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LEGISLATIVE PROGRAMS OF VETERANS' ORGANIZATIONS

FOR 1948

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 14, 1948

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS,

Washington, D. C. The committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:30 a. m., Hon. Edith Nourse Rogers (chairman) presiding.

STATEMENT OF OMAR B. KETCHUM, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL

LEGISLATIVE SERVICE, ACCOMPANIED BY J. RUFUS KLAWANS, CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE, VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS OF THE UNITED STATES

The CHAIRMAN. The committee will please come to order.

We are meeting this morning to hear the program of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States for the coming year.

I feel I can speak for every member of this committee when I say we are always happy to meet with the national legislative committee of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, Mr. Ketchum, to discuss veterans' problems.

Will you proceed, please? First give your full name for the record. Will you not be seated, please?

Mr. KETCHUM. Madam Chairman, my name is Omar B. Ketchum, director, national legislative service, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.

Madam Chairman and members of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, first of all, I would like, on behalf of the national legislative committee, to express our deep appreciation for the courtesy of the chairman and the members of the committee for arranging this special meeting this morning which will enable the members of our national legislative committee to meet the members of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee wants to give you the entire morning.

Mr. KETCHUM. We certainly appreciate that, Madam Chairman, and at the same time we wish to informally discuss some of the major points of the legislative program of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

I might say to the committee we have no intention of trying to develop the details of any particular piece of legislation. As a matter of fact, there is no particular piece of legislation before the committee this morning for discussion; but we do hope to present what we consider some of the top objectives of our program and some of the things Congress should consider, if not in the second session of the Eightieth Congress, in some succeeding session of Congress.

I would also like to say, Madam Chairman, that our members are deeply appreciative of what this committee did in the first session of the Eightieth Congress. Irrespective of whether the legislation finally went through, we know this committee devoted much time and effort; that many bills were introduced, considered, and reported out; and the fact that most of it did not win the approval of the House or Senate, cannot be directly attributable to any lack of interest or effort on the part of this committee. We are well pleased with the work this committee has done since the beginning of the Eightieth Congress and we hope we will be more successful in the remainder of the Eightieth Congress in getting some of the legislation finally approved and over to the White House. As a matter of fact, there were a large number of bills reported by this committee in the first session.

The CHAIRMAN. Some thirty.

Mr. KETCHUM. That is right. Some are still pending before the House. Some are bogged down in the Rules Committee. We have tried, in common with other groups, to dislodge those bills. Whether we will be more successful in the second session than in the first remains to be seen.

This morning we have most of our members of the national legislative committee here. I regret that two are not present. One was suddenly called out of town to take care of legal business, as you lawyers know how that is. Another had to meet with his board of directors to report profit and loss for the year, and he could not take off. Otherwise, he might have been out of his job. But at this time, Madam Chairman, and members of the committee, I would like to have the privilege of presenting those who are here this morning, after which I will attempt to give you a brief résumé of our important objectives; and then I would like to have the committee, if they are so inclined, to have an informal discussion, if they would like to ask questions of members of our group. In other words, a round table discussion.

The CHAIRMAN. Would you like to present your objectives first?

Mr. KETCHUM. Yes; and after that, any discussion you would care to have, but we do not want to detain the committee.

The CHAIRMAN. I think it would be fine to proceed in that manner.

Mr. KETCHUM. Connected with our committee are two of the outstanding women of our auxiliary. The first is the chairman of the national rehabilitation committee of the ladies' auxiliary. She is from New York originally and a past national president, and I present at this time Mrs. Alice Chadwick.

Then the national chairman, ladies auxiliary national legislative committee. She is past department president of the ladies' auxiliary of the District of Columbia and resides in the District of Columbia. Mrs. Florence Armstrong.

We have with us one of the top-ranking officers of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, one we are very proud of. He has recently succeeded to this position upon the death of Paul S. Lawrence, adjutant general of New York. He is a middle-westerner and comes from my home State. I present Adjt. Gen. H. N. Hensley.

Mr. HUBER. What State?

Mr. KETCHUM. Kansas. I think Herb Meyer knows about that State.

Getting down to the members of our committee, first I should like to present our chairman, who has been a member of the legislative committee for 6 or 7 years, and last year was appointed chairman. In other words, he earned his spurs. He comes from the great State of California, from San Francisco in fact; and in between serving the Veterans of Foreign Wars for free, and as chairman of the National Association of Professional Football Leagues, between those two jobs, he tries to make a living as a lawyer.

I present the chairman of the national legislative committee, J. Rufus Klawans.

The CHAIRMAN. I saw Mr. Klawans' work in California and so did other members of the committee.

Mr. KETCHUM. He seems to be pretty well acquainted, Mrs. Rogers, with the California delegation. He seems to know all of them.

Among other members of the committee, the next, probably the oldest member from the standpoint of seniority on the committee, comes from the great State of Michigan, and he is always talking about the Michigan football team. This year he is also commander of the department of Michigan. He is an official of the State government of Michigan, and I present at this time Department Commander Mesle Hopper, of Charlotte, Mich.

Michigan and California can hardly pay attention to business of the committee for they are always arguing about the Rose Bowl football game.

Then, another member of the committee is also the department commander of our biggest department. They sometimes say they have more members than all the other departments, and I refer, of course, to the great State of Pennsylvania. He is department commander of Pennsylvania, an outstanding veteran of World War II, and is sales representative of the Armstrong Cork Co., Mr. Frank C. Hilton, of Womelsdorf, Pa.

Then, we have from down in North Carolina, a member of the North Carolina Legislature. Also a prominent attorney in WinstonSalem, a veteran of World War II, James M. Hays, of Winston-Salem, N. C.

Perhaps Mrs. Rogers may be able to account for the absence of the next one. We have from the State of Massachusetts, from the city of Everett, the city solicitor of Everett. He was supposed to be here I refer to Albert R. Morris, former member of the Massachusetts Assembly and now city solicitor of Everett. He was supposed to be in the room, but apparently he is first taking care of Massachusetts business.

We also have the senior vice commander of the department of Michigan with us this morning, Otho Beaudoin, who will probably be the next department commander of Michigan.

Another member is Mr. Edward K. Inmar, publisher of the National Tribune and Stars and Stripes, attending a board meeting.

And another member, Mr. Edward L. Foster, an attorney from Maryland, who is out of town on legal business.

They will be with us in the morning.

I do want to present one or two of my staff members, my first assistant, J. C. Williamson and another member of our legislative service who is now designated as national housing officer, Mr. Jack Carter.

We hope the other members of the committee will be in before we conclude:

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