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It is the wish of this committee that the matters raised in this letter
he placed before all those present here with the opportunity overnight
to consider the type of statements made therein so that you may be
prepared to make any explanation or observation or statement in
mitigation or extenuation that may appear appropriate.

Is it proper at this time to read the letter?

General Hardin. Yes. The Office of Classification is the East
Ocean Division, and I have the authority of the division engineer to
declassify the letter. However, it has an enclosure to it from General
Old, who commands the Fifth Air Division in Morocco, and I have
no authority to declassify that. If it could be omitted and maybe
the substance of it mentioned, I think the problem could be obviated.

Mr. Donnelly. Your suggestion about that General Old's letter
is helpful because actually General Lovett encloses copies of two
letters that General Old had addressed to Colonel Derby. Both had
to do with funding and line item justifications and do not have a
direct bearing upon the contents of General Lovett,'s letter to General

I would like, if I may, to read this letter of General Lovett, and
everyone can think it over tonight and figure what response they
desire to make tomorrow.

(The letter was read, as follows:)

Corps Of Engineers, United States Army,
Office Of The Division Engineer, East Ocean Division,

Richmond 19, la., December «?, 1951.

Lt. Gen. Lewis A. Pick,

Chief of Engineers,

Department of the Army, Washington 2,5, D. C.

Dear General Pick: At the division engineers' conference on December 6-7

you indicated that you would like to have a personal monthly letter from each

division engineer telling you of some of the current troubles. I have just gotten

back from Casablanca where I spent more than a week with Colonel Derby and

the contractors, observing all the work in progress and meeting with General Old

and the American consul general. There are many difficulties facing us in

Morocco and it is going to-take an all-out effort on the part of everyone concerned

to fulfill our job there satisfactorily. I will cover the most important difficulties

in separate paragraphs below.

1. Army Audit Agency.—The first person I talked with upon arriving in Casa-

blanca was Colonel ivins, inspector general. Colonel Ivins had been there about

3 days when I arrived and stayed until I left. Colonel Ivins' findings were sub-

stantially as follows:

(a) The Army Audit Agency had been doing the best it could with the per-

sonnel it had, but it was so seriously understaffed that he considered the situation

to be "explosive." They were far behind in their auditing and were getting

further behind each day. He told me that he considered the situation to be so

serious that he was writing a letter direct to General Craig, the Inspector General,

asking that the Army Audit Agency personnel be immediately supplemented.

(b) I asked Colonel Ivins specifically if he had found any evidence of fraud on

the part of the contractor. Colonel Ivins said absolutely not. He said that there

had been several instances of minor fraud on the part of individual employees,

but there was nothing to indicate that the contractors as such were in any way


(c) Colonel Ivins further stated that the matters of administration and property

control on which the contractor had been very bad at the start were improving

rapidly and that because of this improvement he was not going to stress them in

his report.

2. Atlas Construction Co.—Atlas Construction Co., and by this I primarily

mean Morrison-Knudson, has done an even sloppier, more inefficient job than
anyone in OCE has previously realized. Not only was their administrative work
poor, but in many instances there was a complete lack of supervision on the job.
The conditions of loafing and complete lack of supervision wrere so bad that

Colonel Derby had a number of inspections made to reveal the conditions. I am enclosing a few of these reports (enclosures 1, 2, and 3) for your information. The one good thing that can be said is that within the past 30 days there seems to have been considerable improvement in morale and a desire to do a job on the part of the contractor's personnel. Colonel Derby though needs additional competent personnel without delay in order to check on the contractor's performance and to eliminate the waste to which boih the contractors and architect engineers are prone.

3. Architect engineers.—The architect engineers, while fully competent, are prone to recommend the most expensive possible method of doing the job and seem reluctant to spend the necessary time on alternate locations or methods which can materially reduce the cost. As an example of this, Colonel Derby's staff, by checking and adjusting the architect's plans, saved some 200,000 yards of excavation at Noussauer.

Another current example is at El Jemma Sahim where the runway is located on clay, the architect engineers have recommended 5 feet of fill on top of this clay (they admit it might be cut to 4 feet) as the only method of insuring against settlement; 5 feet of fill over this tremendous runway means millions of dollars, and I am convinced that there are other adequate solutions which would be less expensive. A first-class soils man who could spend 6 weeks or 2 months with Colonel Derby would, I feel, pay tremendous dividends.

