The Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - January 29, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
M, 1t74 THI LITHMMOOI HUUU) I Metcalfs revealing ownership report By Anthony Sampson, London Observer commentator WASHINGTON-Who owns America? The old populist question nowadays refers less to the land and visible property of the United States than to the ownership of in the giant industrial corporations; and since the beginning of the century, when they were dominated by the "malefactors of great wealth" led by John D. Rockefeller of Standard Oil the answer to the question has been less obviously spectacular For many of the shares in the major corporations are owned by anonymous looking insurance companies, pension funds and banks representing thousands of smaller investors. The question of ownership, many economists insist, has become much less relevant in the face of strong managements and fragmented shareholders. Yet the question still lingers, for however anonymous the shareholdings, there must be distinct individuals deciding where to invest. The difficulty for outsiders has been to make any sense of the names that appear on the lists of shareholders. Last year two senators, heading two sub-committees of the Senate's committee on government operations, decided it was important to find out more about corporate ownership. Both of them are eccentric but outspoken men: Lee Metcalf of Montana and Edmund Muskie of Maine. Metcalf began Ms inquiry in the simplest possible way: he simply wrote to the heads of the 324 largest corporations in America, asking for the list of their 30 biggest stockholders and the size of their holdings. Most of them declined, for reasons of confidentiality, but 89 of them did provide the facts asked for. Even those replies did not, at first sight, appear very promising, for the 30 biggest shareholders consisted mostly of nominees or street names, which mean nothing to laymen, bleak little names like Cudd and Co., Pace and Co., Carson and Co., and most often of all, Cede and Co., all of them concealing somebody else. Senator Metcalfs staff, however, soon burrowed further, and sought out the key in a publication called the Nominee List, published by the American Society of Corporate Secretaries. The list reveals that Cudd and Co. means the Chase Manhattan Bank. Pace and Co. means the Mellon National Bank, Carson and Co. means the Morgan Guaranty Trust. As for the omnipresent Cede and Co. (pronounced it is the nominee for the New York Stock Exchange, thus concealing a mass of brokerage firms which use its convenient alias. The fact that the big banks thus disguised their holdings constituted, as the senators complained, "a massive cover-up of the extent to which holdings of stock have become concentrated in the hands of very few institutional investors, especially And even though only a quar- ter of the companies had replied to Senator Metcalf, there was enough evidence from the replies to show that a few big banks owned much bigger chunks than had hitherto been supposed. The results were published this month in a hefty 400-page volume of tables and statistics, interspersed with analysis and outspoken criticism. The tables showed a recurring pattern through most of the companies; the principal shareholders being five New York banks, and one Boston one. Again and again the same .banks the Chase Manhattan, Morgan Guaranty and First National City emerged as the top shareholders, together with the ubiquitous anonymous Cede and Co. Most striking of all is the ownership of two of the three TV networks. The biggest, CBS, has 38 per cent of its shares owned by 11 banks, led by the Chase Manhattan, with 14 per cent, and the third biggest, ABC, has 34 per cent of its shares owned by eight banks, led by Bankers Trust (11 per cent) and Chase Manhattan (seven per The disclosure of the very similar ownership of these rival broadcasters has a special relevance, for the control of TV companies is supposed to be carefully inspected and regulated by a government agency, the Federal Communications Commission. The individual share- holdings may not seem spectacular to the outsider, but with large numbers of small shareholders, a five per cent holding can carry a decision on the board. Congress usually regards 10 per cent as constituting control and according to a 1968 Congress report on commercial banks, "even one or two per cent of stock in a publicly held corporation can gain tremendous influence over a company's policies and operations." Throughout the big industrial companies, it is the New York banks that recur most often and one bank in particular the Chase Manhattan. Its shareholdings among the 89 companies which replied to Senator Metcalf include 10.5 per cent of the biggest supermarket chain, Safeway, nine per cent of American Airlines, eight per cent of United Airlines and National Airlines; seven cent of Northwest Airlines; nine per cent of the conglomerate Litton Industries; and between six and eight per cent of four railroad companies. The extensive holdings in companies were matched by suitable interlocking directorships: thus the board of the Chase Manhattan includes the chairman of Atlantic Richfield (of which Chase owns 4.5 per who is also a director of CBS (of which Chase owns 14 per And who controls this master-bank? Among the many shareholders of Chase Manhattan there is only one individual with as much as a one per cent holding: David Rockefeller, himself the chairman of the bank and the grandson of the original Rockefeller of Standard Oil. Thus in the middle of