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Now, Mr. Strobel, will you kindly step forward, please, and your counsel, Mr. Robb. Will you stand and raise your right hand and repeat: Do you solemnly swear that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God? ?

Mr. STROBEL. Nothing but the truth, so help me God.

TESTIMONY OF PETER A. STROBEL, COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC

BUILDINGS SERVICE, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION; ACCOMPANIED BY ROGER ROBB, COUNSEL

The CHAIRMAN. Will you give your name and address and affiliation with the Government to the stenographer?

Mr. STROBEL. My name is Peter A. Strobel, Commissioner of Public Buildings Service of the General Services Administration.

The CHAIRMAN. Now, your distinguished counsel, Mr. Robb, has asked permission for you to read a statement, and you have that permission.

(The statement is as follows:)

STATEMENT OF PETER A. STROBEL, COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS SERVICE, 3. Neither the firm nor I would have any financial interest, stock or otherwise, in any architectural or construction firm.

GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION My name is Peter A. Strobel, and since July 1, 1954, I have been Commissioner, Public Buildings Service, General Services Administration. I understand that this committee would like to know something about me and what I have been doing in Washington. I am very glad to appear before you this morning to make a statement and to answer any questions you may have.

Perhaps a word about my professional background might be in order. This background is: Graduate civil engineer, 1925; worked as a draftsman, designer, and engineer with various firms from 1925 until 1937; 1937–40, chief structural engineer, New York World's Fair ; 1941, chief structural engineer for Army Airbase, Jamaica, British West Indies; 1942-43, chief engineer, James Stewart & Co, Inc., New York; in 1943, I established my own practice as a consulting engineer, and in 1945 the partnership of Strobel & Salzman, consulting engineers, of New York, was established.

Strobel & Salzman is a consulting engineering firm doing professional work, that is, preparing plans and specifications for civil and structural engineering work in connection with all types of buildings and structures. The firm's clients consist of owners, builders, contractors, fabricators, architects, and engineers. The firm has been most fortunate in acquiring a very high type of clientele. The bulk of the firm's business has been for private enterprise, although to some ex. tent we have of course participated in the defense efforts of this country. Among the projects of our firm have been manufacturing plants, armories, railroad stations, commercial buildings, shopping centers and department stores, office buildings, hospitals, university buildings and laboratories, schools, apartments, churches, and airport structures. A specialty of the firm has been hangars of many different types which involved a few inventions made by us. During the war, several hundred hangars were fabricated from our design.

When I came to Washington, I gave up the active management of the business. I did not come to Washington for personal gain. This has been borne out by the fact that the net earnings of the firm fell in 1954 to half of what they were in 1953.

I laid down certain basic rules to govern Strobel & Salzman in their activities during my term of public office. I have followed these rules. Among them are

1. Strobel & Salzman would disqualify itself from taking on any contract or subcontract which involved or came under the jurisdiction of the Public Buildings Service of the General Services Administration.

2. Strobel & Salzman would not take on any new clients (who were not clients or in the process of negotiation prior to my entry into public office) even for wholly unrelated work, where the new client was interested in or in the process of seeking a contract or subcontract with the Public Buildings Service of the General Services Administration.

When I took office it was my understanding that under the law the firm of Strobel & Salzman might properly seek and accept contracts from agencies of the Government other than GSA. Pursuant to this understanding, the firm has on a few occasions made inquiries about the possibilities of obtaining such business. I have made no such inquiries, and the fact is that since I took office the firm has made no such contracts with any Government agency. The firm has completed one such contract which was let before I took office.

As a result of the business activities of Strobel & Salzman and their comparative success, I am acquainted on a professional basis with many outstanding architects, engineers, and contractors, some of whom might look to GSA as a source of work whenever we have a building program. As the Government's contracting officer in handling architect-engineer contracts for building projects, however, I can assure you that no favoritism has been shown to anybody. For many years the following procedure has been followed in selecting architectengineers: Local architect-engineers are used to the fullest extent. We solicit all registered architects in the area of the project. In some cases we solicit all architects in the State. They are requested to submit questionnaires and documentation about their organization, and their present workload, together with photographs of work done, and other information that may be helpful in judging their qualifications. They are then rated by a board of three qualified men in the Public Buildings Service who submit their recommendations to me in accordance with the ratings. The record shows that I have followed the recommendations of this three-man board in every case. The only contracts awarded on a selective basis are those for the professional services of architect-engineers; all others are awarded on a competitive-bid basis.

