Page images

Mr. WARNER. I think that is a close analogy there.

Mr. SPARKMAN. And the further fact that we have not had to take over a single manufacturing plant as a result of section 9 testifies magnificently of cooperation of the industrialists and the manufacturers, does it not?

Mr. WARNER. Very definitely.

Mr. SPARKMAN. Do you not believe we might well expect the same type of cooperation from the workers of the country?

Mr. WARNER. I would think so.

Mr. Elston. Does not the gentleman think we might have had that same cooperation without section 9?

Mr. SPARKMAN. Probably we would.

The CHAIRMAN. Let the chairman make an observation here for the benefit of the committee and the witness.

Mr. Wadsworth has two more witnesses here; one of them is a lady who represents the American Legion Auxiliary, and the other one is a vitally important witness. Now, of course, a special committee wants to meet here at 2 o'clock, and I am very anxious to accommodate these witnesses. Now, as I see it, in all likelihood the legislative situation on the floor of the House will be interrupting us this afternoon unless we meet on something that is rather unusual, and that would mean to be back here about 4 o'clock.

Mr. ARENDS. The Costello committee is to meet at 3.

The CHAJRMAN. The commander has been on the stand exactly 2 hours. The commander has had 2 hours, and that is due to our inquisitiveness in wanting facts. He has been very helpful. I would like to be back here as soon as we can so as to accommodate this lady who has come here from a distance to testify, and complete these witnesses, if we can. Now, if the other committee meets at 3 o'clock, why cannot we meet here at 1:30 and have an hour and a half's testimony? Is there any objection to that?

I want to ask one question right on this subject of the commander before we leave:

On this issue of allocation of manpower under this legislation, some reference was made to taking a man from the factory to the farm. Now, is it not your understanding that there is a provision in this bill which provides that they shall be allocated to employment as nearly in the community where they are located and where they live as possible, and if in that case there was a unit in a factory in Detroit making war materials and some plant that was down and out for a month, for lack of work, they would likely allocate them to some other plant in Detroit where they are needed.

Mr. WARNER. Yes. I think you are contemplating a very arbitrary administration to consider it otherwise. Not only that, but the whole basis of it, and I think it is stated in the bill, puts them where their services can be most effective and useful.

Mr. DURHAM. They are directed to do that.
Mr. WARNER. I think they will feel better about it in the main.

Mr. FENTON. Commander, you referred the answer to this question to the auxiliary, but what really do the men of the American Legion think about conscripting women?

Mr. WARNER. Well, they are for this bill. I would very much prefer to have her talk about that.

Mr. FENTON. I am talking man to man.
Mr. WARNER. What the men think?

Mr. FENTON. Yes.
Mr. WARNER. We agree to it, but you are asking what we think?
Mr. FENTON. What do you think?

Mr. WARNER. I think it is all right if properly administered, and we have to assume that it will be. We have a lot of women that have been trained in industry, in agriculture, women trained in nearly everything.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee will adjourn until 1:30.

(Whereupon, at 12:30 p. m., the committee adjourned to reconvene at 1:30 p. m.)




The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order and I will ask Mrs. Doris Corwith, past president of the American Legion Auxiliary, of New York City, to make her statement.

Mrs. CORWITH. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you for giving me permission to speak. I am talking extemporaneously and I think perhaps I can think better on my feet.

Behind the strength of more than 1,000,000 members of the American Legion there stand in the fullest cooperation, support, and loyalty over 600,000 women of the American Legion Auxiliary. They are the wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters of the Legionaires and of those men who served in the last war and gave their lives in that war or who have died subsequently.

Today, as always, we are concerned with the welfare of our country and we are particularly interested in any and all legislation which will bring to a speedy termination this war.

The women of the American Legion Auxiliary for many, many years have been active in problems of the rehabilitation of World War veterans and the care of their families. Today we serve in many volunteer capacities. Hundreds upon hundreds of our women are working in defense industry.

