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Mr. MELLETT. I will make a statement from a letter which I addressed to you, which I believe you received this morning.

DEAR SENATOR BYRD: In a separate letter I am furnishing answers to the seven questions propounded in your letter of March 9, received by me today.

This letter was written last night.

I would like, however, to offer the following statement in an effort to remove certain misconceptions concerning the central information office, proposed to be established by the Office of Government Reports, at the direction of the President.

The President's instructions were contained in a letter, dated February 2, reading as follows:

“MY DEAR MR. MELLETT: Citizens are coming to Washington in increasing numbers seeking information and the assistance of their Government. Many businessmen are attempting to obtain advice and direction for the utilization of their facilities in the war effort. It has become more and inore difficult for those coming to Washington on specific business to locate the Government official who can give authoritative answers to their questions.

As a result many of the departments and ies have expanded their information divisions. It is now necessary that there be an integration of the various offices having direct contact with the public and that their activities be coordinated under the direction of a central office. As President of the United States and Commander in Chief of the armed forces, I, therefore, direct you as Director of the Office of Government Reports to (1) expand the facilities of the United States Information Service so that visitors shall have one central place to which they can go for direction and information; (2) inform department and agency heads of my desire that they each assign such of their personnel to duty in this central office as may be necessary to carry out this general purpose.

"I further direct that you transmit a copy of this letter to the heads of all Federal agencies. "Sincerely yours,

“(Signed) FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT.” It will be seen by the President's instructions that what is proposed is not an undertaking of the kind that some comments, in and out of Congress, have indicated. It is not intended to issue or deal with press releases or other means of reaching public media of information. It is intended to deal with individual citizens, who write or come to Washington on business connected with the war effort.

The President's letter, I believe, states completely the need for this service from the standpoint of citizens desiring to make proper contact with Government agencies, but it could be added that such a service has been found necessary also from the standpoint of many of the permanent and emergency Government departments and agencies. It has been found that a great deal of time is given in these Government offices to the problems of persons whose business with the Government could only be transacted in some other office. This does not provide efficiency or economy of operation on the part of the agencies concerned.

To perform the functions described by the President, it was essential that an office be provided, preferably one with ground floor space, in the most central location available. We asked for and obtained from the Park and Planning Commission the allocation of the space on the Government-owned land at the corner of Fourteenth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. At the same time we asked the Public Buildings Administration to provide us with a building, adequate to the intended purpose, and asked also that this building be of size sufficient to house other operations of the Office of Government Reports and permit us to relinquish our present rented quarters. We hoped it would be of sufficient size to enable us to meet any later expansion that might result from further additional duties imposed on our office, as a part of the Executive Office of the President.

The Public Buildings Administration has planned and is now building a twostory structure that will provide 62,000 square feet of usable floor space. The estimated cost is $600,000. The Government is at present paying, in our behalf, $43,000 rent per annum for 20,000 square feet of such space in the upper floors of a commercial office building. At the same rate per square foot, 62,000 feet would cost the Government more than $135,000 per annum. As real-estate values are sometimes expressed, this would mean the new building should pay for its own cost in less than 412 years.

A somewhat similar necessity for a central information office arose in 1934, resulting in the establishment of the present United States Information Service

as a division of the National Emergency Council. The confusion in Washington at that time caused it to be very generally welcomed, as indicated by the following headline in the Washington Post of March 15, 1934:

to say:

NEW BUREAU'S Job Is To MAKE Going Rough FOR LOBBYISTS "Whether or not the Information Service did make the going rough for lobbyists, and whether or not such lobbyists have reason to be concerned now, is difficult

However, it is certain that the service rendered has been useful over the years to hundreds of thousands of citizens and that in recent months, because of the vast expansion of war and war-production activities in Washington, the demands on this service have grown very great.

“We have no illusion that the expanded operation we are planning will meet completely the immense problem presented by present conditions in Washington, but we do believe we will be able to improve the situation so greatly as to more than justify the effort and expense.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Mellett, may I ask you at that point, has the contract for this building been signed by any public agency?

