« ForrigeFortsett »
Corps of Engineers, if Congress took no action at all at the expiration of the two years that you have referred to in your bill!
Mr. WILLIAMSON. Well, if the Secretary of War took no action nothing would happen. The Army engineers would continue to do the work. The only thing is that the Secretary of War can withdraw the engineers at or prior to the expiration of two years; but the bill expressly provides that he may continue to details, in the future, indefinitely, and the purpose is for him to do so.
Mr. WILSON. Without any action by Congress, or by the Secretary of War, what would happen to the present operations of the Corps of Engineers ?
Mr. WILLIAMSON. If no action were taken at all and no further detail were made, a segregation, of course, would develop.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Then we have made a very material change, if your bill is passed, in the present set-up, and the present operations of the Chief of Engineers
Mr. WILLIAMSON. You have a very material change as to the future; yes. There is no reason why we can not—and I am perfectly willing to make it compulsory upon the public works administrator to retain the use of the Army engineers permanently.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Mr. Chairman, the pending motion of Mr. Schafer is an invitation to the Secretary of War, and with all due deference, it strikes me that as courteous and as clear invitation as it is possilbe to extend, has been given to the Secretary of War; and so far as the invitations are concerned, I can not see any occasion for repeating it. Moreover, Mr. Chairman, I take it that as my friend Williamson says, the President never requested this bill; he has not approved it paragraph by paragraph or word for word.
I am bothered by the statement of a member of his Cabinet, who, in replay to the letter of the chairman of this committee, says that neither of these bills embraces the idea or plan of the President. Now, having given him an invitation to appear and he having declined it, it strikes me that the program suggested by the chairman, to-wit: That the Treasury Department, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of the Interior, and the Chief of Engineers be given an opportunity to appear. Mr. SCHAFER. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Just a minute. I have no desire to monopolize the time of the committee. My thought was that, if later on it developed that you would like to ask-or either of the authors of the bills would like to have the head of any of the departments appearthere would be no objection to it; but, undoubtedly, we should have the heads of those departments mentioned by the chairman to outline
Mr. WHITTINGTON. And it strikes me that would be the course for ius to pursue, to hear from the heads of those departments outlined by the chairman._Now, I will yield to you.
Mr. SCHAFER. That is really what I wanted to get at. The Secretary of War has been invited to appear. Is this committee going to leave a Cabinet officer, when he receives a communication inviting him to appear, fail to appear? Are we going to stand by our guns and have him appear, if even for only a few minutes, to explain the language of the bill that he believes is superior and conforms to the
President's message? We should not let the executive branch of the Government absolutely run over this legislative committee. Why talk about protecting the integrity of the committee if this committee is going to adopt the policy of letting this Cabinet officer refuse to appear before us? We are certainly not putting this committee on a very high level.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Mr. Chairman, I think I understand the question before my colleagues, as well as appreciate the argument. It strikes me that my disposition—I would say that it strikes me as the disposition of the committee is merely to extend to the members of the Cabinet, including the Secretary of War, the opportunity to appear as witnesses here and outline the administration's program, as it may have been changed by the special message of February 18. That opportunity has been given the Secretary of War. For my part, I do not propose to make a demand on him.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I move, as a substitute motion, that the Chief of Engineers let me put it another way: That the Secretary of the Treasury; that the Secretary of Agriculture; that the Secretary of the Interior; and the Chief of Engineers be invited, in the order named, to appear before this committee.
The CHAIRMAN. I think the Navy should be included, because the Bureau of Yards and Docks
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Very well, I will include the proper officials. Mr. GASQUE. I think Colonel Grant should be invited. Mr. WHITTINGTON. I will include him. The Chief of Operations--The CHAIRMAN. The Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks. Mr. Wilson. If we are going to put in the Secretary of the Navy, why not put in the other secretaries!
Mr. WHITTINGTON. I will include the Secretary of Commerce.