this corporate maze, we are back to the old dominating family. It would be a mistake to imagine Rockefeller, or other banks' boards, intervening crudely with companies where it has a big stake, like ABC or CBS, to enforce their viewpoints. Much of the banks' investment is in the form of trusts and the banks know that they cannot throw their weight about without inviting political trouble; indeed, many big investors profess their determination not to get mixed up in management. Yet the great concentration of ownershio by a very few banks, however aloof they may remain, cannot but influence the atmosphere of investment. In particular, there are accusations, brought out in Senator Metcalfs report, that the banks encourage a "two-tier that is, they constantly over-value the shares of the giant corporations, and undervalue the smaller ones causing among other things the smaller companies to become easy targets for take-over by bigger ones particularly (they complain) by overseas companies. A wider charge is that this small group of big investors has a quite disproportionate influence on decisions which effect public policy including a whole range of foreign policy decisions oil companies dealing.with Middle East government, milling companies dealing with the Soviet Union, or utilities providing public Book review service. In such decisions, it is argued by their Congressional critics, the big banks can provide a climate and a framework which reflects the interests of only a tiny and narrow community. Senator Metcalfs reports makes it clear that this is only the beginning of their investigation, and that it will be followed by further ques- tions, and by public hearings. The committee is in a strong position to insist on proper answers for many of the giant companies are, ostensibly at least, under the surveillance of one of the regulating agencies the Federal Communications Commis- sion, the Federal Power Commission, the Civil Aeronautics Board, etc. which are empowered, and supposed to obtain full details of their ownership. How far Metcalf and his committee will succeed in uncovering the fuller facts about corporate ownership will depend greatly on the political climate. But in the current mood of scepticism about the social role of the giant companies particularly the oil companies it seems likely that the old question of who owns America will again stir up some political support. Painter loved birds "Birds of FIJI to Color" by W. J. Belcher, with or- nithological notes by R. B. Sibson (Collins, Bird painters are a natural outcome of ornithological study, but it is unusual for one man a bulldozer operator all week who confined his painting to weekends to make such an impression in one country as W. J. Belcher has done in Fiji. Few bird painters have lived in Fiji and studied its avifauna for as many years as he did. He portrayed the species ly from long and patient observation. He really loved the birds and the country. Belcher, largely self-taught as a painter and ornithologist, was persuaded by eminent or- WHEN IS MAX GOING TO HAVE A BABY? The vet announces that Max, the cat, really is a Maxine and that soon the patter of little paws will be heard around your house. When? Look in The World Almanac! It tells you the gestation period for a cat is 63 days. The 1974 World Almanac tells you many other useful facts about ani- mals, as well as about history, geography, space, government, sports, per- sonalities, the world a million facts on hundreds of subjects packed into larger pages with easier-to-read type. Also contains full-color indexed maps and flags of the world. Every home, office and classroom should have the completely revised and up-to-date 1974 edition of The World Almanac and Book of Facts. Wait to know something? Read TheWortd Almanac. Clip and mail this handy order form for (or your copy ot The World Almanac Please mail--------copies of The World Almanac I am enclosing 2 25 plus for handling and mailing charges dor each copy NAME__________________________ ADDRESS CITY STATE ZIP QA OjC Now on JQ'e bookstores, newsstands, supermarket, drug stores and our service counter. Use coupon and add 35 cenfj pos- tage and handling to order by mail. If you prefer to cick up your copy The World Almanac is available at The Lethbridge Herald Business Office for 2.25 per copy Mail to The Lethbridge Herald, P.O. Box 670, Lethbridge. The Lethbridge Herald the South" nithologist Dr. Casey Wood to accompany him on an expedi- tion collecting birds. It was then he began study- ihg and painting birds seriously; sometimes in the bush and at other times cap- tive such as the Peregrin falcon he saw at Namosi. Not content with simply painting, he examined crop contents and demanded a locality description for any bird brought to him. Later he might make a field trip to the spot to look for a mate of the specimen and to record details of the forest cover it was found in. His coverage of the Fiji species is fairly complete and demonstrates his persistence in tracking down the quarry in a number of islands of the Fiji group. During the period of 1928-31 Belcher painted IS bird studies but this was also a period of intense activity in painting Fiji orchids, a collec- tion also held by the Fiji museum. Included in the book are 24 colored reproductions of Fi- jian birds including the reef heron, grey hoshawk, Pacific golden plover, velvet dove, Peale's pigeon, collared lory and many others, listed with their accompanying Fijian names. Bird lovers will prize this beautiful book of exotic South Sea island birds. CHRIS STEWART Books in