« PreviousContinue »
4 FEB 2
ORGANIZATION OF THE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE
U.S House of REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES,
Washington, D. C., Tuesday, January 25, 1955. The committee met at 10 a. m., Hon. Carl Vinson (chairman of the committee) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order.
Members of the committee, I congratulate each of you upon your election, both to the Congress and to this committee. Since the committee was organized in January of 1947, it has continued to grow in size, importance, and responsibility. Our membership for the 84th Congress has been increased to 37, exclusive of the Delegates from Hawaii and Alaska, and the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico.
We now have 20 members representing the majority, and 17 representing the minority, and I think it appropriate at this time that the 32 members who have been reelected to the committee have an opportunity to meet the 5 new members who have been elected to the committee for the first time.
The new members elected to the majority are Hon. Lester Holtzman, of new York.
Is Mr. Holtzman here? We welcome you on the committee.
One new member has been elected to the minority, the Honorable
Members of the committee, I am sure I need not stress the importance of the responsibilities which rest on this committee. In fiscal 1956, 65 cents out of every tax dollar will be devoted, directly or indirectly, to military expenditures. While all of the expenditures within that program will not result from authorizations emanating from this committee, a very large portion will be the subject of active committee consideration in the months ahead.
The international situation which confronts this Nation today, and the very nature of this committee's jurisdiction, places a very heavy and serious responsibility on every member of the committee. There must be no hesitancy on the part of the members of this committee in meeting that responsibility.
On this committee there is no room for narrow or partisan considerations. Our sole objective is the maintenance of the highest possible level of national defense, consistent with national solvency and, for my part, I will not knowingly slight the clear requirements of our defense, just for the sake of economy.
The committee has ahead of it a very heavy legislative program. The Selective Service Act and the Dependents Assistance Act both expire on June 30, 1955. I propose that the full committee consider, 55066-55–No. 1
as its first legislative responsibility, the extension of both of these acts in a single legislative proposal.
The Department of Defense has today sent in these two bills, and I will introduce them today and hope that we can commence hearings on it next Monday morning.
Next, Subcommittee No. 1, under the chairmanship of the distinguished gentleman from Louisiana, Mr. Brooks, and Subcommittee No. 2, under the chairmanship of the distinguished gentleman from Texas, Mr. Kilday, and Supcommittee No. 3, under the chairmanship of the distinguished gentleman from North Carolina, will have many important and responsible bills for prompt consideration.
I have referred and asked Mr. Brooks to introduce the bill relating to the new reserve program. Mr. Kilday has been given and has introduced the bill with reference to increased pay.
There will be referred many important bills as they come before the committee to Subcommittee No. 3 for Mr. Durham's consideration.
As rapidly as time will permit, the committee and its various subcommittees will consider legislation concerning medical care for military dependents, a military construction bill, a military housing bill, a shipbuilding bill, additional construction for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, and a great many other bills which are of major importance to the national defense.
It is quite obvious that we are going to be extremely busy, and it will require the best efforts of all of us to consider all of these matters in a timely and intelligent manner. It is normal procedure, at the beginning of each new Congress, for the committee to be briefed on the overall military situation by appropriate representatives of the Department of Defense. In view of the present international situation, such a briefing is particularly pertinent at this time.
In keeping with our practice, I have arranged to have the Secretary of Defense, Mr. Wilson, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Radford, appear before the committee tomorrow in open session, for the purpose of briefing the committee. It may be that security considerations will require some of the testimony to be taken in executive session. But it will be my policy to have as much of the testimony as possible, on this occasion and others, in open session.
We must not forget that the people of this Nation are paying the bill. This is their country. We must inform them, to the maximum extent consistent with national security, of the status of their Government.
Following the meeting with the Secretary of Defense and Admiral Radford on Wednesday, we will hold executive sessions on Thursday and Friday with the service secretaries, each of whom will be accompanied by the militury chief of that particular service. These sessions must be executive since they will involve, to a very large extent, matters of the highest security classification.
Now, members of the committee, in this regard I want to say a word of caution which I hope every member will keep. I refer to classified information. I hope no member at any time will impeach his own integrity and endanger the security of the Nation by improperly revealing classified information which is received in executive sessions of the committee or any of its subcommittees.
I realize that the members, from time to time, feel that certain security classifications have little logic to support them. This is particularly true when they receive classified information in executive sessions, and then see the same information, either before or after the hearing, published in the local newspapers or some magazine. But I want to point out that it is not the responsibility of the members of this committee either to classify or declassify military information. For my part, I will accept whatever classification the Defense Department or its agencies places upon any information given to the committee, without question. And that should be, in my judgment, the policy which should govern all members of this committee.
Along with the honor of being chairman of this committee, and it is a great honor, there is a corresponding responsibility. As I face that responsibility, I am reminded of the record which this committee made in the 83d Congress, under the outstanding leadership of my friend and colleague, the distinguished gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Short. [Applause.)
The committee in the 83d Congress—and I measure every word that I utter-made a truly magnificent record, and it was due in a very large measure to the outstanding leadership and human qualities of the chairman, Mr. Short. I hope that in some degree I might approach that record because it was one in which every member could take pride. [Applause.)
Now, the first matter for consideration is the consideration of Committee Resolution No. 1, Organization of the Committee. Mr. Smart.
Mr. SMART. Resolution No. 1:
Resolved, That the Armed Services Committee of the House of Representatives be organized to consist of three subcommittees to be known as Subcommittee No. 1, Subcommittee No. 2, and Subcommittee No. 3. Subcommittees 1 and 2 shall be composed of 13 members, 7 to represent the majority to be designated by the chairman, and 6 to represent the minority to be designated by the ranking minority member.
Subcommittee No. 3 shall consist of 12 members, 7 to represent the majority and 5 to represent the minority, as designated by the chairman and the ranking minority member, respectively. The chairman of the committee and the ranking minority member shall serve as ex officio members on each subcommittee and shall have the right to vote and participate in all proceedings of the subcommittees.
The next ranking majority member of each subcommittee shall serve as the vice chairman of said subcommittee.
The subcommittees shall consider only such bills as are referred to them by the chairman of the full committee.
Subcommittees shall meet on the call of the subcommittee chairmen.
The subcommittee chairmen and members of the respective standing committees shall be as followsAnd before each of the members is a list of the subcommittee assignments, and I think it would be repetitious for me to read them at this time, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I agree with you. Each member can see what subcommittee he has been assigned to.
If there is no objection on the part of any member of the committee, we will agree to Resolution No. 1.
Resolution No. 1 is agreed to.
Resolved, That the following persons be and the same are hereby elected to the professional staff of the Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives,