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overtime pay, et cetera, which appears to be pretty well circumvented in section 4 (b) [reading]: That every person assigned to service under this Act shall receive the compensation and work the hours applicable to the kind of work to which he or she is assigned. As we understand the quoted provision, it would be possible to transfer or assign workers to lower wages and lesser number of hours per week, if deemed necessary to the successful prosecution of the war. Why, gentlemen of the committee, under such provisions workers could be bandied around in any manner to suit the desires of those in charge, just so such actions were deemed necessary.
The reemployment and seniority rights provisions of section 5 certainly do not meet with our ideas concerning such protection. An employee who transfers or is transferred to an essential war job should be entitled to accumulate seniority; otherwise it would be possible for a returned worker to find himself in a less favorable seniority status. Then, too, workers attempting to return to original employments should not be subjected to the employer's determination of "restoration impossible or unreasonable."
The employers, if they so desired, could use such terms to prevent the return of all workers whom they wanted displaced. Some employers have been known to discriminate against workers who were active in union affairs. The language of the bill could, in my opinion, be used to further such discriminations.
Oftentimes those favoring legislation such as is proposed in the Wadsworth bill advance the argument that a government which conscripts its young men for military purposes should also conscript the civilians for national war service. I feel sure the members of the committee recognize there is a vast difference between conscripting a citizen for training and service in the military forces and compelling a citizen to work for a private profit-making employer, even though that profit-making employer may be manufacturing essential war materials. Such procedures just do not fit into the American ideas of liberty and freedom.
A general review of the bill will, in my opinion, reveal that its provisions are unworkable. Section 4 provides that the Selective Service System, through its local boards, will classify and assign the workers to noncombatant service in aid of the war effort, in addition to their present duties. The local boards now have about all they can reasonably be expected to handle. Many of the boards cannot keep up on their work of classifying and inducting for the military services without working excessively long hours.
Section 6 places a great deal of authority and work upon the Chairman of the War Manpower Commission. Surely Congress will not expect the War Manpower Commission to carry on such increased activities with its limited personnel and particularly with so many limitations upon such personnel. Several attempts have been made to place the United States Employment Service, an agency of the War Manpower Commission, on a workable basis by providing sufficient funds to pay adequate salaries for the personnel and, at the same time, remove the personnel of that agency from the influence of the States' political domination. Each such request has been rejected, with the desired and necessary appropriations greatly reduced. Why, gentlemen of the committee, the Chairman of the Commission cannot employ an officer whose salary is $1,500 or more without the approval of the Senate. I am sure you recognize that such limitations prevent the employment of many competent persons who do not desire to be placed under the public X-ray. Unless there is a more cooperative attitude toward the War Manpower Commission than was displayed in the Seventy-seventh Congress, there can be no hope of the War Manpower Commission carrying its present load, without adding to it such as is proposed in the Wadsworth bill.
It is interesting to note that the Secretary of War, the Under Secretary, and the Chief of the Army Services of Supply all endorse and support the civilian conscription ideas of Granville Clark, the Wall Street lawyer, while at the same time we read newspaper headlines “War Department Trains Industrialists to Press for Army Control of Nation's Civilian Life," and the Army, through the guidance of General Somervell, conducts an orientation course in Fort Leavenworth, Kans., for the purpose of getting the right kind of industrialists ready to serve the Army's desires.
Many citizens will be asking questions and wanting answers on “What does this all mean? Are we being prepared to follow the totalitarians, with the Army as the spearhead in the move!" They, the War Department heads, want civilan conscription, and at the same time train carefully selected industrialists to be ready. Ready for what? Quoting from one of the lectures said to have been given in the orientation course:
The Army may be forced, by public opinion, to take over the direction of many activities now considered to be beyond the province of the military.
The CHAIRMAN. Who made that statement?
Mr. MILLER. Quoting from one of the lectures said to have been given in the orientation course.
The CHAIRMAN. At Fort Leavenworth?
The CHAIRMAN. And you are quoting from PM? Do not tell John Rankin about that.
