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Comparative statement of United States Veterans’ Bureau activities.-Number of personnel engaged in different activities and aggregate annual
salaries close of business, December 31, 1929
413 92, 080 353 753, 040
178 517, 467 2, 609 5, 595, 234
322 642, 040 1, 981 3, 535, 080
606 1, 378, 190
5,363 7,855, 345
1 Hourly. 2 The 376 construction employees include 12 employees with annual salaries of $19,880 and 364 daily and hourly employees, estimated annual salaries not included.
The CHAIRMAN. The next meeting of the committee will be in executive session to consider the bill.
(Thereupon, at 12 o'clock noon, the committee adjourned.)
RESOLUTIONS, PETITIONS, AND LETTERS RECEIVED IN CONNECTION WITH H. R.
6141 AND PLACED ON FILE IN THE COMMITTEE RECORDS A resolution adopted by the executive committee of the American Legion for the Department of South Dakota, George D. Blewett, chairman, urging Congress to pass the necessary legislation to secure the proposed consolidation and coordination of governmental activities affecting war veterans.
A resolution adopted by Battle Mountain Post No. 71, American Legion, Hot Springs, S. Dak., Joseph L. McDonald, adjutant, favoring the principle of consolidation of all veterans' activities represented by the Veterans' Bureau, Pension Bureau, and National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers under one responsible head.
A letter from George A. Mead, commander American Legion, Belvidere, S. Dak., stating that his post has gone on record in favor of consolidation.
A letter from Fred Snook, adjutant Carroll McDonald Post, No. 246, American Legion, Wall, S. Dak., stating that that post has gone on record unanimously in favor consolidation.
A resolution adopted by Quinn Post, American Legion, J. F. Anstette, commander, Quinn, S. Dak., indorsing the consolidation of the Veterans' Bureau, Pension Bureau, and the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers with a duly appointed secretary in the President's Cabinet.
A letter from A. T. Richlin, adjutant Wheeler-Brooks Post, No. 173, American Legion, Philip, S. Dak., stating that that post has gone on record in favor of the consolidation of the Veterans' Bureau, Pension Bureau, and National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers under one head.
A letter from William Meyers, Battle Mountain Sanitarium, Hot Springs, S. Dak., indorsing consolidation of the Veterans' Bureau, Pension Bureau, and National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in one department under the jurisdiction of a secretary of soldiers' homes and hospitals.
A letter from George B. McDonald, Keota, Iowa, indorsing the bill under consideration, H. R. 6141.
A letter from William P. Simons, National Military Home, Dayton, Ohio, opposing consolidation in the Veterans' Bureau.
A letter from Joel Shoemaker, State commander for Washington, National Indian War Veterans, Seattle, asking uniformity in pension and compensation laws.
A letter from F. W. Molitor, B. Sc. and electrical engineer, Springfield, Ohio, declaring: “The Veterans' Bureau is a costly agency to promote veterans' relief and functions to the discredit of our Government amongst veterans and their friends. Some of the large veterans' organizations can not criticize the bureau without repudiating themselves.”
A letter from Christopher Kneup, State commander for Ohio, Indian War Veterans, Cincinnati, Ohio, indorsing the creation of a separate department of pensions, to include the Veterans' Bureau, Pension Bureau, and National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.
A letter from Robert Petritz, Zachary, La., indorsing the creation of a department of pensions with a secretary in the President's cabinet.
A letter from Robert Hicks, Portland, Oreg., hoping the proposed consolidation bill will meet with success.
A letter from Bertha Kline, St. Joseph, Mo., indorsing the consolidation of all pension and compensation agencies of the Government.
A letter from George H. Peiffer, Yoe, Pa., in support of the bill under consideration.
A letter from J. C. Hawk, past commander, Department of Kansas, United Spanish War Veterans, stating that nearly every member of the National Military Home, Kansas, has signed a petition protesting the intent of H. R. 6141. In à later letter Mr. Hawk states that commanders of six departments of the United
Spanish War Veterans have approved coordination in the Department of the Interior.
A letter from Louis M. Semple, National Military Home, Dayton, Ohio, protesting against the transfer of the Soldiers' Home to the Veterans' Bureau.
A letter signed by Frank Gribble, adjutant Jack Foster Camp, No. 3, United Spanish War Veterans, and A. M. Waterhouse, commander Army and Navy Union, Hot Springs, S. Dak., transmitting a petition signed by some 200 members of the Battle Mountain Sanitarium, earnestly protesting against transfer of the duties and powers of the Board of Managers of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers to the control of the Veterans' Bureau.