Mr. SCHAFER. I offer an amendment to that, to strike out the word " invite," and insert * request.” Are we going to send specially engraved invitations down to these Cabinet officers? I want to get information from the Secretary of War and the chairman also does. I want to get information from the Chief of Engineers, and I want to get information from
The CHAIRMAN. Until the other Cabinet officers have declined, I think we should continue the old policy and send letters such as I sent to the Secretary of War.
Mr. HOLLISTER. I think the proper man is the man in charge of the public works end of each department. We want the man who knows the details the same as the Chief of Engineers in the Army, the man in charge of the yards and docks of the Navy, and whoever is the proper man in the different departments.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. I think the motion shows that the chairman is asking for the heads of the departments.
Mr. SCHAFER. If they refuse, another week goes by on the consolidation.
Mr. GASQUE. If they refuse, we know their position.
Mr. SCHAFER. I know, but I say we should request them to attend, and we will have them here.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Is there a second to the motion?
Mr. MARTIN. Mr. Chairman, as a member of this committee, I would like to do some effective work in simplifying the Government and reducing the expenses. I can see the movement here going into politics. Now, you invited one Cabinet officer, and this letter will undoubtedly be published, and we know his attitude. How can you cxpect the other Cabinent members to come here?
The CHAIRMAN. I think we at least should invite the Cabinet officers. Let them come or designate some official to appear. I am sure they will not all decline.
Mr. Colton. Why not make it alternative, that they may send the man they desire?
The CHAIRMAN. That is what I am now suggesting.
The CHAIRMAN. Gentlemen, you have heard the motion. All in favor of the substitute amendment, say aye. The contrary, no. The ayes have it. The substitute is adopted.
Now, whom does the committee desire to invite first?
Mr. WHITTINGTON. In order to give the heads of the departments time, I move that we hear the Chief of Engineers first; and I do that for the very reason silggested by my colleagiles, because of having asked his superior to appear, and he did not appear.
Mr. SCHAFER. You are inviting an official under the Secretary of War, and you have this situation : You have invited the chief, the man who is over the Chief of Engineers, and he said he could not appear. How can you expect the Chief of the Army Engineers to appear contrary to the position of his superior, unless you request him to appear?
The CHAIRMAX. Because the Secretary says he will send them. The Secretary says:
However, if the committee in the course of its hearings should desire the presence of any one specifically, the Secretary of War will be pleased to send such witness at such time as the committee may designate.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. If we get a similar reply from the Secretary of the Treasury we will ask for the Chief Architect or whoever is in charge of the work. It is my suggestion that, at the first meeting we have, to ask the Chief of Engineers to come.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there any objection to the request of the gentleman from Mississippi that the Chief of Engineers of the Army be invited to appear here next Thursday? The chair hears none.
Mr. SCHAFER. Let us make it earlier. Everybody is talking about consolidation, about delays, and are we going to meet only once a week, when the whole sa fety of the Nation depends on this consolidation, according to its proponents? I amend that motion, that they be requested to appear here Monday morning at 9 o'clock.
The CHAIRMAN. Nine o'clock? Wait a minute. Give us a chance to do a little home or office work.
Mr. SCHAFER. Yes; let the committee get busy.
The CHAIRMAN. I offer a substitute to the motion, that the hour the meeting of the committee be 10 o'clock.
Mr. WHITTINGTOX. Why not make it Thursday!
Mr. SCHAFER. I amend that motion, that the hearing be held at 9 o'clock on Tuesday morning. This idea of meeting once a week and meeting for only an hour or so, and sending invitations out, and not having our witnesses here
Mr. WHITTINGTOX. Inasmuch as this question is not debatable I move that the motion be amended to make it 10 o'clock next Tuesday.
The CHAIRMAN. You have heard the motion, that we meet at 10 o'clock next Tuesday. All in favor say aye. The ayes have it.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. I move we adjourn.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, does the committee feel it proper that I should write the Secretary of War and ask him to send the Chief of Engineers? I would prefer to write to the Secretary rather than his subordinate. If not instructed to do otherwise I will address Mr. Hurley direct.
