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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
materials necessary for manufacture of such equipment or munitions, or any patents, plans, designs or rights controlling the production of such materials or supplies and (b) to use on such terms as he shall deem satisfactory, or to sell or otherwise dispose of any materials so requisitioned or taken over, or any right or interest therein, pursuant to the provisions of this Act.
SEC. 2. The sale or other disposition by the United States of a patent or patent right acquired hereunder shall be consummated only upon a written finding by the Secretary of War or the Secretary of the Navy that such sale or disposition is necessary to insure production in sufficient quantity of the patented commodity or articles for defense purposes and that production thereof cannot be otherwise obtained.
SEC. 3. Whenever the President shall requisition and take over any property pursuant to the provisions of this Act, the person or persons having any right, title, or interest therein shall be paid as compensation therefor such sum as the President shall determine to be fair and just. If any such person or persons entitled to receive it are unwilling to accept as full and complete compensation for such property the sum so determined by the President, such person or persons shall be paid 75 per centum of the sum so determined by the President and shall be entitled to sue the United States for such additional sum as when added to the sum already received shall be determined as fair and just compensation for such property in the manner provided for by section 24, paragraph 20, and section 145 of the Judicial Code (U. S. C., title 28, sec. 41, par. 20, and sec. 250), but no recovery shall be allowed against the United States in any such action unless the action be brought within two years after the date on which notice shall have been given of the determination by the President of the amount to be paid as compensation.
Sec. 4. Appropriations available for the acquisition of property for nationaldefense purposes shall be available for the acquisition of such property under the provisions of this Act; and any moneys received by the United States as the proceeds of any disposition of any property sold or disposed of pursuant hereto shall be deposited to the credit of the current appropriations corresponding to that out of which was paid the cost to the United States of the property thus disposed of, and the same shall immediately become available for expenditure during the fiscal year in which the disposition was effected, and the fiscal year next following for the purposes named in such current appropriation.
SEC. 5. The President may, from time to time, promulgate such rules and regulations and is empowered to require such information as may be necessary and proper to carry out any of the provisions of this Act, and he may exercise any power or authority conferred on him by this Act through such department, agency, board, or officer as he shall direct or appoint.
Sec. 6. The provisions of this Act shall be effective notwithstanding the provisions of any other Act: Provided, however, That this Act shall not be construed as repealing, altering, or amending any provisions of Acts authorizing the acquisition of property by the United States, but shall be construed and considered as an additional grant of authority.
It may be noted that that confines the operation of the act to military or naval equipment or munitions or parts or tools or materials necessary for the production of such equipment or munitions. I think that quite clearly excludes any possible application of such law to the watch in a man's pocket or interference with freedom of the press or any such thing as that. Not that those were contemplated in the original act, but possibly on account of the very broad language in that act someone who was fearful of the dire consequences of it, and might foresee consequences never intended. In any event, such consequences are excluded under the terms of this suggested amendment.
I have only this to add to what I said last week:
I have given careful study to the machine-tool situation. It would seem that with the orders now on the books and the orders in prospect, and on account of the 500-a-month heavy-bomber program, the machine-tool manufacturers of this country will be manufacturing at full capacity for some 13 months before they can possibly fill all the orders they now have.
Senator Downey. May I interrupt for a question?
Senator DOWNEY. Do you refer merely to orders for machine tools for military defense purposes?
Secretary PATTERSON. Yes, sir.
Senator Downey. That is, the machine-tool industry will not be able under this program that you suggest to produce any machine tools except for military defense purposes? Is that what you are saying?
Secretary PATTERSON. Yes, sir, in substance; although, of course, a great many of these tools are universal tools. You understand quite clearly what I mean by that.
Senator Downey. Yes.
Secretary PATTERSON. They are standard tools that can be used either way. But the military and naval orders alone will fill their capacity for producing new machine tools for over a year from this date forward, in spite of the fact that they are now producing at four times the rate that they produced during their previous top year, 1937.
Senator DowNEY. May I intervene with another question?
Senator Downey. Your statement, however, does not mean that there will not be certain of the primary machine tools produced by which there will be an expansion of the machine-tool industry itself, does it?
Secretary PATTERSON. There are further expansions in the machinetool industry in process which might reduce the time somewhat. Of course, they have already expanded to quite a degree over what they had last July. This was largely financed at their own expense, although somewhat at Government expense. They are already operating, Senator, on an expanded basis.
Senator DOWNEY. Yes; I understand that. But the program that you have suggested does not mean that there will not be a continued expansion in the machine-tool industry itself over the next 13 months?
Secretary PATTERSON. No, sir; it does not. In fact, such a continued expansion is contemplated.
Senator Hill. Do you think that there will be this continued expansion in the machine-tool industry?
Secretary PATTERSON. I think it is safe to say that the orders now on the books or in present immediate prospects for the heavy bomber program will choke that industry for over a year.
Now, that means that we have to survey the situation in some way to try to increase, if we can, the use of machine tools now available without depending upon future tools.
It is obvious from out studies that there are three ways of accomplishing that.
The first is to work for more man-hours the tools already committed to the defense program. We have tried for months to get that stepped up, and with some success. But I think further efforts are needed along that line.
The second effort would be to place more subcontracting out in the industry of the country. That has the obvious advantage of locating business where the tools are now and where the skill is present to operate them.
That is a course that has not been overlooked by the War Department. In fact, we are using at all times increased pressure to try to bring that about.
The third one is the transfer of existing tools from nondefense use to defense use.
I think I mentioned that to some extent last week. But in my opinion we ought to have full authority and full power to develop all three of those sources. Otherwise I can see that we will be considerably impeded in the vitally necessary job of speeding up the program and leaving no stone unturned to try to bring about at the earliest possible moment a situation whereby the industrial power of this country--and it is a vast industrial power, too—will be geared into the defense effort.
I want to refer once again to this suggested amendment which I am tendering in deference to the committee's views of last week. It is of much narrower scope than the original bill, and may commend itself to the views of the committee better than the original bill did.
On further reflection I may state that we do not really need any further powers as to real estate. Under existing law, through exercise of the right of eminent domain by the Federal Government, we feel that all our reasonable needs with regard to real estate will be met.
Also in this amendment the operation as to personal property is defined much more narrowly than in the original act.
I might say that the words that I have used there are in substance the same as the bill passed by the Congress in October of last year with regard to goods, the export of which had been denied by the President.
The bill to which I refer is the act of October 10, 1940, under which the President may requisition these same kinds of articles if he has denied an export license for their shipment abroad.
Senator Hill. Some of these goods were lying in our ports and we had no power to use them, and yet they could not be exported.
Secretary PATTERSON. There they were.
Senator Hill. There they were. So we passed this bill last October to give the Government the power to requisition and take over those goods. You say that this language follows very largely that language?
Secretary PATTERSON. So far as the description of the items covered goes; yes, sir.
The bill leaves with the President the fixing of rules and regulations for the carrying out of the law. I think that provides a proper flexibility.
My own view would be that under such a power the President might see fit to delegate the power to, say, the Office of Production Management, which already has the priority power by his delegation.
This is quite analogous to the priority power. This affects existing goods, whereas the priority power affects the production of future goods.
I think that would, by centralizing it in one agency, provide a ready means of useful and wise and restrained exercise of the powers given to us. There would not be a scramble among various agencies, such as the War Department, the Navy, and the Maritime Commission, or some others, for some of the goods.
I am sure that the administration of the act could be undertaken in a wise and proper spirit, with a minimum disturbance of any civilian production, and yet in a way that would satisfy the military and naval needs of the nation.