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of the prior bill, which are also present in H. R. 6141 and which affect the War Department, are commented upon.

Expressed briefly, it is believed the present bill, although not specifically providing therefor, would authorize the transfer of individual military records, the United States Soldiers' Home, and possibly certain Army hospitals, to the Veterans' Bureau. The disavantage of such transfers from the standpoint of the War Department have been expressed fully in the previous report mentioned above

In so far as the bill affects the War Department, practically all pertinent information at the disposal of the department has been embodied in the abovementioned report. Should you desire that the subjects be elaborated upon, I should be very glad to designate representatives to cover any questionable phases. Sincerely yours,

PATRICK J. HURLEY,

Secretary of War.

REPORT OF HON. Dwight F. DAVIS, SECRETARY OF WAR ON H. R. 16722, AFFIRMED BY HON. PATRICK J. HURLEY IN CONNECTION WITH H. R. 6141

WAR DEPARTMENT,

Washington, February 13, 1929. Hon. WILLIAM WILLIAMSON, Chairman Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Departments,

House of Representatives. DEAR MR. WILLIAMSON: Receipt is acknowledged of your recent letter requesting report on H. R. 16722, to "authorize the President to consolidate and coordinate governmental activities affecting war veterans."

The language of the bill, taken in connection with its title, seems to be sufficiently broad to include the transfer to the Veterans' Bureau of all military and medical records pertaining to individuals out of service, the control by it of military hospitals in which veterans are being treated, and the government by that bureau of the United States Soldiers' Home.

If it is the intention to include military and medical records of the War Department among those to be transferred to the proposed United States Veterans' Bureau, it is believed that a most serious error is being made and that the secondary instead of the prime use of the records would be served thereby.

Only two reasons can be considered as justifying the transfer of the military recores from this department of the United States Veterans' Bureau—(1) present unsatisfactory service resulting in hardship to the veterans that would be corrected by such transfer and (2) less economical administration under existing method than would follow such transfer.

Regarding the first reason, it can be said that reports from this department to the Veterans’ Bureau have been prompt and no unnecessary hardship has accrued to the veterans through delay in furnishing reports from the records of this department. On the contrary, the Director of the Veterans' Bureau has commenced this department on its prompt and satisfactory service.

The economical result of handling veterans' cases with all the military records in a Veterans' Bureau is doubtful when it is considered that the interpretation of those records and frequently necessary amendment of them are dependent upon military contact and a knowledge of the conditions under which the records were made. There can be no question as to the added cost that would result in handling all matters not veteran relief. All such cases would then be sent to the Veterans' Bureau for report, causing delay and additional expense in the Army administration. Such questions as appointment or reappointment of reserve officers, authority for former enlisted men to reenter service, badge and medal determinations, character of discharge, removal of charge of desertion under the law, and many other military questions constantly arising could not be settled within this department as at present, but would all go to the Veterans' Bureau for report, causing delay and additional expense. Even conceding that ultimately it might be less expensive to handle the record work connected with veterans' cases, if the military records could be so separated and transferred to the Veterans' Bureau that that work might be handled there exclusively, it is believed that the extra cost of disposing of the numerous other classes of work dependent upon those records would make the aggregate cost, as compared with the present cost, much greater.

In addition to the expense involved in attempting to make a separation of records, which would entail considerable expert study, expense and labor, it would be impossible to separate all of the records pertaining to individuals because some relate to men in service as well

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individual claim. The confusion resulting from splitting the military records into two parts would necessitate the sending of every inquiry regarding a soldier whose entire record is not found in one department or bureau to the other department or bureau, whereas now any inquiry pertaining to the military records is disposed of in one place. Furthermore, because of the condition pertaining to the military records, it could never be assumed by the Veterans' Bureau, if it had possession of the individual military records, that all data essential to the proper adjudication of any case are in its custody, and, consequently, most if not all of the claims received in the Veterans' Bureau would be sent to the War Department for record information. The net result would be a costly division of responsibility instead of an economical concentrated responsibility and effort.