Mr. GASQUE. We do not want to take the whole morning with one witness.
The CHAIRMAN. We will want the entire morning for the Chief of Engineers; that is the paragraph in the bill that will bring out the propaganda._ It is coming now.
Mr. SCHAFER. Let us ask the Secretary
The CHAIRMAN. We will have a meeting of the subcommittee at 10 o'clock Saturday morning.
Mr. SCHAFER. The subcommittee is composed entirely of Members who are in favor of consolidation. That is a fine make-up of a subcommittee. For the record, that is a fine subcommittee.
Mr. OVERTON. May I make the suggestion that I think it would be very helpful, especially to the new members of the committee, if a chart be prepared and hung here on the wall, and perhaps copies of it made and put in the hands of the members of the committee, showing the different bureaus, departments, and agencies that are proposed to be consolidated ?
The CHAIRMAN. In this bill?
Mr. GASQUE. Can we have some copies made and given to the new members ?
Mr. OVERTON. What I want to know, before we pass from that, is whether the members of the committee will be supplied with copies of it?
The CHAIRMAN. I will endeavor to get Colonel Grant to get me blue prints-one for each member. He is very obliging, and I am
— sure he will supply them.
Mr. DAVENPORT. Speaking of the work of the subcommittee, has the subcommittee completed its labors?
The CHAIRMAN. Sir?
Mr. DAVENPORT. The other day there was talk of the need of call-
Mr. DAVENPORT. Mr. Vinson, the chairman of the Naval Affairs Committee.
The CHAIRMAN. No; he refused to file it.
The CHAIRMAN. I saw Mr. Vinson half a dozen times, and he says he will make his statement on the floor of the House, if the bill ever gets there.
Mr. SCHAFER. Mr. Chairman, as to Mr. Vinson, a motion was made to request Mr. Vinson to appear before this committee. Mr. Vinson is chairman of the great Naval Affairs Committee
The CHAIRMAN. I delivered the message in person, leaving the committee room and urging him to follow Mr. Williamson.
Mr. SCHAFER. By the unanimous action of this committee Mr. Vinson was to appear and testify, and then after the witness who was testifying completed his testimony Mr. Vinson could not be here, because he had other important matters to attend to. Therefore his statement on this Army and Navy consolidation legislation was to be incorporated into the record of the hearings. Now, it appears that it is not incorporated in said record, and it appears that the subcommittee appointed to give further consideration to the great Army and Navy. consolidation bill, with a view to amendment, if found necessary, and to hear additional witnesses, has completed its labors. This particular subcommittee being composed entirely of those favoring the consolidation, we have this remarkable, indefensible situation that the hearings on this bill, which changes the whole policy regarding our national defenses and affects the very life of our Republic and of our people, is going to be considered by the whole committee and perhaps be reported to the floor of the House without even having the statement of the chairman of the Naval Affairs Committee, notwithstanding the fact that the record shows by unanimous vote the committee desires his presence and testimony.
The CHAIRMAN. I called at Mr. Vinson's office while Mr. Williamson was testifying, and told him that Mr. Williamson would be through in a few minutes. He was sitting at his desk in his office at the end of this hall, and I urged him to come up and appear before the committee, and he refused to come up and appear before the committee. He told me: “I will give you a statement to put in the record." I asked him for the statement half a dozen times, and he finally said he will not submit the statement, but will make it on the floor of the House. Now, I am not running after Congressmen and I am not running the Congress, and if he wants to act that way it is his business, and I have not any desire to again request him to come here.
Mr. SCHAFER. Mr. Chairman, I know you are not running the Congressman, but when a committee of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Expenditures in Executive Departments, by unanimous vote indicates that it is desirable to have the presence of the chairman of the Naval Affairs Committee, it is not his personality, it is not his personal opinion that we are asking for, but we are asking for information on this important matter as chairman of a great committee of the House, and you can not evade and try to pass off lightly the situation which is existing at the present time.
Mr. COLTON. May I ask if this committee has drafted any amendment to the bill?
The CHAIRMAN. It has.