Page images

Mr. MERIAM. Yes.

Representative CoCHRAN. You could have gone on if you desired, but you completed your statement, did you not!

Mr. MERIAM. Oh, yes. Senator HARRISON. What I wanted to ask, in order to get the force of the Brookings Institution recommendations, does each member of the staff go out and make his recommendations and present his own thoughts without bringing it back to your general staff and discussing it with your general staff !

Mr. MERIAM. I tried at the outset, in a very brief statement, to explain the procedure which we have followed in this report. The subjects are assigned to the different members of the staff, according to their special field of knowledge. We have men that specialize in different fields. Those men prepare the first draft of the report. Ordinarily that is done in two parts: The first part is the purely factual part, the descriptive part, and then it comes to the recommendations.

Now, in the ordinary course of events we meet in groups, informally, sometimes formally; we have so-called staff conferences. Then the first draft of the report comes in, which is in two partsno. 1, the descriptive part; and no. 2, the recommendations. Those reports are circulated among the different members of the staff. Now, that does not mean always that every member of the staff reads every report, but the men who have familiarity with the general field in which the person has worked read them.

We have all kinds of criticisms and suggestions, and sometimes, when the thing gets pretty warm, we may spend hours and hours and hours in staff conferences discussing what the recommendations would be. That is one reason why Senator Byrd hasn't gotten some of our reports quite as quickly as we hoped he would get them, because there are certain of the recommendations that have gone into a jam. We have to work on the thing until we get to the conclusion.

Senator HARRISON. After you have come to your conclusion, must it be a unanimous conclusion of the staff before you can make your recommendation or is it the majority conclusion ?

Mr. MERIAM. When the staff cannot agree, the general procedure is the so-called alternative recommendation; that is, a recommendation that the thing might be done in either one of two ways, or it may be a softening of the recommendation.

Ön reports of this type we do not use the procedure that we use in our more literary efforts, our book publications, where a dissenting member of the staff has the privilege of a footnote being attached taking exception to a particular statement. We never have used that in this type of report.

Now, I think one of the weaknesses of our State survey work has been that we have almost invariably taken those assignments on a very rigid time schedule; and while we have excellent staff conferences in the field, while the men are on the job, when it comes to putting the material in at the last moment we do not do as thorough conference work as I think we should.

Now, in this particular report the thing has been gone into very, very thoroughly; I hate to say how many hours have gone into it in conferences on this particular point.

Senator HARRISON. Let me ask you as to your recommendations to Mississippi, Oklahoma, and these various States; those were pre. pared by some staff members in the field, were they?

Mr. MERIAM. Yes, sir.

Senator HARRISON. Then they send their reports in before they make recommendations to the staff here?

Mr. MERIAM. No, sir. The man who makes one of those reports actually goes into the field, and he makes a study of that particular subject in the field. He may or may not actually write his report in the field. It may be written in the field or may be written when he comes back.

Senator HARRISON. What I am trying to get at is whether it is many minds that meet on this proposition. Are these the views of one or two members of the staff?

Mr. MERIAM. The views that are set forth in this report

Senator HARRISON (interrupting). You are talking about your report to this committee?

Mr. MERIAM. Yes. On the survey I think it is fair to say, sir, that we do not and have not had as much group thinking as we should have. I do not think there is any question about that.

Senator HARRISON. Now, when this change came on that you told us about—what was the date of the change?

Mr. MERIAM. It has been within the last few months.
Senator HARRISON. The last few months?
Mr. MERIAM. Yes, sir.

Senator HARRISON. Did the President's recommendations to Congress to effect the reorganization, and the action of this committee that was appointed by the President to make the recommendation here—did that have any influence upon your recommendations?

Mr. MERIAM. No, sir. The main outline of the recommendations were in shape before we ever saw the President's report.

Senator HARRISON. And a vote was taken as to the change?

Mr. MERIAM. No. The argument that came up as to the line of recommendations which we would take was after the President's report was submitted.

Senator HARRISON. Now, who prepared the initial preliminary report?

