Page images
PDF
EPUB

individuals. That would be all members in the families over age 16. In our organization, the individual members of families over age 16 are eligible to vote.

Mr. Dorn. I am just asking, you see, for information. Also, I am a member of the Farm Bureau and the Grange, and not quite as familiar with your great organization, because I do not think you have any members in South Carolina.

Mr. Johnson. No, we do not.
Mr. Dors. But you are spreading out over the country?

Mr. Johnson. Neither do we have members in my home State of Georgia. But at one time the National Farmers Union had very great membership in the South. During the days of Charles Barrett, the national headquarters of the Farmers Union was located at Union City, Ga.

Mr. Dorn. Was that an outgrowth of the old Populist Farmers Alliance movement?

Mr. JOHNSON. Yes, it was. As a matter of fact, the Farmers Union was at its greatest strength during the time when Tom Watson and the Populist Party were on the move in the South.

Mr. Dorn. What are some of the other things in the way of national legislation, other than supporting this bill, that your great organization stands for? Do they endorse Federal aid to education. Have they taken a stand on that?

Nr. Johnson. Yes, we are a supporter of legislation to provide for Federal aid to education. We were supporters of the original Clark amendment and of the Monroney-Clark amendment. The latter passed the Senate.

But our main reason for being, Mr. Dorn, as you well know, is to work in behalf of the economic welfare of farm families who are our members.

Mr. Dorn. Would you mind elaborating on point No. 8—“Labor markets will be relieved of nontrained and semitrained applicants"!

There is a great need, I do know that, for more trained people. What I am trying to say is that so often, in high school—and something is going to have to be done about it, because I have talked with people in industry, and others, too, labor representatives. They can go 12 years to the public school, and still they cannot do anything when they get out. It it tragic. So there is a need for those people, earlier than those who are not going to college, to know how to do something.

How do you propose, in connection with No. 8, to go about this?

Mr. Johnson. Mr. Dorn, this week I appeared over before Mr. Fogarty's Subcommittee on Appropriations in support of the vocational education appropriations. Now, it will not come as any surprise to you, as a Representative of a district in South Carolina which has rural background, that the Farmers Union has been and is now a very strong supporter of vocational education, both at the high school as well as beyond the high school level.

Now, I mention this respecting point No. 8, because the high school graduate who has not had vocational training during high school often does not pursue further occupational skill.

High school graduates are faced with a military obligation to the country. Knowing ahead of time that they are going to be faced with this, many of them will immediately go ahead to fulfill that obligation; after which time they will be eligible for training.

One of the reasons why the area vocational school program looms so important in connection with this legislation is that these boys can get training of beyond high school level in such schools; that is, if they do not want to go to college.

In many of the unemployment pockets of the country the situation is not always caused by lack of proper skills, but at least it is a factor in many of these pockets of unemployment—unskilled workers or semiskilled workers not able to move from what they have been doing into a new area of work.

I do not know if I have done this in very much of an organized way, but the main point I want to make is that the vocational adnicational program, which we very strongly support, and the kind of education program possible under H.R. 2258 which would help high school graduates, would help relieve unemployment.

Mr. Dorn. Thank you.

Mr. Haley. Thank you very much, Mr. Johnson. We are glad to have had you before the committee and to have had the benefit of your advice and counsel.

The American Legion will be glad to participate in this meeting and discussion this morning. However, they have furnished the committee by letter dated March 3, 1960, directed to the chairman of the full committee, the Honorable Olin E. Teague, signed by John J. Corcoran, director, Resolution No. 28, adopted by or presented by the Rehabilitation Commission of the American Legion and apparently adopted by the national executive committee at their meeting October 7, 8, and 9 of 1959.

The Legion takes the position that they do not support S. 1138, and the resolution and the letter point out the fact that the American Legion chiefly is concerned with legislation pertaining to men and women who had served in the armed services and are eligible to belong to the American Legion.

Therefore I ask unanimous consent that the letter and the resolution accompanying it be made a part of the record at this point in the proceedings. Without objection, it is so ordered. (The communications referred to follow :)

THE AMERICAN LEGION,

LEGISLATIVE COMMISSION,

Washington, D.C., March 3, 1960. Hon. OLIN E. TEAGUE, Chairman, House Veterans' Affairs Committee, House Office Building, Washington, D.C.

