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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 7, 1920.
Statement of Henry Katzen, ex-soldier.
therapy and educational work, Army hospital, Fort McHenry-
committee of American Legion.-
TIIURSDAY, APRIL 8, 1920.
MONDAY, APRIL 12, 1920.
CHARGES AGAINST THE FEDERAL BOARD FOR VOCATIONAL
COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION,
Tuesday, March 2, 1920. The committee met at 10.50 o'clock a. m., Hon. Simeon D. Fess (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. If there is no objection on the part of the committee we will proceed now with Mr. Husted's resolution, H. R. 478.
Mr. HUSTED, Mr. Chairman, I assume that all the members of the committee are more or less familiar with the articles by Mr. Littledale, which have appeared from time to time in the New York Evening Post, and which were, I assume, sent out in a collected form to the Members of Congress a few days ago. The New York Evening Post is one of the oldest and one of the most conservative journals in the city of New York. It has never gone into sensationalism; on the contrary, it is a newspaper that has kept about as far away from it as any newspaper in the city of New York. Mr. Littledale, who has written these articles, is a gentleman of reputation who did very important work in connection with the prison reform in New Jersey, and is a man of standing and character.
I understand that he has been personally conducting this investigation into the activities of the Federal Vocational Education Board. He states that the central office here in Washington has sent out what has come to be known as the "hard boiled order” to its agents who were invested with the duty of passing upon applications of disabled soldiers for treatment under the rehabilitation act. I think we are all more or less disappointed with the results that have been obtained by the board. I think we feel that they have had time enough, that they have had money enough to accomplish more than has been accomplished. We passed the law about six months before any disabled soldier applied for treatment. They have had time enough, it seems to me, to make their plans if they had been competent to administer this great trust and to get things in readiness for the reception of the soldiers and to give them actual treatment, but up to the 17th of January, as I understand it, less than 300 men had been actually turned out and given employment, and a great many thousands of men whose applications have been passed upon are still awaiting training, and a good deal of the training that has been given has not been at all practical.
I have had illustrations of that in many forms and I presume most of the members here have. I know one man in my district who did not have anything. He didn't have a dollar. He was rendered wholly incapable of earning a livelihood in the manner in which he had formerly been earning it before the war. He applied for training and after going over different lines of work he was advised to take up engraving. Well, he took it up on the advice of the man who questioned him. He took training for several months, and then he
found out that the tools for his trade were going to cost him about $450. Well, he did not have a dollar to spend for tools to carry on this trade of engraving, so that all the work that he had been doing and the time he had spent in learning the trade was lost so far as he was concerned. That simply illustrates the impractical character of it.
Mr. BLANTON. Right there, do you lodge your criticism upon the fact that only--as you say you don't know how many have been turned out-as you say only 300 have been trained, graduated, and placed in positions? Do you lodge your criticism merely upon that alone, only so few in number?
Mr. HUSTED. Oh, no, no, no. Mr. BLANTON. We have just begun it recently. We can not expect a university to turn out graduates in a short time. It takes some time to do that—three or four years to graduate from a university. Of course, this training does not take so long, but it has got to take a certain length of time to graduate them after they apply.
Mr. HUSTED. We do not lodge our criticism on that. My resolution is not concerned in that at all. We are disappointed with the results, and I think that most of us feel that this work is not in competent and efficient hands. That is my personal belief from what I have learned about it. This New York Evening Post asserts, and they say that they can prove it, that an order was issued to their agents.
Mr. DONOVAN. Is this man here that makes that charge? Who is the man that makes the charge?
Mr. HUSTED, Mr. Littledale. They say that an order was issued to the men who pass upon the applications of disabled soldiers, and this is the language of the order:
The organs used in approving cases are the eyes and the brain. The ears and the heart do not function. Be hard boiled. Members of the district office staffs will beat yoll over the head with verbal pressure. District pressure causes all our mistakes. Put cotton in your ears and lock the door. If you are naturally sympathetic, work nights when nobody is there. Accept advice from central office. Take all the cigarettes yo i can get from members of the district oflice staffs, but no advice.
Mr. BLANTON. Now, then, the order to be worth anything would have to be issued by the headquarters, and the headquarters is down here within three blocks from the Capitol ?
Mr. HUSTED. Yes.
Mr. BLANTON. Have you made inquiry down there to find out whether that order was given out?
Mr. HUSTED. I have not.
Mr. HUSTED. I will state my reasons for not making the inquiry. I do not rely entirely upon the statements published in the New York Evening Post. A representative of the Washington Herald called at my office and he told me that one of his intimate friends was one of those agents, and that his friend, this agent, had received this
dentical order containing this language. So there is not only the statement published in the New York Evening Post, but there is the statement of the representative of the Washington Herald, who can be called here to verify it.
Mr. BLANTON. Now, to clarify the situation right there, you want the truth, as well as the rest of us?
Mr. HUSTED. I do. Mr. BLANTON. Will you not permit me to ask Mr. Lamkin whether there was any such order as that in existence? Mr. UEL W. LAMKIN. May I ask who signed the order ?
