« PreviousContinue »
Mrs. WARD. Mr. Chairman, may I correct you to this extent? The contractor employee in the Philippines was still an internee, so just a small part of our group are still internees. We have two classifications because all contractor employees in the Philippines were judged as internees, not prisoners of war.
Mr. SCHENCK. Not because they were not employees of the Government, but were employees of the contractor.
Mr. HINSHAW. However, they were not armed.
Mr. HINSHAW. The difference made by the Japanese was whether or not the group as such or members of the group bore arms to fight off the Japanese?
Mr. WARD. That is correct. Mr. HINSHAW. No arms were borne by the civilians in the Philippines. Hence, they were internees and not prisoners of war.
Mr. BEAMER. Mrs. Ward, were any of these civilian employees on Wake, or Guam, or the other islands armed at any time!
Mrs. WARD. Oh, yes.
Mrs. WARD. Yes sir. It has been very difficult for everyone to get this distinction. We got the distinction in 1942 when Public Law 490 was passed which took care of all Government employees, their salaries, and all, while they were captured. We asked if they were not eligible to have these benefits and it was held by the attorneys in the Senate for one of the committees—I do not know just who it was but, anyway, for the Senate—that these contractor employees were indirect employees of the Government, or indirect employees of the Navy and not directly employees, so we were not entitled to the same benefits that the Government employees received. We were just indirect employees. We were rather in an outstanding group alone. We were not civilians. We were prisoner-of-war civilians, and yet we were indirect employees of the Government. There was just no place for us.
We couldn't get any information from the Red Cross or anything, because it seemed to be a very different sort of a group, different sort of class group. It was very difficult to get anything at all for this small group.
Mr. HINSHAW. We thank you very much for your statement. STATEMENT OF GEORGE D. RILEY, MEMBER, NATIONAL LEGISLA
TIVE COMMITTEE, NATIONAL FEDERATION OF LABOR
Mr. RILEY. My name is George D. Riley. I am a member of the national legislative committee of the National Federation of Labor. Our interest in this situation is just as Mrs. Ward has stated in the last paragraph of her prepared statement, and I want to say that Mrs. Ward works without compensation. Everything she does, everywhere she
goes, all expenses she incurs she pays out of her own resources. These folks don't have any money to contribute, and I am sure she wouldn't want it if she could get it. It is strictly a humanitarian job. She mentioned a Major Devereux awhile ago. She is referring now to the present Member of Congress, the same James Devereux.
Mr. HINSHAW. Thank you very much, Mr. Riley. We appreciate Mrs. Ward's services to her people, particularly, and to the United States as well.
Thank you, Mrs. Ward. You can be excused if you want to.
Mr. HINSHAW. We will now return to H. R. 7711 upon which the testimony will now be given.
That is a bill by Mr. Fulton, of Pennsylvania, to provide for the study of the mental and physical consequences of malnutrition and starvation suffered by prisoners of war and civilian internees during World War II and the hostilities in Korea.
Mr. Fulton is here. He has sent in a letter. Mr. Fulton, will you take a seat, please. He has sent in a letter from the society known as the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, Inc., which includes any unit of the Asiatic Fleet, Philippine Archipelago, Wake Island, Mariana Islands, Midway Island, and Dutch East Indies. Its commander is Joseph A. Vater, and its honorary commander is Maj. Gen. Edward P. King.
STATEMENT OF HON. JAMES G. FULTON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA
Mr. FULTON. Mr. Vater is in the room and I would like him to testify.
Mr. HINSHAW. May I say at this time that the committee has heard the testimony of Mr. Frank E. Wilson, who was here testifying on some other bills and who had to return to his home in California.
Mr. Wilson was representing the American Internees Society on the west coast.
Mr. Fulton, we will be very glad to hear you.
Mr. Fulton. This bill is sponsored in the House by myself and in the Senate by Senator Douglas, of Illinois. The bill is for the purpose of giving an overall study in order to come up with some plans for just the situation that Mrs. Ward had been speaking of.
As the gentleman from Ohio, I believe, or one of the Congressmen here, has questioned, there is the question here of how far it goes as to the number overall, the various classes that have been set up without much planning, how far it goes with each individual and then the effect it will have on the life expectancy of each individual.
What is happening to these people? What do we know about them? Is there anybody following up?
