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under one head. The thought is to put one of the ablest engineers in America at the head of that department, and we propose to keep him there, so he will not be subject to political dictation.
Mr. Wilson. Does the bill say he shall be an engineer? Mr. WILLIAMSON. No; but we can write it in there if you like. If there is any politics about a man like McCarl, in the comptroller's office, I do not know where it comes in.
Mr. GASQUE. I do not think you have got any in the comptroller's office. Why should you not want a nonpolitician at the head of this set-up?
Mr. SCHAFER. Now, Mr. Chairman, I would like to be heard on my motion. I have a motion pending.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Schafer, I would like to say just this: I think this committee would be justified in view of the Secretary's letter, in going ahead on its own responsibility and considering this legislation, as the War Department, it appears, does not desire to be heard
Mr. SCHAFER. I do not think so.
The CHAIRMAN. Why ask them to come down here, when they are coming down here not as willing witnesses? Here is a letter from Colonel Grant, going into detail, with a map, in reference to the set-up here. Here is a letter from the Secretary of the Interior, who does not want to give up anything he has. Here is a letter from the Secretary of the Navy, who wants to keep everything he has, and so on down the line.
I think three important departments that we should hear from, are Agriculture, Interior, and Treasury. The Treasury has to do with the public buildings; Agriculture has to do with roads and forests, and so forth; and the Interior has to do with reclamation, and so forth. Colonel Grant is an experienced engineer and seems to be willing to give you the benefit of his experience, although he does not agree with the set-up; and I believe that we should have witnesses that are willing to help the committee, rather than to insist upon somebody coming here who wants to retard the progress of the committee.
Mr. SCHAFER. I would like to speak briefly on my motion.
I disagree with the chairman in his position that he has taken, to the effect that we should not call the Secretary of War. Now, the communication from the committee to the Secretary of War was not a request asking him to come. Therefore, I believe we should send a request to the Secretary of War to come for this particular reason, if no other: He indicates his opposition to this bill under the guise that the program of the President, as submitted in the special message, conflicts therewith. Therefore, I believe it is proper for us to request the Secretary of War to come before this committee and incorporate in his remarks the legislation which he believes complies with the provisions of the President's message. He has raised the question of conflict with that program in his communication on the bill, upon which we were requesting his testimony. Let us find out exactly the nature of the measure that he had before him when he reached the decision that he did not want to come and appear before
this committee, because the bill on which he was to testify conflicted with that measure.
The CHAIRMAN. I would like to read to the committee the letter that I sent to the Secretary of War. (The letter above referred to is as follows:)
FEBRUARY 20, 1932. Hon. PATRICK J. HURLEY,
Secretary of War. MY DEAR MR. SECRETARY: The committee this morning voted to commence hearings on the bills providing for the creation of an administration of public works, H. R. 6665 and H. R. 6670, at 10 o'clock a. m. on Thursday, February 25. It was also agreed to set aside this day for the War Department, and the chairman was directed to invite the Secretary of War to be present and make a statement or to designate the representatives of the department whom he wishes to be heard. With kind regards, I am, Sincerely yours,
JOHN J. COCHRAN, Chairman. The CHAIRMAN. I think that is the usual letter.
Mr. GASQUE. Mr. Chairman, I think that Mr. Schafer-if you will yield to me, Mr. Schafer-I do not think the Secretary of War is different in his views from the President's, at all, if you will read that section of the President's message.
Mr. WILLIAMSON. What is the use, Mr. Gasque, in trying to mislead the committee in that way? I absolutely know that the draft I have come here with, with the one exception noted, is in line with the views of the President.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean to say, Mr. Williamson, that the President sent you that bill?
Mr. WILLIAMSON. No; he did not send me the bill, but I do mean to say that the President read the bill after I prepared it along lines suggested by him in the first instance.
Mr. SCHAFER. But the President's special message does not indicate that we should consider any bill to consolidate any part of the department's
Mr. WILLIAMSON. I do not mean to say that the President has approved of every line or paragraph in the bill; but I do know that the set-up in the bill is the President's set-up.