All of them are concerned with service in whatever capacity they may best give. We have been interested in the Legion universal service bill for many years, we who were called on before public meetings and have studied and debated with other women's organizations on the subject of universal service, we who have studied the situation today feel that the volunteer work which is being contributed by the women of the United States is not in sufficient strength to bring the war to a speedy conclusion. Therefore, we are definitely interested, and I speak today as a representative of the national president of the American Legion Auxiliary, Mrs. Albert J. Mathebat, who lives on the west coast and could not be here on account of illness. We of the American Legion Auxiliary would like to see enacted into law this bill, H. R. 1742.

I would like to speak first of all with regard to the provisions of the bill.

I appreciate there is a common belief on the part of legislators today, or of some legislators, that the women of the American Legion Auxiliary do not understand this bill. I will challenge that statement for in the national publication of the American Legion Auxiliary the bill

way of life.

has been amply explained and I believe that has also been done in the various State publications of our organization. I know it has been fully explained in my own State of New York. I believe the 600,000 members of the American Legion Auxiliary are prepared to support unanimously this bill, realizing that it will affect them and change their ways of living perhaps more than it will that of the men. So we will operate on the premise that the women of the American Legion Auxiliary understand what the bill is going to mean to their

We have noticed different inclusions in the bill which please us. First of all, the bill will function if it becomes a law under the Selective Service Board, which means that women who will be called into service in any special capacity will be interviewed by their local draft board, by men who are recognized in their community as outstanding citizens; men who know local problems and men who certainly will not disrupt homes unnecessarily. That brings me to the second point which I think is of extreme importance to women, which is the dislocation of homes. Today under our volunteer plan of service for women, women may offer their services in any part of the country in any particular capacity, in any industry in which they feel they may be especially equipped or interested, or which they may wish to engage in from a monetary point of view, receiving a more substantial return for their services. Those women may of course today leave small children in their homes.

The American Legion Auxiliary is devoted to the structure of the home. We have in the American Legion Auxiliary thousands of mothers whose boys are in service today. Many, many mothers have daughters in the WAVES, the WAAC's, or some other branch of the armed services today. It is true that many of our women are older. Some will come in that upper bracket, approaching the 50's, and I speak from personal knowledge. We have many members who are younger and we have some who are over the 50-year limit specified in this bill.

Our women are devoted to their families and from our contact with juvenile delinquency, with the problems that arise in many of these smaller cities and where we have active units of the American Legion Auxiliary, we know that these children, many of them, are runn loose on the streets of their communities because their mothers work. We know that those children are the ones who suffer and will suffer because of their mothers' active participation in some defense industry.

We believe under the provisions of this bill, that when women are registered for service, when they are called, aptitude tested, and their family situations examined, we will be able to alleviate to a large exteni the situation which exists today in the problem of juvenile delinquency because, as the bill specifically provides, women cannot be called into service who have children under 18 years of age, and we are heartily and unanimously in accord with that provision of the bill.

There has been some discussion, and there was this morning, with reference to the transfer of women from one section of the country to another. I believe the provisions of the bill in that respect are excellent. It provides that insofar as possible, and I am speaking particularly of women, Mr. Chairman, women will stay in their own particular section. However, there are different kinds of needs to

day. It is true that the munitions plants and the aviation factories and other types of that nature are in particularly congested sections but there is a great deal of work that women can do to relieve the men, to replace the men so that they may go into perhaps the more congested sections and let the women take up the type of jobs and thus replace the men for more active service.

I could discuss the effect of this bill upon living conditions for women. It is bound to hit them, but the women of the American Legion Auxiliary whose boys are in service today are very conscious of the sacrifice those boys have been willing to make, and I think every one of our members is willing to make an equal sacrifice.

The things that we have been called upon to do so far in this war have been small. We have had the rationing of gasoline, the rationing of food, and they may ration clothing, but what of it? It is nothing. It does not touch us inside and neither would we be touched inside. Our characters would not be changed and they might perhaps be strengthened through our loyalty to our country, our belief in the democratic process. None of those things would be changed because we might be called upon to serve in some capacity where we might make sacrifices from the monetary point of view. I myself am a middle-aged woman without children. I am a professional woman--but I would be perfectly willing were there a universal call for women so that we would all be expected to make the same type of contribution in proportion to our ability, I would be perfectly willing to serve wherever my country called me, to serve wherever it thought I could give the most in the time that is so short.

