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tively large number of veterans in an out-patient treatment statusprovided only for service-connected conditions—with a resultant increase of expenditures.

I would like to suggest to the chairman that, before the bill is reported, we give some consideration to getting it in terms that the committee desires to cover; and as I understand it, it is your desire to cover those meritorious cases, which, through gross carelessness or gross negligence, although a man's record is good, should not be barred, because of the determination that the disability occurred not in the line of duty and due to misconduct.

Then you desire also, I take it, those terrible cases of paralysis, arthritis, that are brought about probably by a combination of disabilities, where there may be neurotic effects involved, there may be other reasons, and which should not be barred if we can find a reason to give a man service connection otherwise.

Mr. ENGEL. May I refer to a case that I have in mind, particularly. This man was a lieutenant commander in the Navy. He claims, of course, that he contracted the disease innocently, that he knew nothing about it until he suddenly began to lose his vision, and he is now totally blind. Now, if he had acquired that blindness any other way, if there were no other way—the tests did not show he had syphilis—he could not come under the total disability $30 a month pension, could he?

General Hines. He could not if due to misconduct, but could if otherwise incurred.

Mr. ENGEL. Now, the Veterans' Administration says that he must prove that he acquired it innocently; that is true, is it?

General Hines. That is going a little far, but there must be something in the case to indicate that he acquired it innocently, although

Mr. ENGEL. Pardon me just a moment.
General Hines. Although our regulations are pretty tight-

Mr. Engel. In that particular case, does not the Veterans' Administration, as a matter of fact, presume that he has acquired it through his own misconduct, by the very fact that the test shows he has syphilis?

General Hines. Well, that is the general assumption and I think most doctors, Congressman, would reach that conclusion in reporting a case of that kind, and I think this bill is designed to correct it.

Mr. ENGEL. But he would have to show service connection, would he not?

General Hines. He would under this bill, as it is now written. Mr. ENGEL. And these cases, who have acquired it innocently

General Hines. He would be entitled to all of the presumptions that are given the other service cases now, which he does not get under the · existing law, because the presumption is against him, in other words, this bill would, however, put the burden on the Government to show that he was not entitled to it.

Mr. ENGEL. It would shift the burden from him to the Government?

General HINES. That is correct as to resolution of doubt.
Mr. ENGEL. But still it only applies to service-connected cases?
General Hines. That is right.

Mr. ENGEL. And in these cases, where the man has acquired it innocently, and it did not show up or he never applied for a pension

prior to the Economy Act-in those cases, he could not obtain nonservice-connected total disability allowances?

General Hines. Not as the bill s at present framed.
Mrs. Rogers. May I ask just one question?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; surely.

Mrs. ROGERS. Do you not feel, General Hines, that in some of these men's repots, their hospital records, and so on, there are incorrect diagnoses, in cases where they had poor men in the laboratories, inefficient men?

General HINES. We had some of those cases in the past, which have been placed on the rolls—where I do not agree with the doctor-a very few of them, however. Even though the Congress has given me the authority to make the findings, it is rather difficult for a layman to make a finding against medical opinion or medical judgment. However, in this particular type that we are dealing with, Mrs. Rogers, we have had a bar, or the presumption has been used against those men, not by the rules and regulations, but by the law, itself, from the very beginning. However, I know this committee has been very sympathetic and has endeavored, on more than one occasion, to straighten this thing out.

Mrs. ROGERS. But in the case I referred to, where we have an incorrect record in the man's folder, it has worked a good deal of a hardship, on him has it not?

General HINES. Those records are confidential and privileged, and we try to guard them all we can. Sometimes we get disliked by Members of Congress by trying to protect the records, but there is no way that a record can be destroyed or canceled. I have no right to destroy a record without the permission of Congress.

The CHAIRMAN. General, let me state this to you in this connection, that having it on the record is not the bad part of it. But these men, many of whom were the best soldiers we had, many of them went over the top and some of them received bullet wounds, are now held up to their community, and everybody knows within a considerable radius, that they are denied compensation, and it is advertised to the world that it is because of their alleged misconduct; and that not only visits that humiliation on them, but it is visited upon their families. It does not apply to soldiers of any other war; and for that reason I am going as far as I think we can go at this time to get that provision taken out of the law, which I think is vicious and unjustified.

General HINES. Mr. Chairman, may I ask the Solicitor to bring up one point here that I think you should be advised on?

The CHAIRMAN. General, if you want to extend your remarks in the record, you are permitted to do so, without objection.

General Hines. I would like permission to put a report in with an estimate of the cost. I might say the estimate of the cost is not so very high, provided we do not go outside of the group that you have been discussing, that is, service connected. We have no way of estimating the cost of the other groups, and it would be difficult because those men have not been on the rolls and we have no way of knowing how many there are.

Mr. ENGEL. General, how many of these blind cases are there, nonservice connected?

General HINES. As I recall it, there are about 300 service connected, misconduct, blind cases restored to the rolls under section 26 of Public, No. 141.

Mr. ENGEL. There are not so many of them?
General Hines. No; I can give you the exact figure.

The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, the general will be permitted to extend his remarks in the record, as indicated.

