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the gravel pit at Sidi Slimane, where it easily could have slipped over the bank, they were very carefully driving their equipment.
The maintenance of permanent equipment, such as we call plant, had been such that it appeared to me that it was all operating just as though it were new and could take on any additional amount of work; it was in good shape.
The asphalt plants looked like they were brand new. One had been moved from Sidi Slimane to Ben Guerir, and it looked like a new plant. It was just being set up and would be ready to operate, I think, within a few days.
No matter where we went, whether in the cookhouses or the warehouses, my observation was there were not too many men. I didn't go into the bookkeeping end of it, but there were not too many men, and everyone was working, and in the higher levels everyone was looking for more work to do.
Mr. Davis. Did you observe both American and native labor?
Mr. KEENAN. I observed all labor that I came in contact with. In the carpenter shops everyone was working; in the machine shops everyone was working. The native labor was there ready to take care of any emergency that might happen. The plant runs by itself, but when something unusual happened, they were there.
I was very much impressed with the whole operation.
Mr. Davis. About how many people did they have on the job at Ben Guerir?
Mr. KEENAN. Two thousand, I think, approximately.
STATUS OF COST ACCOUNTING RECORDS Mr. Davis. Going back to the discussion we had just before the recess for lunch, Mr. Maxon, would you say that there was any too much detailed cost accounting being done at the present time, in your opinion?
Mr. Maxon. I would like Mr. Burke to answer that question. I might put in a general statement there, that I believe that due to the urgency of getting all past records up to date, there is a tremendous concentration of work on all types of records that will not follow through when they are up to date. On cost keeping, I would like Mr. Burke to answer that.
Mr. BURKE. Obviously, after their cost records are brought up to date they will not have too much cost keeping. In the cost engineering section, we thought they had too few people in that section.
Mr. Davis. My question was directed more to the details of their present system of cost accounting. Is it too cumbersome?
Mr. BURKE. No. I would say they are not keeping too much cost records.
Mr. Davis. Then what explanation did you get for the failure to keep cost accounting records in the past?
Mr. BURKE. Well, as somebody else has already stated, initially they got off on the wrong foot with the records. The machinery and materials arrived before the personnel, and the records never have been brought up since. Let me elaborate there.
On labor cost records they are doing exactly what I would do if I were over there on the job so as to determine cost. There is nothing
wrong with that. They are not doing any more nor less than I would do.
On their equipment, the same is true. There is nothing wrong with the way of determining the equipment cost.
The only thing that is behind is the cost of materials going into their facilities. That is the only deficiency I found in their cost keeping.
Mr. Davis. Let me ask you this, Colonel Derby: In the early stages of this operation, did you contemplate that some time or other you would get caught up with your cost accounting, or at last along the line did somebody tell you that you had to do more cost accounting than you had contemplated?
Colonel DERBY. No. We contemplated catching up. We were very slow in getting the right people for that particular type of work. In February of this year when Mr. Wilbur came he said he was the only man on the job who knew anything about cost accounting, and he didn't have time to do it. We had been after that cost keeping for some time. That was one deficiency they definitely had for a long time, and we saw very considerable improvement in it as soon as Mr. Wilbur got there. Even with the people that he had, he was able to coach them enough so that they were able to get out some very useful cost statements.
Mr. Davis. Then it stands on the record that it was well over a year after construction was started that a real effective system of cost accounting was put into effect; is that correct?
Colonel DERBY. No, sir. We didn't get started in construction until well in April, and they seemed to have a pretty good system started by March of this year. They put out that first statement I mentioned the 31st of March or the last of February, I forget which.
Mr. Davis. Do you agree substantially with that, Mr. Bonny?
DEPRESSIONS AS RESULT OF ROLLING AT NOUASSEUR
Mr. Davis. On page 36 of your report, Mr. Maxon, appears this statement:
An inspection of the operational apron at the Nouasseur base, one-third of which had been rolled with the 200-ton roller, was conducted. Evidence of depressions were frequent. As an experienced constructor, would you consider those evidences of depressions as indicating weaknesses in construction that will require substantial redoing?
Mr. Maxon. I believe the depressions would indicate a weakness underneath, or the weakness may be in the subbase, which can be corrected by additional rolling. Your question as to whether that is evidence of any particular amount of construction to be done as a remedial matter would depend entirely on further tests.
Mr. Davis. We will defer further questions on that until tomorrow, I guess.
Mr. Maxon. I might add that what we call depressions in this report are probably synonymous with what General Hardin called bird baths a while ago.
Mr. Davis. They may have been consciously created depressions, then?
Mr. MAxon. No, not consciously created, but created in a conscious process. Mr. DAvis. I understood General Hardin to say that some of these bird baths were made purposely. Mr. MAxon. I think you misunderstood General Hardin. General HARDIN. No, sir. The bird baths I had reference to came in the operational apron as a result of running the compaction roller over the area, particularly in the lower area of the operational apron. We feel that for a proper type of drainage for an apron of that nature, it should be improved to the degree of quick draining after a rain.
STATUS OF PROPERTY ACCOUNTING
Mr. DAvis. Referring to your comment on page 48 on the property accounting, on which there has been some discussion here previously did you have an opportunity to consult with top management, as you have referred to it here, to form an opinion as to whether or not the constant attention of top management is directed to the problem of accomplishing results now?
Mr. MAxon. Yes, sir; we took that matter under advisement several times—myself, Mr. Rowe, and Mr. Burke, and Mr. Keenan at times. We discussed the problem with the cost accounting people, with management of Atlas Constructors, and I think that is about as far as we went with it, but there was plenty of opportunity taken to discuss that with them.
Mr. DAvis. Are you now satisfied that tangible and effective steps are being taken to bring those records into proper shape?
