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We know that Congress has always been exceedingly fair in correcting previous legislation which later works a hardship on many of our people who compose our various armed services.
We feel that this legislation is long overdue and that this particular bill does provide the way to recognize the service which these people have rendered.
Mr. RIVERS. Thank you.
Colonel Carlton. Not until today, but I would certainly rely on
Mr. Rivers. I think when we get those clarifying amendmentsmaybe there have been some oversights in drafting the bill. I don't have any questions to ask you. Your statement is so all-inclusive, I can't find any fault with it.
Colonel CARLTON. Mr. Chairman, may I make this one suggestion for the benefit of the committee?
On page 8 of Colonel Eggleton's statement, which we were following, too, at the bottom, I would like to ask the indulgence of the committee and ask Colonel Boyer to comment on that last paragraph. which starts off: Third, “Section 2 of this proposal will continue in effect until April 1." That deals with some Reserve officers, and I would like to
Mr. RIVERS. That is at the bottom of the page?
Colonel BOYER. The National Defense Act of 1916, as amended, provided that all officers commissioned would be placed in one of the components, that is, their regular service, the National Guard or the Reserve. There was one provision, though, that said in case of war that the Department of the Army had the authority to commission directly into the Army of the United States without component.
Well, in September, September 22, 1941, when we were mobilizing, the services came before Congress and asked for the authority to make direct appointments in the Army of the United States without component. And that was granted.
In 1947 Congress rescinded some of the war power acts of the Presidents.
Mr. RIVERS. That is right. Colonel BOYER. And one of the acts they rescinded was this authority to appoint in peacetime, the act of September 22, 1941.
After the act was rescinded, the Department of Air by that time was a separate department. Their Judge Advocate ruled that that rescinded all AUS commissions. The Army ruled that inasmuch as the National Defense Act provided for commissioning in the Army of the United States, that it was effective. So they did nothing about it and permitted the officers to count this time.
a few years ago, they put the question up to the Comptroller General, and the Comptroller General ruled that the Army did have the authority under the National Defense Act, but when Pearl
Harbor broke on December 7, they had been commissioning under the authority of the 22d of September 1941, and that all commissions after that read that they were commissioned under the act of the 22d of September 1941.
That is what brought about all this confusion.
So I think the restoring of that provision of letting them count this time is well taken, and I thought the explanation in the record might be helpful.
Mr. RIVERS. But for the Comptroller General, you may not have had this thing in the first place.
Colonel Boyer. That is right. [Laughter.]
Mr. WINSTEAD. Just one question. And I probably should direct it to someone else.
I wonder if anyone could give us the number who have already retired, who have been penalized due to these procedures ?
Colonel BOYER. I don't think-
. The Comptroller General has told the finance people in the services not to search the records to find these people, but if their records come up for one reason or another, then if in fact his service had been credited, they were then to deduct the service from their entitlement.
Mr. RIVERS. The Comptroller General took that position?
Mr. SLATINSHEK. Yes, on the theory that the Congress would take action in this area.
Mr. RIVERS. I see.
Mr. WINSTEAD. I am assuming there are not too many of them until now. If we pass this legislation now and get it over—there have been not too many retired in the past, so we wouldn't have too much trouble in going back. I may be wrong.
Colonel BOYER. I think you are right. There may have been a few who thought they had their 20 years made because they still had a commission in the AUS. And those individuals may have knocked themselves out of the opportunity of qualifying where this would restore that opportunity.
Mr. WINSTEAD. If we can get this legislation enacted, we will save a lot of that confusion.
Colonel BOYER. That is right.
Mr. WINSTEAD. With most of them who are now subject, in the near future or in the next few
to retirement. Colonel BOYER. That is true.
Mr. Rivers. The main thing it does, it gives the military an opportunity to use that source which has heretofore been prohibited.
Colonel BOYER. That is right.
Mr. RIVERs. Under the AUS concept. The AUS used to get everybody confused.
Colonel BOYER. That is right. It does this: It doesn't make any difference whether it is one, two or hundreds, if an injustice has been done, it should be corrected.
Mr. Rivers. That is right. Mr. PHILBIN. That is right. Mr. RIVERS. Justice delayed is justice defeated. That is right, isn't it? Colonel BOYER. Yes, sir. Mr. RIVERS. NowMr. Van Zandt. Mr. Van ZANDT. May I ask a question? I am sorry I was detained in another committee meeting. But I would like to ask the question : Did we not pass a bill similar to this last year? Mr. Rivers. Yes. It didn't get through the Senate. Mr. VIN ZANDT. And it didn't get through the Senate.
Mr. RIVERS. Is there any difference in this bill and the one we passed last year?
Mr. SLATINSHEK. No substantial difference. Actually, that bill is keyed to Public Law 810. This is keyed to title 10 as codified now.
Mr. RIVERS. I see.
