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WAR CLAIMS COMMISSION,
Washington, D. C., June 2, 1954.
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.
The purpose of this bill is to extend to members of the Armed Forces of the United States captured and held as prisoners of war in Korea comparable per diem benefits paid to prisoners of war in World War II pursuant to sections 5 and 6 of the War Claims Act of 1948, as amended. It is identical in every respect with the bill, H. R. 6923 upon which the War Claims Commission, under date of April 9, 1954, submitted to your Committee a favorable report subject to certain proposed modifications. Like H. R. 6923, the subject bilī authorizes compensation to any prisoner of war, as defined in the bill, at the rate of $2.50 per day for each day he was a prisoner of war and for which he alleges and proves, in a manner acceptable to the War Claims Commission, that he suffered any inhumane treatment, as defined in the bill, or was not furnished with the quantity or quality of food to which he was entitled as a war prisoner under the terms of the Geneva Convention of July 27, 1929. Payments at the same per diem rates of $2.50 as provided for in H. R. 6923, would be made to certain eligible survivors of a prisoner of war who, himself, would have been eligible if he had lived.
The War Claims Commission has not only reported favorably, with certain proposed modifications, on the identical bill, H. R. 6923, but has submitted favorable reports, also subject to certain proposed modifications, on H. R. 8076, H. R. 9094, S. 2224 and S. 2605. The views and comments of the War Claims Commission with respect to H. R. 6923, and the proposed changes in the language of that bill will apply without variation to the subject bill. Favorable action by the committee on any one of these measures would accomplish the objectives of each. The Commission recommends, therefore, favorable action on H. R. 9234, subject to the same recommendations made with respect to H. R. 6923. It is believed, however, that favorable consideration of H. R. 9094, in which the previous recommendations of the Commission have been incorporated, will accomplish the objectives of H. R. 9234.
Advice was received from the Bureau of the Budget under date of April 8, 1954, with respect to a report on an identical bill, H. R. 6923, 83d Congress, that there would be no objection to the submission of that report. Sincerely yours,
WHITNEY GILLILLAND, Chairman.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
Washington, D. C., June 21, 1954.
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.
The bill would add a new section 6A to the War Claims Act of 1948, as amended (50 U. S. C. App. 2001 et seq.), for the purpose of authorizing the payment of compensation to members of the United States military and naval forces who were captured by hostile forces in Korea. The benefits under this bill would be similar to those paid to military and naval personnel captured by enemy forces during World War II. Compensation would be paid at the rate of $2.50 for each day a prisoner of war underwent forced uncompensated labor, suffered inhumane treatment, or received substandard food contrary to provisions of the Geneva Convention of 1929. No more than $2.50 could be paid to one prisoner of war with respect to any 1 day. In the event of the death of a person entitled to compensation, payment would be made to or for the benefit of certain specified survivors.
The bill directs that claims allowed under its provisions should be paid out of the War Claims Fund and by subsection (e) authorizes “to be appropriated to the War Claims Fund established by section 13 of this Act such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section (6A).” The War Claims Fund at present
consists of the net proceeds of German and Japanese property vested during and after World War II under the Trading With the Enemy Act, as amended, and not subject to return under that act.
Whether the claims and benefits provided by the bill should be authorized involve questions of policy on which the Department of Justice prefers to make no recommendation. However, it is noted that although the bill would authorize the payment of benefits thereunder from specially appropriated funds it does not specifically provide for the payment of administrative expenses. If the bill is to be given favorable consideration it should be amended so as to make certain that not only the benefits payable to claimants thereunder would be financed by appropriated funds rather than from vested German and Japanese assets, but also that the portion of administrative expenses of the War Claims Commission attributable to the performance of its functions in carrying out the provisions of the bill would be financed in the same manner.
The Bureau of the Budget has advised that while there is no objection to the submission of this report, the Bureau of the Budget favors the enactment of another bill (H. R. 9094) having a similar purpose, in lieu of this bill, and that its position in this respect was indicated in a letter dated June 9, 1954, to your committee on this bill. Sincerely,
WILLIAM P. ROGERS, Deputy Attorney General.
GENERAL COUNSEL, TREASURY DEPARTMENT,
Washington, D. C., June 2, 1954. Hon. CHARLES A. WOLVERTON, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: Reference is made to your request for the views of this Department on H. R. 9234, to extend certain benefits of the War Claims Act of 1948 to Korean prisoners of war.