It would be impossible for the War Department to function properly in any emergency which necessitated calling into service a large force without the records of former officers and enlisted men. The selection and assignment of officers and enlisted men is predicated to a large extent upon their former records, and delay or confusion, or both, would occur in the formation of the military forces if the basic records were in the possession of an agency other than the War Department.

In view of the above, it is recommended that the bill be amended by inserting after the word “records,” in line 2, page 2, the words "excepting the military (and naval?) records of the War (and Navy?) Departments.

Under the provisions of the bill the United States Soldiers' Home might also be included in the proposed Veterans' Bureau.

In 1924 the proposal to include the United States Soldiers' Home is a new executive department was reported on by the joint committee or reorganization as follows:

“By some it has been argued that these establishments should be included in any department of the kind recommended by the committee. But the reasons commonly advanced are largely theoretical, and, in the judgment of the committee, should not prevail against the practical consideration that all these agencies are being satisfactorily administered under their present auspices.

"The Soldiers' Home does not, practically speaking, overlap the field of the Veterans' Bureau or the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, since, for the most part, it undertakes to provide asylum only for disabled or superannuated veterans of the Regular Army, as distinguished from the much larger class of war veterans, composed chiefly of volunteeers or drafted men."

The United States Soldiers' Home was built and has been maintained by the enlisted men of the Regular Army. These soldiers regard it as their home and take a pride in it accordingly. It would be a mistake to disregard this feeling by taking the home from them and turning it over to an organization which might not be as sympathetic as the War Department has been in its treatment of these old soldiers. For these reasons it is recommended that the bill be amended to make it clear that the United States Soldiers' Home is not to be included in the reorganization proposed.

This bill (H. R. 16722) would go much further with regard to hospitals than the act of March 3, 1920 (43 Stat. L. 1212), which authorizes the President to transfer Army hospitals to the Veterans' Bureau, in that the former would probably permit of the transfer of Army personnel and "the whole or any part of the records and public property belonging thereto." It is not believed that this is intended for various reasons and it is thought that for purposes of clarity the bill should specify explicitly the activities which are to be included in the proposed agumented bureau.

In regard to the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, the Secretary of War is charged by law with the duty of causing thorough inspection of the home, its records, disbursements, management, discipline, and condition, to be made annually' by an officer of the Inspector General's Department, and transmitting the report thereon to Congress. He is also required by law to include, in the annual estimates of the War Department, estimate of the Board of Managers of the home. He is exofficio a member of the Board of Managers. That board, of which Gen. George H. Wood, Dayton, Ohio, is president, is elected by Congress. For these reasons no comment concerning this phase of the proposed legislation is made by me.

Should the committee desire to hold hearings on the bill, and obtain more detailed information regarding the probable effect of the bill, Maj. Gen. Merritt W. Ireland, the Surgeon General; Maj. Gen. William C. Rivers, the Inspector General; and Maj. Gen. Charles H. Bridges, The Adjutant General of the Army, are designated as witnesses to appear before your committee. Sincerely yours,

TWIGH? P'IS, Secretary of War.

INDEX

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A
Agencies for veterans' relief:

Page
Administrative responsibility divided.

5,
9, 11, 12, 35, 41, 43, 44, 104, 130, 158, 159
Administrative responsibility, centralized, desirable--

9,
24, 33, 35, 37, 41, 45, 49, 50, 67, 70, 74, 85, 104, 125, 127, 130, 132,

134, 157, 158, 159, 160, 179, 203.
Appropriations reflect magnitude of -

14, 48, 101, 178, 205
Comparative data.

185, 188, 190
Cost comparisons unfair due to nature of work

63,

64, 66, 88, 10, 131, 186, 187, 190, 199
Duplication of activities.

16, 19, 36, 92, 101, 109, 120, 123, 180, 200
Established for common purpose-

11, 105
Fighting to retain separate entities-

125, 157, 161
Independent agencies handicapped.

53
Proposed organization chart--

180, 203, 207
Should be under cabinet officer.

