Page images




Washington, D. C.

The committee met at 10:30 a. m., pursuant to call, in room 356-B, Senate Office Building, Senator Francis Maloney (chairman) presiding.

Present: Senators Maloney (chairman), Gillette, and Andrews. The CHAIRMAN. The meeting will come to order.

I should like to take the time now, at the opening of the meeting, to pay tribute to Senator Warren Barbour, who was the ranking Republican member of this committee, and who died since our last meeting.

The members of this committee, like all other Members of the Senate, had a great admiration and affection for Senator Barbour.

He devoted himself wholeheartedly and conscientiously to the work of this committee, and he was most helpful to me as chairman. We are going to miss him, and he will be missed by all Senators, as well as the people of New Jersey and the country.

I have not the gift of language to express my own feeling of sorrow over his death, but I do want the record to show, and I know that my colleagues on the committee want the record to show, that his death is a great loss to the Public Buildings and Grounds Committee of the Senate.

Now, the first measure on the calendar is Senate Concurrent Resolution 19 which was introduced by Senator Langer.

I would like to say first that I have been endeavoring for some time, without much success, to get a meeting of this committee. We were interrupted by the recess and time and again delayed by almost constant major and special committee meetings, and even today, after a month's notice, it has been impossible to get a quorum.

It so happens that the Republican caucus is being held this morning and Republican members of the committee are for that reason necessarily absent. Other members of the committee have notified me within the last day or two that meetings which they felt were more important would keep them from attendance here this morning.

I have felt, in view of the fact that this is an executive session, that we had best go ahead and have the report of the meeting printed and send it to the absent members of the committee for their consideration.

We will probably at some near date need to take some action on the measures to which we will refer this morning. The thing that has concerned me most is Senator Langer's resolution. He is unable to

be present this morning but he told me yesterday that his secretary had actually been handling this matter in his office for him and was fully informed, and she would be here this morning to testify. We will now hear Miss Clara Hjerpe. STATEMENT OF CLARA HJERPE, SECRETARY TO SENATOR

WILLIAM LANGER OF NORTH DAKOTA The CHAIRMAN. Proceed in your own way, Miss Hjerpe, to discuss Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 19.

Miss HJERPE. Last fall Senator Langer's attention was called to the deplorable situation with regard to sleeping facilities for the servicemien coming to Washington and he was told by people whose word could not be questioned that soldiers were sleeping on the floor in the Union Station, in the streets, and in all sorts of places; that they were being turned away at midnight from centers where you would expect them to have a chance to sleep. Of course, the Senator was very much disturbed about this, especially so, since this is the National Capital and he felt that the Congress ought to take some responsibility in this deplorable situation. · His attention was also called to the fact that the Senate garage was only being partially used, even for cars, and that there was much space available there.

The question arose whether this unused space could not be utilized in some way for the benefit of the servicemen. However, I am almost certain that the Senator is not making any special brief for the Senate garage. What he is concerned about is decent sleeping space for our servicemen. · The question is, Where are the soldiers going to sleep when they come to Washington?

When the men in our armed forces have a furlough and are stationed anywhere near Washington, they want to come to the National Capital.

It seems only reasonable that the minimum requirements for decent housing should be available to them in the Nation's Capital.

Senator Langer introduced the resolution with the hope that either the garage or some other place would be provided for them, that recognition would be given to the problem and something would be done about it.

Since that time there have been many meetings. We met with the Servicemen's Lodging Committee of the War Hospitality Committee last summer. It was their opinion at that time that there was no immediate or crucial need for additional sleeping facilities, because on the very evenings that soldiers were found sleeping anywhere and everywhere, there were vacant beds available. But I understand since that time this committee has come to different conclusions and have decided that there is now great need for additional sleeping space.

This is probably brought about because of the weather. Many places that might have been possibilities for sleeping before the weather was cold cannot be used now.

We have reports from the Public Health and various other agencies in regard to the suitability of the garage for sleeping purposes, and the cost of transforming it into a safe place for sleeping. These reports could be incorporated in the record if you so desire.

The CHAIRMAN. I think we have those reports. I think you got them from our office. We sent you copies of what reports we received, and I intend to make those a part of the record.

Miss HJERPE. Again, I think that the Senator's chief concern is making available decent sleeping facilities for servicemen visiting the Nation's Capital.

The CHAIRMAN. I might say at that point that I seriously doubt that it is the duty or responsibility of the Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds of the Senate to undertake that particular job. I think it is a job that belongs to some governmental agency.

Congress undoubtedly has at least some responsibility in the matter, but the matter comes here only because the resolution directed our attention toward the Senate garage.

I don't have an automobile myself and I have no personal interest in the matter. I did have some doubt about the wisdom of having our soldiers sleeping underground and in a garage. I have the feeling that better facilities might be made available to them.

I understand many other suggestions have been made on this subject. I believe that Senator Wiley introduced a resolution dealing with the same subject, which has been referred to the Military Affairs Committee of the Senate.

It is my opinion that that committee would have a greater responsibility than the Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds.

After you have concluded I intend to put these reports in the record so that all of the members of this committee may, at some later date, an early date, have a chance to go over them carefully and decide what, if anything, we should do.

Miss HJERPE. Unless there are any particular questions, I think that is about the gist of what I have to say.

The CHAIRMAN. I think you have made a very clear statement. I don't have any questions at this time.

If we decide to hold a public hearing later it is obvious there will be questions which Senators will want to ask.

I am very grateful to you for coming here. I wanted to get the matter before the committee as soon as possible. It is the kind of problem, that you can't brush off. It is very important that these soldiers, sailors, and other servicemen be given every consideration possible.

I want to thank you for coming and I want to thank Senator Langer.

I would like at this point to put into the record a copy of the resolution introduced by Senator Wiley, to which I have just referred.

(S. Res. 181 is as follows:)

18. Res. 181, 78th Cong., 1st sess.)

RESOLUTION Whereas there appeared in the Congressional Record of Monday, September 20, 1943, remarks of Congressman Tolan, of California, together with a resolution calling attention to the fact that a great many of our soldiers, sailors, and marines when they came to Washington to view the sights slept in the Union Station on the floor, benches, and so forth; and

Whereas said Congressman suggested that the Senate garage could conveniently be utilized to provide sleeping quarters for such soldiers, sailors, and marines; and

Whereas the Senate is concerned about the welfare of our servicemen and desirous of doing that which will best serve their interests: Therefore be it

« PreviousContinue »