ONLY a small percentage of our population fully appreciate the importance of an adequate number of American- flag ships to carry our foreign commerce and to serve as a naval auxiliary in times of national emergency.
It might be of interest to know that in 1830, American ships engaged in American foreign trade carried almost ninety per cent of our commerce which declined until 1910 when it was less than nine per cent. In 1920 we increased the carriage in American ships to almost forty-three per cent. In 1924 it dropped again to slightly over thirty- six per cent; in 1925 it was just above thirty-four per cent, and in 1926 approximately thirty-two per cent. At this rate, within sixteen years our flag will disappear from the seas.
The high percentage we carried in 1920 was due principally to the fact that competitor nations had not fully recovered from the effects of the World War and we, having a war-built fleet available, were able to transport almost forty-three per cent in American-flag ships.