Mr. BLANTON. Do you know of any such order being in existence, Mr. Lamkin?
Mr. UEL W. LAMKIN. I will reply to that' that no such order was issued. Mr. BLANTON. Do you know of any such order anywhere?
Mr. UEL W. LAMKIN. No such order was ever issued. That circular, or what was called “Helpful Hints to Representatives," was written out in one of the offices and it was brought up to me not as an order but just casually to show me something that they had been talking about. I disapproved it, and I blue-penciled the things that I disapproved of, one of them was the statement, “Be hard boiled," and another being the statement that the “Heart does not function.”
Mr. HUSTED. They can read it over there in H. R. 478. Mr. UEL W. LAMKIN. And another was, “If you are naturally sympathetic, work nights when nobody is there.” That is not the attitude of the office.
Mr. BLANTON. Now, the subordinate that drew that up, did you discharge him? Mr. LAMKIN. No, there was nothing drawn up.
Mr. BLANTON. I mean when they put those words on paper, that you blue-penciled ? Mr. BRAND. I want to know whose name was signed to that order.
Mr. HUSTED. I don't know; that is the purpose of my resolution, to find out that information.
Mr. Donovan. There have been crossed wires here. I think we ought to get the permission of the chairman when we want to speak. If I may have the chairman's permission just a moment, I will make this further suggestion: Mr. Husted should not be interrupted, of course, but he just happens to have been interrupted at a psychological moment. Mr. Lamkin was undertaking to answer one question asked by Mr. Blanton, and before he had completed answering Mr. Blanton's question, Mr. Blanton asked him another. Now, if it is agreeable I suggest that Mr. Lamkin be permitted to answer the first question asked by Mr. Blanton, as to whether such an order was issued. I think the explanation which he was making when he was interrupted discloses that there was a preliminary paper submitted to him which he blue-penciled and discarded. Perhaps sombeody stole it from the files and circulated it.
The CHAIRMAN. If there are no other objections, the proper procedure will be followed and Mr. Husted will finish his statement, and then Mr. Lamkin may make a further statement if he wishes.
Mr. HưSTED. I have very little more to say, Mr. Chairman. If this charge is false, we owe it to the Federal Board for Vocational Education, we owe it to ourselves, and we owe it to the public to have that fact established. On the other hand, if the charge is true, either that the order was issued by this Federal Board for Vocational Education or that it was issued by some subordinate official with their knowledge and approval, or if it was issued and steps were not taken to rescind it, that it came to the knowledge of the board, or if the man who issued it has not been dismissed from the Government service as being utterly unfit to serve under the vocational rehabilitation act, then we should know that. That is the purpose of my resolution, to ascertain these facts. I do not want to do an injustice to anybody; but I do want to do all I can to keep out of the service in the administration of this great trust men who are so utterly unsympathetic, men who are of such calloused minds that they could write or promulgate or could approve of such an order, or men who could sit silent with the knowledge that such an order
was in existence. The CHAIRMAN. Before you take your seat, Mr. Husted, have you read all of those articles?
Mr. HUSTED. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you include in your resolution all of the points that you would like to have investigated, those that you have named in the series of articles ?
Mr. HUSTED. My personal belief is that all the activities of the agents should be investigated; but I think that this one, perhaps, should be reported on at once, and we should get the facts in relation to this “hard-boiled” order. I can not imagine anything that would have a more depressing effect upon the disabled soldier whose application is pending before the board than to feel and believe that the men who are administering the affairs of the board have such an attitude toward his application as is revealed in that order, and I think the sooner we have that matter cleared up the better for the country and the better for the men who have made application to the board for training.
Mr. Donovan. I want to say one thing. I have never received any of the news items in regard to this matter. I may be an exception. I am not surprised but that this thing may be exceptional.
Mr. PLATT. I noticed in one of Mr. Littledale's articles the expression, “men without even a high-school background.” I have had information that that is true. “Outside pressure causes all our mistakes," and the board has got to be "hard boiled.” They allow the soldier to go many places where he ought not to go and try to let him learn trades he could not work at. I had a letter from a southern college, of which I spoke in the House one day. It came to me incidentally when I was corresponding on another matter, in which it was stated that they had about 200 boys, and that nearly half of them were there merely to get the $80 a month, and that they were not deriving any good from their attendance, as they did not have the educational background. They did not know what they were being taught.
Mr. HUSTED. I am satisfied that that condition exists to a certain extent.
Mr. Donovan. Doing something they should do—I know there was a boy in one of the Washington universities; he was after training, but he eloped and married a girl here in college while he was taking training.
The CHAIRMAN. Before the committee proceeds further it is due the board and Mr. Lamkin to know that this resolution was only introduced yesterday. Mr. Husted asked if he could not come before the committee to-day, and I then suggested that it would perhaps be better if the committee could have time to look it over first, but he wanted to be heard at once. Mr. Lamkin had not been apprised of this resolution at all. We might have a special meeting of the committee this week sometime, and the members of the board can be notified.