in writing, which I did, and I was after-
wards informed by a representative sent to Washington by him that they had adopted
the plan that I had inaugurated for our own use.
Yours, very respectfully,
Chas. R. Sligh.
December 10, 1917.
District op Columbia, Â«Â»;
Edward L. Wallace, being first duly sworn, on oath, deposes and says that he is a
citizen of the United States and a resident of the District of Columbia.
That on or about September 12, 1917, he was in the employ of one Rexford L.
Holmes, a public stenographer in the city of Washington; tnat in the course of his
duties he was directed bv the said Rexford L. Holmes to visit the rooms of the Old
( -olony Club, Raleigh Hotel, for the puri^ose of reporting in stenogiaphic notes a
meeting of the boara of directors of the Aircraft Manufacturers Association; that in
accordance with the said directions he reported at the said rooms of the Old Colony
C*lub for the purpose aforesaid; that in the course of the said meeting one Howard E.
< 'offin made an address in which the following facts were in effect brought out:
Mr. Coffin at first made an address pertaining, among other thin^, to the general
existing conditions of aircraft manufacture, dunng the course of which the matter of
the production of spruce lumber for aircraft manufacture and the Government's
commandeering of tne same was brought up, and Mr. Coffin voluntarily made the
G04 WAB EXPENDITURES.
statement that the responsibility for the state and manner in which the piudactiun
of spruce lumber for aircraft manufacture was being handled at that time was vested
in one C'harles R. Sligh, who, he stated, had accomplished wonderful achievementc
in the way of transforming the production of spruce lumber for aircraft purposes from
a state of absolute chaos and uncertainty to an orderly condition, from wnirn the vpr>
best results could be expected. The tenor of his remarks were to the effect thmt ib**
said Charles R. Sligh was a very capable, aggressive, and efficient man in this line.
Edward L. Wallac* .
Subscribed and sworn to before me this day of Decern l>er, 1917.
Notary Public. />. '
Mr. Sligh. That is from Weatherwax of Aberdeen, Wash., regard-
ing the specifications.
Mr. Frear. What relation does that have?
Mr. SuGH. That is indorsement of the specifications. I don't know
but what you would
Mr. Frear. I don't know whether we had better introduce all these
into the record. We might mark them as exhibits, though.
Mr. Sligh. All right.
Mr. Frear. I think some of these would be important, but it might
take too much space.
Mr. Sligh. Yes.
Mr. Frear. We will take these, then.
Mr. Sligh. They are all copies.
Mr. Frear. Is there anythmg of special importance?
Mr. Sligh. There is a letter from Col. Disque; a copy of one i<Â»
Mr. Frear. What is it all in reference to?
Mr. Sligh. I think it will be interesting for you to go through them
you will get information there when you get it there.
Mr. Frear. What we will do is just to mark them
Mr. SuGH. I don't think it is necessary to put these into the rectini
Mr. Frear. No.
Mr. Sligh. It will give you information that will be necossary in
Mr. Frear. We will hold these. I think that is true of the !*Â«Â»
one or two there.
Mr. Sligh. This is a telegram from Leadbetter.
Mr. Frear. How did you get this; how did they comet
Mr. Sligh. I will tell you, 1 can not tell you â€” they are autheiitK
though. I can substantiate them.
Mr. Frear. They came to your hand so that you got either cop-
Mr. Sligh. I know they are right.
Mr. Frear. Copies of telegrams.
Mr. Sligh. All right. In my testimony this afternoon I want u>
refer to several claims that Col. Disque makes in regard to thf
Mr. Frear. The quality?
Mr. Sligh. The q^uality of spruce that was shipped.
Mr. Frear. By him ?
Mr. Sligh. Yes.
Mr. Frear. These papers you will leave with me, so 1 can t^k^
them out there?
Mr. Sligh. Yes.
Mr. Freab. And look them over at our leisure?
Mr. Slioh. Yes.
Mr. Freab. When we adjourned at lunch, as I understand, vou
suggested that there were some other matters that you wished to
can to the attention of the conunittee.
Mr. Slioh. Yes; and I was discussing at that time the introduction
by Col. Disque himself of a report that was recently
Mr. Frear. Which report ?
Mr. Slioh. Col. Steams' report.
Mr. Frear. On what ?
Mr. Slioh. Chi the operations of the Spruce Production Division.
It has been made quite recently.
Mr. Frear. Of what date, approximately ?
