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ing and for the contributions made to the full Commission. You have been a wonderful help and inspiration in this.
The Secretary of the Interior, I note, has been a real leader and a real help and has given great inspiration, from the fact he has this feeling himself, to every member of the committee. We should pay him tribute.
I would say also that the leadership of Mr. Gray went far beyond the call of duty from the very beginning, and all of the members of the Commission who could not be there had their representatives there, and I thought we had the benefit of your great experience throughout. I think you made a very good contribution.
Speaking as an amateur historian momentarily, if I may—I have been accused of this and I accept it especially if you underline the word “amateur”—I want to say this is a great day for me and it ought to be for all of those interested in American history because finally this Nation of ours is concerning itself with a program that is designed for the preservation of the thing we call America.
I know of no place in the world where people can learn about freedom and what freedom has done better than they can learn it here in this complex we call our Capitol. So this is a great thing we are identified with in this program. We can do this in these times without increasing of cost of government in cooperation with what we call free enterprise, which is what we are alining ourselves with in this proposition before us.
We are building on plans that were early made and evolved through and with free enterprise. This is a good thing to note.
Let me call attention to something that was said by a man who addressed a joint session of the Congress, a private citizen who never served in public office, Carl Sandburg, who said, and I paraphrase him, he said, “Whenever a nation forgets its hard beginnings, it is beginning to decay.” He concluded that we had some really rough, tough, hard beginnings.
With this project we are not forgetting. We are beginning to remind our people of the sacrifices that made this Nation, and this is to the good.
Here finally, because of what we are doing, students are going to come and they are going to learn something about the grand design of the place we call our country. They are going to learn to understand its basic philosophy and be better able to build for the future.
I say to the members of the committee that, if we want to do something about the un-Americanism so evident in many places in America today, there is no better way or place to do it than right here in Washington with this kind of a project. You show me an extremist in America and I will show you a person who does not understand American philosophy and the American way of life. So we are doing some great and noble things as far as our own people to understand, and more importantly for the people of the world who can come here to this country and better understand America. They will appreciate it because before they will leave they will see something of themselves because what we build here was built from the experience of other people.
Mr. Chairman, I am going to have a statement later on which will involve some suggestions, but not before I talk to you, Mr. Knott, and they relate to the manner of managing of this headquarters. It is some
thing we ought to talk about and we ought to have it part of the record in this hearing.
I thank you for this time.
I want to reiterate what I said earlier. You were a very valuable member of the Commission and your words are very timely. I am sure when the Congress acts upon this, and I hope favorably, that the things you have been saying for years will finally come to pass concerning the great need for a national visitors' center.
Mr. CRAMER. Mr. Chairman, on page 12, subparagraph 1 of section 3 of the bill:
The Washington Terminal Company shall agree to undertake such alterations of the existing Union Station Building as the Secretary of the Interior deems necessary to provide adequate facilities for visitors, but the total cost of such alteration shall not exceed $5 million.
Does any other language of the bill in any way permit the Secretary of Interior or obligate through him the U.S. Government to pay for anything that he might"deem necessary" in excess of $5 million Direct expenditure by the Government, in other words?
What is in there is intended to be the total. Does that accomplish that purpose ?
Mr. KNOTT. I think, certainly, reading this subsection, it is limited to what the Washington Terminal undertakes to do with an upper limitation on what it will be obligated to spend in the determination of the Secretary of the Interior.
Mr. CRAMER. I wanted to get that as a matter of record.
Mr. DENNEY. Mr. Chairman, I have the greatest respect for the GSA, and I like the language in the bill. I think it is an excellent bill.
On page 3, line 6 through 9, I am wondering if the witness could tell us whether or not if we would strike out the part about the Secretary of the Interior and GSA negotiating and entering into a lease on page 1 of the bill, section 2, and leave in the part on page 3, lines 6 through 9, he would like to have GSA prescribe conditions.
I think this Congress is turning over to the executive branch a lot of discretion and I want the GSX in there. Along with your recommendations of being in a consulting status, would it be all right to leave in lines 6 through 9 on page 3, but strike out the entering and negotiating on page 1 ?