brief "A Gift For the Children" by Pearl S. Buck (John Day, distributed by Longman Canada Limited, 152 One of Pearl Buck's last projects before her death was the choosing of the stories she wished to have included in her anthology for children. Pearl Buck loved young people (in addition to raising her own family she adopted seven other children) and the stories included in this lovely book in- dicate how well she under- stood them. There are 15 stories, some suitable for very young children and others for older ones. All are good for reading aloud in the family. Illustrations are done by Elaine Scull. The hard cover is particularly pleasing with a velvety finish that speaks of the warmth to be found inside the pages ELSPETH WALKER "The Devil-in the Tower" by Johan Fabricius (Longman Canada Limited, 137 pages, When the devil tries to cap- ture extra souls for his collec- tion he finds the task very frustrating. His victims, be they simple, stupid, or vain, are too clever for Beelzebub. Some, like Boukie the postman who wins a big lottery prize or Holger the shepherd boy are too good to be trapped by the devil. Others, like Smoelie the tailor or Harold the actor can beat the devil at his own game. These seven tales by Dutch author Johan Fabricius are il- lustrated with great skill by Adrie Hospes. Recommended for good readers in higher elementary grades. TERRY MORRIS Pointing a finger at vice By Eva Brewiter, free-lance writer Festive decorations in most homes have long been taken down and stored for next year's celebrations. It is perhaps not premature therefore, to also strip the glitter off some pretences in our oh so virtuous society and start an already slightly tarnished New Year in the way we mean to carry on, hopefully, with less hypocrisy and more honesty. All right, I admit to being angry because 1 have just been asked to give my opinion of one of the best selling Christmas presents of 1973. The record that sold like hotcakes in Lethbridge was entitled "Xaviera" and maybe that should have been sufficient warning. However, if one is given a record to review, it would not, I believe, occur to the most suspicious mind to doubt the efficiency of our vice squads and obscenity laws, especially if a record is not only openly on sale but largely advertised on the walls of reputable music stores. It certainly did not occur to us that it would contain anything worse than the television show Under Attack where Xaviera Hollander, the happy hooker, was interviewed by university students in front of a nationwide audience. If anything, that had proved only two things: firstly that the majority of our young are basically innocent and have a healthy contempt for smut and perversion; and secondly, that even prostitutes can be well-educated, witty and, on occasion compassionate, whatever their hang-ups or character faults. That record, however, was something else again and as far as I am concerned, destroyed any solidarity with those who, on principle, are against any form of censorship. Whatever consenting adults, be they heterosexual, lesbians, or homosexual, do within the privacy of their four walls, may be their own affair but when it comes to recorded perversion, one must surely draw a line somewhere. It may provide an illuminating insight into the sickness of our society that this record was not as might be expected bought by curious adolescents and our so widely maligned teen-agers but by the middle-aged pillars of our upper class, who could apparently afford the nearly for a truly revolting perversity while they were unable to pay a few dollars for the United Way campaign or for their Tuberculosis Society's Christmas seals. Some, I found out on investigation and am sorry to say, were the staid fathers of young families who would never miss church on a Sunday. I would not recommend anybody to listen to that sickening performance. We switched off as soon as we realized what it was all about, but it would not surprise me in the least if this article promoted further sales unless the authorities do something about it. What does surprise me is the large number of still decent young people in the midst of such hypocrisy and debauchery. I am beginning to wonder if law enforcement might not better eradicate crimes among youthful offenders if it first dealt with vice among the older generation. As long as the latter continues, there will be disillusioned youngsters being punished for kicks their elders seem to be getting away with. While it must be realized that there will be prositiution as long as there are men willing to pay for it and while it is deeply regrettable that women will allow themselves to be so degraded, there is no denying that prostitution and drugs are closely linked. It has been stated by experts that the underworld control and combine both to infiltrate and, indirectly, debase and destroy society. Presuming these crime investigators and statistics are correct, would it not be possible to stamp out or at least reduce both by pointing a finger at those adults promoting such vices while hiding behind respectability and big business, before dragging the names of their young victims through the courts and so ruining many young lives before they have begun? REPORT TO READERS DOUG WALKER Variety of editorial comment In 1973 the New York Times commentators became, for the first time, one of the dominant elements in the composition of The Herald's editorial page. What is most surprising about the use of the Times material is that although it stood second to FP publications, so little, relatively speaking, was