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circumstances in an individual case. You argued, you pleaded, and perhaps obtained judicial clemency, if not an entire acquittal. In times more recent many of you have come to intercede before the Veterans' Bureau for some of these unfortunate veterans, only to find the bureau's hands were tied by the restrictions of present laws before which no amount of pleading availed, and you were left to explain as best you could to the anxious dependents at home why relief could not be granted. The service organizations have had the same trouble, and last, but not least, the director, and all claims and rating agencies of the bureau. I would therefore bring to your mind that the law as it now stands, even with all the generous amendments passed by the lower House and those being considered by you here, will not affect this class of veteran, and you, the service organizations, and the bureau will still be unable to explain why certain poor unfortunates at home can not get some relief when the public knows full well the service rendered, the hardships endured, and the numerous appropriations annually expended for veteran relief.
It would seem proper therefore to first ask the question: Why is this class of disabled veterans deprived of the Government's beneficent legislation? We all appreciate that this question affords splendid opportunity for the moralist or the rigoristic type of individual who, like the Pharisee of old, lives by his own strict code of ethics and thanks his God that he is not like the rest of men, extortioners, and adulterers, and scorns in his self-approved righteousness the poor unfortunate sinful creature who stands afar off striking his breast in his contrition of soul and asks mercy for his offenses. Yet after all, the moralists may have been heard, we would still have before us the charity and compassion for the unfortunate exemplified by the lowly ·Nazarene during the vears of the active ministry of His life. There is no need to recount the parables depicting His consideration for the poor and unfortunate.
The origin of one of the so-called misconduct diseases is lost in antiquity and among others there is expressed the opinion that perhaps some of the cases of so-called leprosy spoken of in biblical times were in reality cases of syphilis. We are all familiar with the gospel of the lepers made clean. Christ could afford to brook human criticism when he extended clemency and pardon to the woman taken in adultery. Can not this Nation justify its stand in recognizing its debt for service rendered in the early vigor and flower of manhood by those unfortunates by extending to them some measure of clemency? Argue as we will against it, there is only one answer as to why this class of ex-service men have heretofore been left out of some measure of relief by the Government, and that answer is purely on moral grounds, because it has always been considered against public policy to consider them within the law. As previously stated, I submit that the Government is not charged with the duty of administering moral law, and if it is, then there are many reasons that might be advanced to show that some of the diseases now in the bureau also have no moral support for relief. There is no need to discuss the origin of the primal instinct of sex, nor the many phases of rule of life recommended for its proper sublimation and control. Chief among these are the guiding influences of home, proper environment, and discretion in the choice of associates. The presumption of soundness applies in that when this class answered the call of mobilization they were equal with their associate buddies morally and physically. With the removal of the guiding home influences and surroundings, the inustering into camps, the new contacts, the complete change of daily routine, the lack of wholesome amusement facilities in camp until late in the war, all tended to produce a psychological change in the rookie.
It is well known that with the official mobilization of troops there was also established, contiguous to every camp, a nonofficial mobilization of harlots, here and abroad, and the recognition by this Government of this factor and the inherent sex-impulse factor, not only in this but every war, led to the establishment of the prophylactic stations which at all costs had to be open 24 hours of every day during the World War. As a result nowhere can there be found anything official in the rules governing warfare which makes sex gratification a subject of criticism or misconduct, unless the soldier failed to submit to prophylactic treatment following exposure. In spite of this safeguard and the widespread dissemination of knowledge on the subject statistics show that of all admitted to hospitals during the period of hostilities during the late war approximately 10 per cent were for venereal treatments. Unfortunately there are no statistics as to the number who did not need to go to the hospital because of successful prophylactic treatment, but the total number of prophylactic treatments was overwhelming as is well known to all those who served.
A marked legal inconsistency in connection with this problem as applied to the present law is as follows:
Congress has created a conclusive presumption of soundness by law, which is "theoretically" supposed to apply to all disabilities. In other words, if a veteran before service was wounded in a pistol battle with a policeman, and as a result had a suppurating leg for some time which finally closed over just before he was drafted, and was not noted by the examining authorities, he is entitled to a conclusive presumption of soundness, and even though the wound may have reopened and broken down the day following his acceptance for active duty and after being examined, he would be paid full compensation for the condition. Further, it would be held to have been incurred in line of duty. Likewise, a veteran might have been addicted to alcoholism, or other social excesses, which reduced his vitality markedly before he entered the service, so that soon after being examined and accepted he broke down with tuberculosis, nephritis, or some other chronic disease. In his case, too, the law conclusively presumes him to have been sound, and the Government will pay full compensation for whatever disability arose during service.
