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REORGANIZATION OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS
TUESDAY, MARCH 9, 1937
JOINT COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION,
Washington, D.C. The joint committee met, Senator Robinson presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. Will the committee please come to order. Gentlemen, I have to be absent for a time. I am going to ask Mr. Byrnes to take the chair. I suggest that Mr. Gulick be recalled in connection with reorganization. Until I return, Mr. Byrnes, will you preside?
Representative TABER. Now, I am going to suggest, Mr. Chairman, that Mr. Gulick, if he has not already done so, give us the same information about himself that Mr. Merriam gave yesterday.
Senator BYRNES. My recollection is that he did.
Senator BYRNES. If it is in there you do not want to continue it, do you?
Representative TABER. No.
Senator BYRNES. I think Mr. Merriam also made a statement yesterday as to your experience in connection with his own experience.
The Chairman stated that you had been asked to return to make a statement on reorganization. Do you have a statement that you desire to make, Mr. Gulick!
STATEMENT OF LUTHER GULICK
Mr. GULICK. Senator Robinson suggested that it might be useful to pursue further the problem underlying reorganization of the executive branch. I have not prepared any particular statement in that field. I think, perhaps, however, it might be useful to the committee to consider the matter in the light of the past efforts at reorganization here in Washington under the programs that we have had. It really goes back to the problems that arose in 1903 when the Department of Commerce and Labor was set up as a recognition that at that time in American history we had proceeded far enough with work in those fields to create a separate department to take care of it. Then in 1913 it was felt that the work in Labor necessitated splitting that off and setting up a separate department there, so that we had two departments where there had been one before.
It is interesting to note that when the Congress passed the legislation in 1903 to set up the Department of Commerce and Labor it was decided that no one at that time had enough information to know just what could be put in the new department which was set up, and the President at that time was authorized, in the act creating the department, to make certain transfers of technical and scientific bureaus from other departments to the Department of Commerce and Labor if after investigation, he found that that was necessary.
As late as 1925 two bureaus were moved under that provision. One of those was the Patent Office, which was carried to the Department of Commerce at that time by Executive order.
Senator HARRISON. Have you got a copy of that law?
Senator HARRISON. It seems to me it would be well to put it into the record.
Mr. GULICK. I can furnish you with a brief statement in which we have endeavored to summarize the major acts authorizing the transfer of bureaus. I think, perhaps, inasmuch as it is a document of some 20 pages, you would prefer to have copies of it made and circulated to the committee. It might be more useful in that form, but I will do as you suggest.
Representative COCHRAN. Can you furnish us with copies?
Mr. GULICK. I cannot furnish you with copies this morning, but I would be able to do so after I have had time to duplicate them,
Senator HARRISON. Was any report to come back to the Congress before the final transfer was made?
Mr. GULICK. Not in that case, there was no provision whatsoever to that effect.
Senator HARRISON. I think we ought to have that in the record, Senator BYRNES. Very well. (The matter referred to is as follows :)
UNITED STATES LAWS AUTHORIZING REDISTRIBUTION OF FUNCTIONS AMONG
EXECUTIVE AGENCIES AND TRANSFERS OF POWERS OR DUTIES FROM ONE DEPARTMENT OR BUREAU TO ANOTHER BY THE PRESIDENT OR THE HEAD OF A DEPARTMENT
Act of February 14, 1903 (32 Stat. 830, sec. 12); President authorized to “transfer at any time the whole or any part of any office, bureau, division, or other branch of the public service engaged in statistical or scientific work, from the Department of State, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of War, the Department of Justice, the Post Office Deparment, the Department of the Navy, or the Department of the Interior, to the Department of Commerce and Labor; and in every such case the duties and authority performed by and conferred by law upon such office, bureau, division, or other branch of the public service, or the part thereof so transferred, shall be thereby transferred with such office, bureau, division, or other branch of the public service, or the part thereof which is so transferred. And all power and authority conferred by law, both supervisory and appellate, upon the department from which such transfer is made, or the secretary thereof, in rela. tion to the said office, bureau, division, or other branch of the public service, or the part thereof so transferred, shall immediately, when such transfer is so ordered by the President, be fully conferred upon and vested in the Department of Commerce and Labor, or the secretary thereof, as the case may be, as the whole or part of such office, bureau, division, or other branch of the public service so transferred."
Act of April 28, 1908 (35 Stat. 69, sec 3): President authorized "for any special occasion” to transfer "to the head of another department" the authority conferred upon the Secretary of Commerce and Labor to issue regulations for the safety of life during regattas or marine parades.
Act of June 24, 1910 (36 Stat. 613): “The duties assigned by law to the Bureau of Equipment shall be distributed among the other bureaus and offices of the Navy Department in such manner as the Secretary of the Navy shall consider expedient and proper during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1911, and the Secretary of the Navy, with the approval of the President, is hereby authorized and directed to assign and transfer to said other bureaus and offices, respectively. all available funds heretofore and hereby appropriated for the Bureau of Equipment and such civil employees of the Bureau as are authorized by law, and when such distribution of duties, funds, and em
ployees shall have been completed, the Bureau of Equipment shall be discontinued as hereinbefore provided.” The same provision was repeated for the fiscal years 1912, 1913, and 1914, in the acts of March 4, 1911 (36 Stat. 1273); August 22, 1912 (37 Stat. 339) ; and March 4, 1913 (37 Stat. 899).
