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FULL UTILIZATION OF MANPOWER
MONDAY, APRIL 5, 1943
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
. will resume their places.
We are meeting this morning, gentlemen of the committee, for the purpose of hearing the Honorable Hampton Fulmer on H. R. 1728, à bill which Mr. Fulmer introduced, and which was referred to this committee. That bill proposes “To increase the supply of farm labor during the calendar year 1943."
We are honored with the presence of Mr. Fulmer this morning, and we shall be glad to hear his statement.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from South Carolina. STATEMENT OF HON. HAMPTON P. FULMER, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA (AND CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE)
Mr. FULMER. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I want you to know that I am delighted to have the privilege of appearing before your distinguished committee in behalf of this very important matter. I do not expect to take but just a few minutes of your time for the reason that you gentlemen know just about as much concerning this situation as I do—and it is a serious situation-and, in the second place, I do not believe that anything is going to be done about it until we all wake up some morning without anything to eat.
The CHAIRMAN. That would be a good, strong reminder, would it not?
Mr. FULMER. And, of course, those in authority, the Congress and the various departments, are going to run over each other spending millions in trying to do that which should be done in an orderly manner.
My committee, the Agricultural Committee of the House, for months has been trying to get over to the President, the Secretary of Agriculture, and the various war agencies the situation confronting the farmers of the country and the importance of agriculture in connection with our war effort.
Some time ago we reported a concurrent resolution proposing to have the Congress pass the same, establishing a policy in reference
to the importance of agriculture. I want to read briefly two paragraphs from the report.
The Committee on Agriculture for many months has been giving considerable consideration to the operations of the various agencies connected with our war efforts, the War Production Board, the War Manpower Commission, Office of Price Administration, Selective Service System, and the Department of Agriculture.
We find either these various agencies have not fully realized the importance of agriculture in connection with our war efforts, or they have not given to the farmers of this country anything like fair treatment in connection with the administration of the war program relating to farm prices, farm equipment, materials, supplies, and manpower. The committee finds that all these agencies are, and have been, operating without any definite, coordinated program.
Mr. Chairman, as far as I am concerned, that is a serious mistake on the part of those who have been operating these various agencies; and in connection with the operation of our war program, each agency has been operating in its own way, without regard to the other agencies, without any coordinated, definite program of working and pulling together in the interest of all these different groups, of which agriculture is just as important as any group that we have in this country.
It is perfectly useless to produce tanks and guns and airplanes unless you can keep them supplied with food. Just think for a moment what it would mean, if we could increase production to the extent that we could flood our allies with food-and even other countries—so that we may be able to keep them fighting, and gain the influence of other countries, which would tend to preserve our own people and perhaps save millions of lives.
Mr. Tydings had passed what is known as the Tydings amendment in the Senate, but, as usual, it was so written that it called for the writing of rules and regulations governing the administration of the amendment.
That is true of practically all the bills we pass in Congress, and with such a provision, it gives those in authority the privilege or the opportunity of defeating just what the Tydings amendment had in mind.
That was based on certain types of crops, assigning to them certain units.
The CHAIRMAN. So many cows counted as one unit.
Mr. FULMER. And so many different types of crops; so that when these men came before the local boards, the board would say in some instances, “We believe this fellow qualifies, but we do not believe this other fellow over here comes within the qualifications set forth in the Tydings amendment."
But rather than run the risk of having any trouble and being cussed out by somebody about taking one and leaving the other, they take both of them.
As a matter of fact, up to this good hour they have paid very little attention to the Tydings amendment, or any other rule or regulation that might keep the men on the farm. And they are continuing to draft them, practically to the last man on the farm.
I do not want to take the time to read a single letter, but I get letters every day from practically every State in the Union. There is one in front of me from Pennsylvania. And these letters state just what they are doing. They are continuing to take them to the last
man, and they are going to continue to do that. And I want to say, unless something is done so that farmers may be able to get improved machinery to take the place of this shortage of labor, and to get labor on the farm, it is going to be impossible to produce a normal crop.
Labor has left the farm for two reasons. First, many of our young men have volunteered to go into the service. They felt it to be their patriotic duty. Many of them would rather be in the service, because of the low income that they were getting from the farm. In the service they get their uniforms and they get what glory there is attached to being in the service; they go places instead of having to remain on the farm where they do not get as much as $50 a month, out of which they would have to buy their clothes.
In the second place, those in authority, in writing contracts with war industries, stated that if it were necessary to pay higher prices for the materials needed in building these different implements of war, permitted them to increase the price, and the same was true of wages.
Our United States Employment Agencies, set up over the country for the purpose of placing the manpower, placing those people who were looking for positions, have been a clearing agency for the Government to war industries, and it is a rare thing ever to hear of a single man being placed on a farm by any of these agencies.
And who can blame any man for leaving a farm, or any other line of work, when you can go into the Government or into these industries, and especially the industries, and receive the fine wages that are being paid for working these short hours?
Mr. Wickard stated on one occasion, "If we cannot keep them on the farm out of patriotism, then something else will have to be done about it."
Now, I want to state in defense of that class of people who operate our farms, that even if they should leave and go into some other position where they can get that to which they are clearly entitled, and that which they have never received, they are just as patriotic as any other group of people in this country.
I introduced H. R. 1728 having in mind stopping the drafting of any more people from the farms during 1943 and giving to those who have been drafted a furlough to return to the farm, if requested, to engage in production or harvesting during this year.
I have had letters from the boys, and I have met them, and I have talked to them about it; and they have said to me, “I know, when I was on the farm, I was needed there, and I would love to return to the farm to do that which is necessary not only to assist my people or my employer but to help produce this food. But I am not going to ask to be discharged for that purpose. But if I could secure a furlough and be allowed to wear my uniform back home, I would be glad to do it."