In other words, I would like to have GSA help prescribe the conditions of remodeling.
Mr. Knott. These lines are on page 3 from 6 through 9?
Mr. Knott. I have no problem with that.
Mr. DENNEY. I would like to leave that in. I thought from the statement you wanted all reference to GSA out of there because you thought one executive branch of the Government should handle the situation.
Mr. KNOTT. I was thinking primarily, as I am sure you understand, of the administrative problem of fixing responsibility.
Mr. DENNEY. I understand that, but your Department has so much experience in setting up rules and regulations and conditions and terms, I would like to have your Department in there, too. I think it will make a better bill.
Mr. KNOTT. We will be glad to make our contribution, although we think they are expert in operating concessions.
Mr. DENNEY. So it is your recommendation that as far as striking out to get at one executive branch, we strike out GSA in section 2, line 5, and that would primarily take care of your objection? Mr. KNOTT. I believe that is right; yes, sir.
Mr. GRAY. Let me say I think this is a very forthright suggestion, and I am sure the subcommittee in executive session will consider it.
Are there any other questions? If not, we thank you again very much for coming and for the contribution you have made to this legislation, Mr. Knott.
Mr. KNOTT. Thank you. Mr. GRAY. I see we now have our very distinguished friend and colleague from Texas, Congressman Pickle, in the room. As I stated earlier, Congressman Pickle was very helpful as a member of the Commission, having been appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
At this time, Mr. Pickle, we are delighted to welcome you before the committee and again thank you for your very wonderful work as a member of the Commission. You may proceed in your own way.
STATEMENT OF HON. J. J. PICKLE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
Mr. PICKLE. Mr. Chairman, I thank you very much and I want to return the compliment, so to speak, and express my appreciation to you and Mr. Cramer and Mr. Schwengel for the great work you have done on this Commission.
I have filed with the committee, with your permission, a statement of my position on this measure, which is in support of the bill as I have cosponsored it. I would like, however, to make two points in connection with the testimony submitted.
(Prepared statement of Mr. Pickle follows:)
STATEMENT OF CONGRESSMAN J. J. PICKLE
Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you this morning. The subject under consideration is H.R. 12603, the National Visitor Center Act of 1967.
Over almost the past year, I have had the honor to serve on the National Visitor Center Commission established to find solutions to the problems of tourist congestion in the Capitol area. I concur in the solution set out in H.R. 12603, and, in fact, have co-sponsored identical legislation, H.R. 12693. I believe you are already familiar with the provisions of this approach and accordingly, will not take your time to go over them again. My feeling on the bill is that the solution proposed there is the best balance we can strike now between what is most desirable and what is financially and practicably feasible. Still, I would like to take this opportunity to elaborate on some other thoughts I have had on the subject.
Ideally, it seems that we should utilize the greatest advantage already existing in the major tourist area, the Mall. This advantage is the close proximity of
almost every major point of interest. With the exception of the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol, almost every other attraction is within easy walking distance from the Washington Monument. The Smithsonian, the White House, the National Art Gallery, the Jefferson Memorial, and the Archives are all on or very close to the Mall.
It is my thought that a single underground railway having several stops and running the length of the Mall from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol would adequately serve every major tourist attraction without the need for branching out as would be required by the Union Station approach. Since the Mall is the center of attraction, why not keep the emphasis there?
Of course, parking would be needed, but I think that an adequate underground garage visitors center, theatre and cafeteria, could be constructed on the Mall. This way, tourists could easily see the Capitol, then return to the area of the museums and monuments. Congestion in the area of the Capitol itself would be reduced, and tourists here would have a much easier way to get back down the Mall to the other highlights.
I realize there are difficulties involved in this scheme. In addition to problems of construction, it would be much more expensive to the Government. This is the major reason I have supported the Union Station proposal. Still, in seeking a solution to this problem, I believe that the ideal solution must not be confused with the optimum solution; the ideal must not invaribly be sacrificed simply because a cheaper, more convenient alternative presents itself. And it is for this reason that I have taken this time to explain my thoughts on the alternatives facing us.