Mr. MERIAM. Dr. Selko.
Senator HARRISON. The doctor prepared it?
Mr. MERIAM. Yes.
Senator HARRISON. And then submitted it to the others ?
Mr. MERIAM. Yes, sir.
Senator HARRISON. And was it unanimous?

Mr. SELKO. I think I can say, without any fear of inaccuracy, that as a staff we were more unanimous on these particular recommendations than we are usually.

Senator BARKLEY. If you are unanimous, you cannot be any more unanimous, can you ?

Mr. SELKO. Let me put it this way: I think there was less disagreement with respect to these recommendations than with respect to any of the others.

Senator HARRISON. Well, did any member of the staff oppose this particular change when it took place?

Mr. SELKO. I do not know,

Mr. MERIAM. No; I should say not. The way this thing is done—very frequently we do not meet formally around the table like the committee here. We do occasionally.

We do occasionally. For instance, Mr. Selko's manuscript comes in to me, I read it, study it, and make some notes on it. Then I go up and talk it over with Dan, and then somebody else reads it and talks it over, and then only on relatively rare occasions do we meet formally around the table in a room to debate it. There was one formal meeting we did have that was in the nature of a debate, a full council conference, and that was on this question of whether the Brookings Institution should decide that there was a definite principle which was uniformly applicable alike to the States and to the Federal Government. We knew perfectly well that our whole line of recommendations within the organization with respect to the Federal Government had always been along the line of this report.

Senator BYRD. There was no change, then, on that? Mr. MERIAM. No, sir; no change within the staff on that line. That has been the unanimous opinion of the staff from the beginning. Our whole record within the institution will show that. There has been, in connection with that, some debate within the staff as to what extent the Budget Bureau should keep accounts.

Senator HARRISON. Well, was that unanimous?
Mr. MERIAM. On the debate of the principle?
Senator HARRISON. The action taken.
Mr. MERIAM. That action taken was unanimous; yes, sir.

Senator BYRD. Who is the chairman of the board of the Brookings Institution, Mr. Meriam ?

Mr. MERIAM. Mr. Delano-Frederick A. Delano.

Senator BYRD. Frederick A. Delano. What is his relation to the President

Mr. MERIAM. He is the uncle of the President.

I want this definitely understood, that our board of trustees does not participate or have anything to do with the staff recommendations. They are a board of trustees similar to the trustees of a university. I think that is as good a comparison as you can make. But the responsibility for the report is on the staff and not on the trustees. Now, occasionally a member of the trustees may read one of the reports, if he is particularly interested in it, but the trustees are not in any sense responsible for the work of the staff.

Senator BYRNES. The Chair recognizes Senator Townsend. He wants to ask a question.

Senator TOWNSEND. I think the question was answered in the discussion. I wanted to ask if it was a unanimous report.

Mr. MERIAM. Yes.

Senator BARKLEY. Mr. Meriam, this information may have been asked for already, but I would like to get the status of this Brookings Institution in this whole set-up here. You were first employed by the Senate committee presided over by Senator Byrd ?

Mr. MERIAM. By the Senate committee presided over by Senator Byrd and by the House committee under Representative Buchanan. Senator BYRD. May I make a statement there? Senator BYRNES. Wait until he finishes.

Senator BARKLEY. You were also employed by the President's committee, as I understand it?

Mr. MERIAM. That was not my understanding. I can give you the history of it.

Senator BARKLEY. I want to find out in what capacity you serve in working for these two committees.

Mr. MERIAM. We regarded our contract to be with Senator Byrd's committee and with Mr. Buchanan's committee. There was a question of money that was involved. We did not have a staff of our own, on our regular pay roll, paid from our funds, which was large enough to do this job within the necessary time limits, and therefore we had to tell Senator Byrd and Mr. Buchanan that we could not handle this on our financing, that we would have to have money, and Senator Byrd, as I recall, agreed to pay us $20,000. Is that correct?

Senator BYRD. $18,000.

Mr. MERIAM. $18,000; yes; from the appropriation which was made to him. The House money came through a separate appropriation.

