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Mr. ELLIOTT. Based upon such facts as I know-and they are largely what have been brought out before this committee I do not believe I have any additional facts that have not been brought out before this committee I am inclined to doubt, as a matter of my own personal opinion, as a lawyer-I am inclined to believe, let me put it that way, that there has not been a violation of the statute.
However, I should like to point out that that is a violation of a statute the enforcement of which is in the Department of Justice and not in General Services Administration, and therefore my opinion is just that of another attorney on the street. It is not conclusive one way or another.
Mr. MALETZ. Do you feel that it is a violation of the code of ethics of your agency?
Mr. ELLIOTT. Well, Mr. Maletz, that is a question which I will be glad to answer if the Administrator asks me. But if he asked me today, sir, so that it shows that I am not trying to fence, I would say that I would like to review the entire record, I would like to know some more about it. I would like to know what was said at conversations with the representatives of the engineers and what that contact was.
In other words, sir, I do not believe honestly that I have enough facts before me to make a final opinion on the subject at this time.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you have any more facts you would like to know?
Mr. ELLIOTT. Yes, sir. I personally have no knowledge, and I do not believe there has been much in the record here I have not been in all the hearings—as to what actually transpired at the conversation with the Corps of Engineers, and I think that would be very relevant.
The CHAIRMAN. If it is all as lily white as that, why was this matter submitted to the Department of Justice?
Mr. ELLIOTT. Sir, I am not saying that it is lily white or not. I am saying I don't know.
The CHAIRMAN. Why was it submitted to the Department of Justice? There were some doubts, were there not?
Mr. ELLIOTT. I thought Mr. Mansure explained that this morning.
Mr. MANSURE. Mr. Chairman, that is just our regular procedure. As I tried to explain this morning, when we feel that there may be some question, we do not want to put ourselves in the position of covering up on something.
As I said, we put everything on top of the table. Now, if there is any conflict of interest, or if there is any question, we feel that the legal department of the Government is in a better position than our Compliance Division to rule on it.
The CHAIRMAN. Suppose that it were just some poor devil who was a clerk and he was not somebody appointed upon the recommendation, as you say, of the Republican National Committee; would your answer be the same?
Mr. MANSURE. It would be the same; yes, it would be the same if it involved the actual violation of the statutes. But frankly, we have not been confronted with a thing like that, because we have not had a situation that we have had to make a ruling on since I have been the Administrator.
Most of our problems have been very open and shut and very easy to decide on.
Mr. KEATING. When you turned this over to the FBI, you did not have
any conclusion on it one way or the other? Mr. MANSURE. Not at all. If we had conclusions, we could have made a definite ruling ourselves. But we did not know.
Mr. KEATING. There was an announcement made by the chairman that it had been turned over to the FBI, just at a crucial time, and that had wide coverage throughout the country, and indicated just as always when you use the FBI, that there might be a violation of some criminal statute here.
Now, I would like to have it clear on the record whether you felt it was a violation of a criminal statute or not.
Mr. MANSURE. That is a question that I cannot answer, because it is legal, and I am not familiar enough with the statute to give an opinion on it, and I would have to get advice from counsel on that.
Mr. FINE. I think the record showed that this morning Mr. Mansure said that he turned it over to the Department of Justice to get an objective report.
Mr. MANSURE. That is correct, Congressman.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean to say, Mr. Mansure, that the only reason you sent it to the Department of Justice was to get an objective report? Did you not have in mind that there may be something unusual or something irregular about this whole transaction?
Mr. MANSURE. No, we were not trying really to infer anything to it other than to—actually answering your question—to get assistance for us to make a decision on what the situation is.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Mr. MALETZ. Now, Mr. Mansure, I think you were asked this morning—I would like to rephrase the question-do you think it was a possible violation of the code of ethics of your agency for Mr. Strobel to have participated in the preparation of a list of 14 outstanding architects to be submitted to CIA and to have participated in the inclusion in that list of 8 firms which had had prior business relationships with Mr. Strobel's firm?
Mr. MANSURE. Well, you see, there again is a question of fact, because I do not know whether it was testified to, how much he participated in the preparation of that list. I presume, from our regular activity within the department, that our Chief Architect or our Supervising Architect and the staff made up that list.
Now, it may be—I do not know—Mr. Strobel will have to answer that-what part he took in making it up. The thing that I am very concerned about is that I do not want anything in these hearings or any question to reflect upon firms of such outstanding reputation as we are discussing.
The CHAIRMAN. You said that this morning-
The CHAIRMAN. You said that this morning and you said that there was no reflection cast upon any architect. It is not our purpose or my purpose particularly—to cast any reflection.
Mr. MANSURE. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. That is not our intention, Mr. Mansure. That is unpardonable when you remember we admonished you this morning that this has no reflection upon architects.
Mr. KEATING. I would like to hear the witness and hear what he has to say on that.
Mr. MANSURE. I was trying, Mr. Chairman, to answer the question. I do not know how this list was made up, and that is why I am careful in answering the question, because it was made up by the staff. Then, of course, the Commissioner would not have made the selection.
Now, I think that we have got to find out who actually made that list of 14 up and who worked on that list.
The CHAIRMAN. He testified-
thinkThe CHAIRMAN. The Commissioner, Mr. Strobel, testified that he participated in the making up of that list.
Mr. MANSURE. Well, I think there was also a misunderstanding of participation with the Roberts firm, too, and I had given a specific instruction.
The CHAIRMAN. We are talking now about this list. The question to you is whether or not that is or is not within the code of ethics. Mr. MANSURE, The way I would answer that question, Mr. Chair
I man, is that if in my mind there had been any question about the selection of those firms, I would have stepped out and allowed either my staff or someone, or referred it over to me as the Administrator
The CHAIRMAN. When you say “I,” you mean Mr. Strobel ? Mr. MANSURE. Yes. If I were putting myself in that position, that is what I would have done on any question as to the selection of those people.