Mr. MILLER. Mr. Chairman, I am quoting from a photograph of part of the lecture course, not exactly from PM. It is from the lecture course as published.
The CHAIRMAN. What I had in mind, Mr. Miller, is this. If a lecturer is giving that kind of lecture, I think this committee would like to have him here and ask him what his ideas are and what his theories are.
Mr. MILLER. I think the American people would join with you in that desire.
Mr. MARTIN. Give us the name of that lecturer.
Mr. MILLER. I will get it for you. It was quoted in PM. I think you should investigate the whole orientation course.
The CHAIRMAN. Go ahead.
Mr. Miller. It seems that through its orientation course of carefully selected industrialists, the Army is preparing for that public opinion to be ready when it wants to be "forced."
I again repeat that the workers fear compulsory civilian service legislation. They feel that such legislation will be used as an opening wedge to destroy their unions. I say to you that their fears are well founded.
We need the efforts of all citizens solidified upon the main problems—those of winning the war and the peace. We can win the war and the peace—and preserve the liberties of our citizens while we are doing it—if we want to.
The workers are doing everything they can. They can and will produce more if given direction to do so. Any failure to fully utilize the Nation's manpower cannot rightfully be charged as a failure of the workers to voluntarily meet their obligations. Such failures are, in my opinion, caused by insufficient planning and mismanagement. The Congress should give serious consideration to the Pepper-Kilgore-Tolan bill providing for a unified civilian command over the Nation's manpower and production programs. The military should be used and confined to military services. It is possible for such a program to mobilize and utilize all manpower and do it without the need of compulsory service legislation.
There is an old Biblical adage: What profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? A modern paraphrase of that would be, What profit the American people if they win a paper victory abroad and lose their freedom at home? The most effective way to fight a war to preserve the democratic way of life is to guarantee democracy at home.
The American workers cannot rightfully be charged with having failed to do their part in the war effort. All the workers need is planning and guidance. If Congress can supply the plans and direct the activities toward total mobilization for war efforts, the workers will voluntarily meet their obligations as free workers. There is no need for this type of legislation. If the time should come when such may be needed, then, in fairness and in honesty to all, the legislation should include total mobilization and use of all property along with the services of all citizens. What is so sacred about property that it, too, should not be included in the war services of the Nation along with the services of the citizens? Surely the Members of Congress will not take the position that property is superior to the citizen, and proceed as is outlined in the Wadsworth bill to conscript and virtually enslave the citizen to work for the profit-making employer, and at the same time permit property to be free to gather added income on the conscription of the civilian. That does not sound like America-it is not American.
I next desire to discuss H. R. 2239 introduced by Congressman Smith of Virginia. Congressmen Smith and Wadsworth must have had some of the same ideas, for the declaration of policy and intent of Congress of both bills are similar.
The CHAIRMAN. Before you go on to that bill, let me ask you this question. You talk about conscription of property as well as conscription of the citizen, and I agree with you on that except to this extent. We passed legislation already authorizing the President to grab and take over a whole plant or to requisition any kind of personal property, even to take over real estate. In addition to that, we have passed tax laws that will take about 85 percent of all of the profits that come from industry.
Do you not think that that indicates that the Congress has been reasonably fair as between the citizen and industry of the country?
Mr. MILLER. It is an indication of direction toward fairness; but in total conscription of civilians, they should have, too, total conscription of property along with the citizen.
The CHAIRMAN. If you leave the property in the hands of the owners, to utilize it in the war effort and then take practically all the profits, is that not equivalent to taking the property?
Mr. MILLER. I do not think so.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you mean, then, to say that the Government ought to take the property over?
Mr. MILLER. I recently read in the papers about some ammunition makers furnishing faulty ammunition, evidently because there was some profit to do that. If you would take the property over, there would not be any incentive to cheat.
The CHAIRMAN. I asked you the question if you were favoring the taking over of property.