used. Two pieces of commentary come every day and we printed only roughly about one quarter of them. The six regular commentators (Reston, Sulzberger, Safire, Lewis, Wicker and Baker) are top-notch writers who have the advantage of having their material go over the wire rather than be delayed in the mail. It is tempting to use these columns exclusively because they are so well and so compactly written. A curious and quite unplanned pattern of choosing resulted in five of the commentators being used almost equally. Tom Wicker, for some reason, was chosen only half as often as the others. One of the consequences of the immediacy of the wire service of the New York Times was that the syndicated columnists Joseph Kraft and Carl Rowen were used only half as often as in the previous year. Both these men are excellent writers but their copy comes by air mail from Chicago and can't compete with the timeliness of the wire copy. Sometimes I read Kraft's column in the Paris International Herald Tribune before the mailed copy reaches my desk from Chicago. Kraft does a lot of travelling so his comment on international affairs sometimes can take precedence over the Times writers (except for Sulzberger who is always on the Rowan has his own unique observations to make about American life that cannot be ignored. Columns by FP writers dropped considerably in 1973 mainly because of a snafu in our system. This material has also been coming over the wire, supposedly during a two-hour lease period. Repeatedly we received only partial columns of none at all and all efforts to solve the mystery were unavailing until recently. The problem has now been overcome. By dint of clipping columns out of other FP papers I managed to use almost as many of Maurice Western's and Bruce Hutchison's columns as in previous years even though they were often a bit late in appearing. Another reason for a drop in the number of FP columns used is that our London writer, Dave Humphreys, returned to Canada and wasn't immediately replaced. Part way through the year Peter Desbarats, columnist for the Toronto Star, went to a new job and wasn't replaced until late in 1973. His place has now been taken by Richard Gwyn who writes vigorous and interesting pieces on Canadian politics. Anthony Westell, another Star commentator, appeared a few more times than in the previous year. Two other Canadian commentators were used fairly frequently. Both of them write on economic issues. I started to use Bruce Whitestone occasionally in 1972 but Dian Cohen, our only regular female commentator, didn't begin to appear on our pages until last year. Both these writers are known to Canadians through television appearances. Then there are three other Canadian writers who have special slots on the editorial page. Dr. Frank Morley, minister of the Presbyterian church in White Rock, B.C., writes the weekend meditation and the Voice of One columns every week. Norman Smith, retired editor of the Ottawa Journal, makes an appearance about every third week under the heading of Saturday Talk. And Eric Nicol's humorous column from Vancouver gets in a little better than once a week. In 1973 the distinguished editor of Saturday Norman Cousins, began writing a syndicated weekly column which was used about half the time. Art Buchwald, who has had a field day with Watergate, continues to get into the page with about the same frequency as Eric Nicol. Fans of Nicol and Buchwald may regret that there is space for only about a third of their output but they are compensated by getting their best (even the great writers have off Another source of editorial comment began to be used occasionally in 1973. This is the material that comes in the Christian Science Monitor service. The flow of this commentary to my desk hasn't been regular and because it comes by slow mail it usually can't compete with the more current stuff from elsewhere. Harsch makes some wise observations about world events and could appear with greater frequency this year. The London Observer writers provide an opportunity to balance off the focus on the Canadian and U S. scene. Their columns come from all over the world. In 1973 I used about 100 pieces by 45 different writers. Year after year the same familiar names appear: Neilson, Huntford, Foley, Legum, Beloff, Wilde, Uys, Murarka, Bloodworth, Frankland and Toynbee. Few newspapers, even among much larger ones, provide readers with as wide a variety of commentary as The Lethbridge Herald. I hope readers appreciate our editor's concern for producing a quality paper as reflected in allowing me so much good material from which to choose the content of our editorial pages. A happy people By DOUR Walker Christians are supposed to be a happy peo- ple but the peals of laughter that rang through Assumption Roman Catholic Church on the night of the annual ecumenical service shared in by the parishioners of Assumption and McKilktp United Church must be precedented in church history. Following the Netting the assembled peo- ple sang some verses of a hymn which were on a mimeofraphed order of service. Three verses were compkttd and then tome people started a fourth which taraad out to be the in- vitation to gather in the parish hall for refreshments. Ordinarily people suffer their em- barrassments in silence but the enormity of the goof on this occasion overwhelmed everybody with the result that there was a spontaneous outburst of laughter by singers and non-singers alike. The unresolved question that emerges is whether that fourth verse is peculiar to tha Roman Catholics or the Protestants.