Page images
PDF
EPUB

Colonel HARE. Yes. We have what we call an Army purchase information bulletin, which is distributed through Mr. Mehornay's organization, through our 52 Army districts, through chambers of commerce, and national associations of manufacturers. It is well distributed. That tells them in detail, “If you are in this kind of business, this is what we would like to get from you, and this is the fellow to see about it.”

Senator DOWNEY. I would like to renew that request to get Captain Jones of the Navy Department called down here.

The CHAIRMAN. I will state here that we will try to have the Captain here and other representatives. And, in order to be sure that they are present, we are going to give them ample time in order that they may prepare themselves to provide us with the information which

you

desire. As a result thereof we are going to take a recess until Monday, so that we will be sure to have those witnesses here.

Senator DOWNEY. Thank you.

The CHAIRMAN. There is one gentleman here who desires to return to New York this afternoon. He said he wanted to be heard here briefly.

Will you come around and sit over here, Mr. Byerly. We are going to have to take a recess after this. Most of us have business on the floor at 12 o'clock.

STATEMENT OF ROBERT W. BYERLY, PRACTICING ATTORNEY IN

NEW YORK CITY, REPRESENTING THE NEW YORK PATENT LAW
ASSOCIATION
Mr. BYERLY. I think what I have to say will be said very shortly.

The CHAIRMAN. Give your name and address to the reporter, and what organization, if any, you represent here today officially.

Mr. BYERLY. I am a practicing attorney in New York City. I represent the New York Patent Law Association.

The Patent Law Association of New York looked at this bill because it specifically mentions patents.

We found on studying it that it dealt with patents in the same way as it dealt with all other property, which we think is entirely correct; but, looking at it from a broader point of view than that of patent law, it seems to us that the bill goes too far; that it goes to the point of penalizing a great many patriotic citizens who are willing to do all that they can to help the Government.

If I may give you a brief illustration of that in connection with patents.

There are many patent owners who would be glad and willing to license not only the Government but all subcontractors that the Government wishes licensed under their patent in order to help the defense program. But on the other hand, this bill goes much further than that. It enables the Government actually to take a patent away from a man and give it to somebody else. And that, except in the case of some delinquency, seems to us to be going rather far, as it would result in destroying a patentee's own business instantly, and he never could get it back.

It seems that it would be a scheme of concentrating industry, although it might be done in perfectly good faith, for an immediate

objective, and it seems to me that the net effect of it would be wrong. The results desired could be obtained just as well by getting the necessary licenses for those whom the Government wished to have do the manufacturing.

I think the same thing that I have said about patents applies certainly to real estate and very probably also to machine tools and other things that have been discussed here. And it may possibly therefore be of some help to the committee to have our suggestion as to an amendment of the first section of the act designed solely for the purpose of preventing the act from working a hardship on those citizens who are willing to cooperate with the Government in having their property used for defense purposes.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you have your suggested amendment there? Mr. BYERLY. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Will you read it for the benefit of the record, please?

Mr. BYERLY. It is a paragraph to be inserted at the end of the first section, just above section 2:

Provided, however, That if, within ten days after the requisitioning under this Act of any property other than tangible personal property, the owner of the property shall file with the President a written declaration and consent that the property may be used by or for the Government for national defense or other governmental purposes on the basis of compensation to be determined in accordance with section 2 of this Act, the title to the property shall not be taken over or disposed of under the provisions of this Act unless the owner refuses to execute such leases, licenses, or other grants to the United States as may be necessary to give effect to the declaration and consent which he has filed.

I think, Mr. Chairman, that by amending that paragraph as it is here, a man who is perfectly willing to have the Government or subcontractor or anyone use his property for defense purposes, can say so; and then he will escape the danger of having that property actually taken away from him and given to somebody else.

The Chairman. It is your idea that they may be given a license under the patent?

Mr. BYERLY. Quite so.
The CHAIRMAN. And not requisition the patent in its entirety?
Mr. BYERLY. Quite so.

The CHAIRMAN. In other words, the owner of the patent retains the title to it, and he is merely called upon to issue a license under the patent to the Federal Government for the national defense program under this bill?

Mr. BYERLY. Yes. And, as the proviso stands, if he is for some reason recalcitrant and says, “I won't do that," then it seems fair enough to take it away from him. It seems to me that there is a penalty clause here, taking property away from a man and giving it to someone else.

The CHAIRMAN. There is one question in that case which arises. You made mention a moment ago of machinery. I suppose that you have in mind that instead of requisitioning the machinery outright and thereby bringing about a transfer of the title, you have in mind the leasing of this particular piece of machinery to the Government?

Mr. BYERLY. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. And it would be optional with the owner of the machinery as to whether or not he would sell it outright or lease it;

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.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.

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. If you will do that, we will be glad to hear you.
Mr. MARSH. It won't be until next week, will it?

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
COMMITTEE ON MILITARY AFFAIRS,

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.

« PreviousContinue »