Overall, the answer to it is "No."
The problem for the person who has returned is a hard one. He sees the other people becoming disabled rapidly. He sees a very high death rate and incidence of other things occurring that cause disability:
My position on it is that it will not take much to make a study of mental and physical consequences of this malnutrition and starvation suffered by these civilian internees—in our bill it does not say the other classification, civilian prisoners of war—as well as the regular prisoners of war.
Our bill goes to World War II and the hostilities beginning on June 25, 1950, so it includes everything in respect to Korea.
The problem is not a small one and the money, as has been said here by the Congressman, is small, but the problem is big and the human suffering is big:
I think that is a very apt quotation. Because these fields do overlap on these war claims, I would like to have printed, with the consent of the chairman of the committee, the testimony of Mrs. Ward on the hearing on H. R. 7711.
I was going to give it in slight coverage, but I think that she has given it so adequately on the background and had so much direct experience that it would apply equally well to H. R. 7711 on what the conditions are and have been that cause the necessity for this study.
Could I ask the chairman if he would include Mrs. Ward's testimony at this point in the record ?
Mr. HINSHAW. Mrs. Ward's testimony where?
Mr. Fulton. In the hearing on H. R. 7711, so that it will not have to be repeated.
Mr. HINSHAW. That was inapplicable to this bill. She did not talk about malnutrition.
Mr. FULTON. She certainly talked about the circumstances that various classes of prisoners of war and civilian internees were under and what the background was causing the necessity for action in one class of cases.
I want to substantiate, of course, what the background has been requiring this study, so that it is the background information that should be covered by the committee on H. R. 7711, too.
Mr. HINSHAW. We would be glad to ask Mr. Ward for a statement particularly upon the subject of this bill, but her statement was on the subject of another bill.
Mr. FULTON. I recognize that.
Mr. HINSHAW. I know she has much to add in respect to malnutrition, which was not stated, and I believe that she should make a separate statement. We will be glad to ask her for that statement in writing and include it in the record.
Mr. FULTON. That will be fine, and I would like to adopt, as my own, her statement here on these conditions that occurred, and the mistreatment.
Ours is not only the maltreatment, but it is the mistreatment through the imprisonment and the failure to live up to the Geneva Convention.
Of course, in every war there is some amount of that and the prisoners of war do suffer, but in the last two wars, World War II and the Korean war, it was typical rather than an occasional thing.
Mr. HINSHAW. We will be glad to ask her for a statement and insert it in the record.
(The statement referred to follows:)
STATEMENT OF MARY H. WARD, PRESIDENT OF THE WORKERS—WAKE, GUAM, AND
As president of the workers of Wake, Guam, and Cavite, I represent the former employees of the contractors' Pacific naval air bases. They were engaged in the construction of fortification on Pacific Ocean islands prior to the commencement of World War II.
Approximately one-third of these men died in prison camps due to compulsory labor, lack of sufficient proper food, inhuman treatment, or were killed by Japanese.
These workmen, prior to their employment, passed rigid physical examinations by the United States Navy, and when they returned from prison camps, after 45 months as prisoners, the majority were suffering from the effects of malnutrition, tuberculosis, beriberi, malaria, dysentery, and so forth.
My husband, Leonard Ward, was one of the men captured on Wake Island and for the past 9 years I have been active in attempting to help these workers and their families. I visit the United States Public Health hospitals, know these men personally, and know about their health conditions.
Under the law, it is necessary for anyone interned to furnish medical evidence proving their condition is due to war-risk hazard before they can receive treatment or payments for disability. In reading hundreds of medical reports from physicians throughout the United States for these past 9 years, I have found few of them that can or will state positively the person's condition is due or related to their internment. They admit we know little about the after effects of starvation. Because of this fact, many former internees and civilian prisoners of war are denied treatment or disability payments.
In my group I have about 1,000 men and each and everyone were affected. About one-third are totally disabled and 2 years after their return many that had seemingly been well and working started to feel tired, nervous, and were losing time from their work. We had a very fine doctor and one that showed interest in our problem in Idaho, and I was able to arrange for him to examine and treat about one hundred of our group. He told me he objected to being referred to as a doctor, but that the only way it was possible to keep these men on their jobs was to continue to give them large injections of vitamin B Complex and when this treatment was stopped for a few months, the man would start to lose weight, become nervous, lose appetite and sleep. When the shots were started again within a few weeks the man was able to resume his work again,
We now know that beriberi was probably the most important vitamin deficiency disease encountered for several reasons: (1) Beriberi had the highest incidence, everyone in the camps having some form of beriberi at one time or another.