Mr. MAxon. Absolutely.
Colonel DERBY. So far as my comment about Atlas' deficiency in cost keeping is concerned, they kept a lot of detailed records. What they were short of was the cost-keeping men who knew how to analyze the figures and put the figures together so that they would mean something to me.
ExCESSIVE HOUSING CAPACITY AT BEN GUERIR
Mr. DAvis. You mentioned in your report, Mr. Maxon, that at Ben Guerir the operating capacity was double that required.
What explanation did you obtain with respect to that?
Mr. MAxon. Are you referring to the camps? Are you referring to the housing capacity of the camp?
Mr. DAvis. Was it the housing capacity? I neglected to put down the page.
Mr. MAxon. Page 28, Mr. Burke says. That is the capacity of the construction camp, the camp for housing personnel and the recreational facilities and the commissary facilities for taking care of that personnel. Now, what was your question?
Mr. DAvis. What explanation did you obtain from those in charge for that?
Mr. MAxon. For the doubling of the capacity?
Mr. DAvis. Yes.
Mr. MAxon. I do not know that we got an explanation for that. We did not ask for it. I would say in that case we assumed that the
force had been reduced, or had not been required as large as anticipated—one of the two. We did not go into that detail. General WALSH. After the camp at Ben Guerir was built during the fall of 1951 when the crash program was still on, it was anticipated we would continue at a very rapid rate with the entire program. In 1952 we decided to go back to a normal construction program, to get out plans and specifications before we went into construction, and this resulted in a considerable reduction in force that was required to carry on the work. The decision to try to do much of it by subcontracti also reduced the number of American employees that were requir there, and for that reason there was a reduction in the number of Americans at that base. It might be interesting to add in connection with that particular housing area that we have recommended to General Old of the Air Force, and General Old in turn recommended to the USAF, that that entire construction camp be considered as the housing required on the base for one wing, and in that way it will not be necessary to build a considerable amount of housing that was originally programed. Mr. RILEY. This housing which has been recommended for use by the Air Force, is that comparable to the usual 10-year construction on Air Force bases? General WALsh. It is exactly identical with what we are providing at all other bases—the Dallas huts, the latrines that are made out of either Quonset huts or by the use of concrete blocks. The mess hall is a H-shaped affair made out of large Quonsets, which is exactly similar to some of the ones at Sidi Slimane. It is comparable in all respects to what we had authorized and planned to build, but just in a slightly different area. Mr. RILEY. That was going to be my next question; whether or not it was to be located the way that it could be utilized properly by the Air Force. General WALSH. It is located where General Old felt it would be entirely satisfactory. General NoLD. "that is not the type of 10-year construction for Air Force construction within the United States. You remember the question of the 10- and 25-year life. This is different construction from that. Mr. RILEY. But these are good, usable, living quarters? General NoLD. Yes. General Pick. It is the same stuff that we are building at Sidi Slimane. General WALSH. It is exactly what the line items authorization which is for hutments.
HOUSING DEVELOPMENT AT NOUASSEUR
Mr. DAvis. Did you observe the housing development at Nouasseur when you were there?
Mr. MAxon. Do you mean that for the Air Force or for the contractors, again?
Mr. DAvis. For the construction force.
Mr. MAxon. Yes.
Mr. DAvis. What comment would you make with respect to its appropriateness, both as plainness, or unplainness, and the spacing of the housing at the development?
Mr. MAxon. There are two construction force camps at Nouasseur. One is that for the construction forces on the Nouasseur base and the other for the headquarters forces. They are different types. With respect to that in the construction camp, they are standard. They are satisfactory. The camp is clean. We walked and drove through the camp. We visited the barber shop and the store and the commissary. They are clean, orderly, and well kept. i would say the whole camp meets the standards for that type of thing. With respect to the other part of it, the central base, it is perhaps a little more elaborate than the other. The spacing is a little farther apart, but it perhaps has greater usage in the over-all program. It has to provide some quarters for families where there are single people in the construction camp. Mr. DAvis. Your over-all statement with respect to the latter would be, would it, that these housing facilities were quite in line with what you are familiar with on other overseas construction projects of the United States? Mr. MAxon. For temporary purposes, yes. Movie Not unduly fancy or unduly expensive or unreasonably spaced? Po MAxon. I think that is a rather broad question with a good many phases, but in a general sense I find ro fault with the spacing, with the character and type of it. After all, a part of the inducement to get good men to go to an overseas base in an isolated area is adequate housing for his family, and a part of that adequate housing control is reasonable spacing of those houses. So they have to have adequate spacing so that they will not be living in each others' back yards, and I do not think there is anything unusual there. Mr. DAVIS. Are you in a position, Mr. Maxon, to make an independent estimate as to the cost of the repair work on the runways and aprons and taxiways at Nouasseur and Sidi Slimane? Mr. MAxon. No, sir; not without further investigation and a very comprehensive study. Mr. DAvis. Was that not within the purview of your assignment, or was the timing of your visit not conducive to your being able to give us anything? Mr. MAxon. According to my interpretation of our assignment, it was definitely excluded therefrom.
REPORT TO CHIEF OF ENGINEERS ON PROBLEMS RELATING TO
Mr. Don NELLY. The intention of this committee throughout has been objective and complete record, hitting not just the high spots or the low spots, or the criticisms or the credit which is due, but considering everything in order that the committee can arrive at a considered judgment at the conclusion of these entire hearings.
With respect to that, the committee has before it a letter dated December 27, 1951, from Brig. Gen. Robert G. Lovett, division engineer for the East Ocean Division, addressed to Lt. Gen. Lewis A. Pick, Chief of Engineers. It is classified as secret, security information; however, excerpts from this letter have already been published—paragraphs and portions of it.