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PUERTO RICAN HURRICANE RELIEF COMMISSION

APRIL 19, 1935.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state

of the Union and ordered to be printed

Mr. KOCIALKOWSKI, from the Committee on Insular Affairs, submitted

the following

REPORT

[To accompany 8. J. Res. 88)

The Committee on Insular Affairs, to whom was referred S. J. Res. 88, to abolish the Puerto Rican Relief Commission and transfer its functions to the Secretary of the Interior, having considered the same, favorably report the joint resolution and recommend its passage, with the following amendment:

On page 1, line 5, after the word “Porto", strike out the word “Rica and insert in lieu thereof the word "Rico".

The amendment is simply for the purpose of conforming to the spelling of the word "Rico" as used in the joint resolution entitled "Joint resolution for the relief of Porto Rico”, approved December 21, 1928.

The Puerto Rican Hurricane Relief Commission was created by Public Resolution No. 74, Seventieth Congress, approved December 21, 1928, following the destructive hurricane of 1928 in Puerto Rico.

The Commission is composed of the Secretary of War, Chairman, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Secretary of Agriculture.

The functions of the Commission as set forth in the original act were to assist in the rehabilitation of agriculture in Puerto Rico, particularly in the coffee and coconut plantations, to encourage a more general planting of food crops, to aid in the repair and restoration of roads and schools, and to assist in providing employment for destitute and unemployed laborers. To carry out this work a total of $10,150,000 was appropriated at various times as follows: Loans to agriculture..

$6,000,000 Repair and construction of schools and roads.

2,000,000 Repair and construction of insular and municipal roads..

2,000,000 Distribution of seeds and seedlings..

100, 000 Administrative expenses.

50, 000

Work in this connection with the repair and construction of roads and schools, the distribution of seed, and the making of loans has all been completed. There remains the supervision and collection of the loans outstanding, now slightly more than $5,600,000.

An Executive order issued by the President and dated May 29, 1934, transferred the administration of Puerto Rican affairs from the War Department to the Department of the Interior. At the time the transfer became effective, the disposition of the Commission was discussed and it was decided that the office of the Secretary of the Commission be located in the Department of the Interior and that the Congress be requested to transfer supervision of Commission affairs to the Secretary of the Interior. Because the Commission is composed of three officers of the Cabinet, it is very difficult to find a time for formal meetings that will be convenient for all. It is believed, therefore, that the administration of Commission affairs will be facilitated if handled by one executive department. Now that Puerto Rican affairs are administered under the supervision of the Secretary of the Interior, it would appear that he is the logical one to administer the affairs of the Commission.

The joint resolution referred to above (S. J. Res. 88) will accomplish this by abolishing the Commission and transferring its functions to the Division of Territories and Island Possessions, which administers Puerto Rican affairs under the supervision of the Secretary of the Interior. The resolution provides for the transfer of the seven employees of the Commission, all of whom are located in Puerto Rico, and for the transfer of all records, supplies, equipment, property, and unexpended balances which as of December 1934 stood at $231,847.94.

In order that the transfer may be effected smoothly, the bill provides that the services of five individuals assigned the Commission from the Departments of War and Agriculture may be continued in their present capacities until June 30, 1935, at the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior and after that date the period of such services may be extended if mutually agreeable to the heads of the Departments concerned.

This proposed resolution has the approval of the Commission and the Secretary of the Interior. The Acting Director of the Budget has informed the Secretary of War that so far as the financial program of the President is concerned, there is no objection to the proposed legislation,

O

CONSTRUCTION OF BUILDINGS FOR THE UNITED STATES HIGH COMMISSIONER TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS

APRIL 19, 1935.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state

of the Union and ordered to be printed

Mr. KOCIALKOWSKI, from the Committee on Insular Affairs, submitted

the following

REPORT

[To accompany H. R. 6800]

The Committee on Insular Affairs, to whom was referred the bill H. R. 6800, entitled “A bill to authorize the construction of buildings for the United States High Commissioner to the government of the Commonwealth of the Philippine Islands”, having considered the same, report it back to the House without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.

