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Under the circumstances, the War Department can find no justification for granting members of the merchant marine and their dependents benefits equal to or greater than those provided for veterans of the present war and their dependents.
The Congress has adhered to the principle of not granting the same relief or benefits to civilians as are provided for persons who have performed active military or naval service. This Department cannot suggest any other sound principle.
In considering the broad question of policy involved, the Department believes that the proposed legislation would establish a precedent for granting veterans' benefits to other groups of civilians. In the present war, such groups include, among others, certain contractors' crews, civilian pilots of the Air Transport Command, civilian instructors of the Air Forces, war correspondents, personnel of the Air Specialist Corps, the Civilian Air Patrol, and the Women's Auxiliary Service Pilots, and certain personnel of the Red Cross.
In the event that the Congress should determine as a matter of national policy that additional benefits should be provided for members of the merchant marine, the War Department would offer no objection to an equitable extension of benefits through amendment to general maritime laws especially designed to protect merchant seamen.
The War Department does not have the data upon which to base an estimate of the cost of the proposed legislation, but it is believed that the cost would be great.
For the foregoing reasons, the War Department recommends that the proposed legislation be not favorably considered.
Due to the limitation of time the Bureau of the Budget has not been consulted as to the relationship of this report to the program of the President. Sincerely yours,
ROBERT P. PATTERSON,
Secretary of War. Gentlemen, it is now 11:30. Mr. BROPHY. I move now that the meeting be recessed subject to call of the chairman.
Mr. WEICHEL. I second the motion.
Mr. BRADLEY of California. You have heard the motion that this meeting be recessed subject to the call of the Chair.
Is there any discussion? (No response.)
Mr. BRADLEY of California. All in favor indicate by saying aye; contrary no.
(The motion was unanimously agreed to.) Mr. BRADLEY of California. The meeting will be recessed. The call will go out as soon as we have information from the various Bureaus and Departments as they are ready with their data.
(Thereupon, at 11:30 a. m., the subcommittee recessed subject to the call of the chairman.)
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee convened at 10:55 a. m., Hon. Willis W. Bradley of California, chairman.
Present: Messrs. Tollefson, Allen, Brophy, Havenner, Bradley of California, chairman.
Mr. BRADLEY of California. Gentlemen, we will come to order.
[H. R. 476, 80th Cong., 1st sess. ] A BILL To provide aid for the readjustment in civilian life of those persons who rendered
wartime service in the United States merchant marine, and to provide aid for their families
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That this Act may be cited as the “Merchant Seamen's Wartime Service Act."
TITLE I-DEFINITIONS AND CERTIFICATE OF MARITIME WARTIME
SEC. 101. As used in this Act the term
(a) “Chairman” means the Chairman of the United States Maritime Commission.
(b) “War zone” means an area which the Maritime War Emergency Board has determined as hazardous and subject to enemy activity and in which a bonus was payable to crew members of vessels.
(c) “Danger zone” means an area which the Maritime War Emergency Board has determined as extremely hazardous and subjected to intensified risks of war, and in which an area bonus was payable to crew members of vessels. (d) “Maritime wartime service” means
(1) civilian service by an individual after December 7, 1941, and prior to March 2, 1946, as
(A) a master, officer, or member of the crew, on or in connection with the operation of (i) any vessel documented under the laws of the United States, or (ii) any vessel in the United States Army Transport Service, or (iii) any vessel in the Coast and Geodetic Survey, or (iv) any vessel owned by, chartered to, or operated by or for the account of, or at the direction or under the control of, the United States Maritime Commission or the War Shipping Administration; or
(B) an enrollee in the United States Maritime Service on active duty; or
(C) an enrollee or student in any maritime school or institution, including basic-training schools and academies of the United States Merchant Marine Cadet Corps, and any State maritime academy under the the jurisdiction or supervision of the War Shipping Administration, but
no service under this paragraph shall be deemed to constitute “maritime wartime service” if the individual fails to complete successfully the course of instruction, unless such failure is determined by the Chairman to have been for a justifiable reason; and (2) such civilian service as defined in paragraph (1) by an individual prior to December 7, 1911, in an area which, in the discretion of the Chairman, was subjected to hazards commensurate to those determined as adequate to constitute a war zone or danger zone subsequent to December 7, 1941.
If the individual during any period is not actually performing any service described in any of the foregoing provisions of this subsection, but nevertheless is entitled by reason of service so described, to continue to receive his pay with respect to such period, as and for his maintenance, or because of an injury or disease incurred as a result of such service, then such individual shall be considered as rendering “maritime wartime service” during
such period. (e) “Wartime service seaman" means an individual with respect to whom a certificate of martime wartime service has been issued pursuant to this Act.
(f) "Disabled wartime service seaman" means a wartime service seaman on whose certificate of maritime wartime service a disability endorsement has been made pursuant to this Act.