DEAR CONGRESSMAN TEAGUE: Referring to the hearings now being held by the House Veterans Affairs Committee on S. 1138, a bill to provide readjustment benefits to peacetime veterans, I enclose the original and several copies of a letter addressed to you by Mr. John J. Corcoran, director of our national rehabilitation commission, in connection with this subject matter.

While we are not asking for the privilege of a personal appearance by a representative of the American Legion during the hearings, may I respectfully request that Mr. Corcoran's letter be given consideration by the members of the committee, and that the letter and enclosed resolution be incorporated in the record of your hearings on the bill S. 1138. Thanking you for your courtesy and cooperation, I am, Sincerely yours,

MILES D. KENNEDY, Director.

THE AMERICAN LEGION,
REHABILITATION COMMISSION,

Washington, D.C., March 3, 1960.
Hon. OLIN E. TEAGUE,
Chairman, Committee on Veterans' Affairs,
House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. TEAGUE: It is understood that your committee is currently conducting hearings on S. 1138, a bill to provide readjustment assistance to veterans who served in the Armed Forces between January 31, 1955, and July 1, 1963.

For your information and that of the other members of the Veterans Affairs Committee, I am enclosing a copy of Resolution No. 28 adopted by the American Legion National Executive Committee at its meeting of October 7-9, 1959. This resolution is to the effect that the American Legion does not support S. 1138 or other legislation seeking to provide readjustment assistance to veterans of peacetime service.

The national executive committee's action was based upon a recommendation approved jointly by four standing commissions of the American Legion ; namely, the rehabilitation, economic, child welfare, and legislative.

Membership in the American Legion is restricted to veterans of honorable service during the hostility periods of World War I, World War II, and the Korean conflict. It is the sense of resolution No. 28 that the organization's legislative efforts relative to benefits based on service are and should be confined to matters of direct interest to veterans of these qualifying periods and to their dependents and beneficiaries. Sincerely,

JOHN J. CORCORAN, Director.

NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING OF THE AMERICAN LEGION, HELD

OCTOBER 7-9, 1959

Resolution No. 28.
Committee: Rehabilitation Commission.
Subject: Readjustment benefits for peacetime service.

Whereas the American Legion has traditionally sponsored and supported legislation pertaining to veterans of the periods of hostilities in World War I (April 6, 1917, to November 11, 1918), World War II (December 7, 1941 to September 2, 1945), and the Korean conflict (June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953), and surviving dependents of such war veterans; and

Whereas there is legislation pending in Congress extending certain GI bill benefits to peacetime veterans : and

Whereas as individuals our members might approve such legislation, our efforts as an organization are devoted exclusively to the welfare of war veterans and dependents in the field of veterans affairs, in full accord with the charter granted by the Congress : Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the National Executive Committee of the American Legion, in regular meeting assembled in Indianapolis, Ind., October 7-9, 1959, declare that it is inconsistent for our organization to support legislation providing readjustment benefits based upon peacetime service; and further be it

Resolved, That in the event the Congress should enact legislation of the nature herein considered, that the administration of such a law will not be assigned to the Veterans Administration; and be it further

Resolved, That the American Legion is firmly of the opinion that such legislation should not be charged to the field of veterans' benefits.

Mr. Haley. The next witness is the representative of the Disabled American Veterans, Mr. Elmer Freudenberger.

You may come forward, sir. You have a prepared statement, I see.

Just for the benefit of the record, would you state your name, your address, and who you are representing, other than yourself; and you may proceed, sir.

STATEMENT OF ELMER M. FREUDENBERGER, ACTING NATIONAL

DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATION, DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS

Mr. FREUDENBERGER. Mr. Chairman and members; as legislative representative of the Disabled American Veterans I appreciate this opportunity to meet with you and to outline the position of our unique group, an organization of the wartime disabled, with respect to S. 1138, titled "Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1959."

Mr. Chester A. Cash, acting national director of claims, DAT, was to appear with me this morning, but he lives away out in Maryland, and I think he was snowbound.