4. Air Force.—I talked at considerable length with General Olds, commanding the Fifth Air Division. General Olds has the highest regard for Colonel Derby and they have worked together very closely. However, General Olds was extremely critical of the contractor and felt that they were wasting money. He also felt that Colonel Derby did not have an adequate staff to supervise the contractor and prevent him from wasting money. I am enclosing copies of two letters of General Olds to Colonel Derby which Colonel Derby had just received when I arrived. I believe the content and tone of these two letters will indicate the position which the Air Force is beginning to take.

5. Relations with the French liaison mission clear all procurement causes some delay in procurement of essential materiels. However, Colonel Derby seems to have a very good working relationship with them. At the present time, one serious complication is on the matter of subcontracting. The French mission is insisting that on any subcontracts the contract be between Atlas and the French contractor and that "the United States not be a party thereto. In the event of any disagreement, the French contractor would go to a French court for settlement. I talked at length with the consul general, Mr. Medonne, on this. Mr. Medonne's view, as well as Colonel Derby's view, and my view are that under no circumstances can we agree to such an arrangement. A French subcontractor under such a set-up could prolong the work for 8 or 10 years. Under the existing treaty, we may have to eliminate subcontracting and require Atlas to do all of the work rather than agree to the French plan.

6. Movement of dependents.—In my opinion it is absolutely essential that the movement of dependents be authorized. Colonel Derby has inadequate strength to perform the necessary supervision. If he does not perform the necessary supervision, the job may blow up in our face or, at best, the costs will lie excessive. The entire matter of increased strength has so far hinged upon the movement of dependents. When I took over the office here, we had 17 tentative personnel lined up for Colonel Derby. When we could not give these people a commitment for the movement of their dependents all of them either turned it down flat or lost interest and drifted on to other jobs. The situation with respect to the contractor is the same and I have received a lengthy telegram from Mr. Bonny requesting authority to move dependents to Morocco. Regardless of whether or not the Air Force concurs, we have a job to get done and we must have control of the means with which to do that job. I, therefore, feel it is essential that the movement of dependents to Morocco be authorized immediately.

R. G. Lovett, Brigadier General, USA, Division Engineer.

I understand that Atlas has never seen this letter for the reason that it has been classified secret, and I will undertake to have copies run off if you gentlemen desire to have a copy this evening to consider this matter.

Mr. Riley. The committee will recess until 10 o'clock tomorrow .morning.

Friday, September 19, 1952. Quality Of Construction Of Air Bases In French Morocco






Mr. Riley. The committee will please be in order. I shall ask Mr. Donnelly to proceed with the inquiry.

Mr. Donnelly. The record should show that all the witnesses who were present yesterday are also present today. Mr. Maxon, 3-011 indicated this morning that you would like to clear the record with respect to opinions you expressed yesterday on the quality and scope of the work performed in Morocco. The committee will be pleased to hear any statement you care to make, sir.

Mr. Maxon. Thank you, Mr. Donnelly. 1 was asked the question as to whether or not I considered the Secretary's charge to include certain technical studies. I have stated I definitely did not consider it to include those; but rather definitely considered it to exclude them.

Now I would like to state why I made that definite statement, since it is a matter of interpretation of the Secretary's letter. Prior to acceptance of the responsibility to make this survey, I had considerable discussion of the phases of it with Mr. M. E. Kollett, consultant in the Secretary's office. During the initial stages of that group of discussions, I specifically stated that I could not take any part in the survey if two questions were involved: First, if the survey was to include detailed estimates of quantities of work or the cost of those quantities of work, and, second, that I did not wish to enter into any obligation for a review of the technical engineering problems, such as the adequacy of specifications, or the question of whether or not the work did conform in all details to those specifications.

I did that because, in the first place, the making of an adequate estimate of volume of work and the cost thereof is quite a lengthy process. So far as I was personally concerned, and those people with whom I expected to be associated in this survey, I knew that they could not give that much time, the time necessary to do that work. So far as the engineering studies were concerned, I did not feel that they were properly in the province of the construction contractor, whether he was an engineer or not; that is, to engage beyond his professional work.

So that the stipulation was made to Mr. Kollett that if those things were to be included in our charge I could not be connected with it.

I just wanted to make that clear by my own stipulation rather than by an interpretation of the Secretary's letter. Thank you.

Mr. Riley. Thank you, Mr. Maxon. I think the committee understood the matter, but we are glad to have this clarification of it sothat there will be absolutely no misunderstanding of your position.

Mr. Maxon. Thank you.

Mr. Riley. Mr. Donnelly, you may proceed.

