« PreviousContinue »
and if he leased it, it would be returned to him at the expiration of its utilization period?
Mr. BYERLY. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, as far as machinery is concerned, there would be no transfer of title.
Mr. BYERLY. I think the same thing would apply; yes. That was our idea. So long as he is willing to let the Government use it or have anyone else use it for national-defense purposes, he retains the title to it; and eventually, if it is durable, something that he can use after the war, he gets it back, and his factory is still capable of use after the war.
The CHAIRMAN. Taking into consideration the rental and the wear and tear on the property?
Mr. BYERLY. Yes. Of course, he is to be compensated.
Mr. BENJAMIN C. MARSH. Mr. Chairman, I represent the Peoples Lobby. Before you adjourn, may I ask whether you are going to hear representatives of our organization?
The CHAIRMAN. Certainly. Any representatives of industry who are directly interested in this legislation.
Mr. MARSH. We are not representatives of industry. We are the Peoples Lobby.
The CHAIRMAN. If you will be good enough to provide the secretary of the committee with the names and addresses of those who want to be heard, he will be glad to take the matter up with the committee itself, because it will be for the committee to decide the number of witnesses and the time that they will have to utilize.
Mr. MARSH. This is the most important bill that has been before Congress for half a century.
The CHAIRMAN. Would you be good enough to leave your names with the secretary?
Mr. MARSH. I will be glad to.
The CHAIRMAN. We won't meet again until Monday, because we want an opportunity to get the witnesses here. We want to give them the privilege of having time sufficient to gather the information which the members of the committee are seeking.
Mr. Marsh. You won't be ready for us before Monday or Tuesday, then?
The CHAIRMAN. Not before Monday.
(Whereupon, at 12 noon an adjournment was taken until Monday, June 23, 1941, at 10 a, m.)
REQUISITION OF PROPERTY BY THE UNITED STATES
MONDAY, JUNE 23, 1941
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C. The committee convened at 10 a. m., Senator Robert R. Reynolds, chairman of the committee, presiding.
Present: Senators Reynolds (chairman), Hill, Downey, and Kilgore.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Secretary and gentlemen, I am sorry that we are not able to provide more members of this committee at this hearing, but their presence is required at a number of other committees. At least a few of our members are members of the Appropriations Committee which is considering the Army appropriations, which is sitting this morning; and therefore it was impossible for them to be here. They have requested me to express to you their regrets that they could not be here. In view of the fact that you gentlemen are here to testify and in view of the fact that you gentlemen are extremely busy, as we all recognize, I think we had just better go ahead with the hearing at the present time.
I might state to the Under Secretary of War that I have before me a letter directed to me by the President of the United States on June 21 with particular reference to the proposed registration now under consideration by this committee. I am going to ask at this juncture that the reporter embody the President's letter, together with the enclosures, in the record; and at a later time in executive session, when we consider these matters, we will take up then the President's letter in detail. (The letter and enclosures referred to are as follows:)
THE WHITE HOUSE,
Washington, June 21, 1941. Hon. ROBERT REYNOLDS,
United States Senate. MY DEAR SENATOR REYNOLDs: In connection with the pending legislation now being considered by your committee, the broad intent of which is to reinforce the defense program by providing for the use or acquisition of certain kinds of defense materials and properties now in private hands, I call your attention to the fact that while the Government should be in a position to obtain this essential equipment and property, it is wholly willing to pay just and fair compensation for it.
It is apparent that our Government should be able, upon the payment of a just price, to obtain whatever equipment and property is needed for national defense.
Since its foundation, our Government has had the power to obtain private property for public use. By this right of eminent domain our Government for many generations has acquired private property for post-office sites, public buildings, roads, parks, and other public uses. This power, I believe, should now be broadened to meet the needs of the present national emergency. Our national defense is a public use of the highest order.
During the last similar emergency, the Government's need of broader requisitioning powers was met piecemeal.
When a particular kind of property was needed, a particular requisitioning statute was drafted to cover that need. These piecemeal statutes separately gave the Government requisitioning power over virtually everything from distilled spirits required in the making of munitions to lumber needed for making aircraft. This procedure caused unwarranted delays in waiting for the necessary legislation, and it resulted in the enactment of at least 17 different statutes, all containing language substantially similar to that of the present bill.