Act of March 3, 1917 (39 Stat. 1122, sec. 8): "The Bureau of Efficiency shall investigate duplication of service in the various executive departments and establishments of the Government, including bureaus and divisions, and make a report to the President thereon, and the President is hereby authorized, after such reports shall have been made to him, whenever he finds such duplication to exist to abolish the same."
LAWS APPLICABLE IN EMERGENCIES ONLY
Act of July 1, 1902 (32 Stat. 713, sec. 4): President authorized to "utilize the Public Health and Marine Hospital Service in times of threatened or actual war to such extent and in such manner as shall in his judgment promote the public interest without, however, in anywise impairing the efficiency of the services for the purposes for which the same was created and is maintained.” Act of January 28, 1915 (38 Stat. 800): "The Coast Guard
shall operate as a part of the Navy, subject to the orders of the Secretary of the Navy, in time of war, or when the President shall so direct."
Act of August 29, 1916 (39 Stat. 602): "The President is. hereby authorized, whenever in his judgment a sufficient national emergency exists, to transfer to the service and jurisdiction of the Navy Department, or of the War Department, such vessels, equipment, stations, and personnel of the Light House Service as he may deem to the best interests of the country, and after such transfer all expenses connected therewith shall be defrayed out of the appropriations for the department to which transfer is made."
Act of May 22, 1917 (40 Stat. 87, sec. 16): “The President is hereby authorized, whenever in his judgment a sufficient national emergency exists, to transfer to the service and jurisdiction of the War Department, or of the Navy Department, such vessels, equipment, stations, and personnel of the Coast and Geodetic Survey as he may deem to the best interest of the country, and after such transfer all expenses connected therewith shall be defrayed out of the appropriations for the department to which transfer is made.”
UNITED STATES LAWS ATHORIZING DETAILS OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES FROM
ONE DEPARTMENT OR BUREAU TO ANOTHER AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT
I. CIVIL SERVICE
Revised Statutes, 166, as amended by act of May 28, 1896 (29 Stat. 179): "Each head of a department may, from time to time, alter the distribution of the clerks and other employees allowed by law, except such clerks or employees as inay be required by law to be exclusively engaged upon some specific work, as he may find it necessary and proper to do, but all details hereunder shall be made by written order of the head of the department, and in no case be for a period of time exceeding 120 days: Provided, That details so made may, on expiration, be renewed from time to time by written order of the head of the department, in each particular case, for periods of not exceeding 120 days."
Act of November 21, 1877 (20 Stat. 3): Heads of departments authorized to detail clerks for temporary service in Surgeon General's office, to furnish information called for by the Commissioner of Pensions.
Act of June 2, 1879 (21 Stat. 7, sec. 7): President authorized to detail officers from the various departments for temporary duty under the National Board of Health to enforce quarantine regulations. (This act expired by limitation in 1883.)
Act of February 15, 1893 (27 Stat. 450, sec. 2): President authorized to detail medical officers to consulates to perform duties under quarantine laws.
Act of June 18, 1910 (36 Stat. 556, sec. 16): "The several departments and bureaus of the Government shall detail from time to time such officials and employees" to the Commission to investigate railroad stocks and bonds "as may be directed by the President."
Act of September 26, 1914 (38 Stat. 722, sec. 8): "The several departments and bureaus of the Government
shall detail from time to time such officials and employees" to the Federal Trade Commission as the President may direct.
Act of September 7, 1916 (39 Stat. 729, sec. 4): "The President, upon the request of the (United States Shipping) Board, may authorize the detail of officers of the military, naval, or other services of the United States for such duties as the Board may deem necessary in connection with its business.”
Act of September 8, 1916 (39 Stat. 797, sec. 707): "The Treasury Department, Department of Commerce, the Federal Trade Commission, or any other departments or independent establishments of the Government
shall detail from time to time such officials and employees” to the United States Tariff Commission as the President may direct.
Act of March 1, 1917 (39 Stat. 950, sec. 3): "The heads of the several departments of the Government may, in their discretion, and shall upon the request of the Secretary of War, detail representatives from their respective departments to assist the Engineers of the Army in the study and examination" of watersheds significant from the standpoint of flood control, “to the end that duplication of work may be avoided and the various services of the Government economically coordinated therein.”
II. MILITARY AND NAVAL SERVICE
Revised Statutes, 1437: "The President may detail, temporarily, three compe. tent naval officers for the service of the War Department in the inspection of transport vessels, and for such other services as may be designated by the Secretary of War.”
Act of June 16, 1880 (21 Stat. 374): Secretary of War authorized to detail two officers of Ordnance Corps to serve with Geological Survey.
