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Mar 9, 1935 Hon. ALLARD H. GASQUE, Chairman Committee on Pensions,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR MR. GASQUE: Reference is made to your request for the basis of the estimate of the number of Spanish War veterans who would be on the rolls, if laws in effect prior to the enactment of Public, 2, Seventy-third Congress, were restored.
In making the estimate of the number of individuals who served in the Spanish War, including the Philippine Insurrection and the Boxer Rebellion, the basic figures were obtained by the former Bureau of Pensions from the Historical Register, by F. B. Heitman, 1903, volume 2, pages 286,295, and Strait's List of Battles, 1914, pages 261-262, which shows the number of persons engaged in the War with Spain as 312,523; Philippine insurrection, 115,903; Boxer Rebellion, 6,913; or total of 435,339. This does not give the actual number of individuals, for the reason that it contains reenlistment, and there is no way to obtain a definite number of individuals actually serving during the war period.
In order to eliminate the duplication in the figures quoted above, the full figure for the Spanish War, two-thirds of the number serving in the Philippine Insurrection, and one-third in the Boxer Rebellion was used, making an estimated total of 392,000 individuals who served during these wars.
Your attention is invited to the statement appearing on page 611 of the Hearings Before the Joint Congressional Committee on Veterans Affairs, Seventysecond Congress, Volume 3. This brief of Judge Leon McCord, Montgomery, Ala., relative to the condition of the Nation at the outbreak of the SpanishAmerican War, shows the estimated total of individuals as 395,203, which is very close to the estimate used by this administration.
The figure of 392,000 was reduced to find the number of living in 1936 by applying the modified American experience table of mortality, and there results the estimate of 268,320 living in 1936, with a mortality rate of 25.35 per thousand for that year, resulting in 6,889 deaths. This administration used these mortality rates, as there is no record of the actual number of deaths occurring among the Spanish-War veterans' population as a whole over the period of years since the Spanish War.
I believe that Senator Means stated that only 200,000 Spanish War veterans are living today, which means that even under the present laws 82 percent are on the rolls. At the hearings, when our estimates were being considered, Senator Means made a statement that 75 percent of the living, which we considered would be on the rolls, was too high a percentage. This statement does not appear to be consistent with the figures he quoted.
Considering Senator Means' estimate of 200,000 living today, which I believe he says is reduced each year by approximately 5,000 deaths, it would mean that in 1932, when the old pension laws were in full effect, approximately 220,000 were living, and there were 197,000 on the rolls, or 90 percent of the living were receiv. ing pensions. In the light of all our experience, this seems high. Very truly yours,
FRANK T. HINES, Administrator.
RATIFICATION OF JOINT RESOLUTION OF PUERTO RICAN LEGISLATURE IMPOSING AN IMPORT DUTY ON COFFEE IMPORTED INTO PUERTO RICO
MAY 22, 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, sub
mitted the following
(To accompany H. J. Res. 290)
The Committee on Insular Affairs, to whom was referred House Joint Resolution 290, to amend an act entitled “An Act providing for the ratification of Joint Resolution Numbered 59 of the Legislature of Puerto Rico, approved by the Governor May 5, 1930, imposing an import duty on coffee imported into Puerto Rico”, approved June 18, 1934, having considered the same, report thereon and recommend that it do pass.
The coffee industry is one of the basic industries of Puerto Rico. Coffee is distinctively a poor man's crop. For many years, running back into the time of the Spanish regime, Puerto Rican coffee has enjoyed a high reputation, particularly in the markets of Spain and Germany and other European countries, and in Cuba. It brings & high price. Before the 1928 hurricane, the production was as much as 52,000,000 pounds per annum. The hurricane destroyed not only the larger part of the coffee plants in the island, but also the protective shade trees necessary in the coffee culture, which it takes some years to replace.
A temptation developed to bring cheap, inferior coffee, grown in South American countries, into Puerto Rico, blend it with genuine Puerto Rican coffee and sell the blend as Puerto Rican, or Puerto Rican type coffee, seriously injuring the reputation of the genuine Puerto Rican coffee in the markets of the world and retarding the rehabilitation of the industry in the island after the hurricane. To meet this situation, the Congress, by section 319 of the Tariff Act of 1930, authorized the Puerto Rican Legislature to impose a duty on
coffee imported into the Island, “including coffee grown in a foreign country coming into Puerto Rico from the United States”, and the Puerto Rican Legislature accordingly passed such an act, Puerto Rican Joint Resolution 59, approved by the Governor May 5, 1930. Unfortunately, however, the Puerto Rican joint resolution was approved a few days before the President approved the Tariff Act of 1930, so that the courts beld the Puerto Rican act void because it was passed before the enabling act of Congress. To cure that, the Congress passed Public Law 411, approved June 18, 1934, expressly ratifying Puerto Rican Joint Resolution 59. It now develops, however, that the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals has recently, April 19, 1935, by divided court, held that the phraseology of Puerto Rican Joint Resolution 59 was too narrow fully to express what was manifestly the intention both of the Legislature of Puerto Rico and the Congress of the United States to place the duty on foreign-grown coffee imported into Puerto Rico, "including coffee grown in a foreign country coming into Puerto Rico from the United States”, by applying only to what are technically known as "imports" directly from foreign countries. Such an interpretation destroys the benefit of the act. The purpose of the present joint resolution is to rectify that interpretation.