Mr. MELLETT. The Public Buildings Administration.

The CHAIRMAN. I was informed yesterday that the contract had been made with the Tompkins Co., it had been signed by the company but had not been signed by the Government or an agency of the Government.

Mr. MELLETT. I would not know about that, Senator. These public buildings are entirely in the custody of and built by the Public Buildings Administration. They merely furnish us quarters in the building

The CHAIRMAN. You have not been informed as to whether they signed the contract? Mr. MELLETT. No, we have nothing to do with the contract.

The CHAIRMAN. The proposal is to increase the space from 20,000 to 62,000 feet?

Mr. MELLETT. Yes. Do you desire that I proceed with the 1, 2, 3, 4, and so, questions?

The CHAIRMAN. Yes, that would be better.

Mr. WOODRUM. 20,000 feet, is that what you presently occupy, Mr. Mellett?

Mr. MELLETT. That is what we occupy in the office at Fourteenth and G Streets at the present time.

Mr. WOODRUM. At the present time? Mr. MELLETT. Yes. Mr. TABER. Your rent includes heat? Mr. MELLETT. I presume it does. The CHAIRMAN. It has in the past? Mr. MELLETT. Yes. Mr. TABER. The rent is $42,000? Mr. MELLETT. Forty-three thousand dollars-odd. The CHAIRMAN. The new building will have 62,000 feet, which is a little more than three times as much as you presently occupy?

Mr. MELLETT. Yes, but we also have space on H Street, about 10,000 square feet on H Street, which we are relinquishing also.

Mr. TABER. 8,000 square feet?
Mr. MELLETT. No, 10,000 square feet.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that mentioned in your letter?

Mr. MELLETT. That reference in the letter was merely as to the cost that we are paying at Fourteenth and G. It is intended, Senator, to indicate the part of the central space downtown.

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Senator NYE. You are occupying 30,000 feet of space now?
Mr. MELLETT. In those two buildings, yes.
Senator NYE. Do you have other Washington quarters?

Mr. MELLETT. We have a former automobile salesroom out on Fourteenth Street beyond Q Street, in which a good deal of work is done, a good deal of mechanical work.

Senator NYE. What is the total of your occupied space then by the Washington headquarters?

Mr. MELLETT. Do you know the space out there?
Mr. HAMBLET. A total of 70,000 square feet.
Mr. TABER. Presently?
Mr. HAMBLET. Yes.

Senator NYE. Does the new building contemplate absorbing or doing away with all of this space that you now occupy? Are you going to be able to move everything into those new quarters?

Mr. MELLETT. Not that on upper Fourteenth Street, now.
Senator McKELLAR. What is that used for?
Mr. MELLETT. You mean on upper Fourteenth Street?
Senator MCKELLAR. Yes.
Mr. MELLETT. That is used for mechanical work.
Senator MCKELLAR. What kind of mechanical work?

Mr. MELLETT. The mimeographing work, multigraphing work, mailing machines, and for our press intelligence division, which is the clipping bureau for all Government agencies; also our administrative section and personnel section.

The CHAIRMAN. How much space will you relinquish by reason of the construction of this new building when it is done?

Mr. MELLETT. About 30,000 square feet.
The CHAIRMAN. You omitted then the 10,000 feet in your letter?

Mr. MELLETT. Senator, as I explained, I was pointing out in that paragraph of the letter, I was merely referring to cost of similar space to that which we are getting now, that is close-in downtown central space.

Senator McKELLAR. How much does it cost to furnish the building after it is built?

Mr. MELLETT. We have all that, Senator, in the direct answers, if I can take them in order.

Senator MCKELLAR. All right.

The CHAIRMAN. Would you mind reading the question first, and then the answer?

Mr. MELLETT. Yes, I will. The first question:

The estimated cost of the new information center building you propose to construct, as well as the cost of all equipment.

