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Senator HARRIS. The committee will now be pleased to hear from Mr. Higgs.

STATEMENT OF WILLIAM L. HIGGS, DIRECTOR, WASHINGTON

HUMAN RIGHTS PROJECTS

Mr. Higgs. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, the Washington human rights project is a nonprofit, educational project located in this city dedicated to furthering human rights through the concentrated efforts of students, principally during the summer months, in educating activity. The project is proud to have had among its 36 participants in the last 2 summers 2 of this year's 32 Rhodes scholarship winners, as well as many other students that have gone on to distinguish themselves.

As legal adviser to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, I also have been a member of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights for 3 years, spanning the drafting and enactment of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965, to which process I devoted a great deal of time and effort. In recent months in the leadership conference I served as one of six on its committee to study the problem before this subcommittee. I hasten to add that I am in no way speaking for the conference or for its leadership.

Unfortunately, time does not permit the preparation of the numerous points and pages of testimony that I would desire to present in opposition to this proposed transfer of the Community Relations Service. I hope there will be some opportunity to develop this in oral presentation.

First it seems to me that the reorganization plan submitted by the President is in direct violation of the Reorganization Act of 1949, particularly the provision codified as 5 U.S.C. 1332–3(4). This section clearly prohibits using a reorganization plan to overstep substantive statutory authority and prohibitions.

Second, the very worst place (except for the Defense Department) for a conciliation agency is in the Department directly responsible for enforcement. This point has been made many times, but it cannot be overstressed. The immense value of the independence of the Civil Rights Commission illustrates somewhat this point. Time and time again the Civil Rights Commission has had to withstand powerful pressures or opposition from the Justice Department. I firmly believe that the Civil Rights Commission's independence has helped the Justice Department to do a far better civil rights job.

Third, the Commerce Department is probably the very best place and I would like to emphasize that–for the Community Relations Service, since economic concerns evidenced by boycotts and other means of economic action are becoming increasingly-perhaps the major civil rights activity—witness the current drive of the Free D.Č. Movement here in Washington and the Natchez and Fayette boycotts in Mississippi.

And I believe there are a number of other examples which illustrate this point.

Finally, I believe that this plan is in direct contradiction to the clear intention of almost all of us associated with the drafting and supporting of the 1964 act. Indeed, contrary to the Attorney Gen

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eral's testimony, the Justice Department was the one place where we did not want the Community Relations Service.

Mr. Chairman, I would like to continue to make a few additional remarks in terms of my direct testimony.

Senator HARRIS. You certainly may. Mr. Higgs. Thank you, sir. I particularly wanted to elaborate on the first point that I made which, it seems to me, really should preclude, as a technical matter, this plan from being approved by the committee.

Now, this section of the Reorganization Act is very short, it is just about one sentence, and if it is OK, I would like to read that.

Senator HARRIS. Go right ahead.

Mr. Higgs. This is in title 5 of the United States Code, executive departments, section 1132–3: Limitations on powers respecting reorganizations; termination date

(a) No reorganization plan shall provide for and no reorganization under sections 1332 to 1332–15 of this title shall have the effect of-and skip to 4authorizing any agency to exercise any function which is not expressly authorized by law at the time the plan is transmitted to the Congress.

Now, it seems to me that in reading section 1003(b) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as pointed out earlier by Senator Javits, in effect, this reorganization plan does clearly violate the substantive provisions of the act. A particular sentence that I think it violates is the second sentence of that subsection, where it says--

No officer or employee of the Service shall engage in the performance of investigative or prosecutive functions of any department or agency in any litigation arising out of a dispute in which he acted on behalf of the Service.

And let me also mention the first sentence as well. It says

The activities of all officers and employees of the Service in providing conciliation assistance shall be conducted first, "in confidence" and second "without publicity," and the Service shall hold confidential any information acquired in the regular performance of its duties upon the understanding that it would be so held.

Now, Mr. Chairman, I read the Congress when it says "in confidence” that it means that it shall be kept in confidence. And I personally read that it shall be kept in confidence from the Attorney General-particularly from anyone who is likely to use it to prosecute these people. And I think that "without publicity” means something different, contrary to what the Attorney General testified yesterday, as I recall.