This letter has the approval of the Governor of Puerto Rico, Governor Blanton Winship, and of the Secretary of the Interior, as is shown by the following letters:
Room 6011, INTERIOR DEPARTMENT,
Washington, D. C., April 27, 1935. Hon. LEO KOCIALKOWSKI, Chairman Insular Affairs Committee,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR MR. KOCIALKOWSKI: I am enclosing herewith draft of a bill to amend the act of Congress approved June 18, 1934, ratifying Joint Resolution No. 59 of the Puerto Rican Legislature approved May 5, 1930, imposing a 10-cent import duty on coffee imported into Puerto Rico. The enactment of this amendatory bill at the present session of Congress as an emergency matter is necessary to protect a vital portion of the administration's program for the rehabilitation of the Puerto Rican industries.
You will emember that the ratifying act of June 18, last, was passed by the Congress to cure the situation created by a decision of the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals a few days earlier (June 12, 1934) in the Porto Rico Brokerage Co. case that the act (joint resolution) of the Puerto Rican Legislature was invalid and void because at the time it was passed the Congress had not yet given that legislature the power to enact such legislation, the Puerto Rican act having been approved May 5, 1930, a month and 12 days before the approval of section 319 of the Tariff Act of 1930, approved June 15 of that year, which specifically authorized the Legislature of Puerto Rico “to impose tariff duties upon coffee imported into Puerto Rico, including, coffee grown in a foreign country coming into Puerto Rico from the United States. (Italics mine.)
At the time the ratifying act was passed last June, it was understood that it would fully cover the situation, including the coffee brought into Puerto Rico from the United States, which appeared to be specifically included in the definition of “coffee imported into Puerto Rico” by the phraseology of section 319 of the Tariff Act of 1930.
However, it now develops that upon a rehearing of the Porto Rico Brokerage Co. case, the majority of the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals has held in s decision handed down a few days ago (Apr. 19, 1935)-over a strong dissenting opinion by presiding Judge Graham, concurred in by Judge Bland—that, while the act of Congress of last June fully ratified the joint resolution of the Puerto Rican Legislature of May 5, 1930, yet the phraseology of that resolution was itself too narrow to cover foreign-grown coffee coming into Puerto Rico from the United States, but related only to technical “imports" directly from foreign countries.
This decision ignores the actual intent of the legislature, as well as of the Congress in the ratifying act of last June, to protect the Puerto Rican coffee industry from a flood of cheap foreign-grown coffee, whether coming direct from the foreign growers or indirectly through other ports of the United States into which it has been admitted duty free. As said by presiding Judge Graham in his dissenting opinion (p. 8) in the Porto Rico Brokerage Co. case:
“The said ratifying act was, expressly, enacted to meet our former decision herein, and to make it certain that the duties already collected might be retained for the use of the Government in the stricken island. How it can be believed, or even imagined, that the Congress intended only to ratify the duties collected on the coffee brought into the island directly from foreign countries, while the large and preponderating quantities brought from the United States should be admitted free, is beyond my comprehension.”
I am also enclosing with this copies of the majority opinion and of the dissenting opinion of the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, as well as a copy of my letter to Secretary of War Dern of June 15, 1934, in explanation of the bill which became the act of last June. The need for this legislation remains now as stated in my letter at that time.
You will notice that the draft of this amendatory bill is so worded as to include not only Joint Resolution 59 of the Legislature of Puerto Rico of May 5, 1930, but also the later Puerto Rican acts on the same subject, No. 77 of 1931, and No. 7 of 1934, so as to establish a uniform meaning for “imports” of coffee into Puerto Rico under all those acts. The later acts raise the rate of the duty from 10 to 15 cents a pound. Sincerely yours,
Governor of Puerto Rico.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Washington. Hon. LEO KOCIALKOWSKI, Chairman Committee on Insular Affairs,
House of Representatives. MY DEAR MR. KOCIALKOWSKI: I have been informed that a decision handed down April 19, 1935, by the majority of the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals nullifies the intent of the act of Congress approved June 18, 1934, ratifying joint resolution no. 59 of the Puerto Rican Legislature, which placed a 10-cent import tax on coffee entering Puerto Rico.
Coffee is one of the basic industries of Puerto Rico. Its preservation is essential to the people of the island. The importation of cheap foreign coffee endangers the industry. I hope, therefore, that to correct the present situation your committee will report House Joint Resolution 290 favorably. It is also hoped that, in view of the emergency nature of this legislation, means will be found to secure its early passage. Sincerely yours,
Secretary of the Interior. O