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givable in this country. I think this is a very good way of meeting, in part, that challenge which we must meet, or others are going to pass us in this area.
Mr. GEORGE. Thank you very much.
Mr. Haley. Thank you again. Maybe I will come down and see this USO setup in Washington.
Miss CONDON. I think the USO would love to have the whole committee come down, and really talk to some of these men. It might be enlightening.
Mr. HALEY. I understand that Mr. Peter M. Jenkins, of the Washington Emergency Committee for the post-Korean GI bill, wishes to submit a statement later, rather than testify today. Is that correct?
CLERK. Yes, sir; that is correct.
Mr. Haley. Without objection, the committee will receive the written statement.
Mr. Haley. The next witness is Mr. James W. Hafey, executive director, Catholic War Veterans.
STATEMENT OF JAMES W. HAFEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,
CATHOLIC WAR VETERANS Mr. HAFEY. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I am James W. Hafey, executive director of the Catholic War Veterans, with offices in Washington, D.C. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before this committee to present the views of the Catholic War Veterans on the extremely important subject of benefits for peacetime ex-service men and women.
Unquestionably, one of the most pressing issues in the broad field of veterans affairs at the present time is the determination as to what benefits should be accorded the almost 3 million ex-service men and women who rendered honorable service to this country during the post-Korean period.
While we recognize that this service was not performed during a period of wartime for which various benefits have traditionally been granted by Congress, nevertheless because of the uncertain world conditions since the Korean war, it is difficult to consider military service during these years as having been rendered in times of peace in the strict sense of the word. For many individuals such service was filled with many of the dangers and uncertainties of actual wartime service.
These men serving under the Military Training and Service Act are required to leave their homes, families, jobs, and often discontinue their schooling to enter military service. No one would question that this is a disruption of their normal lives. Consequently, we feel that this group is entitled to some special benefits that will more fully compensate them for the time spent in military service and to aid them in readjusting to civilian life.
We have analyzed the several bills under consideration and determined that H.R. 2258, introduced by the distinguished chairman of this committee, merits the endorsement and support of the Catholic War Veterans. This would provide vocational rehabilitation, loan guarantee, and education and training benefits for peacetime exservicemen.
It is our firm belief that the Government has an obligation to provide to veterans injured in service such rehabilitation measures and vocational training as may be necessary to enable them to overcome occupational handicaps as the result of injuries sustained in service. Since these injuries were incurred in the service of the country, it follows that the Government should be responsible for the proper readjustment of these ex-servicemen to civilian life. This proposed legislation is sound in every respect and has our unqualified endorsement.
The Catholic War Veterans also lends its support to the education and training provisions of H.R. 2258. The money invested in such a program by the Federal Government would be a sound investment in the future security of this country. Such educational opportunities would undoubtedly increase our supply of teachers, scientists, engineers, and specialists in other skills so important in the present age.
We have heard time and time again of the progress that Communist Russia has made in the field of education, especially in fields of science and other technoloical skills and we know that this country's progress in these areas does not compare with the advancement made by Russia. We are not attempting to say that our education and training program will solve this entire problem, but we do feel that it will constitute a major step in overcoming the lag that presently exists in these fields.
In analyzing the overall results of this program, enacted following World War II and Korea, there can be no question in the minds of anyone as to the tremendous benefits accruing to our Nation in terms of more teachers, scientists, engineers and, in general, a more educated citizenry, better equipped through education to fit into our increasingly complex way of life and better prepared to make a real contribution to our growth and prosperity as a nation.
The money that would be spent in the education of these ex-servicemen should not be thought of as an expenditure but rather as an investment—an investment in the growth of our Nation and certainly a long-term investment in America that will pay us greater dividends as the years pass. There is an abundance of evidence to demonstrate the benefits derived as a result of the enactment of the World War II and Korean GI bills and it is testimony to the wisdom of Congress in enacting such legislation. We urge that such legislation be enacted for peacetime ex-servicemen.
The loan guarantee feature of this bill also has the support of the Catholic War Veterans. For a relatively small investment on the part of the Federal Government, a veteran can purchase a home with a low downpayment and at an interest rate that is lower than the interest rates under FHA or conventional financing. Again, this would not only be of great benefit to the veteran but would also stimulate the economy of the country. The record amply demonstrates the success that the loan guarantee program experienced following World War II and Korea.
We would like to ask that this committee give consideration to extending benefits to those veterans who served between July 25, 1947, and June 27, 1950. While it may be true that this group of veterans may be beyond the age suitable for taking advantage of this legislation, nevertheless, we feel that such opportunity should at least be available.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, it is the view of the Catholic War Veterans that legislation as proposed in H.R. 2258, if enacted, will discharge an obligation to a large segment of our veteran population who, as yet, have been accorded no benefits following compulsory military service. Such benefits, if enacted, will not only immeasurably assist the veteran but will constitute a major contribution to the progress and security of our country,
Again, Mr. Chairman, let me say that we appreciate this opportunity to appear before your committee to present our views on this very important subject.
Mr. Haley. Thank you, Mr. Hafey.
Mr. Saylor, before you start, we had a distinguished educator from Pennsylvania here before the committee a little while ago. I started to offer the explanation that you were busily engaged, I knew, in other committee assignments.
Mr. Saylor and I, among others, sit on another committee, so sometimes we have to make up our minds as to which committee we will attend.
That undoubtedly was the cause of the absence of the distinguished gentleman from Pennsylvania when one of his educators testified here a short while ago.