The Secretary of War said on one occasion that he realized the importance of agriculture, but that was Secretary Wickard's racket. In other words, the War Department, the Navy Department, and the Selective Service have not anything else on their minds except to get every man possible into the Army, regardless of the size of that Army.
I am not here to pass upon what size Army we should have. But I want to say this; if we could keep our allies fighting by supplying
them with food and ammunition, perhaps it would not be necessary to try to get millions of our boys over there. Up to this good hour, with the number that have been sent over, and with the millions now in the United States, and with the request for additional millions to remain in the United States today on account of the importance of production and, if possible, increased production, we should do something to keep these people on the farm, or put them back on the farm.
I want to say to you frankly I do not believe anything is going to be done about this, although we read in the papers every day just what they are going to do and how they are going to do it, unless Congress does something about it in the way of passing legislation definitely establishing the importance of this proposition.
I tried to draft my bill so that it could not be disturbed by rules and regulations, as was the case, as I stated a moment ago, with the Tydings amendment. I have redrafted this bill, making it more specific and definite, in order definitely to carry out the intent that I had in the other bill. And I ask that I be permitted to insert the new paragraphs to which I have referred in the record.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, that may be done. (The matter referred to is as follows:)
[Tentative Draft--Revision of H. R. 1728] A BILL To increase the supply of farm labor during the calendar year 1943 Be it enacted, etc.. That this Act may be cited as the "Emergency Farm Labor Act of 1913."
SEC. 2. (a) Every individual who was regularly engaged in an agricultural occupation or endeavor in any capacity in connection with the production of any agricultural commodity during a major part of the calendar year 1942 and who, on the date of enactment of this Act or on the date thereafter on which such individual receives orders to report for induction into the land or naval forces of the United States, is regularly engaged in any capacity in connection with the production of any agricultural commodity shall be deferred from training and service in the land and naval forces under the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, as amended, until January 1, 1944, or until the date on which such individual ceases to be regularly engaged in any capacity in connection with the production of any such commodity, whichever first occurs.
(b) Every individual who was regularly engaged in an agricultural occupation or endeavor in any capacity in connection with the production of any agricultural commodity during a major part of the calendar year 1942 and who on or after the date of enactment of this Act is serving within any of the States of the Union or the District of Columbia in the land or naval forces of the United States shall be granted leave with full pay and allowances for the purpose of permitting such individual to engage in an agricultural occupation or endeavor in any capacity in connection with the production of any agricultural commodity until January 1, 1944, or until the date on which such individual ceases to be regularly engaged in any capacity in connection with the production of any such commodity, whichever first occurs.
(c) As used in this section the term “production of any agricultural commodity” includes the raising, feeding, caring for, and management of any dairy animals or other livestock or poultry.
SEC. 4. The Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Navy, the Secretary of Agriculture, and the Director of Selective Service each shall promulgate such regulations as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act.
Mr. FULMER. I would like to say this, Mr. Chairman. As I stated a few minutes ago, I do not believe anything is going to be done about it. I do not think Congress is going to do anything about it. We are going to keep on speechmaking and cussing, and we are going to keep on receiving complaints, and making many statements as if we were up here trying to do this, that, and the other; but they are going to
continue what they have been doing in the past until we wake up, as I stated, with a tremendous shortage of food products.
No doubt this committee will write a definite manpower bill. I noticed that Mr. Wadsworth and some one else have introduced a bill along that line. I am wondering why you and your members cannot take all of these bills and get together and draft a real manpower bill. I am for the drafting of a manpower bill, especially when I walk around this Capitol and other places, and see the manpower of the country, able-bodied men, sitting around and holding useless positions at a time when we are so short of manpower in so many places, if we are going to succeed; guards in every place; 33 of them over here in the United States Court building. And everywhere you go you see men running around with brief cases under their arm, men who are connected with some association or with somebody. So I would suggest that you write a bill and put some provision in it so that we may do some of these things I have been talking about, because it is not going to interfere with the Army.
Today they are spending quite a lot of money-individuals and the Government, too-entertaining these soldiers everywhere, to try to keep up their morale. I tell you they get tired sitting around the camps. We cannot possibly get 10 or 11 million soldiers during the year 1943.
I believe, Mr. Chairman, that is about all I have to say on this important matter. I am hoping your committee, in writing a manpower bill, if you do not care to give consideration to any special bill, that you will consider some provision along this line.
The last time I read the bill of Senator Bankhead, unless he has made some changes since, it seemed to me that his bill would not be worth any more than the Tydings amendment, because they could destroy it with rules and regulations. If the committee is thinking of giving consideration to reporting the Bankhead bill, if it is anything like the original bill, I would suggest striking out everything after the enacting clause and inserting the two major sections of my bill. In the last draft I omitted the provision with respect to sending the soldiers out for the purpose of harvesting crops, although I did think that that would be a very good thing.
Mr. ARENDS. I wish you would tell us what you have in your redrafted bill. I know you have put it in the record, but would you tell us something about it?
Mr. FULMER. I have not introduced that yet. I am placing it in the record.
Mr. ARENDS. Will you tell us what it is!
Mr. FULMER, I can tell you briefly. For instance, the bill states that anyone now on the farm who worked on the farm a major part of '1942 shall remain on the farm during 1943; anyone who has been drafted who worked a major part of 1942 on the farm will, either at his request or at the request of his employer, receive a furlough to go back to the farm for the balance of this year. That is definite. That would not permit a man who runs down to the farm for just a little while to be furloughed, but it has reference definitely to a man who was connected with the farm--that was his business, that was his line, he worked on the farm either as a farm operator, or the son of a farmer, or a wage earner, a major portion of 1942. That is the qualification.