Mr. HALEY. I can well understand how Mr. Cash could not be with you today, much as he might want to be. I understand that this 9 or 10 inches of snow has somewhat tied up the transportation system, especially on the outskirts of the cities, and probably in the cities, where you do not have a main arterial highway. So we thoroughly understand that and know that he would have been here if he could have been.

Mr. FREUDENBERGER. That is right. The bill in question, as it passed the Senate, has the general purpose of providing readjustment assistance to veterans whose service was, or is, between January 31, 1955, the official termination of the Korean conflict, and July 1, 1963, the presently established end of the compulsory draft law.

There is one section of S. 1138 that the DAV, and presumably everyone else, endorses and supports as worthy, sound, and humane legislation. I refer to the provisions of this bill that would grant voca tional rehabilitation training to the post-Korea veterans with 30 percent or more service-connected disability, or, if rated less than 30 percent, who are shown to have an employment handicap resulting from service-connected disability. And we strongly concur in the provision of the bill that would include under this section those veterans who first entered military service between the end of World War II and the opening date of the Korean conflict. We also favor the provision adopting this section of S. 1138 as permanent policy with no delimiting date for eligibility.

The Disabled American Veterans discerns considerable merit in that section of S. 1138 relative to guarantee and direct loan assistance for the peacetime veterans within the definitions of the bill. The remarkable history of repayment by those veterans who heretofore have participated in the VX loan programs would indicate that the losses to the Government under the extension of the programs contemplated by this proposed legislation would be very minor if, indeed, any ultimate losses resulted.

There is, however, a very costly section of S. 1138 which we of the DAV view with grave concern. I refer, of course, to that portion of the bill that would throw open educational and training benefits at vast Government expense to peacetime veterans with no disability, or at least none due to military service. In previous appearances before your committee and other committees of the Congress attention was

invited to the long established policy of the Disabled American Veterans, as follows:

Because the Disabled American Veterans was founded on the principle that this Nation's first obligation is to its war disabled veterans, and their dependents, the DAV believes that our Government should provide :

(1) Proper medical care and treatment of veterans for disabilities incurred in or aggravated by active service in the Armed Forces of the United States.

(2) Adequate disability compensation for service-connected disabilities.

(3) Vocational rehabilitation and education to restore employability of war-disabled veterans in gainful, useful employment; and

(4) Adequate death benefits for the widows, minor children and dependent parents of veterans who die as the result of service-connected disabilities

and of veterans who were handicapped by service-incurred disabilities. It therefore follows that the DAV believes that the Congress of the United States (1) should extend priority of consideration of proposed legislation which aims to provide benefits for veterans, with service connected disabilities, and for their dependents, and (2) that the DAV will consider giving its support to proposed legislation for the benefit of other veterans and their dependents, only if convinced that its enactment will in no way jeopardize existing or proposed benefits for veterans with service-incurred disabilities, and their dependents.

We feel in all sincerity that the enactment of the section in question will jeopardize at least some of our most important pending bills for the relief of the wartime disabled, their widows, and dependents. There is such a thing as going too far in breaking down the line of demarcation between wartime and peacetime service for no matter what arguments are presented to the contrary there are and will continue to be recognizable differences in the service rendered in time of war and that performed in time of peace.

In his appearance before a subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, when S. 1138 was under consideration there, a Government witness pointed out

Selective service policies now promote reasonable integration of schooling with military service. In addition, peacetime military service offers wide opportunities for off-duty education and training. The demand for skilled personnel in the Armed Forces also has increased the scope of on-duty training, and many of the skills thus developed are highly transferable to civilian occupations.

In other testimony given to the Senate subcommittee it was pointed out that proposals of the nature under consideration have a very definite effect on the ability of the Armed Forces to retain qualified personnel. One witness emphasized that

Despite all of the best efforts of the Armed Forces themselves and despite the enactment by the Congress of legislation designed to increase the attractiveness of a career in the Armed Forces, retention of personnel remains one of our (Defense Department) most crucial problems.

This official cautioned against compromising the effectiveness of the efforts being directed toward personnel retention. Does not this make sense? We think it does. And we are convinced by past experience and through the exercise of practical commonsense that the more big bills that are passed by the Congress for the benefit of peacetime and other veterans not based upon service-connected disease or injury, with such bills involving the expenditures of hundreds of millions of dollars, the more the wartime disabled veterans will

« PreviousContinue »