Mr. Warner spoke this morning of the fact that we must convince people that this is an all-out war and that everyone must make a sacrifice equal to what the boys are making today-I concur with that. We must make these people believe and understand that women have just as great a stake in the war, if not greater, than have the men.

I have in my possession, and I did not bring it in anticipation of this hearing, a letter which came to me from a man in the War Manpower Commission asking me, I assume as past national president of the American Legion Auxiliary, to offer suggestions as to how we could arouse the interest of women and make them see the vital need for their services in the war; that he wants suggestions from me.

I will give him a suggestion. The suggestion is the Austin-Wadsworth bill, which will take all women, give them their designation, classify them according to their ability, their capabilities, show where the need is greatest and assign those women to those services.

Mr. Chairman, on behalf of the American Legion Auxiliary and proudly as a member of that organization, I ask the members of this committee to report favorably to the House H. R. 1742.

Thank you.

The CHAIRMAN. Mrs. Corwith, that was a very fine statement. I want to ask you one or two questions about a thing which Congress has already done. As far as this committee is concerned we authorized the voluntary induction of women into the Women's Auxiliary Force.

Mrs. CORWITH. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. On a voluntary basis.
Mrs. CORWITH. Yes.

The CHAIRMAN. To be with the Army. Now we have already considered and reported to the House a bill which put them in the Army, not with, but in, but still maintain the voluntary feature.

Now, if Congress, having decided both in that case and in the case of the WAVES that they could be on a voluntary basis as to women, what do you think of the proposition that they could draft men but could accept only voluntary enlistments by women?

Mrs. CORWITH. Mr. Chairman, would it not perhaps be in the same classification as the situation there now is which men under 18 years of age, with the consent of their parents, may still enlist. We still do have some voluntary enlistments in the service, I believe.

I do not believe that the American Legion or the American Legion Auxiliary has taken any stand on the matter which you speak of, and I am trying very hard to speak for them and not my own personal convictions.

The bill specifically provides that voluntary enlistments in the WAAC's, the WAVES, and the women's services will continue, and this bill does not include them. Are you asking me the specific question, do I believe they should be included?

The CHAIRMAN. I am asking you if you would want the legislation to be either mandatory, or voluntary,

Mrs. CORWITH. I believe, Mr. Chairman, that perhaps the women who go into the armed forces as members of our auxiliary might render—and I lay myself open when I say it, Mr. Chairman--might render perhaps their particular type of service which calls for a very small amount of monetary return, with a little more happiness, shall we say; a little more enthusiasm because they are, as we all know, very carefully supervised. They take orders as do men in the service, and perhaps those orders would be more happily taken if they are volunteer members of those auxiliary services.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Elston, have you any questions?

Mr. Elston. I want to join with the chåirman in complimenting the witness upon her splendid statement. I think that most of us in Congress are in accord with the viewpoint of the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary. I say that as an active Legionnaire and an American; but there are some things about this bill that are giving us some concern. We are anxious to be enlightened and the purpose of our questions is to get all the information that we can.

You appreciate, of course, that there is a vast difference between conscripting men for military and naval service and conscripting women for civilian service, do you not?

Mrs. CORWITH. There is a difference in the type of service, sir. I think the men or the women who are conscripted for military service are making a much greater sacrifice than any man or woman will make who will be called upon for mandatory civilian service,

Mr. Elston. That is quite true. Of course, when they go into land and naval forces they are under trained officers who hold their positions not because of any political affiliations, but because of their training and experience and character and we have every confidence in the world in those officers, whereas, if this bill were passed the whole administrative program would be handled by a Government bureau, namely, the War Manpower Commission.

Mrs. CORWITH. Under Selective Service.
Mr. Elston. That is under the War Manpower Commission.
Mrs. CORWITH. I know it.

« PreviousContinue »