Mr. MILLER. Only as a last resort. I would favor the conscription of citizens only as a last, necessary resort to win the war.
The CHAIRMAN. You do not differ with me in the slightest on that. It ought to be the last resort. Now, if you conscript industry and you conscript citizens and you take it all over, what have you got different from the Fascist system?
Mr. MILLER. Nothing, except we still have a Congress.
The CHAIRMAN. You are arguing against the Fascist system, and yet you say we should not conscript the individual without conscripting property, which is fascism. Will you define your attitude on that?
Mr. MILLER. I confine that to only the last resort. That is in the case that we are on our knees and cannot win the war except by that means. Mr. Chairman, I am absolutely opposed to the Wadsworth bill today.
The CHAIRMAN. You have a right to be against it. I am not quarreling with you. I am just trying to get the facts out. What is the difference in the conscription of one and the other, and if you are going to conscript both are you not running right into the fear that you have expressed, that we will be a totalitarian State?
Mr. MILLER. Yes; you run into that same fear, but you would have the totalitarian form of compulsory service in the Wadsworth bill.
The CHAIRMAN. One other question. With reference to your objection to the military teaching, the orientation of citizens into military establishments, do you not think that if the committee decided to pass that sort of legislation at this time and it definitely put it under the jurisdiction of a civilian director, with full power and authority to handle it, that would remove the military from it?
Mr. MILLER. That would assist. That would be better than the provisions of the Wadsworth bill.
The CHAIRMAN. Perhaps you do not know it, but Mr. Granville Clark, about whom you complain, proposed an amendment to the bill here to guard against that very feature of it, by providing that a civilian director should be appointed, and he suggested that kind of amendment to the bill. You would be in favor of that, would you not, in the event the legislation was passed? I know that you are
opposed to any legislation, but in the event that we should pass any such legislation, you would want that?
Mr. MILLER. That should be done along with legislation removing the military out of all civil functions. The military should strictly be confined to the military.
Mr. Johnson. May I ask a question? I do not know whether you understand that the Selective Service is a civilian organization. It is only directed by army officers, and all the people that administer the law, the local boards and the appeal boards, on all different ends, are civilians.
Mr. MILLER. I do not so understand that the State directors are all civilians. As a matter of fact, my check-up would reveal that there are only a few of the State directors who are civilians. They are chiefly Army officers and they have the final appeal from the appeal board.
Mr. JOHNSON. I think you are mistaken there. There are lots of appeals that cannot be taken to the State director. The appeal boards are all civilian. They can take an appeal to the President. He is a civilian officer.
Mr. MILLER. It must be passed by the State director.
Mr. Johnson. No. He just certifies the record up to the President, that is all.
When you say “take property," do you mean to take it without any compensation at all!
Mr. MILLER. That property, if taken, should be compensated in the way of civilians if they were taken, but understand that is only as a last resort.
Mr. Johnson. I realize that, but, of course, the civilians are going to be paid the prevailing wage scale, whatever that is, if the Wadsworth bill passes. They are not going to be employed for nothing. They are going to be paid for that time.
Mr. MILLER. A worker making $1.20 an hour could, under the Wadsworth bill, be transferred to a place where he will be making only 80 cents an hour.
Mr. Johnson. I think it is possible, but I do not think it is likely. Do you?
Mr. MILLER. I won't say too strong on that. I think it would be possible.
Mr. JOHNSON. You think that if property is taken it should be paid for or reasonable compensation paid for the use of it?
Mr. MILLER. That is right.
Mr. Johnson. Do you not realize that you can do that now with any piece of property in the world? If any State government or local government or National Government needs it for public purposes, they can take it now.
Mr. MILLER. Under condemnation proceedings.
The CHAIRMAN. Section 9 of the National Selective Service Act expressly authorizes the President to take over and to operate an industry, and even keep it, and pay a reasonable rental on it.
Mr. Johnson. It has done so several times.
Mr. MARTIN. I do not follow the witness' statement or accept the idea that the bill H. R. 1742 is a direct effort to place civilian man