Page 124 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 14 - 18
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18264. You told me they had a controlling interest? - Yes, there is a controlling interest in the Leyland Line. The Attorney-General: In the Leyland Line it is only a controlling interest, as I understand. The Commissioner: That is to say, they hold the majority of the shares. 18265. (The Attorney-General.) That is it, my Lord. (To the Witness.) Does the tonnage of these vessels owned or controlled by the American Trust in the way you have described represent about a million tons altogether? - I think it is rather less than a million tons, but very nearly a million tons. 18266. In round figures it is a million tons? - Yes, in round figures it is a million tons. 18267. But the White Star Line and these other vessels which are owned originally by British companies still run under the British flag, do they not? - Yes. The Commissioner: They are registered, I suppose? The Attorney-General: They are registered as belonging to the English company. The only point of that is, that it is not the Company but the shares of the Company that are held by the Trust. The Commissioner: Although these ships, including the “Titanic,” are registered under the British flag, they are in fact American property? The Witness: A certain amount of the stock in the International Maritime Company is held in this country, but to what extent I have not the slightest idea. 18268. But the American company, as I understand, is an American company constituted according to the laws of America. The Attorney-General: Your Lordship is perfectly right in the questions you have put, with this qualification, that a number of the shares in the American company are held by persons in this country who I suppose were the original owners of shares in the various English companies. The Witness: Very likely so. 18269. (The Commissioner.) Some of the shares may be owned by Frenchmen, I suppose? - Certainly. 18270. I should like you to tell me what is the object of an American company managing its affairs through the English Laws affecting English companies; why do they do it? - I am afraid I cannot answer that question, my Lord. 18271. I should think you ought to know. You know that in substance the “Titanic” was an American-owned ship? - That is true. 18272. In substance, and I want to know why an American company should manage its ships, or why it registers its ships under English management or under the English flag? - Those ships could not be registered under the American flag. 18273. Why not? - Because the ships are built, I suppose, in this country. 18274. Then according to the laws of America can no ship that is not American-built be registered there? - No; you cannot register a foreign ship; you cannot get the American flag for a foreign-built ship. She must be built in the country. 18275. Now, will you tell me where the business of this American company is transacted; is it in New York, or in London, or Liverpool, or in Southampton? - I am president of the American company, and it is worked in Liverpool; we have a committee in London, a British committee. 18276. And there are no American gentlemen on the Board? - In America, yes; there is a Board of Directors in America. The Chairman of the Board of Directors is an American, and there are a great many Americans on the Board, and English people. 18277. (The Attorney-General.) I suppose it works out in this way, that the shares are held by the English company, and the ship is registered in consequence as a British ship? - Yes. 18278. Then the shares in the company which owns the ship are the shares which are held by the American Trust? - That is true.
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