The purpose of this bill is to make permanent provisions for the residence and offices of the United States High Commissioner to the government of the Commonwealth of the Philippine Islands, and it is expected that the buildings constructed under this appropriation will be permanently available for our diplomatic service in the Philippine Islands after independence is established.

The War Department recommends the passage of this bill as shown by the following letter from the Secretary of War, and the statement of the Chief of the Bureau of Insular Affairs of the War Department:

WAR DEPARTMENT,

Washington, March 13, 1935. The SPEAKER HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

SIR: There is herewith a draft of proposed legislation to authorize an appropriation of not to exceed $1,000,000 for the necessary housing for office and residence purposes, for the establishment of the United States High Commissioner to the Commonwealth of the Philippine Islands.

Under the provisions of the act of March 24, 1934, making provision for the independence of the Philippine Islands, all property of the insular government will pass to the new Commonwealth. This will include the present offices and residence of the Governor General, and accordingly, it will be necessary to make provision at this time for suitable buildings for the offices and residence of our High Commissioner. Such structures would not only meet the necessities of the present, but would be later available for use as our embassy upon the achievement of complete independence of the Philippine government.

*+-22-35

It is probable that the actual construction of new buildings would require 8 months' time after the acquisition of the necessary land, the preparation of plans, and the letting of the contracts. In view of the possible early inauguration of the Commonwealth of the Philippine Islands, a due regard for the dignity of the United States High Commissioner would seem to require the consummation at as early a date as practicable of the permanent establishment of his residence and offices. The early enactment of this legislation is accordingly recommended as highly desirable.

A similar letter has been addressed to the Chairman Committee on Territories and Insular Affairs, United States Senate. Sincerely yours,

Geo. H. DERN, Secretary of War.

STATEMENT OF BRIG. GEN. CREED F. COX, CHIEF BUREAU OF INSULAR AFFAIRS,

WAR DEPARTMENT The purpose of this bill is to make permanent provision for residence and offices of the United States High Commissioner to the government of the Commonwealth of the Philippine Islands.

Now that the proposed constitution of the Philippines has been submitted to the President and certified by him as conforming substantially with the provisions of the Independence Act, it is practically certain that the Commonwealth government will be inaugurated before the end of 1935, probably about November.

It will accordingly be necessary for the United States to provide for suitable residence and office buildings for the use of the United States High Commissioner to the Philippine Islands on the date the Commonwealth government is inaugurated. The estimates which have heretofore been prepared on this subject and included in Public, No. 21, Seventy-fourth Congress, contain only items for the rental of residence and offices for the High Commissioner pending the construction of suitable buildings therefor.

United States sovereignty continues for a period of 10 years after the inauguration of the commonwealth government. Naturally the United States will occupy a unique position in those islands even after the granting of independence, and our Foreign Service establishment there will continue to be of great importance to American interests in the Far East. Buildings constructed now for the High Commissioner will, of course, be utilized for the United States Diplomatic Service in the islands after independence is established.

Governor General Murphy, after a careful study of the situation in the islands, has expressed the view that the amount stated in the bill is very reasonable. It is to provide buildings at the two capitals, Manila and Baguio, the latter being a summer capital in the mountains of Luzon at an altitude of nearly 5,000 feet above sea level. The Governor General and various elements of the executive departments of the insular government spend several months, usually about 4, out of each year at this summer capital.

It is recommended that your committee give favorable consideration to this measure with a view to expediting its enactment.

1. Tentative break-down of the lump-sum estimate Cost of construction of buildings. Purchase of land, equipment, furniture, etc..-

$750, 000 250, 000

1,000,000

(a) Manila establishment:

Residence for High Commissioner.
Office building-
Garage..
Roads, paths, grading, landscaping of grounds,

etc...
Enclosing wall for grounds..
Furnishings and equipment.

$230, 000
250, 000
10, 000

35, 000
25, 000
50, 000

600,000

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