In the case of a claimant suffering from venereal infection prior to service, an entire different rule is applied because of the construction of the law made by the Comptroller General. On the one hand, in his case we attempt to bar him from showing that his disability was incurred before service through the conclusive presumption, and thereby ipso facto make it appear in the record that it was incurred during service as a result of willful misconduct. Onthe other hand, if he attempts to prove that he had the condition before service we throw down the bar and immediately say to him from a legal standpoint that since he admits he had it before service he must prove conclusively an aggravation of the condition during service. impossible to do in most cases, and yet as a matter of fact it is well 1 known that violent exercise will cause a recurrence of certain venerea conditions quicker than anything else. Therefore, there is, under the construction of the present law, a marked discrimination against all of these veterans. As has been stated, if 96 per cent of the recorded venereal disease cases during service were found to have existed prior to enlistment, under the existing law as interpreted, all of these would be out and would have to show an aggravation of the condition. On the other hand, if statistics based on history should show that 96 per cent of all cases of tuberculosis existed prior to enlistment, nevertheless the entire 96 per cent would be paid full compensation so long as there was no notation of the condition when the veteran entered service.
There is inconsistency shown when the Government permits a great list of diseases as named in this bill as due to service, when as a matter of fact no one will ever know nor can one ever rebut the presumption granted even though it may be shown that the original cause of the lowered bodily resistance which may have induced some chronic disease later was due to venereal infection from treatemnt therefor. On the other hand, if the original infection and its residuals remain entirely venereal in its clinical aspects and diąsblements there is not only no presumption to be indulged in, but the veteran can not even get compensation or treatment, which, if granted him, might tend to offset the hopeless paralysis, paresis, or blindness, which the present law demands must be shown before we extend the presumption of service connection. The inconsistency of the present law regarding these unfortunates is shown in the refusal to recognize direct or presumptive service incurrence until they become paralyzed, paretic, or blind. This inconsistency is more apparent when we bear in mind that the War Department although not condoning illicit intercourse, nevertheless does award care and treatment should social disease be contracted or aggravated in service.
The question naturally arises when in the course of events this class of veterans were discharged from service, why the same attitude of the Government in regard to treatment should not have been continued. Again, while veterans suffering from social diseases, if honorably discharged, are theoretically entitled to hospital treatment under section 202, subdivision (10), of the World War veterans' act, irrespective of when the disease was incurred, yet they do not receive it for the following reason: If the claimant has syphilis in any other than a paretic or paralyzed stage he is medically held not to need hospital treatment and can not get into the hospital because his disease does not confine him to bed, and he can be treated outside of a hospital just as well But if the disease is not held to be of service origin (as it is not because of the midconduct element even though shown on The Adjutant General's report) he can not get either outpatient treatment in a bureau regional office or private care at the expense of the bureau. Likewise, in cases of recurrent gonorrhoea or residual arthritis resulting therefrom, unless the veteran is actually in such physical shape that he should be a bed case, he can not go to a Government hospital, as he is held not in need of hospital treatment as required by section 202 of the World War veterans' act.
Syphilis is prevalent throughout the world; no age is exempt, and statistics show that 20 per cent of hospital patients give clinical history of infection, while approximately 10 per cent present clinical evidence of its existence. The problem from the standpoint of health, from the humanitarian standpoint, would therefore seem to be a national one, and while the Federal Government up to the present time has apparently not manifested any direct responsibility or concern in dealing with the eradication or control of this great menace to the social and economic well-being of the Nation, there would seem to be a tendency in that direction, as evidenced by the recognition by a number of the sovereign States comprising the Union in their solicitude for the happiness, well-being, and public morale of their respective constituents by the establishment of free clinics for the treatment of those suffering from these diseases, and the dissemination of instruction by literature and lecture for the prevention thereof.
Just as educational and treatment campaigns instituted some 30 years ago by physicians against the "great white plague” that was decimating the health, happiness, and life of so many of the citizenry of the Republic were eventually taken up and fostered by individual and State aid, resulted in relegating this dread reaper from first to sixth place in its toll of human life, may we not anticipate a great measure of relief from the present ravages of social diseases were the Government to launch an earnest campaign toward its eradication or control? Who could estimate the beneficent influences of such legislation by this Congress in the lives of the present childhood of the Nation and countless thousands yet unborn?