Mr. WILSON. What?
Mr. WILLIAMSON. I do know that the present set-up in the bill is his idea of what should be done.
Mr. Wilson. He was given the same information before he wrote the message.
Mr. SCHAFER. Before this special message was written?
Mr. WILLIAMSON. Yes; but there is nothing in his message that would indicate he has changed his views.
Mr. Wilson. I beg your pardon. Go ahead. I am going to read the bill again.
Mr. SCHAFER. Mr. Williamson, I think our good friend here on the other side of the table raised a pertinent question: The fact that the provisions of your bill are substantially in conformity with the President's view as to how he would consolidate the public works activities, is not indicative that the President approved the enactment of any bill which refers only to public works, at this particular time, in view of his message which asked for legislation giving
him the authority to consolidate, and giving Congress the veto power.
Mr. WII LIAMSON. Well, I have a bill of that character before this committee, if you want to take up the other bill. So have other members of this committee.
Mr. SCHAFER. That is precisely why I made the motion, because the Secretary of War indicated that he did not want to testify on the pending bill and gave as an argument sustaining his position, the fact that it conflicted with the program of the President, which I understand is the program in the special message. Therefore, I believe the Secretary of War should be requested to appear before this committee and incorporate in the record the legislation as embodied in the President's plan, so that we can do justice to the Secretary of War and also do justice to the President.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not want anybody to come to the conclusion that the bill I introduced has the approval of the President. I endeavored to secure from the White House, through Mr. Newton, the President's secretary, what the President had in mind in his original message before the Congress in December, and I am yet to receive it. I asked for it on behalf of the committee in December, not getting the information.
I had this bill drawn up, and I do not know whether the President is in favor of it, or against it. I do know that he is in favor of an administration of public works; and I am in favor of one, myself, if we can get a suitable bill.
Mr. SCHAFER. Mr. Chairman, I believe that if we are really interested in economy and consolidation to help balance the Treasury and to save the taxpayers' money, we must reach a decision that it will be a most difficult matter to consider all of these little separate consolidations in this committee and have them considered on the floor of the House, considered by the Senate, and pass the Senate, and then be signed by the President,particularly in view of the fact that the President is opposed to this method.
The President has sent the special message, asking for general legislation, giving him the right to consolidate or eliminate by executive order, the consolidation and elimination not to go into effect until it has been submitted to Congress, and Congress has had ample time to veto it. I therefore believe that good, orderly procedure in the interest of actual consolidation—I do not mean political shadow boxing, but I mean in the interest of consolidation and saving the taxpayers' money—is to request this Cabinet officer of the President's Cabinet, who indicated that he had in mind the President's program, to appear before the committee, and let us have incorporated in the hearings and presented to the committee that very legislation.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, if there be no further discussion, the Chair will put the motion.
Mr. DAVENPORT. I think it is important to hear from some expert in the War Department. I think the Chief of Engineers of the War Department should be heard, and I would like to ask Mr. Williamson, with respect to rivers and harbors, if his bill goes into operation, will the Army engineers continue that work on rivers and harbors permanently, or for only a brief period ?
Mr. WILLIAMSON. Under both bills, the Army engineers will continue the work that they are doing at the present time, the only
difference being that they would operate under the administrator of public works in place of the Secretary of War.
The idea in my mind is this: That if it should turn out that the new set-up should work badly, then we would know it at the end of two years. At the end of the 2-year period, the Secretary of War, under my bill, has authority to withdraw the engineers. Should this be done it would be up to Congress at that time to determine what should be done.
Mr. DAVENPORT. Mr. Williamson, I think that matter is going to be pretty critical in connection with this bill. Since I have been in Congress, I have gotten to have a very high estimate of the work of the Army engineers in connection with this Government, and anything that takes them permanently out of this situation is, I think, a very bad thing for the whole country, and they ought to be tied into it in such a way that their integrity, their ability, would never be lost to the Government of the United States.