Mr. SAYLOR. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate that. I had hoped to be over here to hear the representative from the State university. As you say, I was over before our other committee.
First, Mr. Hafey, I would like to congratulate you on this statement.
Mr. HAFEY. Thank you, sir.
Mr. SAYLOR. However, I can't help but note the third paragraph on page 3 of your statement. I am rather curious when you say that "we have heard” of the progress in the field of education” in Russia, "especially in fields of science and other technological skills.” And then you
add these words: “We know that this country's progress in these areas does not compare with the advancement made by Russia."
I would like to know first how we know it; what your source of authority is that we know this.
Mr. HAFEY. Mr. Saylor, you have raised a good question. There is probably a slight inconsistency in my terminology in this paragraph.
I base my conclusions on what one reads in the newspapers and current information that is available. It appears that the United States hasn't progressed as rapidly as we should have in some of our technical skills. I am not prepared at the moment to give specifics, but it was just a general statement which I consider to be generally true.
Mr. SAYLOR. On a comparative basis, I might agree with you. In other words, if you want to compare the advancement from nothing to the present conditions in Russia, their education system, in a short period of time, I would be inclined to agree with you. But when we have institutions in this country such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Tech, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, California Tech, many other great institutions in this country, which over the years have been developing scientists, long before anything of a comparable nature ever appeared in Russia, then I sort of look a little askance at a statement such as this.
In other words, the question today is whether or not they turn out better scientists in Russia than we do in our institutions. In the talks that I have had with some of our educators of this country, they are perfectly willing to put our graduates up against the graduates of other countries.
Would you care to comment on that?
Mr. HAFEY. Mr. Chairman, I know you appreciate that these comments and observations are my own personal comments. I think Russia has engaged upon a crash program in this tremendous race that we are in at the moment, and I think this country has progressed tremendously, also. But I believe that our progression has been a normal progression with no deliberate intention to be in a race as such. And I agree, as you point out, that we have made great progress. There is no question about it.
I think one of the primary contributions to this progress has been the Korean and the World War II GI bill of rights.
Mr. SAYLOR. Let me say that one of the things that concerns some of us when we look at legislation such as this is that there is absolutely nothing in this bill, or some other bills that have passed Congress, that would require the people who are going to take advantage of these bills to engage in the field of science or any of the technological skills so that they might have a governmental impetus to give us a sort of a spurt to pick up whatever lag, if any, exists between our country and Russia Do
yoll think that we should have that kind of a provision in the bill?
Mr. HAFEY. I think the law of averages alone would indicate that of those veterans who would take advantage of this peacetime education, at least, some of them would enter the field of science. And I think there are facts to demonstrate that following Korea and World War II, that of those veterans who took advantage of the GI bill many of them did go into the field of science and other technological skills.
Mr. SAYLOR. Mr. Hafey, I want to say that I have asked these questions just to get your thinking on the matter. We had a man up here as a witness the other day who took the position that we should only educate those who would study the sciences. And of course I asked him the converse of the question, as to whether or not he thought that we should not educate people just because they didn't have the mental ability to become a scientist. So I am just trying to get the thinking of you on this matter.
Mr. HLEY. Do you have a question, Mr. Flynn?
In reading your full paragraph, I notice that your assertion is in the paragraph on page 3 that this educational bill could be an instrument to constitute a major step in overcoming what you consider this lag. That seems to be your expression. Is that right?
Mr. HAFEY. That is correct.
Mr. Flynn. Do you feel that the Government, by investing this money in these serious-minded boys who have put in their stint of military service, who now desire an education, who therefore will undoubtedly apply themselves with greater vigor than the youthful student enrolling in the colleges, will be able to contribute more to the scientific and military needs of the country, and that therefore this investment might pay big dividends?
Mr. HAFEY. I certainly do, sir.
Mr. Flynn. And I presume that you, in making this statement, looking at the fact that the papers have reported that Russia has tremendously more thrust than America has; that our scientists have not been able to develop thrust of a comparable character with that of Russia, and I presume, too, that you are remembering that Russia is ahead of us in space development and in space vehicles and in getting space objects of much greater weight higher into space than we have been able to get them; and that these reports cause you to believe that other countries must have better scientific knowledge or must have advanced further in the path of that knowledge than this country has, and that therefore anything that we could do to assist in the future of scientific learning of Americans for the benefit of Americans would be a wise investment for this country?
Mr. Harey. There is no question, Mr. Flynn, but that I would subcribe to that statement.
Mr. Flynn. Thank you very much.
Mr. GEORGE. Mr. Chairman, as to the comment that the gentleman from Pennsylvania made, I agree with your statement that either your statement is correct or we are not making use of our scientists; there is no question about it.
Mr. Flynn mentioned sputnik was first, then the barking sputnik, and then they looked at the back side of the moon. What are we doing? I think your statement is fair. Or else the Defense Department is failing to unify the armed services as it should.
That may be another feature of it, but nevertheless, I think you have a basis for making that statement. I want to thank you for your entire statement. It is very sound and very good.
Mr. HAFEY. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Haley. Mr. Hafey, of course all people, I presume in this Nation, are interested in educational benefits. There is a serious question, however, in some people's minds as to whether we are using the benefits that we now have in the proper way.
We have heard this morning, and of course we have been reading in the newspapers for the last couple of years, of the tremendous advances that Russia has made in certain fields.