Senator BARKLEY. I do not care anything about that.

Mr. MERIAM. That is necessary to show the relationship, Senator. On the House side, Mr. Buchanan said that he would put in, as I recall it, $10,000; and he would make the President's committee come across for us with $10,000, to do the factual side of it.

The two resolutions were not identical. There was language in the House resolution which called upon the President's committee to present the factual material which we were gathering for the House and Senate committees; and in view of that, the President's committee, as I recall—and Mr. Harris will correct me if I am wrongcontributed $10,000 to our group, with the understanding that we would do the factual material regarding the departments.

Of course, this is only one single chapter of a very voluminous report which covers all the administrative agencies, the entire executive establishment of the Government. So that we have assumed right along that we were working for Senator Byrd's committee and Mr. Buchanan's committee.

Senator BARKLEY. Now, did the field covered by you in your capacity as representing the Senate and the House committees, and also the President's committee, cover the same field of investigationwas it identical ?

Mr. MERIAM. All three; yes, sir. Our agreement with the committees was that our obligation under our contract would be satisfied completely by the submission of these reports to Senator Byrd's committee and to Mr. Buchanan's committee. We did not assume any other responsibility to anybody.

We did this thing, I want to say, for $38,000, as far as the Government's payment is concerned.

One of the difficulties we have had, we have been terribly cramped for funds. The Government expenditure with respect to this has been—I am not sure whether it has been $38,000 or $38,500, but it was something like that.

Senator Byrd. I just want to state. for the purpose of the record that the Brookings Institution was employed by the Senate Reorganization Committee by unanimous vote of that committee. The members of that committee are Senator Robinson, Senator O'Mahoney, Senator McNary, Senator Townsend, and myself. A meeting was held, and they were selected unanimously as the best organization to prepare the fact-finding data.

Senator BARKLEY. Well, I did not raise any question about that. Senator BYRD. I know you did not. Senator BARKLEY. I want to find out, if they are working for three different committees at the same time, whether there is any conflict.

Mr. MERIAM. We did not assume that we were working for the President's committee.

Representative Vinson. Mr. Meriam, there must have been some argument or some disagreement among the staff as to what you would recommend in respect to the control audit, was there not?

Mr. MERIAM. No, sir.

Representative Vinson. Now, if I understood you correctly when you answered Senator Harrison, you said when there was unanimity of opinion, you recommended one course; and if there was a disagreement, you recommended courses in the alternative. Did I understand that to be correct?

Mr. MERIAM. There was unanimity on the principle that we should have an audit by an independent office agency prior to final settlement. We are unanimous on that.

Representative Vinson. You were unanimous on the independent unit doing the auditing work?

Mr. MERIAM. Yes.

Representative Vinson. Now, was there disagreement in your group as to whether that unit should be in the executive department, or responsible to the Executive, or a legislative agent similar to the Comptroller General ?

Mr. MERIAM. There was no difference of opinion with respect to the desirability of having an independent audit under the legislative branch, if that is constitutional.

Representative VINSON. Now, why did you say in your formal statement that the control audit could well be done either by a unit under the Executive or by an agency such as the Comptroller General? I am not quoting your exact words.

Mr. MERIAM. No, sir; you are not quoting my exact words.

Representative VINSON. I took that up with Mr. Selko, and he agreed with me that you certainly could have an independent unit under the Executive to do this audit; and your formal statement in writing, if we have it, will show that the statement was made that the agency making this control audit could either be an executive or a legislative agency. Let me have a copy of your statement.

Mr. SELKO. Yes, sir. Now, just a moment.
Representative Vinson. I am asking Mr. Meriam, please.
Mr. MERIAM. If you can find it, Mr. Vinson, I would like to see it.

Representative Vinson. Well, there is no doubt about that, because I interrogated you myself about it.

Senator BYRNES. Nr. Vinson, do you want to take the time to go into it now? It is 10 minutes to 12.

Representative Vinson. It will take but just a minute.

« PreviousContinue »