Act of October 1, 1890 (26 Stat. 653): President authorized to detail Chief Signal Officer to have charge of Weather Bureau and to assign four other Army officers to that Bureau. (Repealed by joint resolution of July 8, 1898 (30 Stat. 752).)
Act of October 6, 1917 (40 Stat. 399): Secretary of War and Secretary of the Navy authorized to detail Army and Navy surgeons to Bureau of War-Risk Insurance.
Senate amendment no. 72 to the legislative appropriation bill for the fiscal year 1918 was as follows:
“SEC. 8. The President is hereby authorized, during the recess of the Congress, to take action looking to a proper and scientific coordination of the work of the various executive departments of the Government, and he is hereby requested to report upon the question of transfer and consolidation of bureaus, divisions, offices, and other governmental activities, in order that duplication of service may be abolished and extravagance and unnecessary erpenditures eliminated.”
As agreed to in conference, and as it appears in the statutes, that provision is as follows:
“SEC. 8. The Bureau of Efficiency shall investigate duplication of service in the various executive departments and establishments of the Government, including bureaus and divisions, and make a report to the President thereon, and the President is hereby authorized after such report shall have been made to him, wherever he finds such duplications to exist, to abolish the same. Report of the action taken hereunder shall be made to Congress at its next regular session."
That statute was approved March 3, 1917 (39 Stat. 1122).
[PUBLIC_No. 152—65TH CONGRESS]
AN ACT Authorizing the President to coordinate or consolidate executive bureaus, agencies,
and offices, and for other purposes, in the interest of economy and the more efficient concentration of the Government
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That for the national security and defense, for the successful prosecution of the war, for the support and maintenance of the Army and Navy, for the better utilization of resources and industries, and for the more effective exercise and more efficient administration by the President of his powers as Commander in Chief of the land and naval forces, the President is hereby authorized to make such redistribution of functions among executive agencies as he may deem necessary, including any functions, duties, and powers hitherto by law conferred upon any execu
tive department, commission, bureau, agency, office, or officer, in such manner as in his judgment shall deem best fitted to carry out the purposes of this Act, and to this end is authorized to make such regulations and to issue such orders as he may deem necessary, which regulations and orders shall be in writing and shall be filed with the head of the department affected and constitute a public record: Provided, That this Act shall remain in force during the continuance of the present war and for six months after the termination of the war by the proclamation of the treaty of peace, or at such earlier time as the President may designate: Provided further, That the termination of this Act shall not affect any act done or any right or obligation accruing or accrued pursuant to this Act and during the time that this Act is in force: Provided further, That the authority by this Act granted shall be exercised only in matters relating to the conduct of the present war.
SEC. 2. That in carrying out the purposes of this Act the President is authorized to utilize, coordinate, or consolidate any executive or administrative commissions, bureaus, agencies, offices, or officers now existing by law, to transfer any duties or powers from one existing department, commission, bureau, agency, office, or officer to another, to transfer the personnel thereof or any part of it either by detail or assignment, together with the whole or any part of the records and public property belonging thereto.
SEC. 3. That the President is further authorized to establish an executive agency which may exercise such jurisdiction and control over the production of aeroplanes, aeroplane engines, and aircraft equipment as, in his judgment, may be advantageous; and, further, to transfer to such agency, for its use, all or any moneys heretofore appropriated for the production of aeroplanes, aeroplane engines, and aircraft equipment.
SEC. 4. That for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act, any moneys heretofore and hereafter appropriated for the use of any executive department, commission, bureau, agency, office, or officer shall be expended only for the purpose for which it was appropriated under the direction of such other agency as may be directed by the President hereunder to perform and execute said function.
Sec. 5. That should the President, in redistributing the functions among the executive agencies as provided in this Act, conclude that any bureau should be abolished and it or their duties and functions conferred upon some other department or bureau or eliminated entirely, he shall report his conclusions to Congress with such recommendations as he may deem proper.
SEC. 6. That all laws or parts of laws conflicting with the provisions of this Act are to the extent of such conflict suspended while this Act is in force.
Upon the termination of this Act all executive or administrative agencies, departments, commissions, bureaus, offices, or officers shall exercise the same functions, duties, and powers as heretofore or as hereafter by law may be provided, any authorization of the President under this Act to the contrary notwithstanding.
Approved, May 20, 1918.
[PUBLIC—No. 212—72D CONGRESS)
(H. R. 11267)
AN ACT Making appropriations for the legislative branch of the Government for the
fiscal year ending June 30, 1933, and for other purposes
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled
TITLE IV. REORGANIZATION OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS
DECLARATION OF POLICY
SEC. 401. In order to further reduce expenditures and increase efficiency in government it is declared to be the policy of Congress
(a) To group, coordinate, and consolidate executive and administrative agencies of the Government, as nearly as may be, according to major purpose;
(b) To reduce the number of such agencies by consolidating those having similar functions under a single head;
(c) To eliminate overlapping and duplication of effort; and
(d) To segregate regulatory agencies and functions from those of an administrative and executive character.