The record shows that two clients of Strobel & Salzman, namely, Serge P. Petroff & Associates, and Chapman, Evans & Delehanty, both architectural firms with offices in New York, have done some work for GSA since I have been in office. The fact that these firms happened to be clients of Strobel & Salzman had nothing whatever to do with their retention by GSA. I shall be very glad to tell you all about these cases in detail if you wish.

There has never been any secret about the fact that I have an interest in the firm of Strobel & Salzman and that I have devoted some time to its affairs since I came to Washington. On no occasion, however, have I attended to the business of Strobel & Salzman on Government time. I have not used Government stationery for my private business, nor have I in any way used or sought to use my official position to further the interests of the firm.

I have cooperated in every way with the staff of your committee, making all my files available to them, for I do not wish to have any misunderstanding about my position in this matter. I am now glad, to the best of my ability, to answer any questions which the committee or the staff may have. Mr. STROBEL. Thank you, sir. .

name is Peter A Strobel and since July 1, 1954, I have been Commissioner, Public Buildings Service, General Services Administration. I understand that this committee would like to know something about me and what I have been doing in Washington. I am very glad to appear before you this morning to make a statement and to answer any questions you may have.

Perhaps a word about my professional background might be in order. This background is: Graduate civil engineer, 1925; worked as a draftsman, designer, and engineer with various firms from 1925 until 1937; 1937-40, chief structural engineer, New York World's Fair, Inc.; 1941, chief structural engineer for Army airbase, Jamaica, British West Indies; 1942–43, chief engineer, James Stewart & Co., Inc., New York; in 1943, I established my own practice as a consulting engineer and in 1945 the partnership of Strobel & Salzman, consulting engineers, of New York, was established.

Strobel & Salzman is a consulting engineering firm doing professional work, that is, preparing plans and specifications for civil and structural engineering work in connection with all types of buildings

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and structures. The firm's clients consist of owners, builders, contractors, fabricators, architects, and engineers.

The firm has been most fortunate in acquiring a very high type of clientele. The bulk of the firm's business has been for private enterprise, although to some extent we have, of course, participated in the defense efforts of this country. Among the projects of our firm have been manufacturing plants, armories, railroad stations, commercial buildings, shopping centers and department stores, office buildings, hospitals, university buildings and laboratories, schools, apartments, churches, and airport structures.

A specialty of the firm has been hangars of many different types which involved a few inventions made by us. During the war, several hundred hangars were fabricated from our design.

When I came to Washington, I gave up the active management of the business. I did not come to Washington for personal gain. This has been borne out by the fact that the net earnings of the firm fell in 1954 to half of what they were in 1953.

I laid down certain basic rules to govern Strobel & Salzman in their activities, during my term of public office. I have followed these rules. Among them are:

1. Strobel & Salzman would disqualify itself from taking on any contract or subcontract which involved or came under the jurisdiction of the Public Buildings Service of the General Services Administration.

2. Strobel & Salzman would not take on any new clients (who were not clients or in the process of negotiation prior to my entry into public office) even for wholly unrelated work, where the new client was interested in or in the process of seeking a contract or subcontract with the Public Buildings Service of the General Services Administration.

Mr. MALETZ. May I ask a clarifying question at this point? Assuming that Strobel & Salzman had done some work for a client 5 or 6 years ago— let's say that client was an architectural firm—and you hadn't done any work for that firm since that time. Now, if that architectural firm is seeking business from the Public Buildings Service, would Strobel & Salzman feel free to solicit business from that particular firm?

Mr. STROBEL. Well, that is a difficult question to answer, because I don't think it has come up.

Mr. MALETZ. I take it by the term "new client” you are referring to companies for whom Strobel & Salzman has not done any business in the past?

Mr. STROBEL. That is correct.
Mr. MALETZ. Therefore, according to your statement

Mr. STROBEL. Legally speaking, such a client, even though we had not done any work for him for 5 years, would still fall into the category of being an old client of the firm.