(2) Beriberi had the highest morbidity. The disease was chronic in nature, incapacitating a person for months. (3) Beriberi had complications and sequela which were considered to be permanently disabling. (4) Beriberi was directly responsible for more deaths than any other vitamin-deficiency disease.
Dr. Ralph E. Hibbs, former mayor, was captured and interned in the Philippines and conducted a study for 34 months, says “the beriberi that was observed presented many novel features. It seemed far removed from the textbook picture.”
I personally have found that most physicians thought vitamin injections were not necessary and it has been difficult to get their consent to even try the injections and then observe the results.
Most of these former prisoners are forced to go to Public Health relief stations and hospitals, and up until a few years back they refused to agree to give injections. Even at this date some will not allow this treatment, and I find the doctors in the Bureau of Employee's Compensation who review the medical reports give written opinions refusing disability payments and treatment stating these disabilities are not due to internment. They have no special study on the effects of beriberi or instructions and, therefore, in their ignorance are depriving these former prisoners of benefits due them.
Many deaths will occur, and many have already died, because the doctors handling these cases cannot evaluate the physical and mental consequences of malnutrition and starvation suffered by these former American prisoners until a study has been made. I urge the committee to report favorably on H. R. 7711 so these Americans may be relieved of their suffering.
Mr. HINSHAW. Thank you, Mr. Fulton. This committee has been particularly sensitive to that for many years, ever since 1947, and we have received volumes of testimony on it and I am sure that you will find that we are very sympathetic to these people who were imprisoned by the Japanese.
Mr. FULTON. May I submit a telegram from Mr. James Browning, commander, by Maurice A. Graham, adjutant, of the American Ex-Prisoners of War, Inc.?
Mr. HINSHAW. That will be placed in the record at this point.
(The telegram referred to follows:)
LOS ANGELES, CALIF., June 15, 1954. Representative FULTON,
House of Representatives, Washington, D.O.: American Ex-Prisoners of War, Inc., national membership 7,500, daily handles correspondence stressing need for such as H. R. 7711. Recent national convention introduced and unanimously passed resolution supporting H. R. 7711 to the fullest. Impossible to send representative to this meeting, but please add our fervent hope that this bill pass. Many lives may be spared and health restored by passage of H. R. 7711 as many member deaths directly attributed to war-prison past.
JAMES BROWNING, Commander,
By MAURICE A. GRAHAM, Adjutant. Mr. FULTON. I thank the committee for its courtesy. Mr. HINSHAW. We thank you. Mr. BEAMER. Mr. Chairman, may I make this one comment?
I think that our colleague has made an excellent suggestion by combining three agencies that are very familiar with, shall we say, health problems.
I would presume that the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare probably would designate the Public Health officials to work on some such commission if it were eventually appointed.
Mr. HINSHAW. We are going to hear from them very shortly now, because, as nearly as I can gather, there is no regulation which bases disability upon malnutrition and we must find out what it is all about.
Mr. FULTON. I think, following your point of view, that it is an attempt to try to bring it all together at one place and look at the problem squarely, find the extent of it, and get the standards on which policy later will be based as we go through the period of increasing the size of the problem in those later years.
Mr. HINSHAW. We think you have done a very good service to introduce the bill to provide for a joint study of this very important subject and we appreciate it.
Mr. Fulton. It is always a pleasure to appear before this committee. Mr. HINSHAW. Thank you.
We now have Mr. Joseph A. Vater, national commander of American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, Inc.
STATEMENT OF JOSEPH A. VATER, NATIONAL COMMANDER OF
AMERICAN DEFENDERS OF BATAAN AND CORREGIDOR, INC. Mr. VATER. The reason I sent that prepared statement, Mr. Chairman, was because it was last week that the original hearing was to be held and I was busy that day and could not make it.
Mr. HINSHAW. We have your statement and will be glad to include it in the record if you do not wish to testify.
Mr. VATER. I would like to make a few remarks with that.
Mr. HINSHAW. We will include it in the record at this point and you may make additional remarks.