STATEMENT OF JAMES T. BRADY, SOLICITOR, VETERANS'

ADMINISTRATION

Mr. BRADY. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I just want to speak for a moment about the illustration General Hines used and the question Congressman Connery raised, particularly about that railroad accident. That man, under the rules in our department and the rules of the Comptroller General, would have been held guilty of misconduct. He would not be held as coming within the probibitions of willful misconduct.

Now, what you have here is a protective bill. The clause that you use here "willful misconduct" in an affirmative bill, would be for the benefit of the veteran, that is for the greater benefit of the veteran. When you use it as you do here in a protective bill, it might not be so much in favor of the veteran,

Further, because of the use of "willful misconduct” and “misconduct” in the different laws, technical complications could be avoided by striking the world "willful” in line 5, and in the report stating that the term "misconduct” shall include "willful misconduct.” If you would strike out the proviso beginning on line 9 and going mostly through 10, the illustration that General Hines used would clearly be protected without the necessity of interpretation of this law, if it is enacted. While we never have very much difficulty with interpreting a law when the committee clearly states what its language means, there would be some question, I believe, as to whether or not a man who was injured in a railroad accident would be prevented from carrying on his duty.

The CHAIRMAN. Now, Mr. Brady, right there, that proviso was put in there to protect the Government against some man who went out and committed some willful act that was injurious to the service.

Mr. BRADY. Well, if I may illustrate, Mr. Chairman, under this language as it is framed, and without having the benefit of the committee saying “This language means definitely so and so", to which we could resort for interpretation, it would be my first impressionand I have not had an opportunity to study this bill as much as I would like to—to say that the man injured in the railroad accident would not be in; but the man who had syphilis, either acquired before service or during the service, the existence of which he kept to himself and was able to keep to himself without going to a prophylactic station, would get the benefit of the bill, and the man injured by the railroad would not.

Mr. CONNERY. A man could be in the trenches 10 months in France, and they could find out he had a venereal disease or syphilis, the common practice was to send him to a labor battalion. He is not with his regiment any more but he is back of the line, doing heavy work. Will not that get him--that provision there? Could we take care of him under that?

Mr. Brady. I would have some doubt about that, Congressman. It would be more difficult than if it was eliminated.

Mr. CONNERY. His military duty was supposed to be with his regiment at the front and, when he was put into a labor battalion, he was being punished the same as going to jail.

Mr. TAYLOR. Should not the word "willful” be out of there?

The CHAIRMAN. That word "willful” should be stricken out and leave it "by reason of misconduct"; and strike out the word "full" in line 10; would not that cure the objection that you raise?

Mr. Brady. It would certainly minimize the objection.

Mr. CONNERY. It would only minimize it, because the performance of military duty--if that jumping a freight train—if he was supposed to do guard duty, or was a sergeant, or something else, and was in the hospital, through his own misconduct or what they call misconductthe general and I do not agree that jumping a freight train is misconduct, but he could not do any military duty

Mr. Brady. No; he probably could not do any military duty in that case.

The CHAIRMAN. If you strike out the whole proviso, Mr. Brady, here is what I am afraid of: That a man who was injured, we will say, running away from service, or a man who shot his fingers off to get out of service, a man who mutilated himself otherwise to keep out of the service-if that proviso was stricken out, it would take him in. We do not want to do that.

Mr. BRADY. General Hines suggested that I say to the committee that many of those cases were perhaps covered by the men being caught and given dishonorable discharges and thus were probably taken care of without anything further.

The Chairman. Do you think they have already been eliminated? Mr. BRADY. I do not want to say they have all been eliminated.

The CHAIRMAN. Now, General, right on this point, suppose this bill were passed and a man was to come up who had a case-a case had come up of a man who had mutilated himself and in that way became disabled and had not been dishonorably discharged

General Hines. I think that where a man had disabled himself so he was not able to perform his duty-under such circumstances, certainly, when the Army or Navy could find that, the charge would stand, he would be tried, and I think, in most cases, given a dishonorable discharge. I doubt if you have many of those cases.

As I understand it, the committee is desirous of taking in those men who have rendered good service rather than those who have rendered doubtful service; and the matter of the discharge sets that standard

up very well.

Mr. CONNERY. The chairman and I were talking about this question: That if you strike out "willful” and you strike out the entire provision, you do not feel any hardship would come on the Government in regard to the S. I. W. cases, or cases similar to that?

General Hines. No; but I would not like to see the word "willful misconduct”—just the word "willful” should be taken out and "misconduct", which is a broader term and in favor of the veteran, left in; and, as Mr. Brady has suggested, I think you could very well leave this proviso out and we could cover it by suitable regulations, knowing the intent of the committee.

Mrs. ROGERS. Will you explain again what you mean by including "presumptively service connected?

General Hines. We have a number of cases that, under the law, are given service connection by presumption, and others that are given directly. Those by presumption are specified, and the service connections are established by law; as a typical case, tuberculosis and

Mrs. ROGERS. Within a certain period? General HINES. Up to January 1, 1925, any man who shows up with a class of disability, it is presumed that his disability is due to the service. So in order to cover both groups, we use "directly” and "presumptively."

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, General. Now, the committee will go into executive session for a moment. (Thereupon the committee proceeded into executive session.)

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