Mr. KEATING. But you do not know whether there was a question or not.
Mr. MANSURE. That is the point I am trying to bring out, CongressMr. KEATING. Exactly.
Mr. MANSURE. I do not know what transpired in those negotiations. If I knew that, I could tell.
Mr. FINE. You went a little further this morning. I just want to make sure that we get it correctly. You went a little further this morning when you said that the creation of the list did not mean that you had reached the point of a decision as to who would be selected.
Mr. MANSURE. Well, I did that.
Mr. FINE. You said if it came to the point of selection, if I remember, that then Mr. Strobel would have disqualified himself.
Mr. MANSURE. I did that, Congressman Fine, yes; and, you see, there has been no selection yet, and we are not even up to the point of making a selection, other than the request of CIA.
Mr. KEATING. And Mr. Strobel has himself said that if it came to a question of selection, he would disqualify himself?
Mr. MANSURE. I think he is sincere in that statement. But there is no selection that has been made, and we do not know even now whether we are going to be in on it. All of GSA may be out of it, in the selection.
Mr. KEATING. I call your attention to the fact that Allen Dulles' favorite, Harrison & Abramovitz, were on the list that was submitted to CIA by the Public Buildings Administration.
Mr. MANSURE. That is correct. The CHAIRMAN. Is it your practice to accept the recommendations of the head of a department as to who shall be an architect, as Mr. Dulles intended that you should !
Mr. MANSURE. We do not know that. We do not agree with that, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAX. What is that?
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, you do not agree with the head of a department suggesting to you who shall or shall not be an architect for a particular building?
Mr. MANSURE. No. We welcome those suggestions, and also from the Members of Congress within that area where we are going to do construction work. But we do not think that that should be a controlling factor. And I feel very strongly on that.
The CHAIRMAN. Suppose we tell you that the evidence indicated that Mr. Dulles, Allen Dulles, for whom I have a high regard —
Mr. KEATING. Just like these architects.
The CHAIRMAN. Please, will you? Now, you are just interrupting. [Continuing:! For whom I have a high regard, selected, and said it was his selection, Harrison & Abramovitz to be the architect on this CIA building.
Mr. MANSURE. Well-
Mr. MANSURE. No. They feel that because Congress has appropriated the money directly to them, they should have full control of the construction of this new building. We take the stand that based on 1925—what is the public act?
Mr. ELLIOTT. The Public Buildings Act of 1926.
Mr. MANSURE. The Public Buildings Act of 1926, and Public Law 152 of 1949—is that right?
Mr. ELLIOTT. Yes, sir.
Mr. MANSURE. That that is our responsibility, and that is the reason why I say that, regardless of what lists have been submitted, we have not even come up to the point yet of even considering that list.
Mr. Fine. Didn't you testify this morning, too, that this problem, the one you have just referred to, has also been referred to the Department of Justice for a decision?
Mr. MANSURE. For an objective ruling, because we cannot get an agreement between the two departments; that is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. And then would this be a reasonable conclusion to be drawn from what we have heard now? If heads of departments, like the case of Mr. Dulles, could successfully suggest the naming of architects for buildings that would cost as much as this CIA building would cost, it would be very easy to have that whole process abused, and these architectural plums might become political plums; is that correct?
Mr. MANSURE. That is correct. That is what we do not want to have happen.
Mr. KEATING. We might have a situation here where there would be $383,000 given to the treasurer of the Democratic National Committee or something like that.
Mr. MANSURE. That is right.
Mr. KEATING. And you would not want anything like that to happen, would you, Mr. Mansure?
Mr. MANSURE. No, sir.
Mr. KEATING. And I think it is unfortunate that that has happened in the past.
The CHAIRMAN. And it might happen in the future when Mr. Dulles wants to do what he did do.
Mr. MANSURE. Now, we are going to do everything we possibly can to prevent that.
Mr. KEATING. It is fair to say this: That the CIA contention is based upon a specific statute which does not govern any other Government department;
is that not right?
Mr. KEATING. And I do not say that I agree with it. I do not know. I am not involved. I am like the counsel here, in reaching a conclusion.
But the CIA contends that because they had an appropriation given to them by a specific statute, from that stems their authority to go ahead and do the whole building.
Mr. MANSURE. That is correct. Now, we have learned our lesson. In the future, I think Congress will write into the appropriation that even though they make the appropriation to a certain department of the Government, the funds will then be turned over for the construction to GSÁ. And that is the way it should be done, because that is our responsibility.
Mr. KEATING. And you hope that Congress has learned its lesson? Mr. MANSURE. We hope so; yes.
Mr. MALETZ. Mr. Mansure, in order to get this CIA situation properly before us, would this be a fair statement of the summary of events; That CIA requested the Public Buildings Service, as the expert in building construction, to prepare and submit to the CIA a list of outstanding architects from which CIA could then make a selection?
a Mr. MANSURE. I would not say that was exactly correct, because there has been so much confusion regarding this whole thing. As a matter of fact, I am not just sure how this list got put together, because the feeling has become very strong on who the architect should be for that particular building.
Mr. MALETZ. Was this an important recommendation to CIA by the Public Buildings Service, this list? Was that an important recommendation?
Mr. MANSURE. Yes; because we feel that for a building of that kind there should be at least 3 or 4 firms. You see, what we try to do is to judge the type of construction. Now, if we are going into a building, say, in upper New York State or central Illinois or somethink like that, we will pick architects that are thoroughly familiar with that location. But in this type of construction, this is a very