Mr. Rivers. What is the pleasure of the committee? Do you want to sit here and try to get this thing out this afternoon?
Mr. Morris. I think we are all ready to pass it, except for that one serious question there, about whether or not we should include WAC.
Mrs. Sr. GEORGE. Well, Mr. Chairman, if I might speak to that question ? Because I am very deeply interested in that particular portion of the bill.
I don't really believe that it is entirely germane to this piece of legislation, because, as I read it, this piece of legislation deals specifically with Reserves and with Reserve probems.
Mr. MORRIs. Pardon me for interrupting.
Mrs. Sr. GEORGE. I am just as anxious as the gentleman is, certainly, to see that injustice is rectified. I don't want to belabor it.
Mr. MORRIS. Would the gentlewoman yield for just another moment?
I am just as anxious as all of you. I don't want to belabor it. It is probably not wise to put it in here. But I do want to make this correction. This bill does refer to Reserves except for certain types that are Regulars.
Mr. RIVERS. Let's do this Mr. MORRIS. It does include some Regulars. Regular nurses get included.
Mr. RIVERS. Let's direct our counselMr. Van Zandt. What we are talking about, we feel that this committee has been denied a piece of legislation that should have been referred to it, and that is curing the deficiency of not authorizing as WAC credit for service when it was the WAAC.
Mr. VAN ZANDT. That is right.
Mr. Rivers. I think it is the unanimous feeling of the committee that we request the chairman to refer that bill to this subcommittee. And Mr. Slatinshek, without objection, we will direct you to tell the chairman that and tell him it is the unanimous feeling of this committee.
Mr. BRAY. Why not have the committee visit him?
Mr. Rivers. Tell him 11 members requested that we get that bill before this committee.
Mr. SLATINSHEK. All right, sir.
As a matter of information, during the hearings on this bill that you had reference to, Mr. Van Zandt, this subject did come up, and the bill, as reported out by the committee, did not contain the WAC .
Mr. Van Zandr. I remember. I recall last year.
Mr. VAN ZANDT. In other words, there is a deficiency in this legislation, and it was attributed to the fact that we did not include the WAC.
Mr. Rivers. I would like-or if you want to, I could appoint myself and two or three members or you all to talk to the chairman. It doesn't make any difference to me.
Mr. MORRIS. I think the first suggestion is good.
Mrs. ST. GEORGE. Mr. Chairman, if last year it was judged to be a deficiency in the legislation that the WAC were not included in this bill, maybe we should think that over a second time.
Mr. SLATINSHEK. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SLATINSHEK. So the House presumably felt that it was adequate under the circumstances. I don't want to give the impression that it was considered inadequate.
Mr. Rivers. Of course, the House has changed quite a bit since
Mr. SLATINSHEK. Yes, sir.
Mr. VAN ZANDT. If my memory serves me correctly, we considered this problem of the WAC. We found it to involve some money. Also, controversy was attached to it. We felt that we should get this bill out and get it through the House and look at this WAC problem separately.
Mr. SLATINSHEK. Yes, sir.
Mr. BRAY. The Department of Defense sent it up, but for some reason it is not before this subcommittee.
Mr. Rivers. I think if we can get the chairman to assign this to us, we can go into all the facets of the effect of that proposed legislation and have a full-scale hearing.
Mr. Van Zandr. Mr. Chairman, again drawing on my memory, we felt that we were going to establish a precedent. It would not only be the WAC but it would be other elements that supported the military, like field clerks, and so forth.
We found ourselves becoming involved in an area of a lot of controversy.
Mr. Bray. Certain people injected rather an artificial situation, as you are aware.
Mr. VAN ZANDT. Yes.
Mr. PillBin. I think we have to be considerate about the rule of germaneness. We have to consider that, and also the jurisdiction of the committee.
Mrs. Sr. GEORGE. I think that is the main point.
Mr. Phillin. I think the suggestions that are made here are admirable, and I should think they could be worked out.
I would like very much to make the move that we approve the bill and report it favorably to the full committee.
Mr. SLATINSHEK. With the four amendments ?
Mr. SLATINSHEK. Yes, sir.
Mr. PHILBIN. And also the amendments recommended by the Defense Department and the other amendments, subject, of course, to the perfection of draftsmanship, which we always insist upon.
Mr. Rivers. That is right. We do that all the time.
You heard the motion of the gentleman from Massachusetts, that this bill be favorably reported to the full committee, subject to the confirmation of these technical suggestions by our distinguished counsel and a representative of the Judge Advocate General. And have him contact our counsel right away.
Colonel EGGLETON. Yes, sir. Mr. RIVERS. Without objection, the bill will be favorably reported to the full committee, with those stipulations.
That is all there is on that.
(Whereupon, at 4:10 p.m., the subcommittee adjourned, to reconvene at 10 a.m., Friday, February 20, 1959.)