July 3, 1919 (13th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Samuel Hughes



I heartily endorse the line that has been laid down by the mover of this resolution. Years ago I proposed myself that some similar body should 'be formed at Ottawa, but from my experience I may add a word of caution with respect to the formation of the organization now proposed, and I will do it by giving a practical illustration. During the war it was my privilege to meet man after man who came to me with inventions, and in very many instances I sent the men over to the Mather Country to endeavour to get their ideas adopted and carried out. One of these persons, Mr. Fessenden, of Boston, is an old Canadian and a former Hamilton boy, coming from a city from which
a great many good things have come. He waited upon me with a device for detecting the presence of submarines, and submitted it for my opinion and the opinion of some of the burning and .shining lights of the department at that time. On the same occasion he also showed me how he could locate enemy batteries. I sent him over to the United Kingdom and it took him three years to get that invention adopted by Britain. Italy took the invention up and France also, but Britain delayed doing so until 1917. It was not until Lord Moulton interested himself in the matter over there that anything was done. Fessenden was treated as an outlaw, he was not allowed to experiment with his own invention in any sense whatever. In consequence of that rule, Fessenden was kept dodging around from month to month without anything being done. It was the invention of another man I sent over, viz., Ross, of Washington, which resulted in bringing down the first Zeppelin over Belgium for which the flier got the V.C. Fessenden, as I say, was not allowed to carry on his own work, but the experiments had to be handed over to so-called experts over there and nothing was done. The point I want to make is this: In addition to having a research committee opportunity should be given to a man who has ideas to come to Ottawa, or to some place in Canada, and practically work out those. ideas at the Government's cost. That, in short, is my idea.

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