Mr. WILLIAMSON. May I state to you that that is exactly in line with the President's message, that they be tied in here so they can not be cut out under this administration.
Mr. SCHAFER. Why do you have the two years' limitation?
Mr. WILLIAMSON. We can eliminate this feature if the committee thinks best.
Mr. MARTIN. And put them under the administration of public works?
Mr. WILLIAMSON. Yes.
Mr. SCHAFER. That changes the administration right over to a political administration.
Mr. MARTIN. That puts him under that politician at $15,000 a year.
Mr. DAVENPORT. Mr. Chairman, I would like to speak on the motion of Mr. Schafer. I dislike to differ with my good friend, but I am opposed to requiring the Secretary of War to come here. He has made his statement, and if you want to have some additional information, the man to ask is the Chief of Engineers, as he is the man that is familiar with it.
Mr. MARTIN. Will you yield?
Mr. SCHAFER. Now, Mr. Chairman, I do want to state that I do not believe we are going to get very far in the reorganization of the departments by these separate bills. It is not that I may not vote for this bill in some form, but my experience has been that the minute a committee begins to work upon a bill for reorganization, that immediately the opposition starts; that no matter what bill it may be, there is an effective opposition which starts to work against it. I believe that the only way we will have or ever get a reorganization of the executive departments that we need is by giving the President limited time to do it in. I have got a bill that I introduced into this Congress, the
I did the last Congress, when Mr. Coolidge was President. At that time, Congressman Davey, of Ohio, a Democratic Congressman, introduced a similar bill to give the President power, for a limited time, to coordinate and consolidate and elimi
nate; and I believe that is the only way you will ever accomplish much in this direction.
Mr. WILLIAMSON. I want to say to the gentlemen of the committee that I am going to discuss the constitutional features of this proposal in the House shortly. I think our authority to delegate reorganization to the President has its limitations.
Mr. DAVENPORT. That is what the President asked for in his message.
Mr. WILLIAMSON. Now, I want to say to Mr. Wilson that what the President has reference to is construction of a purely military character such as construction work on fortifications, barracks, gun emplacements, and the construction of ships; that work, of course, should not be taken away from Army engineers, and never will be. Such work must remain where it is, but there is a distinction between what the President has in mind in his message and rivers and harbors work, which is, of course, civilian in character.
Mr. Wilson. I can not agree with you, Mr. Williamson, that the rivers and harbors work is purely a civilian work; because in every harbor construction or improvement there is an element of national defense and that view is always taken in looking into the appropriations; and if the President-of course, I do not know just when they reached the conclusion that he had that in mind—but if he did not, he should have had that in mind; because there is not a harbor, there is not an improvement of any kind anywhere on the riversand there is bound to be improvement of rivers—that the question of national defense does not come in.
Another thing is: This work is carried on absolutely by the Corps of Engineers, under the Secretary of War, but this bill would put it under the public works administrator, and he can direct the Secretary of War, and I think that would be a very unfortunate thing
Mr. WILLIAMSON. No; he can not do that.
Mr. WILSON. Do you not think the administrator can interfere with his work, give commands to the Secretary of War? Of course, as I say, the administrator might be an engineer, or he might be of some other profession.
Mr. SCHAFER. Do you not believe that the harbor work should also be considered from a national defense standpoint?
Mr. WILSON. It might be so considered; yes.
Mr. SCHAFER. We might consider that the most efficient and economical way is to consolidate all of the construction work under the Army engineers in the War Department.
Mr. WILSON. The highway construction is under State supervision, and they have their own engineers.
Mr. SCHAFER. Why not administer that under that Public Works Department, under the War Department, just the same as the independent public works such as rivers and harbors.
Mr. WILLIAMSON. I am frank to say that, rather than have no consolidation at all, I would rather see the whole thing put into the War Department.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Mr. Chairman, I want to ask Mr. Williamson a question, that is suggested by the interrogatory of Mr. Davenport: What would happen to the present set-up, and the operation of the