The proposed bill would authorize the War Claims Commission to pay to members of the military or naval forces of the United States who have been prisoners of war in the Korean hostilities compensation for (1) forced labor performed by the prisoner for the hostile force; (2) inhumane treatment to which the prisoner was subjected by the enemy government; and (3) failure by the enemy government to furnish the quality and quantity of food to which the prisoner was entitled under the Geneva Convention. Compensation under the bill would be limited to $2.50 for each day the member was held a prisoner. The Department has no comments to make with respect to the bill. Very truly yours,
ELBERT P. TUTTLE,
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,
BUREAU OF THE BUDGET,
Washington 25, D. C., June 9, 1954. Hon. CHARLES A. WOLVERTON, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
House Office Building, Washington 25, D. C. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN : This is in reply to your letter of May 24, 1954, requesting the views of this office with respect to H. R. 9234, a bill to extend certain benefits of the War Claims Act of 1948 to Korean prisoners of War.
The purpose of this bill is as indicated in its title.
As you know, we have supported H. R. 9094 which is a redraft, with recom'mended amendments, of earlier bills having purposes similar to H. R. 9234. Inasmuch as the Bureau of the Budget is in complete agreement with H. R. 9094, it is recommended that, in lieu of H. R. 9234, your committee give favorable consideration to H. R. 9094. Sincerely yours,
PERCIVAL F. BRUNDAGE,
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, May 28, 1954. Hon. CHARLES A. WOLVERTON, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
House of Representatives. DEAR MR. WOLVERTON: Further reference it made to your letter of May 24, 1954, transmitting for the Department's comments a copy of H. R. 9234, a bill "To extend certain benefits of the War Claims Act of 1948 to Korean prisoners of war."
The proposed measure is similar to H. R. 8076, introduced in the 83d Congress, except that H. R. 9234 would allow compensation at the rate of $2.50 a day for each day's detention to prisoners of war, as defined therein, who establish in a manner acceptable to the War Claims Commission certain violations of the Geneva Convention of July 27, 1929, on the part of the governments concerned. Accordingly, the Department's views on H. R. 8076, which were transmitted to the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce under date of May 13, 1954, are likewise applicable to H. R. 9234.
The Department has been informed by the Bureau of the Budget that there is no objection to the submission of this report. Sincerely yours,
THRUSTON B. MORTON,
Assistant Secretary (For the Secretary of State).
WAR CLAIMS COMMISSION,
Washington, June 22, 1954. Hon. CHARLES A. WOLVERTON, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
House of Representatives, Washington 25, D.C. DEAR MR. WOLVERTON: This is in response to your request of June 3, 1954, for the views of the War Claims Commission on the bill, H. R. 9390, “A bill to extend certain civilian-internee and prisoner-of-war benefits under the War Claims Act of 1948, as amended, to civilian internees and American prisoners of war captured and held during the hostilities in Korea.” Public hearings were held by the Subcommittee on War Claims, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, June 7, 1954, at which the War Claims Commission, through its Chairman, urged favorable consideration of the bill.
The subject bill is identical in purpose with H. R. 9094 and insofar as it extends certain compensation benefits to American prisoners of war in Korea, it is identical in purpose with the bills, H. R. 6923, H. R. 8076 and H. R. 9234, as well as S. 2605. A companion Senate bill, S. 2224, like H. R. 9094 and the subject bill H. R. 9390 includes certain civilian detention benefits in addition to prisoner-of-war payments.
H. R. 9390 differs from H. R. 9094 only with respect to certain minor changes in phraseology which the War Claims Commission believes, clarify the intent of the measure. H. R. 9390 also contains certain technical amendments to the War Claims Act of 1948. The chief differences in the two measures are (1) H. R. 9390 makes more certain the requirement that capture and detention of civilians, or their in-hiding status, shall have occurred in Korea, (2) provisions in H. R. 9094 excluding from civilian detention benefits persons within the purview of the Federal Employees' Compensation Act, the Missing Persons Act and the act providing benefits for death and disability of employees of contractors, have been removed as being inoperative with respect to hostilities in Korea, (3) a cutoff date is provided for terminating the period subsequent to June 25, 1950, within which detention or imprisonment shall have occurred, and (4) provision is made for the termination, as of the date of enactment, the period for which benefits or compensation shall be paid. The Commission has no objection to any of the modifications made by H. R. 9390 in the bill, H. R. 9094.
The War Claims Commission has given its unqualified recommendation for favorable consideration of H. R. 9094 in a report to the committee dated May 24, 1954, pointing out among other things that extension of World War II
civilian detention benefits and prisoner-of-war compensation to civilians and prisoners interned or captured as a result of Korean hostilities had been recommended by President Eisenhower in his message to the Congress transmitting Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1954, relating to the establishment of the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission. The Commission has also recommended favorable consideration of pending measures comaprable to H. R. 9390 subject, however, to certain suggested changes in the language of such bills. Since there are no essential differences in H. R. 9094 and H. R. 9390, the views expressed by the Commission with respect to the former bill will apply as well to the latter and that they be considered the views of the War Claims Commission with respect to the subject bill, which the Commission recommends be favorably considered by the committee.
