United States Senate Inquiry

Day 9

Testimony of Philip Franklin, recalled

12069. Mr. Franklin, I was somewhat persistent in my inquiries from you yesterday as to the time when you received the first information regarding the collision between the Titanic, of your line, and the iceberg.
- Quite right, sir.

12070. You have been kind enough to file with me telegrams, wireless, cable, and otherwise, between your offices in England and the officers of your ships, and their communications with you.

As we figured out yesterday, your first authentic information came in answer to a telephone message from you to your office in Montreal about 2.30 Monday morning?
- Of course, as I have said before, Senator Smith, we considered that our first really authentic information came from Capt. Haddock. Our telephone message to Montreal was to ask Montreal could confirm this rumor. Our Montreal representative replied about an hour later saying that he had confirmation of the rumor in Montreal.

12071. That comes back to my information from the Virginian?
- The information in Montreal was reported to have come from the steamship Virginian.

12072. And your first authentic information, or official information, was received from the Montreal office about 2.30 Monday morning?
- If you consider that the official information. My statement has always been; and my feeling has always been, that the first authentic information was the information which we received from Capt. Haddock. My recollection is that the reply of our Montreal representative was to the effect that that rumor was also in Montreal.

12073. I read yesterday a quotation from a Montreal paper, published Monday morning following the catastrophe, giving substantially the same information that you had from Montreal?
- Quite right, sir; the same information we had from the newspapers and the Associated Press prior to calling up Montreal. Also, when we got to the office we found that there again.

12074. Which was confirmed by the Montreal communication?
- The Montreal office advised that they had similar information there.

12075. Your information from Capt. Haddock, of the Olympic, was received between 5 and 6 o'clock on Monday morning?
- I have given that telegram.

12076. I have it accurately; I do not care to have you guess at it. Have you the message?
- My recollection is the first message we got from Capt. Haddock was about 9 o'clock, or between 9 and 10.

12077. Was not that because it was not delivered?
- No. sir; I do not think so, because prior to that time we sent word to all telegraph offices. I would like to fix the message - that is, the message from Capt. Haddock that said he was 310 miles -

12078. From the Titanic?
- Yes; from the Titanic.

12079. As far as you can find out, the information you received through your Montreal office at half-past 2 Monday was accurate?
- It was marvelously correct, as it turned out. But remember, we had that information from the Associated Press before that.

12080. You had rumors, as you described?
- The same thing as Montreal.

12081. Not exactly, because that came through your office, and the Virginian is owned in Montreal?
- Owned by the Allen's, living in Montreal, or some of them living in Montreal.

12082. So, really, that was more authentic than the rumors you speak of?
- It seemed so to us, as it was nearer the source of information than anything else. That is the way I put it.

12083. That is the reason you went to that source?
- That is the reason we went there.

12084. I was quite persistent, and I do not desire to be impertinent at all, and I am sure you will acquit me of that.
- Correct, sir.

12085. But that I may not overlook any important reason for the information you received at 2 a. m., Monday not becoming public through any announcement of the White Star Line, and, in view of the fact that I hold in my hand a telegram signed "White Star Line," which you have previously seen, dated at 8.27 p. m., Monday, April 15, in which some member of the White Star Line says:

Titanic proceeding to Halifax. Passengers will probably land there Wednesday. All safe.

(Signed.) WHITE STAR LINE.

And in view of the fact that that some information was given out here by your agents to people who made inquiries for families and friends on Monday. I am prompted to ask a very direct question.

Between the time that you received this information from Montreal and the time you made public the information which you received from Montreal, did your company reinsure the Titanic or its cargo anywhere?
- Absolutely, no.

12086. Did you make any endeavor to reinsure with the Lloyd's in England?
- None whatever.

12087. Are you speaking now for all the officers of your company, here and abroad?
- I say this, that our insurance is handled in our New York office, and I am sure that nobody would have taken any action regarding it, or have done anything in connection with it, for account of our company or anybody connected with the company in any way, without first having taken it up with me.

12088. You had already advised your Liverpool office, in a message which they received at 10 o'clock Monday morning, of the loss of the Titanic?
- I sent a message, and the memorandum on the message shows it went about 6 o'clock, as I remember it.

12089. In the morning?
- In the morning.

12090. Monday?
- They would receive that message five hours later, their time, barring the amount of time it would take to get the message through, depending upon the condition of the wires. That message you have already seen.

12091. I have it here.
- That clearly states that it was newspaper rumor. It does not say anything else. I will read it off to you if you want me to.

12092. Have you a copy of it there?
- I have.

Newspaper wireless reports -

12093. It is addressed how?
- To Liverpool. You have the original there, Senator. This only says, "To Liverpool," on the sheet I have.

Newspaper wireless reports advise Titanic collision iceberg 41 46' north, 50 14' west. Women being put lifeboats. Steamer Virginian expects reach Titanic 10 a. m. Monday. Olympic and Baltic both proceeding Titanic. We have no direct information.

I might say that through the entire day we told the newspaper representatives, who were there all the time - we got our first information from the newspapers, and we told the newspapers all the time - that our only authentic information was coming from Capt. Haddock and we were giving them that.

12094. If your officials in Liverpool or London, or any place else, had reinsured your cargo would you have known it?
- I would certainly have had the advice. But there was nobody in England who was in any way connected with the insurance department and nobody there who would have taken any action in connection with insurance matters. I might say we carry no insurance on the cargo, Senator.

12095. None at all?
- We only insure the freight money; the insurance is not on the cargo itself, but on the freight money.

12096. This ship was insured for $4,000,000?
- This ship was insured with outside underwriters for $5,000,000, in round figures. It was, in pounds, about a million pounds. The company carried the remainder, up to about $600,000 - between $500,000 and $600,000. That is, our insurance fund carried the remainder.

12097. I asked you yesterday if I had all telegrams and cable messages and wireless messages between yourself and other officers or directors of the company?
- To the best of my knowledge.

12098. Either on shipboard or in any other part of the world?
- To the best of my knowledge and belief, you have everything.

12099. Regarding this accident?
- Yes, sir.

12100. On the succeeding days?
- Yes, sir; and on subsequent days.

Senator Smith:
That is it.

(Witness excused.)