LETTER RESTATING STAND OF VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS
VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS,
February 4, 1930. Hon. WILLIAM WILLIAMSON, Chairman Committee on Expenditures in Executive Departments,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR MR. WILLIAMSON: It has come to my attention that there appears to be some doubt in the minds of the members of your committee as to the exact stand which the Veterans of Foreign Wars take on the present bill which you have before you for consideration, dealing with the consolidation of the Pension Bureau, National Soldiers' Home, and Veterans' Bureau into a single agency,
The Veterans of Foreign Wars are just as consistently for the original bill to-day as they ever were, and my testimony and statement before your committee still stands as the ideas of our organization.
My only reason for entering into cooperation with Colonel Means and the other legislative chairmen is, and I believe this is the expression of the other men, that we acted purely on a request from the members of your committee in drawing up a suggested bill for consolidation upon which we could all agree. Therefore, so far as the measure reported to you by Colonel Rice Means is merely an alternative. That is to say, we would desire the bill now before your committee, but if that can not be had for the present time at least we would be satisfied with the report from the various legislative chairmen submitted to you by Colonel Means, and we would like to have you bring this matter to the attention of your committee so that they might know that there is no inconsistency on our part.
On January 20 I took the liberty of communicating with Mr. Walter Newton, the President's secretary, explaining to him our views on this particular program and saying that we were somewhat taken back by the testimony of the honorable Secretary of the Interior which would tend to intimate that it was the desire to place all these agencies in the Interior Department under the Pension Bureau, rather than under a single head responsible to the President, and that we did not want to embarrass the President by addressing a letter to him direct on the subject, but that we were desirous of knowing whether there was any statement made by the President to this effect, or whether it was believed that it was the President's idea for a combination under a separate bureau responsible direct to the President.
As the result, on January 27, I received the following reply from Mr. Newton:
“MY DEAR MR. BETTELHEIM: Replying to your letter of the 20th instant, in his message to Congress in December the President requested legislation permitting the consolidation of the Veterans' Bureau, the Pension Bureau, and the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers into one organization.
“It is my understanding that he favors merging those veterans' activities into the Veterans' Bureau for the time being. Later on, and in connection with a general reorganization program which it is hoped can be worked out, the thought is to ultimately place all of these activities into a governmental department, but for the present the thought is to merge them into the Veterans' Bureau. “Sincerely yours,
“WALTER H. NEWTON,
“Secretary to the President." Yours very sincerely,
Edwin S. BETTELHEIM, Jr., Chairman
COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S REPORT ON H. R. 6141
COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES,
Washington, January 9, 1930. Hon. WILLIAM WILLIAMSON, Chairman Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Departments,
House of Representatives. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: I have your letter of December 23, 1929, forwarding copy of H. R. 6141, being a bill to authorize the President to consolidate and coordinate governmental activities affecting war veterans, and requesting this office to submit report upon its proposed provisions.
It appears that sections 1 and 3 of the bill contain substantially the same provisions as were included in H. R. 16722, Seventieth Congress, upon which this office reported to your committee under date of February 25, 1929. It is assumed, therefore, that no further report is desired by you upon such sections, nor as to section 4 of the bill, which is merely a reenactment of prior laws not in conflict with the provisions of the bill, but that your request for a report is particularly as to section 2 of the proposed bill, which deals in detail with the abolition of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers and its consolidation with
the Veterans' Bureau. Said section 2 of the proposed bill provides:
“The Director of the United States Veterans' Bureau, under the direction of the President, shall have the control, direction, and management of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, established by the act of Congress approved March 21, 1866 (14 Stats., p. 10), as amended.
"The Board of Managers of said home shall convey to the United States all real and personal propery and equipment now held and used by said corporation, such conveyance to be subject to the approval of the Attorney General and to be recorded as he may find proper. In the event of failure of the Board of Managers or its inability to convey an absolute and indefeasible title to all property of the corporation or any part thereof, it shall be the duty of the Attorney General, upon request of the President of the United States, to institute in the district court or district courts of the United States for the district or districts within which such property is located such proceedings as shall be proper to effectuate the transfer of a valid title to the United States and to extinguish all outstanding adverse interests. The appropriations made for the acquisition of additional hospital, domiciliary, and out-patient dispensary facilities for persons entitled to hospitalization under the World War veterans' act, 1924, as amended, are hereby made available for the payment of compensation awarded in satisfaction of any adverse title to the property of the corporation acquired by the United States under the provisions of this act.
"The personnel now on duty at the various branches of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers shall be transferred to and given appointment in the United States Veterans' Bureau, subject to such change in designation and organization as the director of the bureau may deem necessary, and thereupon both the Board of Managers and the corporation shall cease to exist.