It seems to me “without publicity” means that the Community Relations Service should not let the public know that it is in a town, that it is in Natchez or in Fayette, Miss., doing this. Whereas, keeping the material in confidence means it is not going to turn them over to prosecuting branches of the Government who might use this directly against the people that gave them the information.

Now, I think, as I recall, Senator Ervin has made this point, and I think very, very well, that this should not be done.

So I do read that language in that way, and I read the two sentences together as making it very clear that a transfer of this agency to the Department of Justice, and putting the head of the Community Relations Service under the Attorney General, whose responsibility it is to prosecute for violations of the laws of the United States and to enforce those laws, completely negates what this language says. It seems to me it really takes out the guts, the intent of Congress, and the whole purpose of the Community Relations Service.

Now, speaking frankly and knowing very well the feelings of many of the civil rights organizations, I think there is nothing that we would like more than to have at least what they consider a very effective enforcement arm of the Department of Justice and a very effective investigative arm of the Department of Justice. I think there has been an enormous amount of concern along these lines, but that, of course, is the business of other committees of the Senate.

But, frankly, it seems to me, at least, that this transfer in effect may well be accomplishing a little of that—that is, in terms of investigative functions—by placing an agency which is going to exercise investigative functions, under the command of the Attorney General.

Now, I think such a new agency might meet with a great deal of approval among a large number of civil rights groups. But I personally do not think the way to do it is by transferring the Community Relations Service to the Department of Justice.

I just have this concern. I just have this fear.

Senator Harris. Let me say at that point, I think it is a fair statement to say that neither I nor the staff concur in the view that the reorganization plan is illegal. No new functions, I think, are created.

But didn't you hear the testimony earlier of Mr. Wilkins, that this would not in any way change what he now does, insofar as cooperation between the two agencies, and wouldn't your criticism more nearly be to what is now being done in the carrying out of the act than it would be to the reorganization plan at this point?

Mr. Higgs. Mr. Chairman, I certainly would disagree with Mr. Wilkins. I agree with your latter point that I disagree with the administration of the law, but I also disagree more importantly in that this plan would be legitimatizing in the law what is being done now. I gather from hearing Mr. Wilkins this morning that a lot of this is going on. I personally do not think that that is correct

Senator Harris. Don't you think that will neither be cured nor worsened by the reorganization plan? Your criticism is really criticism of present practice, or present interpretation of present law, and that might be cleared by statute or otherwise, it is not really a criticism of the transfer of the functions?

Mr. Higgs. Well, I think that if this transfer is approved, then this in positive law will be approving what is going on now. I wrong. That is just my reaction to it.

Senator HARRIS. That would not be my interpretation, because it doesn't change anything:

If they are now doing it, and they have testified to what they are now doing, then it seems to me the objection is to what they are now doing rather than to doing it in a different place.

Mr. Higgs. Well, Senator, I am glad you raised the point. But, again, it would seem to me that we would no longer have standing to complain once this reorganization plan went through.

Senator HARRIS. Why wouldn't you? Wouldn't you have exactly the same complaint that you have now; namely, that they are not carrying out the intent of Congress, and not carrying out the statutory

may be eral's testimony, the Justice Department was the one place where we did not want the Community Relations Service.

Mr. Chairman, I would like to continue to make a few additional remarks in terms of my direct testimony.

Senator HARRIS. You certainly may. Mr. Higgs. Thank you, sir. I particularly wanted' to elaborate on the first point that I made which, it seems to me, really should preclude, as a technical matter, this plan from being approved by the committee.

Now, this section of the Reorganization Act is very short, it is just about one sentence, and if it is OK, I would like to read that.

Senator HARRIS. Go right ahead.

Mr. Higgs. This is in title 5 of the United States Code, executive departments, section 1132–3: Limitations on powers respecting reorganizations; termination date

(a) No reorganization plan shall provide for and no reorganization under sections 133z to 1332-15 of this title shall have the effect of and skip to 4– authorizing any agency to exercise any function which is not expressly authorized by law at the time the plan is transmitted to the Congress.