This prior experience shows that it would be difficult and even impossible for us now to catalog each and every one of the Government's needs in advance. I cite an example, reatively unimportant in itself but significant of the difficulty. Who would have thought a few weeks ago that any American citizen who owned a needed transport plane would have set up his personal and private judgment against that of his own Government as to the Government's need for such a plane? The enclosed correspondence shows how one citizen places his own predilection over and above the national need. I think that this correspondence will be of some interest to your committee.
Some of the other foreseeable needs of the present time include machine tools, stocks of aluminum, and other similar raw materials and German-controlled patents. But they would obviously not cover the complete needs of the Government even for a very short period, and the Government, if its powers were limited to them, would be unable to obtain other types of equipment or property promptly if the owners—as occasionally happens-demanded exorbitant prices or refused to sell altogether.
Of course, the Government has always paid and always will pay a fair compensation.
I know that a people who have agreed to draft themselves into military service will not hesitate to approve any draft of their own equipment and property which is necessary for defense. Very truly yours,
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT. Enclosure.
[Western Union telegram]
APRIL 27, 1941. Mr. : In order to meet an immediate and urgent military requirement requests are being made to all private owners of Lockheed Model 18 airplanes, irrespective of the use to which those airplanes are now put, to make them available to fill this requirement. I have been asked to determine whether or not you will voluntarily turn back your Model 18 to the manufacturer at the earliest possible date, but not later than May 2, either for cash reimbursement or replacement at an indefinite future date. A prompt telegraphic response is requested. You are reminded that such delivery for military purposes would call for no publicity.
A. D. WHITESIDE,
Office of Production Management.
(Western Union Telegram]
May 8, 1941. All plane owners requested to transfer transport type planes to the Government for emergency needs have responded except you. I do not want to believe that you are less patriotic than others but notwithstanding repeated attempts to reach you we have had no reply from
you. We have tried to reach you at Pyramid Lake, Nev., Glenbrook, Nev., Sea Island, Ga., Santa Barbara, Calif., Medford, Oreg., and through your relatives, pilot, and company and have requested your secretary to advise us where you could be reached by telegram, telephone, radio, or airplane courier.
JESSE H. JONES.
[Western Union Telegram]
May 12, 1941. JESSE H. JONES,
Washington, D. C.: Just returned from camping trip and found your wires. Do not consider my type plane essential for England's defense and being more interested in America first desire to keep it conserved for America's possible secondary defense. Therefore, refuse to turn this ship over and will protest any seizure. If any time in future this country were attacked and our own air service had need of my Lockheed in this country for actual defense of the United States, not only my plane but my own and my pilots' services would be at the disposal of the War Department. However, in spite of the above and contrary to my convictions, if you can assure me of immediate urgent need of my plane and the Office of Production Management will give Lockheed an irrevocable permit to supply me with another Lodestar not later than first week in November, will make sacrifice and turn plane in.
(Western Union Telegram]
May 13, 1941. Retel I can only repeat and reemphasize my previous telegrams and inform you that you are the only private owner of a Lockheed Lodestar to fail to comply with the request made in those telegrams for airplanes needed to fulfill an immediate and urgent military requirement.
A. D. WHITESIDE, Chairman, Commercial Aircraft Priority Committee.
(Western Union Telegram]
JUNE 3, 1941. The President requested me to get from any source as many planes as possible suitable for transport purposes for allocation by him under the Lend Lease Act. You have my request made on his behalf. No one else refused to turn in their planes and none demanded that they be given priorities to replace their planes. None will be given you.
JESSE H. JONES,
Secretary of Commerce. The CHAIRMAN. Now, Judge Patterson and Mr. Secretary, we shall be very glad to hear from you at this time.
STATEMENT OF HON. ROBERT P. PATTERSON, UNDER SECRETARY
Secretary PATTERSON. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, when I was last here some apprehension was expressed by several members of the committee on the sweeping language of the act as introduced. The language includes all property, real or personal, useful for national defense; and it was suggested to me by one or two of the members of the committee at that bearing that the aims which I had testified in favor of might be achieved with more restrictive language, and it was also suggested that I might draft such language.
I have here an amended form of the bill which is in the subsequent sections about the same as the original bill, but the first section is different. It is much more guarded, much more restricted. I will read it to you if you would like me to.
The CHAIRMAN. If you please, Mr. Secretary.
A BILL To authorize the President of the United States to requisition for the purpose of equipping the
armed forces of the United States Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That, during any period of national emergency proclaimed by the President, the President is authorized, when he deems it essential to promote the national defense and to overcome shortages, (a) to requisition and take over for the use of the United States or in its interest any military or naval equipment or munitions, or component parts thereof, or machinery, tools, or