I have stated, and no doubt many of you gentlemen are aware, of the institution of free clinics in your respective commonwealths for the treatment and control of these diseases, and the question is presented for your consideration as to whether you can conscientiously relegate to the various health municipalities and State boards of health the veterans suffering of these diseases wherein it is shown that such diseases were acquired during Federal war-time service.
No one disputes the right of a legislature to grant mercy and clemency. Can not the Federal Government undertake a thorough and open-minded consideration toward granting some measure of relief to those poor veterans who were no more vicious but more unfortunate only than their buddies, by salvaging them from the effects of a disease insidious in development, yet drastically devastating in its results if early care and treatment is neglected. Why do we withhold help until they become helpless and hopeless, a total economic loss, a burden to themselves, to their friends, and the community at large?
Until the opprobium is lifted medical examinations will continue to be incomplete because of inaccurate histories on the part of the victim to tell the truth even when compensation is not involved for fear he will be considered an outcast in the eyes of society, and he will continue perhaps, through erroneous diagnoses or a lack thereof, to unwittingly or unknowingly continue a menace that will show its contamination and stigmata in innocent generations yet unborn. And how about the aged dependents, mothers and fathers, wives and children of these veterans? Even granting the stain of opprobrium to the man himself, it is not he alone who pays the penalty, but those whom he loves. Certainly, they are not morally to blame, yet must they needs bear the mental anguish, perhaps actual clinical disease, as well as the stigma and shame and the economic loss, and this applies whether a veteran was married when he went to war or has taken a family obligation since. In either event we can not escape the fact from a study of the problem that there are many innocent who will suffer.
As previously stated, no one disputes the right of a legislature to grant mercy and clemency, and furthermore no one disputes the right of an executive to grant it. If there is a provision entered in this bill to in some measure take care of these unfortunate victims, the President, acting in the capacity of commander in chief, will be enabled to extend relief and remit the punishment, the same as he can now do by law in court-martial cases. And please bear in mind, not a single one of these men were discharged by court-martial because of these offenses.
(Senator Connally asked that the following also be incorporated in the record :)
MAY 16, 1930. Hon. Tom CONNALLY,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR SENATOR CONNALLY: In accordance with my conversation with you this morning, and at the request of the director, I am transmitting herewith copy of a memorandum prepared by the medical service of the Veterans' Bureau which outlines their views on the question of dispensary treatment of venereal disease.
I believe you already have Doctor McDermott's statement and the director felt that in considering that statement you should also be advised of the official viewpoint of the bureau's medical service. Very truly yours,
A. D. HILLER, Assistant to the Director.
MAY 16, 1930. The MEDICAL DIRECTOR:
The war risk insurance act, as amended by the act of October 6, 1917, provided in section 300 thereof that no compensation shall be paid for injury or disease that has been caused by his (the veteran's) own willful misconduct.
This principle remained unmodified until in the World War veterans' act, Jme 7, 1924, there was inserted in section 200 as the first proviso, the following: “That no person suffering from paralysis, paresis, or blindness, or from constitutional lues requiring hospitalization, as the result of disease, shall be denied compensation while a patient in a United States Veterans' Bureau hospital by reason of willful misconduct."
Following this, in the act of March 4, 1925, the foregoing proviso, which had restricted compensation awards to veterans suffering from the specified conditions only while they were hospitalized in a United States veterans' hospital, was amended to provide: “That no person suffering from paralysis, paresis, or blindness shall be denied compensation by reason of willful misconduct nor shall any person who is helpless or bedridden, as a result of any disability, be denied compensation by reason of willful misconduct." It will be noted that the provision for the payment of compensation to veterans suffering from "constitutional lues" was canceled in this provision of the act of March 4, 1925.
At the present time, therefore, under the provisions of the World War veterans act, January 7, 1924, as amended, the general inhibition against the payment of compensation for disability due to conditions arising from the veteran's willful misconduct can be waived only where the veteran is suffering from paralysis, paresis, or blindness, or when he is helpless or bedridden. Consequently, the disability of a veteran suffering from a venereal disease of any stage or type which was not expressed as paralysis, paresis, blindness, or being helpless or bedridden, could not be connected with the military service, and hence could not be awarded compensation. Such veteran is, however, entitled to treatment in a Government hospital, under the provisions of section 202 (10), World War veterans' act. The said section 202 (10) does not provide for out-patient treatment of veterans with nonservice-connected conditions. If the said section were amended to provide for out-patient treatment of veterans suffering from venereal diseases not requiring hospitalization, it is evident that this would be a discrimination