Informal advice has been received from the Bureau of the Budget that there would be no objection to the presentation of this report to your committee. Sincerely yours,
WHITNEY GILLILLAND, Chairman.
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,
BUREAU OF THE BUDGET,
Washington, D. C., June 18, 1954. Hon. CHARLES A. WOLVERTON, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
1334 House Office Building, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in reply to your letter of June 3, 1954, requesting the views of this office with respect to H. R. 9390, a bill to extend certain civilian-internee and prisoner-of-war benefits under the War Claims Act of 1948, as amended, to civilian internees and American prisoners of war captured and held during the hostilities in Korea.
The purpose of this bill is as indicated in its title. As you know, we have supported H. R. 9094 and, inasmuch as H. R. 9390 is identical in substance, we would therefore have no objection to its favorable con sideration by your committee. Sincerely yours,
PERCIVAL F. BRUNDEGE,
Deputy Director. Mr. HINSHAW. I think that there ought to be a report also from the Defense Establishment, because I want certain information on behalf of all the services-certainly the other services in addition to the Navy Department, as there are certain questions which will develop that bring the Defense Establishment in.
Now, we will have as the first witness Mr. Gillilland, Chairman of the War Claims Commission.
STATEMENT OF WHITNEY GILLILLAND, CHAIRMAN, WAR CLAIMS
COMMISSION, WASHINGTON, D. C.. ACCOMPANIED BY JAMES TAWNEY, ASSISTANT TO THE GENERAL COUNSEL
Mr. GILLILLAND. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. We have filed a statement with the committee outlining our position with reference to these measures, in addition to the report which we have filed.
I would appreciate it if that statement could be made a part of the record.
Mr. HINSHAW. It has already been made a part of the record, but you may proceed on any new lines that you have.
Mr. ĞILLILLAND. Very well, Mr. Chairman. I thought I would just talk a little off of the cuff on it, unless you prefer that I read the statement into the record.
Mr. HINSHAW. Does that statement contain the substance of your letter as well? The statement that you have mimeographed ?
Mr. GILLILLAND. It would contain a good deal of the report that we filed with the committee; yes, perhaps a little more.
Mr. HINSHAW. I think that you would want to read the statement. Mr. GILLILLAND. All right.
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I wish to express for myself and my colleagues, Mrs. Pace and Mr. Armbruster, our appreciation for this opportunity to appear before you in support of this worthwhile legislation.
In his message to the Congress transmitting Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1954, relating to the establishment of the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission, President Eisenhower called attention to this legislative program and recommended its approval in these words:
'A proposed new claims program now pending before the Senate would provide benefits similar to those paid to World War II victims under the War Claims Act for losses and internments resulting from hostilities in Korea. The executive branch of the Government has recommended approval of this program by the Congress.
The President was referring specifically to two Senate measures pending in that body, the objectives of which are the same as the House bills you are now considering, including H. R. 9094.
Mr. HINSHAW. I assume, if you will pardon me for the interruption, that you include also in that the bill H. R. 9390 ?
Mr. GILLILLAND. That is correct, sir.
If the President's recommendation is followed, close to 5,000 members of the Armed Forces of the United States who were captured and held as prisoners of war in Korea will benefit. In addition, there will probably be 3,500 or more eligible survivors of deceased American prisoners who will become entitled to benefits that would otherwise have gone directly to such prisoners had they lived. These payments will be in addition to whatever other payments or benefits they may be entitled to receive under policies of insurance, military service pay acts or State bonus legislation. The number of civilians who will benefit by enactment of H. R. 9094—and the same would be true of course as to H. R. 9390—will probably not exceed 15 or 20, according to our estimates, for the reason that virtually all American civilians in Korea were successfully removed from the zones of hostilities prior to their capture. The Commission is advised, for example, that records of the Department of State indicate that only 13 American citizens were overrun in Korea without warning or a chance to escape, and that only 7 of them were returned at the end of Korean hostilities. Even so, the Commission consider it essential to include them in the benefit provisions of H. R. 9094.
It may be helpful to the subcommittee at this point, to review very briefly the so-called Korean benefit bills which you have before you. They are four in number, as follows: H. R. 6923, H. R. 8076, H. R. 9094, and H. R. 9234-and, of course, that would have to be amended to add also H. R. 9390.
Of these, only H. R. 9094 would extend benefits to both American civilian internees and prisoners of war in Korea.
Now, that would have to be amended to add H. R. 9390.
The others are confined to providing benefits for members of the Armed Forces of the United States held as prisoners of War in Korea.