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Mr. FULMER. I am dropping that for the reason that the President said that it could be done, and I am going to leave it up to them, as far as I am concerned, to do that. That could be used largely in California or Florida where they have those crops that could easily be destroyed unless they are harvested promptly.
Mr. SPARKMAN. It would not be generally adaptable throughout the country.
Mr. FULMER. That is right. Under my bill, the boys returning on furlough would receive the same wages as well as their Government pay because it would not amount to very much, anyway.
Mr. SPARKMAN. Mr. May, the chairman, asked you awhile ago about the Army's attitude toward furloughs. I believe your answer related to the use of Army units rather than the granting of furloughs. As a matter of fact, the Secretary of War has said that furloughs could not be granted, has he not?
Mr. FULMER. I think that is his attitude.
Mr. SPARKMAN. The attitude of the War Department, as expressed in various communications, has been that each case would have to be judged on its own facts. If it was a case of unusual hardship, then the soldier might be discharged.
Mr. FULMER. Yes.
Mr. SPARKMAN. But no provision whatsoever was made for furloughing.
Mr. FULMER. None whatever. And I would like to make this statement. If there is any possible chance to work out some measure, even if it did not go as far as the provision that I suggest, it should be done; because if you are going to leave it up to the Selective Service, you are not going to get anywhere; even now the President has stated that they could be deferred and application after application has gone in, with statements from good local men as to the need of sending this or that party back to the farm. They have even received letters from members of the board that he should be back on the farm, but they are not paying any attention to it and I do not think they will unless something definite is put in a bill.
Mr. SPARKMAN. You would still defer the boy who is back on the farm; that is, they would not be allowed to take him, and then take chances on giving him a furlough later!
Mr. FULMER. No; I would defer him and keep him on the farm for 1943.
Mr. SPARKMAN. How are you going to get around the difficulty that Mr. Arends mentioned a few minutes ago; that is, the reluctance of these boys to accept deferment?
Mr. FULMER. Under this arrangement, he would be considered as being connected with the service. I agree with the gentleman that something should be done, some provision should be put in the bill, to indicate that he is equal in importance to any other individual in any other line of work connected with our war effort.
Mr. SPARKMAN. Of course, that is a difficulty that we run into in a great many instances.
Mr. FULMER. Yes; but if you had a definite specification, to the effect that he had served the major part of 1942 on a farm, he would not be called in. And he would not run over anybody to get in.
Mr. SPARKMAN. Who would determine whether or not he had served the major portion of 1942 on the farm? Who would be the one to make that decision?
Mr. FULMER. That may be a rule that they would have to write. But that information could easily be ascertained from the farmers, from those in the community where he had lived and operated.
Mr. SPARKMAN. Suppose one of these boys had helped to plant the crop, but by June first he had been inducted. Would you deny him the right to a furlough?
Mr. FULMER. Under this bill?
Mr. FULMER. Under this provision that would be denied him for the reason that he had not been actively engaged on the farm.
Mr. SPARKMAN. Might he not be just as essential as the one who was not reached until July 10, let us say?
Mr. FULMER. Apparently he would not be for the reason that he had not been on the farm as long. You know, we have lots of farmers with sons who come home every month or two, but are regularly engaged in some other line of work.
Mr. SPARKMAN. I was limiting my question to the boy who worked on the farm until June first and then was taken into the Army; one who had not left voluntarily.
Mr. FULMER. You mean 6 months of 1942?
Mr. SPARKMAN. Well, a little less than 6 months, but it was not a major portion of the year, in other words.
Mr. FULMER. I agree with you that perhaps he is just as important, but you will have to have a dead line somewhere. You can say onethird of 1942. What I have in mind is to try to keep someone from just going down on the farm and saying, “I was working on the farm; therefore, I ought to stay on the farm." There ought to be a qualification.
Mr. SPARKMAN. Mr. Fulmer, would you limit your entitlement to those who were engaged in the growing of essential war crops?
Mr. FULMER. No: I would not.
Mr. SPARKMAN. You would not make any definition of essential war crops?
Mr. FULMER. None whatsoever. If you do, you might just as well not pass legislation.
Mr. SPARKMAN. The chairman asked you a moment ago about cotton. As a matter of fact, there is a dearth of the better-grade cotton, is there not?
Mr. FULMER. Oh, yes; there is almost a famine in the better grades of cotton.
The CHAIRMAN. Where is the low-grade cotton? Is it owned by the Government in the warehouses?
Mr. FULMER. The Government owns some of the cotton and farmers still own some of the cotton in the warehouses, has kept cotton down below parity, and the farmer, to try to get parity, shoves his cotton into loan.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Fulmer, will there ever be a better time than now for the farmers and the Government to sell their low-grade cotton in order to get the highest price possible out of it?
Mr. FULMER. The trouble is that they have not the demand, for the reason of the specifications on the part of the Government, and the mills today are operating 100 percent for war purposes. All the specifications call for certain length of cotton and quality of cotton; therefore, there is no demand for the other cotton. Some time
I tried to get them to take this other cotton, and they are now loosening up on the specifications because they cannot get the other cotton; but, as a matter of fact, they could have been doing this all along.
The CHAIRMAN. It is just because of the specifications of the War and Navy Departments. When they decide to write specifications, they write them for the benefit of only one concern that can produce the thing; they can fence out everybody else. Mr. FULMER. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. Specifications or requirements for cotton have been provided that will not let certain grades of cotton go into the market.
Mr. FULMER. That is exactly it.
The CHAIRMAN. Who has done that? The Price Administration or the Department of Agriculture?
Mr. FULMER. No; the War Department. I have had up with the War Department the matter of buying, and they want the very best of everything.
Mr. SPARKMAN. They simply require the best grades and the best staples.
Mr. FULMER. Regardless.