Mr. MALETZ. Thank you.

Mr. FINE. I don't quite understand that. Were there any situations in which these old clients came forward?

Mr. STROBEL. No; there has been no such situation.

The CHAIRMAN. Let there be no further interruptions until Mr. Strobel finishes his statement.

Mr. STROBEL. Thank you.

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Point 3. Neither the firm nor I would have any financial interest, stock, or otherwise, in any architectural or construction firm.

When I took office it was my understanding that under the law the firm of Strobel & Salzman might properly seek and accept contracts from agencies of the Government other than GSA. Pursuant to this understanding, the firm has on a few occasions made inquiries about the possibilities of obtaining such business. I have made no such inquiries, and the fact is that since I took office the firm has made no such contracts with any Government agency. The firm has completed one such contract which was let before I took office.

As a result of the business activities of Strobel & Salzman and their comparative success, I am acquainted on a professional basis with many outstanding architects, engineers, and contractors, some of whom might look to GSA as a source of work whenever we have a building program.

As the Government's contracting officer in handling architect-engineer contracts for building project, however, I can assure you that no favoritism has been shown to anybody.

For many years the following procedure has been followed in selecting architect-engineers: Local architect-engineers are used to the fullest extent. We solicit all registered architects in the area of the project. In some cases we solicit all architects in the State.

They are requested to submit questionnaires and documentation about their organization, and their present workload, together with photographs of work done, and other information that may be helpful in judging their qualifications.

They are then rated on a board of three qualified men in the Public Buildings Service who submit their recommendations to me in accordance with the ratings. The record shows that I have followed the recommendations of this 3-man board in every case. The only contracts awarded on a selective basis are those for the professional services of architect-engineers; all others are awarded on a competitivebid basis.

The record shows that two clients of Strobel & Salzman, namely, Serge P. Petroff & Associates, and Chapman, Evans & Delehanty, both architectural firms with offices New York, have done some wo for GSA since I have been in office.

The fact that these firms happened to be clients of Strobel & Salzman had nothing whatever to do with their retention by GSA. I shall be very glad to tell you all about these cases in detail if you wish.

There has never been any secret about the fact that I have an interest in the firm of Strobel & Salzman and that I have devoted some time to its affairs since I came to Washington. On no occasion, however, have I attended to the business of Strobel & Salzman on Government time.

I have not used Government stationery for my private business, nor have I in any way used or sought to use my official position to further the interests of the firm.

I have cooperated in every way with the staff of your committee, making all my files available to them, for I do not wish to have any misunderstanding about my position in this matter. I am now glad, to the best of my ability, to answer any questions which the committee or the staff may have.

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Thank you.

Mr. MALETZ. Mr. Strobel, you were appointed as Commissioner of Public Buildings by Mr. Mansure, is that right?

Mr. STROBEL. That is correct.

Mr. MALETZ. And the position of Commissioner of Public Buildings does not require Senate confirmation, is that correct, sir?

Mr. STROBEL. That is correct.

Mr. MALETZ. Now, is it correct that on April 1, 1954, you were appointed by the Administrator, Mr. Mansure, as a fulltime, 8-hour per day, 5-day a week consultant in GSA, with the understanding that you would become Public Buildings Commissioner when the incumbent, Mr. W.E. Reynolds retired on June 30, 1954?

Mr. STROBEL. That is correct. I was called down here April 1 as a consultant.

Mr. MALETZ. And your service began on April 1, 1954?

Mr. STROBEL. You mentioned as a full-time, 5-day—I don't think there was any such restriction on my time. I did not take any time off. I think I did serve time, but I could have taken any time off I wanted, of course, without compensation.

Mr. MALETZ. I don't want to quibble on that point.
Mr. STROBEL. I was down here as an apprentice.

Mr. MALETZ. You were sent a notification of personnel action by GSA, and this notification of personnel action indicates that a regular tour of duty was established for you 8 hours per day on a 5-day week. Would you like to examine this?

Mr. STROBEL. It was a per diem proposition.

Mr. MALETZ. Mr. Chairman, I offer in evidence the GSA "notification of personnel action.”

The ČHAIRMAN. The “notification of personnel action” will be accepted for the record.

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