51, 52,
53, 54, 67, 70, 74, 76, 79, 86, 100, 104, 105, 107, 114, 126, 129, 134
Agency for veterans' relief, consolidated:
All problems can not be anticipated.

26
Name not important..

19, 21, 37, 159, 160, 178
Of fiduciary nature...

22
Reorganize from top down..

86, 94
Shaping to fit personnel not sound.

20
Three set-ups merit consideration.

14
Agencies for veterans' relief, consolidation of:
Advantages to be gained through..

5, 6, 7, 12,
13, 14, 25, 26, 36, 41, 47, 70, 85, 104, 106, 120, 130, 182, 191, 194
Adopt some plan for..

11, 160, 205
Inclusion of other agencies consistent-

6, 22, 59, 132
Indorsed..

4, 6, 31, 32, 35, 37, 40, 42, 84, 157
Is levelling process.

20, 204
Is one step further in merger plan.

36, 41, 108
Strong opposition inevitable.

45, 46, 49, 50, 56
Will come eventually --

33, 50, 86, 98, 102
Would mean absorption by Veterans' Bureau 77, 78, 87, 89, 94, 101, 108
Agencies for veterans' relief, coordination of:
Advantages to be gained under-

45, 49, 75, 87, 101, 102, 105
Analysis of plan for..

51, 54, 75
Legislation necessary to effect.

57, 100, 158, 159
Preferable to consolidation..

48, 52, 106, 114, 158
Ultimate consolidation inevitable.

33, 50, 86, 98, 102
Unified control impossible under..

56, 58, 126, 127
Recommended..

16, 43, 44, 61,
62, 67, 74, 75, 80, 81, 96, 97, 98, 100, 101, 109, 110, 113, 114, 123
American Legion:
Efficiency, not economy, guiding motive of -

32
Fought for creation of Veterans' Bureau.

33
Has sought amalgamation since 1923.

31, 84
Appeals, question of ----- 53, 55, 57, 76, 77, 92, 94, 103, 106, 187, 206, 307
Appropriations:
For agencies under proposed transfer.

5
Aggregate sum for fiscal year 1930.-

9, 178
Army and Navy hospitals.

7, 23, 188, 194
Army and Navy Union..

102
223

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30,

B Bill under consideration, H. R. 6141:

Pago Analysis of --

3, 4, 5, 47, 50, 73, 77, 93, 103, 106 Delegates legislative functions..

24, 56, 57, 61 Distinct aid to uniform policy for future

203 Does not contemplate new department..

22 Five major objections to.

73, 74, 75, 76 Indorsed as written..

4, 6, 32, 35, 37, 40, 42, 84, 157 Opposed in present form..

47, 56, 63, 74, 83, 92, 101, 108, 132, 158 Substantive law not changed.

49, 50, 77, 78, 87, 103, 104, 106 Wipes out older agencies

64, 70, 76, 78, 84, 87 Similar to previous bills.

3, 31, 34, 40, 41, 157 Substitutes offered..

58, 62, 74, 75, 80, 81, 82, 96, 97, 98, 100, 111, 112, 123, 126, 140, 141 Bill, amendments suggested: Compromise..

127 Decentralize insurance cases.

40 Make decision of director final.

38, 39, 207 Make definite time for transfer.

30, 51 Make domiciliary care more readily available..

121, 122 Make Pension Bureau consolidation nucleus..

89, 102, 104 Make exception of military records..

222 Prescribe new set-up-

25, 26 Psychology must be considered.

52 Transfer soldiers' home personnel to civil service:

169, 170, 171 Bland, Hon. Schuyler Otis: Statement.-

169-174 Bettelheim, Capt. Edwin S.: Statement

34-40 Statement reiterated.

218 Bureau of the Budget..

140 Bureau of War Risk Insurance: A tremendous error.

71 Inefficiency foreseen.

64 Merged in Veterans' Bureau.

35, 36, 115

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17, 18

С
Church, Col., Earl D.:
Report on H. R. 6141.