Evaluation Of Final Tests Of Construction And Corrective Action


Mr. Donnelly. Mr. Chairman, this morning the committee is pleased to have before it Mr. Huggins, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force. Yesterday the Air Force was represented by Mr. Perry, the Deputy for Installations, and it had been the committee's desire that Mr. Huggins be here today to hear the testimony with respect to the evaluation of the final tests of construction and the corrective action needed, if any, as well as the extent thereof.

Mr. Riley. We are delighted to have Mr. Huggins here to hear this presentation.

Mr. Donnelly. Also we have here today Mr. Porter, of the firm that is one of the members of PSUOM, the architect-engineer.


Before we go into the final tests and the necessary corrective action, I would like to ascertain from the Air Force whether the completion of Nouasseur and Sidi Slimane, the two bases, to a limited extent operationally by July 14, represented a date that was desired and needed by the Air Force.

In fairness to Mr. Huggins I would like to state by way of background that Mr. Perry on July 2, 1952, testified that the Air Force had no idea as to where the July 1 date for completion of any of the work came from; and in that testimony I referred him to a letter written by Major General Timberlake, of the Air Force, dated January 10,1951, requiring that four of the five bases reach a ready date of July 1, 1951.

Mr. Perry indicated that he had just muffed that letter; that he had missed it completely.

There has been a public statement made recently that Colonel Derby was apparently the one solely responsible for the decision to make the two bases, Nouasseur and Sidi Slimane, operational to a limited extent so that on July 14 a flight of Air Force planes landed at both bases.

The committee should like to know from the Air Force whether that decision to have the bases operational to that limited extent on July 14, 1951, was in keeping with the decision and the needs of the Air Force.

Mr. Huggins. I think, Mr. Donnelly, that the Air Force wanted those operational just as quickly as they could get them. In the state of confusion that existed at that time I would say that it is probably a little difficult to put your finger on any one individual and say that he was responsible for it.

In reference to the General Timberlake letter of January 10, we had heard there was such a letter. We hunted all through the files and actually this is the first time I have had such a provision read to me.

The initial directive of November called for the bases to be operational within fi months after the equipment was admitted to the country. I think in everybody's mind the date of July 1 became fixed because they expected to get in on January 1. As we all know, they did not get in on January 1, but the date of July 1 remained fixed in everybody's mind and, to the best of my knowledge—and I have tried to inquire both here and abroad as to whether there was any specific direction to complete them by July 1, or to change that date—the specific date was never discussed once entry was obtained.

I think the Air Force was delighted at the thought that they could get in in July. Certainly we did nothing to say "Slow down" if a. slowdown were in order.

My guess is—and it was largely a carry-over of a state of mind— that maybe somebody should have stopped, in view of the 4 months' delay in getting in there, to take a review of the situation and say. "We'll, forget the July 1 date; pick up some place else," but that was not done.

Mr. Donnelly. I do not want to take advantage of you here with respect to testimony on this matter, but you indicate that the July 1 date was decided upon assuming entry would be had by January 1.

Mr. Huggins. That is right.

Mr. Donnelly. And the Air Force did not review the situation after entry had been obtained and readjust the target dates for completion.

Mr. Huggins. So far as I know, nobody reviewed it.

Mr. Donnelly. We have here a directive from USAFE—United States Air Force in Europe—headquartered at Wiesbaden, dated April 9, 1951; that was the date on which the district engineer was given a written directive by the 9ir Force to proceed with the construction of these bases. This is addressed to the district engineer and it says:

1. The below-listed projects are furnished to serve as a guide in establishing priority of construction for accomplishment within the over-all base-development plans in French Morocco. The primary objective of establishing these priorities is to achieve minimum operational facilities at the earliest date possible:

a. Fighter base—

Then it has listed the date August 1,1951.

The specific locations for the fighter base, as I understand the program now. would be Boulhaut and El Djema Sahim.

Mr. Huggins. That is right.

Mr. Donnelly. Here we have the Air Force on April 19, 1951. laying out the requirement for the. fighter base to be operational by August 1.1951. This is a classified letter or a secret letter, or I would put it in the record.

It specifies the dimensions of the runway: the aircraft parking: the Avgas storage, and the like.

Let us pass over to "b" where it lists the projects for each bomber base, for the date of August 1, 1951. giving specifications again; the dimensions for runway, aircraft parking, Avgas storage, warehouses and shops, and so forth.

It mentions specifically the runways for the bomber bases: 9.000 feet by 200 feet, and at Ben Guerir 11,000 feet by August 1. And by October 1 the runways were to be extended so that at Ben Guerir they would be 13.000 feet and the other bases 11,000 feet.

Then we have, the depot at Nouassenr, again with the dimensions of the runways and other paving, and an outline of other facilities desired, again by August 1, 1951.

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