"The Director of the United States Veterans' Bureau shall be vested with all of the functions, powers, and privileges heretofore conferred by law on the Board of Managers of said home and shall be charged with all administrative duties relating to the home and now imposed on the Secretary of War by the act of August 18, 1894 (28 Stats., p. 412; secs. 84 and 94, title 24, U. S. Code;) act of March 3, 1893 (27 Stats., p. 653; sec. 118, title 24, U. S. Code); act of March 3, 1875 (18 Stats., p. 359; sec. 122, title 24, U. S. Code); and the act of October 2, 1888 (25 Stats., p. 543; sec. 719, title 31, United States Code). Section 4835 of the Revised Statutes is hereby repealed.
“All contracts and other valid and subsisting obligations of the corporation shall continue and be and become obligations of the United States, and the United States shall be considered as substituted for the corporation with respect to all such demands either by or against the corporation, unless and until they shall thereafter be superseded or discharged according to law. The outstanding obligations assumed by the United States by virtue of the provisions of this paragraph may be enforced in the Court of Claims or in the district courts of the United States according to the ordinary provisions of law governing actions against the United States, and such courts shall have the power to enter judgment against the United States, with interest, in the same manner and to the same extent that the corporation may now be sued. No such suit shall be maintained upon any cause of action existing at the time of the dissolution of the corporation or arising simultaneously therewith, unless brought within one year from the time of such dissolution.”
Paragraph 1 of section 2 actually transfers the control, direction, and manage: ment of the National Home for Disabled Soldiers to the Veterans' Bureau and thus apparently goes further than the title and section 1 of the bill which give the President authority to consolidate and coordinate Government activities affecting war veterans, but if it is the intent of the bill as shown by paragraphs 3 and 4 of section 2 to abolish the Board of Managers and the corporation, I believe section 2 in that respect properly takes care of the matter.
As to the second paragraph, coupled with paragraph 5 thereof, there would appear to be ample provision made for the protection of the rights of communities and private individuals under the fifth amendment of the Constitution. A question arises, however, in connection with the jurisdiction of the State over such property. Attention in that connection is invited to the provisions of the acts of March 3, 1902 (31 Stat. 1175), and January 21, 1871 (16 Stat. 399), cited in my letter to you of February 25, 1929, in which the land was either ceded to the State or the Federal Government disclaims jurisdiction over places purchased and used for the location for the branches of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.
The present accepted rule of law is that when the United States merely buys land within a State for its use, or when the land is ceded for such purpose, the jurisdiction of the State wherein the land lies remains the same as before, just as if any other owner had acquired the land with the qualification that the State can not interfer with the full, free, and complete use for which the land was acquired or in any way embarrass that use. Divine v. Unaka National Bank (39 L. R. A. (N. S.) 586 (146 S. W. 747)); Fort Leavenworth Railway Co. v. Lowe (114 U. S. 525); Ohio v. Thomas (173 U. S. 276).
This feature is mentioned for such use as it may serve your committee. If it is intended that the jurisdiction of the State should continue as at present in cases where the jurisdiction is now exercised there would appear to be no need to refer to the matter in the bill. On the other hand, if it is thought that the Federal Government should have exclusive jurisdiction over places occupied by the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers after they are taken over by the United States Veterans' Bureau, it would seem necessary to include adequate language in the bill for the purpose. In cases in which the land has been ceded to the State, it may be found necessary for the State legislature to cede it back to the Federal Government.
As to the last citation in paragraph 4 of section 2, viz., 4835, Revised Statutes, it is not clear whether that section or section 4825 is intended. Section 4835 deals with the inmates of the home being subject to the Rules and Articles of War, while the remainder of the paragraph has reference to the transfer to the Veterans' Bureau of the functions, powers, and privileges heretofore conferred by law on the Board of Managers of said home. Section 4825 would fit in more closely with the description and hence the query whether that section was in fact intended.
As to your statement that the committee would be pleased to hear me personally or anyone I may designate, when hearings may be had on the bill, I do not believe that as the matter is now presented by you oral hearings by this office will be necessary, but if you think it advisable or desirable and will communicate with me further with respect thereto, I shall be pleased to designate a representative of this office to be heard at the hearings of your committee upon the proposed bill. Sincerely yours,
J. R. McCARL, Comptroller General of the United States.
WAR DEPARTMENT REPORT ON H. R. 6141
Washington, D. C., January 8, 1930. Hon. WILLIAM WILLIAMSON, Chairman Committee on Expenditures in the
Executive Departments, House of Representatives. DEAR MR. WILLIAMSON: Careful consideration has been given to the bill (H. R. 6141) to authorize the President to consolidate and coordinate governmental activities affecting war veterans, which you transmitted to the War Department by letter of December 23, 1929, with a request for a report thereon.
It is noted that the committee has for its information the report submitted on H. R. 16722, Seventieth Congress, by Hon. Dwight F. Davis, former Secretary of War, under date of February 13, 1929. In that report certain features