74 Statement..

72-100 Civil-service retirement: Administered by Pension Bureau..

11, 22, 58, 59 Might well be included in merger.

132, 78 No difficulty anticipated under consolidation...

23 Soldiers' home not under..

170, 171 Civil War veterans:

Percentage in soldiers' homes..
Deal primarily with Pension Bureau.

21 Diminishing factor.-

36, 48, 49, 162 Fearful of consolidation..

84, 106, 107, 108 Committee, questions and remarks of members: Mr. Williamson, chairman.

1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 14, 15, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 29, 30, 31, 34, 35, 37, 40, 41, 42, 43, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 54, 56, 57, 58, 59, 61, 63, 70, 71, 72, 73, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 85, 86, 87, 88, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 97, 98, 99, 100, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 110, 111, 112, 117, 120, 121, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 138, 139, 140, 142, 149, 155, 156, 162, 166, 169, 170, 172, 173,

174, 175, 176, 200, 203, 205, 207. Mr. Beedy

68, 69, 71, 77, 82, 88, 117, 120, 125, 126, 127, 129, 138 Mr. Colton.. 29, 30, 33, 39, 50, 56, 57, 65, 68, 69, 70, 80, 87, 88, 147, 149 Mr. Swing

15, 29, 30, 51, 52, 54, 58, 59, 61, 80, 84, 90, 91, 92, 95, 99, 113, 119, 121, 125, 126, 142, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 153, 154, 155, 166, 167,

168, 173. Mr. Campbell

106, 111, 112, 122 Mr. Dallinger.

18, 38, 39, 40, 50, 52, 56, 58, 70, 71, 73, 80, 83, 103, 111, 119, 120, 175, 184, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 203, 204 35, 36, 108

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Committee, questions and remarks of members—Continued.

Pago Mr. Goodwin...,

26, 76, 77 Mr. Rowbottom.

17, 18, 20, 24, 52, 53, 57, 58, 61, 93, 94, 95 Mr. Schafer...

15, 16, 18, 24, 25, 26, 53, 54, 56, 57, 59, 60, 61, 90, 91, 93, 95, 96, 97, 100, 110, 111, 119, 120, 122, 123, 127, 131, 134, 139, 140, 147, 148, 149, 159, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166, 168, 171, 172,

173, 174, 180, 181, 184, 186, 199, 200, 201, 202, 206, 207. Mr. Craddock.

196, 205, 206, 207 Mr. Stone.

106, 184 Mr. Cooke.

57, 80 Mr. Hull..

66, 92, 106 Mr. Gasque

37, 39, 40, 52, 94, 103, 104, 133, 149, 164, 169, 200, 201 Mr. Cochran.

23, 32, 33, 38, 39, 40, 54, 55, 56, 58, 64, 65, 71, 79, 111 Mr. Cross.

67, 71, 88, 163, 164 Mr. Montet.

46, 47, 50, 61, 66, 67, 80, 87, 105, 111, 133, 158, 159, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 170, 171, 173, 174, 175, 198, 199 Compensation: Matter for Veterans' Bureau..

20 New system following World War.

19, 204 Very complicated system...

187 Congress, policy of: Control over uses of public money

146, 154, 155 Not to take away benefits...

20 Should not act in executive capacity

159 Too many audits required..

207

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D Davis, Hon. Dwight S..

221 Department of Agriculture.

22 Department of Labor...

22 Disabled American veterans: Behind this legislation.

41, 84 Entirely World War men.

85 Recognized by Congress.

42 Disability, service connection: Delays due to.

91, 93 General disability bill would be cheaper..

65 Movement to eliminate..

12, 180, 197 Presumption of soundness.

91 Not required in Pension Bureau.

54, 64 Required in Veterans' Bureau..

64, 131 Domiciliary care: Comparison of costs for..

194, 195 Load growing heavier..

12, 24, 25, 32, 116, 120, 124, 131, 183 Lowest cost benefit to veterans.

48, 116, 117, 130

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