(g) “Deceased wartime service seaman” means a wartime service seaman on whose certificate of maritime wartime service a death endorsement has been made pursuant to this Act. (h) “Vessel” does not include
(1) any vessel engaged in operation exclusively on the Great Lakes; or
(2) any vessel engaged in operation principally within ports or inland waters; or
(3) any vessel engaged in the catching, taking, harvesting, cultivating, or farming of any kind of fish, shellfish, crustacea, sponges, seaweeds, or
other aquatic forms of animal or vegetable life. (i) “Termination of hostilities” means September 2, 1945.
(j) "State” means any of the States of the Union, any Territory or possession, or the District of Columbia.
(k) "Continental United States” means the States of the Union and the District of Columbia.
CERTIFICATES OF MARITIME WARTIME SERVICE
SEC. 102. (a) The Chairman of the United States Maritime Commission shall issue for each individual who rendered maritime service a certificate of maritime wartime service if
(1) application therefor is made prior to March 2, 1948; and
(2) such individual (A) is a citizen or was, prior to July 4, 1946, a national of the United States, or (B) is a bona fide resident of the United States, is eligible for titizenship, and had taken out his first naturalization papers prior to March 2, 1946; and (3) such maritime service was either
(A) of a duration of at least six months and substantially continuous by serving not less than nine months in each twelve-month period or a proportional part of periods of less than twelve months from the beginning of maritime wartime service by such individual until March 2, 1946, or until such service is or was terminated upon a finding by the Chairman, in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Chairman, that the individual's continued service is or was no longer necessary but not as a result of his own misconduct; or (B) was terminated not as a result of his own misconduct by
(i) an injury or disease incurred in or aggravated by such service, the degree of which is determined under the regulations prescribed by the Chairman to be such as to incapacitate or to have incapacitated such individual for further maritime wartime service; or
(ii) death; or
(iii) detention by the enemy. The determination of whether maritime wartime service was substantially continuous shall be made in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Chairman: Provided, however, That such service shall be not less than nine months in
each twelve months' period or such proportional part except that in making such determination, any period of absence from maritime wartime service (after rendering a period of such service) because of disease or disability (whether or not incurred in such service) or because of service in the armed forces, or required in the course of repatriation to the continental United States after separation from a vessel for reasons other than misconduct connected with service, as determined in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Chairman, shall be disregarded.
(b) A certificate of maritime wartime service may be issued for a seaman who is a citizen or was, prior to July 4, 1946, a national of the United States when, in the judgment of the Chairman, the denial of a certificate of maritime wartime service would be against equity or good conscience. (c) No certificate of maritime wartime service shall be issued for
(1) any seaman, determined by evidence satisfactory to the Chairman to be guilty of mutiny, treason, sabotage, or rendering assistance to an enemy of the United States or of its allies;
(2) any seaman whose certificate of service or license or certificate of registry as staff officer has been revoked during the period of maritime wartime service by the United States Coast Guard for misconduct connected with maritime wartime service;
(3) any person who has been dishonorably discharged or disenrolled for misconduct while serving on active duty in the United States Maritime Seryice or while in service as an enrollee or student at any school or institution, including basic-training schools and academies of the United States Merchant Marine Cadet Corps and any State maritime academy, under the jurisdiction or supervision of the Administrator of the War Shipping Administration.
DISABILITY ENDORSEMENTS SEC. 103. (a) At the time of making application for a certificate of maritime wartime service or at any time thereafter application may be made to the Chairman for a disability endorsement on a certificate of maritime wartime service. Such application shall be made by the person eligible for disability benefits under this Act on forms to be furnished by the Chairman, shall contain such information as the Chairman may require, and shall be accompanied by a statement of a medical officer of the United States, made after an examination provided for in section 106 stating the nature of the injury or disease and the nature and probable extent of the disability resulting therefrom.
(b) If the Chairman finds, subject to appeal as provided in section 602, that the injury or disease was incurred in or aggravated by maritime service, not as a result of the seaman's misconduct, he shall make an endorsement to that effect on the certificate of maritime wartime service. Whenever as a result of examination under section 106 the Chairman finds, subject to appeal as provided in section 602, that the disability has increased or decreased in extent he shall make a further endorsement on the certificate of maritime wartime service modifying the disability endorsement accordingly.
SEC. 104. (a) If at the time application is made for a certificate of maritime wartime service with respect to any individual, such individual is dead, then in connection with the application for such certificate application may be made to the Chairman for a death endorsement on such certificate; and if, after a certificate of maritime wartime service has been issued with respect to any individual, such individual dies, application may be made to the Chairman for a death endorsement on such certificate. An application for a death endorsement shall be made by the persons eligible for death benefits under this Act on forms to be furnished by the Chairman and shall contain such information as the Chairman may require.
(b) If the Chairman finds, subject to appeal as provided in section 602, that death occurred during maritime wartime service, not as a result of the seaman's misconduct, or that death resulted from an injury or disease incurred in or aggravated by maritime wartime service, not as a result of the seaman's misconduct, he shall make an endorsement to that effect on the certificate of maritime wartime service.