Mr. SPARKMAX. And the result has been that those grades and staples have been virtually eliminated from the market.
Mr. FULMER. Much of it is used in the manufacture of cotton bagging, burlap sacks, and a certain type of the coarsest cloth to be used in the Army; yet it must be 1 inch or longer and middling or better quality of cotton, all of which is ridiculous.
Mr. SPARKMAN. Of course, we have an extreme shortage in one or two products of cotton, that a great many people overlook, namely, oil and cottonseed meal cake.
Mr. FULMER. Yes. It is very important in producing cotton at this time to get that oil, because of the shortage of meal cakes and oil.
Mr. SPARKMAN. I have just one other question, and it is with reference to the Tydings amendment. I was under the impression that that amendment was working fairly well—not completely so, but fairly well. Your impression seems to be otherwise.
Mr. FULMER. Up until quite recently it did not mean a thing except perhaps in a few instances in a few boards in some States. Otherwise not much attention was paid to it.
Mr. SPARKMAN. It still leaves the matter discretionary with the local draft boards; is that right?
Mr. FULMER. Do you mean the Tydings amendment?
Mr. SPARKMAN. What does the Bankhead bill do! Does it not make it mandatory?
Mr. FULMER. No; his first bill made it mandatory, but I think that bill was amended in the Senate.
The CHAIRMAN. The Senate bill is quite different.
Mr. FULMER. I have not had an opportunity to look at that to see whether it goes back along the lines of the Tydings bill. If so, it is perfectly useless for you gentlemen to report it or pass it.
Mr. DURHAM. Have you tried to estimate the number who would be affected or deferred under this bill?
Mr. FULMER. No; I have not. A great many boys would not make a request to get out of the service, and I do not think requests would be coming in from fathers or employers except where they were needed. Therefore, it would not take perhaps the number you have in mind who would be eligible. But I find boys perfectly willing to go back to the farm under this kind of arrangement, because they say they would be definitely in the service, being furloughed.
Mr. ARENDS. I think it is too bad that there is such a misunderstanding of this whole farm problem. We see it in Congress, we see it in the bureaus, and we see it at the White House. Everywhere people who might be referred to as uptown farmers do not realize what is the matter with this whole picture. They do not put everything together.
A man the other day wired me in desperation that he had blown out a tractor tire while putting in his crops. He could not get another one within a radius of 70 miles. I had to go down to the War Production Board and arrange to have a tire shipped to him directly from the factory. Somebody is lacking in understanding of what the problems of farmers are, when problems like the one I have just cited are run into. That applies not only to labor but also to machinery.
Mr. FULMER. You are right about that. We have many farmers who are unable to own any kind of passenger car except perhaps the cheapest kind, but who, naturally, are unable to buy a truck. They use their passenger cars to transport much of their goods to the markets, and, in certain areas, to deliver to consumers. Now, the farmer who is able to own and operate a truck can get all the gas he wants. But the fellow who must use his passenger car to transport his crops cannot get any gas. Naturally, then, he will cut down on his crops, and then he is ať a disadvantage.
When I had that matter up with the authorities, they said that retail merchants and druggists would all like to have gas in order to deliver their goods Therefore, why give give it to the farmers and not give it to the merchants?
Mr. DURHAM. That has practically eliminated what we call in our section the curb markets?
Mr. FULMER. Certainly:
Mr. Elston. As I understand it, in a great many instances farmers are not able to get their equipment, even though it is available, because they do not belong to the A. A. A. program.
Mr. FULMER. I have not heard of any of that in my district. I have had letters from certain sections, and when it comes to some of these matters the question is asked, "Are you operating under the A. A. A. program?” In my country they are not using that. If they are doing that in any sections of the country, it is, of course, ridicu. lous.
Mr. Elston. They are doing it in some sections, and that is, of course, one reason for the plight of the farmer today. The Department of Agriculture has been pushing him around and trying to regiment him.
Mr. FULMER. One of the troubles about farm machinery is that the authorities have not realized the importance of it or have not been interested in doing the thing that should have been done, because they promised only about 25 percent in critical material as compared with 1941. Then, after we got after them, they promised 50 percent, but they have not done anything about it. Everything is so tied up with red tape that the farmers cannot get these things when they need them.
Mr. ELSTON. These things are very interesting, but they are somewhat beside the problem.
Mr. FULMER. That is right.
Mr. Elston. When we had before us the Selective Service Act, we wrote into it a section which I want to read now, so that it may appear in this record. It is subsection (e) of section 5, and is as follows:
The President is authorized, under such rules and regulations as he may prescribe, to provide for the deferment from training and service under this Act in the land and naval forces of the United States of those men whose employment in industry, agriculture, or other occupations or employment, or whose activity in other endeavors is found in accordance with section 10 (a) (2) to be necessary to the maintenance of the national health, safety, or interest.
We wrote that into the Selective Service Act, and the very things you are asking us to do today are the things we gave the President the power to do under that act is not that right?
Mr. FULMER. That is right; and that is the mistake on the part of Congress. I am not a lawyer, but practically all the other members of my committee are lawyers, and I have requested in a great many instances that we write our legislation so that it would be definite or just as clear as possible, to eliminate the privilege on the part of those who administer the bill to write any kind of rule or regulation that would permit them to carry out their own views as to just what they wanted to do.
Úr. Elston. I go along with you on that, and I am very glad to hear you say the things you have said this morning, namely, that you are tired of the bureaus down town which write regulations contrary to the expressed wishes of Congress. But here is a case where we gave to the President, the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, power to make these rules and regulations. I can well recall that when this particular section was discussed before this committee and a suggestion was made that it ought to be made more definite, it was said that we had to trust the President, the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy; that Congress could not undertake to provide rules and regulations for everything; and that it was obvious