The answer is:

The estimated cost of Temporary V, which is being constructed on Pennsylvania Avenue between Fourteenth and Fifteenth Streets, to house the Office of Government Reports, including its division, the United States Information Service, is $600,000.

The CHAIRMAN. At that point, Mr. Mellett, that is purely an estimate, is it not?

Mr. MELLETT. Yes.

The CHAIRMAN. If you exceed that, of course, the Government will have to pay it?

Mr. MELLETT. The next sentence explains it:

The building is being constructed on a cost-plus-fixed-fee basis, with an estimated construction cost of $573,000 and the contractor's fee of $27,000.

The new equipment required for the building would cost the total of $62,535, and is listed below:

Equipment-
So many filing cabinets. Shall I read the whole thing?

The CHAIRMAN. Yes.

Mr. MELLETT (reading): 150 filing cabinets, at $45.

$6, 750.00 60 2-drawer files, at $29.

1, 800.00 1 24-drawer file cabinet..

150. 00 18 2-tray card cabinets, at $13.

234. 00 Vertical visible index..

396.00 Library shelving and equipment.

4, 640. 00 Stock shelving-

500.00 270 fans, at $12.50_.

3, 375. 00 2 cleaning and waxing machines, at $399.

798. 00 4 time stamps, at $65..

260. 00 1 adding machine...

263. 30 Dispensary equipment

750. 00 6 mail trucks, at $58.

348.00 Shipping and mailing equipment

500. 00 Floor covering

6, 854. 00

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The CHAIRMAN. Did I understand you to say the postage was $3,000?

Mr. MELLETT. The postage was $3,000.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the postage for?
Mr. MELLETT. Will you explain that item?

Mr. HAMBLET. That postage item is to take care of the necessary air-mail shipments to libraries and exhibits. We always provide a postage item. Of course, we use the franking privilege wherever possible.

Mr. WOODRUM. What connection would that have with the primary object of furnishing information to people who come to Washington? Why would you have to have air-mail postage in connection with people who come to Washington from the various States to make inquiries?

Mr. MELLETT. This is to meet the expanded, very large mail service that we carry on.

Mr. WOODRUM. This would be separate and apart from the project of the central information center to meet the problem you speak of?

Mr. MELLETT. This is to carry on the regular work which is being greatly expanded.

Mr. WOODRUM. The items which you have itemized here are for your regular expansion rather than for your central information cenier which you spoke of?

Mr. MELLETT. Yes, except they all will be there.

Mr. WOODRUM. It would not be necessary if you just put an information center there?

Mr. MELLETT. No, no.

The CHAIRMAN. Then, you have an organization in every State, I understand?

Mr. MELLETT. Yes, we will have before the year is out.
We are authorized to open an office in all States.

Senator McKELLAR. Before you leave the subject of furniture; I haven't the bill before me, but as I remember, in the independent offices appropriation bill there is an item of some $295,000 for fixtures, is there not?

Mr. MELLETT. I do not recall, Senator.

Mr. HAMBLET. At the time of the hearings on the first deficiency appropriations act this year, when this building was first discussed?

Senator McKELLAR. Yes.

Mr. HAMBLET. In a very quick estimate, without an opportunity to actually prepare schedules of what was needed, we estimated the cost of furnishing the building at $185,000 and an additional $100,000 for personnel.

Senator MCKELLAR. $285,000?
Mr. HAMBLET. Yes, that is right, sir.

Senator McKELLAR. I thought it was $295,000, but I may be mistaken about that. So you will reduce that amount?

Mr. HAMBLET. That has been reduced to this estimate of $62,000.
Senator MCKELLAR. $62,535?
Mr. HAMBLET. That is right, sir.
Senator McKELLAR. That is a pretty good saving.
The CHAIRMAN. How did you happen to make the saving?

Mr. MELLETT. The circumstances were these, Senator. We had asked, in the hearing to which Senator McKellar refers, for an amend

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