Now, it seems to me that in reading section 1003(b) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as pointed out earlier by Senator Javits, in effect, this reorganization plan does clearly violate the substantive provisions of the act. A particular sentence that I think it violates is the second sentence of that subsection, where it says-

No officer or employee of the Service shall engage in the performance of investigative or prosecutive functions of any department or agency in any litigation arising out of a dispute in which he acted on behalf of the Service.

And let me also mention the first sentence as well. It says

The activities of all officers and employees of the Service in providing conciliation assistance shall be conducted first, "in confidence" and second "without publicity,” and the Service shall hold confidential any information acquired in the regular performance of its duties upon the understanding that it would be so held.

Now, Mr. Chairman, I read the Congress when it says “in confidence” that it means that it shall be kept in confidence. And I sonally read that it shall be kept in confidence from the Attorney General-particularly from anyone who is likely to use it to prosecute these people. And I think that “without publicity” means something different, contrary to what the Attorney General testified yesterday, as I recall.

It seems to me “without publicity” means that the Community Relations Service should not let the public know that it is in a town, that it is in Natchez or in Fayette, Miss., doing this. Whereas, keeping the material in confidence means it is not going to turn them over to prosecuting branches of the Government who might use this directly against the people that gave them the information.

Now, I think, as I recall, Senator Ervin has made this point, and I think very, very well, that this should not be done.

So I do read that language in that way, and I read the two sentences together as making it very clear that a transfer of this agency to the Department of Justice, and putting the head of the Community Relations Service under the Attorney General, whose responsibility

And I per

it is to prosecute for violations of the laws of the United States and to enforce those laws, completely negates what this language says. It seems to me it really takes out the guts, the intent of Congress, and the whole purpose of the Community Relations Service.

Now, speaking frankly and knowing very well the feelings of many of the civil rights organizations, I think there is nothing that we would like more than to have at least what they consider a very effective enforcement arm of the Department of Justice and a very effective investigative arm of the Department of Justice. I think there has been an enormous amount of concern along these lines, but that, of course, is the business of other committees of the Senate.

But, frankly, it seems to me, at least, that this transfer in effect may well be accomplishing a little of that-that is, in terms of investigative functions-by placing an agency which is going to exercise investigative functions, under the command of the Attorney General.

Now, I think such a new agency might meet with a great deal of approval among a large number of civil rights groups. But I personally do not think the way to do it is by transferring the Community Relations Service to the Department of Justice.

I just have this concern. I just have this fear.

Senator HARRIS. Let me say at that point, I think it is a fair statement to say that neither I nor the staff concur in the view that the reorganization plan is illegal. No new functions, I think, are created.

But didn't you hear the testimony earlier of Mr. Wilkins, that this would not in any way change what he now does, insofar as cooperation between the two agencies, and wouldn't your criticism more nearly be to what is now being done in the carrying out of the act than it would be to the reorganization plan at this point?

Mr. Higgs. Mr. Chairman, I certainly would disagree with Mr. Wilkins. I agree with your latter point that I disagree with the administration of the law, but I also disagree more importantly in that this plan would be legitimatizing in the law what is being done now. I gather from hearing Mr. Wilkins this morning that a lot of this is going on. I personally do not think that that is correct

Senator HARRIS. Don't you think that will neither be cured nor worsened by the reorganization plan? Your criticism is really criticism of present practice, or present interpretation of present law, and that might be cleared by statute or otherwise, it is not really a criticism of the transfer of the functions?

Mr. Higgs. Well, I think that if this transfer is approved, then this in positive law will be approving what is going on now. I may wrong. That is just my reaction to it.

Senator HARRIS. That would not be my interpretation, because it doesn't change anything:

If they are now doing it, and they have testified to what they are now doing, then it seems to me the objection is to what they are now doing rather than to doing it in a different place.

Mr. Higgs. Well, Senator, I am glad you raised the point. But, Again, it would seem to me that we would no longer have standing to complain once this reorganization plan went through.

Senator HARRIS. Why wouldn't you? Wouldn't you have exactly the same complaint that you have now; namely, that they are not arrying out the intent of Congress, and not carrying out the statutory

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