« PreviousContinue »
SMALL BUSINESS AND PROCUREMENT-ECONOMIC
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 21, 1950
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C. The committee met, pursuant to recess, at 10 a. m., in room 301, Senate Office Building, Senator John Sparkman (chairman), presiding.
Present: Senators Sparkman, Gillette, Benton, and Thye. Also present: Charles E. Shaver, chief counsel of the committee. The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. We have with us today Mr. Paul G. Hoffman, Administrator of ECA, and several members of his staff.
Mr. Hoffman, we are glad to have you with us and would like for you to proceed in your own way. You understand what it is that we are interested in. We are trying to find out what is being done to make certain that small business gets its fair share of business, and what more can be done, if anything, to that end.
STATEMENT OF PAUL G. HOFFMAN, ADMINISTRATOR, ECA, ACCOMPANIED BY WILLIAM C. FOSTER, DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR; C. TYLER WOOD, ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR FOR OPERATIONS; CHARLES A. RICHARDS, ACTING SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO ADMINISTRATOR FOR SMALL BUSINESS; ROBERT R. MULLEN, DIRECTOR OF INFORMATION; EDWARD E. KUNZE, DIRECTOR, PROGRAM METHODS, CONTROL STAFF; WILLIAM E. HAINES, DEPUTY ASSISTANT FOR SMALL BUSINESS, AND WILLIAM T. McCORMICK, ASSISTANT TO THE ACTING SPECIAL ASSISTANT FOR SMALL BUSINESS
Mr. HOFFMAN. Mr. Chairman, we are very happy to have the opportunity of appearing before your committee and reporting to you on what we have done.
The CHAIRMAN. I may say this: You may remember that a year or so ago you appeared before the Senate Banking and Currency Committee and told us of some of the things that you were doing and planning to do. We were pleased with the interest manifested by you and by your staff in small business, and we welcome the opportunity to hear from you further. Mr. HOFFMAN. Thank you, sir.'
I would like, first of all, to present those associates of mine who are here with me.
Mr. William C. Foster, Deputy Administrator, and Mr. Charles A. Richards, on my immediate right here at the table, who is the Acting Special Assistant to Administrator for Small Business.
We also have with us Mr. C. Tyler Wood, who is Assistant Administrator for Operations; Mr. Edward E. Kunze, Director of the Program Methods Control Staff; Mr. William E. Haines, Deputy Assistant for Small Business, and Mr. William T. McCormick, Assistant to the Acting Special Assistant for Small Business.
I have a statement here in which we have attempted to give the briefest accounting possible on what we have done, and what we are planning to do, with the thought that that might be a guide to any questions that the chairman or members of the committee might wish to ask.
With your permission, sir, I think we will save time if I just read this statement.
The CHAIRMAN. Go right ahead. Mr. HOFFMAN. On April 19, 1949, the ECA Act of 1948 was amended as follows:
1. To make available to suppliers in the United States, and particularly to small independent enterprises, information as far in advance as possible with respect to purchases proposed to be financed with ECA funds.
2. To make available to prospective purchasers overseas information regarding products and services produced by small United States independent enterprises.
3. To otherwise help small business to participate in ECA programs.
On June 6, 1949, I appeared before the Subcommittee on Small Business of the Committee on Banking and Currency, accompanied by Mr. Bert H. White, Special Assistant to the Administrator for Small Business. At that time Mr. White outlined the program which had been set up to carry into effect the amendment above referred to. This program provided for:
1. The gathering of pertinent information from various sources here and abroad, for dissemination to potential small business exporters.
2. The dissemination of this information expeditiously and effectively to small business enterprises.
3. The dissemination of information about the availability of the products of small American producers to potential purchasers in ECA countries.
4. The development of a mechanism for hearing the problems of potential or actual small business exporters and providing, where possible, a solution thereto.
5. The analysis of ECA policies and procedures and the procurement methods employed by the participating countries as a basis for recommending changes which would promote the aims contemplated by the amendment.
After Mr. White's presentation, Senator Maybank congratulated him regarding what had been done, and this we took to be in some measure an endorsement of the program which Mr. White had outlined. I should now like to report to you on what has been done to carry out the program, both as to the five points Mr. White mentioned and other new developments which have been undertaken to improve the help to small business.
1. Information has been gathered by the staffs of our missions overseas, and here in Washington. In this connection we have secured the cooperation of the participating governments and our own Government agencies, particularly the Department of Commerce.
2. Information received from abroad on various purchases has been disseminated through the medium of frequent small-business circulars, which reach about 8,000 firms who have requested them. Smallbusiness circulars are also distributed to the Department of Commerce field offices and to the field counselors.
The field counselors have been recruited from banks and business service groups throughout the country, to establish a more effective informal contact between small business and ECA. There are at present over 500 field counselors in over 230 cities in 41 States and the District of Columbia. With the assistance of the American Bankers Association and other groups, this national network is being vigorously developed.
I would like to say, Senator, that we consider this development of the field counselor service of very great importance and value, because regardless of how much information is available, regardless of how much information is disseminated, the average small-business man, when it comes to this problem of embarking in a new field, his problem is best met if he can talk to someone and indicate to him the particular question in his mind. I really feel that in this counseling service we have developed something of rather lasting value to small business.
Senator BENTON. Are you not the authority, Mr. Hoffman, on the subject of reading circulars, or is it just the small-business man that does not read?
Mr. HOFFMAN. I have made the statement at times that none of us read, and it is very difficult to get attention to circulars. I think that we have even found difficulty with some of our dealers in the automobile business to open their mail and find their rebate checks.
3. Dissemination of information about the availability of the products of small American producers to potential purchasers in ECA countries has been undertaken by obtaining the names of over 15,000 small-business enterprises, together with their products, which information is being incorporated in a directory now being printed in London with counterpart funds. This directory will receive wide distribution in Europe and will be printed in French, Italian, and German, as well as in English.
I think one of the most ambitious and useful projects ever attempted was to get the names of these 15.000 firms, the products that they have available; get that assembled into a directory and make it available all through Europe to prospective purchasers of American goods.
4. The hearing of the problems of small enterprises connected with exporting has been covered by two sections of the Office of Small Business, one known as the Export Counseling Section and the other as the Inquiries Section. The men in charge of these two sections are well qualified to interview visitors and answer letters of inquiry which, up to date, have amounted to 1,000 and 5,426, respectively, that is, over 1,000 personal interviews with small-business men and over approximately 5,500 letters to date. I might add that the Department has attempted to get an answer out to every letter within 48 hours of its receipt.