The facility needed most of all, however, is an adequate and appropriate visitors center here in the Capitol Building itself. Some 50 million visitors annually come to the Capitol-and it is embarrassing to have so little conveniences for them. No center, no resting facilities, practically no restaurant capable of handling large groups, few drinking fountains, no parking space, almost no restroom facilities. The West Front of the Capitol is closed off, as visitors are stopped on the balcony by a sign : "Danger-No Visitors Allowed".
Mr. Chairman, this is a deplorable situation. As soon as possible we should provide for adequate facilities in the Capitol. I hope we can utilize the West Front first floor or ground level and construct a beautiful and useful visitors center there or at least somewhere in the Capitol.
Several satellite centers will be needed over the city, but the Capitol ought to be Number One.
Mr. Chairman, thank you again for the chance to be with you this morning.
Mr. PICKLE. As a practical matter, I think all the Congress would possibly support would be the bill before us. As the chairman well knows, I was one member of the Commission who favored a different approach, and it is my position in these two fields I would like to leave with the committee this morning.
Of course, I would have preferred a large visitors' center on the Mall in the neighborhood of 14th, 15th, and 16th just in front of the monument. It seems to me that is the nerve center of the Capital visitors and that is within walking distance of everything except possibly the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol.
I think those two points could be connected underground, by monorail or some type of conveyance perhaps we do not know about now, and you could move people back and forth. I am hopeful some day we can have a center like that in that area.
It is recommended by some national architects who made a considerable study on this. Practically speaking, I do not think that the Congress could or would approve that at this point.
The second point I would like to leave with the committee is, I am hopeful one of the first emphases to be given by this committee of the Congress would be a visitors' center at the Capitol. To me this is a No. 1 consideration as a Member of the Congress that we ought to pass.
I spoke out for this 2 years ago, and as a new Member of Congress then I was appalled by the treatment generally received by visitors in the Capitol.
I apologize for being late and am sure this was mentioned to the committee, but surely we do envision other satellites throughout the city, and I am hoping the first priority would be given to one in the Capitol itself, perhaps on the west front, but a large effective, adequate and appropriate visitors' center in the Capitol ought to be the first consideration that we give.
We give our visitors here rather shabby treatment. We more or less leave them to themselves to thrust about. This is deplorable and I am hoping we can address ourselves to that when we have the funds and when conditions permit.
Mr. GRAY. Let me state I could not agree with the gentleman more. And commenting on your last statement first, let me say that when the Commission's recommendations are printed and presented to the Congress, I am sure that they will include not only the need for this initial visitor center at Union Station, but also the satellites to which the gentleman has referred.
In addition to the Capitol, the Arlington National Cemetery now has in its budget request funds for establishment of a satellite visitors' center at the national cemetery and they will orientate the people as to the individual places to visit and other information about Arlington.
If the west front is extended as the gentleman advocates, I am sure this would be an ideal place for a Capitol visitors' center. We certainly do not intend to preclude in this legislation the need to study and establish other visitors' centers.
I am glad the gentleman brings up that point because I think it is very important.
The gentleman, being the very fair-minded and very outstanding Member that he is, I am sure realizes that this was a compromise considering the very tight budgetary situation where no Federal funds would be involved and if we did go on to the Mall with new construction it would require a very large outlay of Federal funds.
I think Congress now is against any large spending for this type of proposal. So all in all, we deeply appreciate the position taken by the gentleman and appreciate his support and his efforts. This is not something that just happened. The gentleman spoke to me shortly after coming to Congress about the need for a visitor center and we appreciate the great contribution you have made up to this point.
Mr. PICKLE. Thank you.
Mr. WRIGHT, Mr. Chairman, let me commend my friend and colleague, Mr. Pickle, for his always incisive and original, thoughtful, constructive approach. I suppose most of us who have been here at the Capitol for some time have permitted the comfort of familiarity to blind us to the lack of familiarity which accompanies the typical visitor to our Capitol. It is easy also for Members of Congress to forget, though they should always remember, that this is not our Capitol, it belongs to the people. They are entitled to come and see it; it is their property. They are entitled and by all means should have a great feeling of pride and proprietary interest in it.
I quite thoroughly agree with the gentleman that it is difficult for a visitor who has not been here before to find an orientation to know