Mr. SuoH. Why, Mr. Scudder furnished me with a co])y. You
must have it here in your records.
Mr. Frear. Col. Steams ?
Mr. Slioh. Yes; Lieut. Col. Steams. He was an assistant
Mr. Frear. Oh, yes; he is out there now in charge ?
Mr. Slioh. Yes; and he has written several pages.
Mr. Frear. Yes; I understand.
Mr. Slioh. Purporting to be a history of their operations.
Mr. Frear. Yes, sir.
Mr. Slioh. And there was an introduction of several pages, about
14 or 15 pages of Col. DisG[ue, and these are claims which Cbl. Disque
five me and this morning which I stated were absolutelv false,
have stated â€” I think I lei t off where he claims there had tieen an
Mr. Frear. Go right on.
Mr. Slioh. As a matter of fact. Col. Disque was appointed No-
vember 8, but he did not get out there until the middle of the month,
and he had absolutely nothing to do with the operations nractically
until after the 1st of December; and during October and November
operations were under the direction of Mr. Russell Hawkins, who
had been appointed bv me with the concurrence of Col. Deeds.
Mr. Lea. 1917?
Mr. Slioh. 1917; that the production for September had only
been about 2,000,000 feet; for October, 3,554,000 feet, of airplane
spruce; for November it was 4,100,000 feet. For December prac-
tically â€” Col. Disque's operations began about the 1st of December,
because he was busy for the first two or three weeks, trying to get
oi^anized. And he states in this introduction, that under his ad-
ministration there was an immediate increase. As a matter of fact,
for the month of December it decreased about two and one-half
million feet. It was only 2,000,000 feet in January, and only
2,000,000 feet in February.
Mr. Frear. Let me ask what district did this comprise ?
Mr. Slioh. Oh, that is the entire coast.
Mr. Frear. The entire coast?
Mr. Slioh. Yes.
Mr. Frear. That will take Washington and Oregon ?
Mr. Slioh. Washington and Oregon: all the territory was imder
his â€” all the decrease you can readily confirm by the records at
606 WAR BXFEKDITURES.
Mr. Frear. Or the spruce production headquarters at Portland ?
Mr. Slioh. At Portland.
Mr. Frear. The reason I say that
Mr. Sligh. The reports were made at Washington, copies of
which I saw after I was working
Mr. Frear. All the contracts and all the other papers were tumeii
over to the Spruce Production Corporation at Portland, as T under-
stand, and there are no originals now in Washington.
Mr. Sligh. Well, weren't the records of the wood section in
Mr. Frear. I think they have all been turned over
Mr. Sligh. I turned all I had over to Maj. Leadbetter.
Mr. Frear. I think they have all been forwarded out there.
At least, we can find no oiiginals, and I sent for tJie contracts and
I was advised they were at R)rtland.
Mr. Sligh. His claim that there was an immediate increase is
absolutely false. He also claims that there was no increase on
account of soldier pay. Merrill Ring will testify, if you ask him to.
that work done through Col. Disque's department in building the
railroads was exorbitant and cost several times what it should cost.
Mr. Frear. Merrill Ring & Co. ; where are they ?
Mr. SliGh. They are large contractors out f^ere, with headquarters
in Seattle; they are one of the largest out there.
Mr. Frear. Have they advised you to that effect ?
Mr. Sligh. I had a letter from tnem. That is tlie only name that
comes to my mind at this minute, but you can get ample evidence
of that from others.
He claims on page 6 that he initiated the rived spruce. Rived
spruce is as old as uie hills. Abraham Lincoln rived spruce. Thej
were riving spruce before I was put in charge there, ana rived spnire
was being sold at that time for $250 a thousand.
Mr. Frear. Yes.
Mr. Sligh. And rived spruce, if it is cut properly, was worth that.
But Col. Disque claims in this article that he produced 10,000.000
feet which was used before other spruce was available.
Mr. Frear. Yes.
Mr. Sligh. Now, as a matter of fact, he did not produce durinf
January and February â€” December, January, Februiuy, and IfarrE
his production was only a trifle for those four months, including rived
spruce and other spruce; it was only about 10,000,000 feetÂ« U is an
He claims also on page 6 that that rived spruce only cost him $105
a thousand. And you will find plenty of men out there that will
testify to you it cost a $1,000 or more per thousand. I saw mvaelf
personally at the barracks in Vancouver
Mr. Frear. That is, under the riving process f