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Mr. WICKERSHAM. Very likely.
Mr. DONOVAN. The burden in the first instance would come upon that physician. Mr. WICKERSHAM. That is true.
Mr. Doxovan. He has to ascertain what would be the facts medically upon which he could lay his foundation, which must come from standards of minor sources. Is that not true? Would not that necessarily follow that that medical board from which this must emanate must be at the central office in Washington or some place else? Now, is it not substantially the system now followed by the present administration except that it does not reach out in its tributaries to the local communities, boroughs, ond towns? That is what I would like to see. Would it not be an extension of this particular system and could you avoid the so-called supervisory element that we have now to contend with which I confess holds back progress?
Mr. WICKERSHAM. You can not avoid that element. You must have that or eliminate the laying down of general rules for the guidance of subordinate officials. There is no way you can avoid doing that right there as to the present system and the possible changes in the system. The present system, to my way of thinking, has fallen first, because of the lack of sufficient tributaries.
Mr. Donovan. I agree with you absolutely. If you will permit me to offer you this just quoted from an examination here so that I may not be mistaken. I now read from the hearings of the Committee on Rules, Sixty-sixth Congress, held October 9, 1919, upon what was known as the Rogers resolution.
Mr. WICKERSHAM. Yes.
Mr. DONOVAN. Mr. Rogers, who is much respected by other members of this committee, and the House in general, was interested and speaking of his resolution made this statement :
These boys, some of them, have got to be reached out for and almost forced to go upon this vocational work; otherwise they will let go. In other words, we must go out and get these boys and not sit back here and say, “Here is a fine thing if you will come and get it."
Now, Dr. Fess said, and it is a fact, that the policy of going out and corralling boys that had not heard of vocational training, and that seems to now be the complaint, where a number of these men were discharged without ever knowing that they had these rights under this law.
Mr. WICKERSHAM. No doubt of it.
Mr. DONOVAN. The law was not enacted and there were a number of cases on that subject. Dr. Fess said, I will quote it, and I think it is a complete answer to it:
The committee or the representatives of the board before the Appropriations Committee, having stated the needs for funds emphasized that particular function, and if you will refresh your memory you will remember what a censure they received from the Committee on Appropriations and from Congress for going out and hunting up people and thereby increasing the cases. That was made the subject of very severe criticism.
Now, in furtherance of that, as a matter of fact, the appropriation was not on this committee that it should be for doing follow-up work, and if I recall, the bill was vetoed by the President, sent back and then it was increased. So there is a rather complete answer why
there has not been these tributaries throughout. Now, I want to just ask you this question.
Take the matter of insurance, it is so that that case is now through the different functions of the war-risk insurance and that is the only governmental agency that deals with insurance.
How could we make a shorter cut in the insurance matter, even by analogy with private insurance proceedings, where the individual files his application with the local agent and he files his medical certificate and that goes to the local agency, to the State agent, and finally to the home office.
I would like to have you make a suggestion as to some other rule we could take of a short cut than a proceeding in that way. Whether it is on the vocational training or not we would be glad to have you suggest that idea in the enactment of this law.
Mr. WICKERSHAM. I should think a Federal central office laying down general rules; that is, a central office in Washington laying down general rules
Mr. DONOVAN (interposing). I believe in the coordination idea. That is where the trouble is here. These are different questions.
Mr. WICKERSHAM. They make trouble time after time.
Mr. DONOVAN. The public health, war risk, and the Federal board; I think that is the damnation of the whole thing.
Mr. WICKERSHAM. So do I. I feel it would strengthen it. In the first place, if you have the central office to establish general rules, both as to research rules, as to the amount a man should be entitled to receive, and to the class of training and compensation, and so on, and then have the branch office in that State, whose job it is to interpret those rules to the local boys, I think it would be quite as short a cut as you can make in this country, where the distances are so much greater than in England or any of the foreign countries.
I do not see how you can avoid that in the State between the central office and the board that sees the man. Otherwise you run the risk of what now exists of a man in Lawrence County, N. Y., who may want to see the district vocational officer in New York City.
Mr. Donovan. Let me suggest: Is there any branch office? I think I have heard that suggestion-that they have a Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse office.
Mr. WICKERSHAM. It does not say anything about that in this list. Those are not on this list. They may have.
Mr. DONOVAN. They should have.
Mr. WICKERSHAM. They may have branch offices in other States than New York.
Mr. Donovan. Did you say that you did not think there was sympathy by the board with the men; the right kind of sympathy? Do you mean that the Federal board, composed of the several secretaries and the three laymen, have shown any given disposition antagonistic or unsympathetic, or do you mean that, for instance, up in our place in New York that the manager has not been good.
Mr. WICKERSHAM. I spoke of the local men, the Federal agents, and not of the board secretaries or other members of the board.
I should like to add a word there that two cases were called to my attention last week which seem to be cases of real hardship that were referred to by letter to Mr. Lamkin of the Federal board, and he got immediate action on them. But that should not be.
Mr. DONOVAN. No.
Mr. WICKERSHAM. That man should not have to come to me because I know Mr. Lamkin, or because Mr. Lamkin is willing to act on something for me.
Mr. Donovan. Let me ask you another question. Before Mr. Griffin was in charge of the New York office, from its inception, September 1, 1919, and from what I gather a large part of these complaints, discourtesies, etc., the general upset was during the time of his administration. Now, do you recall whether that is the fact or not?
Mr. WICKERSHAM. No; I do not.
Mr. Donovan. He was removed later, and I do not know whether it was justified or not.
Mr. WICKERSHAM. I do not. I have heard some comments, but not what I would consider real information. I am not really in a position to answer that.
Mr. Doxovan. We are very much obliged to you, Mr. Wickersham.
Mr. WICKERSHAM. I want to thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will adjourn until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.
(Thereupon, at 5.30 o'clock p. m., the committee adjourned to meet at 10 o'clock to-morrow, Wednesday, March 31, 1920.)
COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
W’ashington, Wednesday, March 31, 1920. The committee met at 10 o'clock a:m., Hon. Simeon D. Fess (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will please come to order. Mr. McMurtrie, will you please take the witness stand!
Mr. Robsion. Before you start I would like to make a suggestion for the committee. It is this, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Proceed.
Mr. Robson. I feel that it is the purpose of every member of this committee to make this investigation as thorough as possible, and I feel that we are all anxious to know the facts and if the charges are not true against the board, as one member I am deeply concerned in that being thoroughly established, and if they are true, I would like to see that established. This investigation will cover the activity of this board for something like 18 months or more and involves a great many problems. As a practicing attorney I would not feel that any man could hardly render his case in the way we are proceeding.
It looks to me like some one or more members of this committee should take the time and get right at the bottom of these matters and direct interrogation of these witnesses as in open court. I feel that nearly all of us are over busy and engaged in other matters and I would like to make the suggestion that the chairman of the committee appoint some one or two of the members of the committee who are careful lawyers to prepare the line of interrogation to follow. I know we have some very able members of the bar on the committee, and my distinguished friend, Judge Towner, is an able lawyer and an able judge, and there are others also on the committee. I just make that as a suggestion, and I think we might get along faster and get this matter focused on the important points directed to that and establish this matter clearly on the question, either favorable to the board or against the board.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman must have been in our executive session when the order was given as to the way to proceed with this examination.
Mr. Robson. I was present, it is true.
The CHAIRMAN. This matter, of course, should be in executive session; the suggestion that has been made, and it was there that it was decided that the witness should be sworn the same as in court, so that he would understand that he was giving his testimony under the