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The War Claims Commission has given its unqualified recommendation for favorable consideration of H. R. 9094 in a report dated May 24, 1954, and submitted to the full committee pursuant to a request for its views on the bill.
It has also recommended favorable consideration of H. R. 6923, H. R. 8076, and H. R. 9234, subject to certain suggested changes in the language of these measures.
Although it seems to us that there may be a few minor imperfections in the language of H. R. 9094 the Commission does not regard them as sufficiently important to make detailed recommendations for their correction at this time. Of the four bills just mentioned, the War Claims Commission believes that H. R. 9094 is the most complete in its coverage of the subject of Korean benefits and would accomplish the objectives of its companion measures if it were to become law.
H. R. 9094 follows very closely the language of the War Claims Act of 1948, as amended, in providing civilian detention benefits at the rate of $60 per month for each calendar month of detention in the case of adults and $25 per month for each calendar month the civilian was less than 18 years old.
Military personnel interned as prisoners of war would be paid, under the bill, $1 per day for each day upon which he failed to receive adequate rations in accordance with the standards for such rations established in the Geneva Convention of July 27, 1929, and $1.50 per day for each day he was subjected to forced labor or other inhumane treatment as measured by the standards set forth in that convention.
In the event of the death of an eligible civilian internee or prisoner, these benefits would be payable to certain designated survivors as under the War Claims Act of 1948, as amended.
The time for filing claims under H. R. 9094 would expire 6 months from the date of its enactment, and the Commission would be required under its provisions to complete administration of the bill's provisions at the earliest practicable date but not later than 1 year thereafter.
The benefits provided for in the bill would be paid from appropriated funds. While the question of financing the Korean benefit program in this manner is a matter of legislative policy, upon which the War Claims Commission is not in position to comment, the Commission is not in position to comment, the Commission has been advised by the Bureau of the Budget that the Bureau favors this method of funding
Civilian detention and prisoner-of-war benefits arising from hostilities in World War II were payable out of the War Claims Fund which was derived from the liquidation of Japanese and German assets seized by the United States and considered available for claims attributable to Japanese or German action.
The Commission has estimated that the probable cost of financing H. R. 9094 will be close to $12 million which is far more than any free balances remaining in the War Claims Fund for payment of new type claims. The prospects of additional transfers to the War Claims Fund out of any funds presently in the hands of the Attorney General derived from Japanese or German assets are somewhat remote and it is not clear whether they should be used for payment of claims not attributable to Japanese or German action.
I have reviewed only the principal highlights of H. R. 9094. The War Claims Commission has submitted to the full committee a more detailed analysis of its provisions and a more complete statement of its views. The Commission wholeheartedly commends H. R. 9094 to your early and favorable consideration.
Mr. CARRIGG. Now, the same comments that are contained there would apply to H. R. 9390 ?
Mr. GILLILLAND. Yes, sir.
Mr. HINSHAW. H. R. 9390 has been submitted to the Commission and I presume the Commission submitted it to the Bureau of the Budget as being corrections, additions and deletions in accordance with our ideas and is the final bill recommended by the Commission; is it not?
Mr. GILLILLAND. That would be my understanding, sir. There are some changes with reference to employees of contractors and people of that sort, that I presume are not of much consequence, because I do not thing there are many people of that category involved.
What the attitude of the Bureau of the Budget might be on this specific point, I do not know.
Do you know, Mr. Tawney?
Mr. HINSHAW. Wait a minute. Mr. Tawney, give your name to the reporter so that we may have it in the record.
Mr. TAWNEY. James Tawney.
Mr. GILLILLAND. He is assistant to the General Counsel working on legislative matters.
I think our views in short here are that we are pretty well satisfied that these lads who were taken prisoner by the Chinese and the North Koreans were subject to pretty vigorous treatment; those who survived are very fortunate that they did; but the study that was made by the Potter committee in the Senate, examination of the history of what happened, is rather a startling thing.
The treatment was certainly no better than the average to which the boys were subjected in World War II and it would seem to us that if there was justice in a measure to provide benefits for those boys that there certainly would be in one that applied to prisoners of war in the Korean conflict.
I do not know how significant the question would be as to whether the benefits should be paid from the war claims fund or from appropriated moneys. This conflict, the Korean conflict, is different from World War II. I do not know that any enemy assets could be available, and directly connected with the Korean conflict, to pay such claims.
As far as the old funds are concerned, any balance remaining under present law lodges in the Treasury anyway, so that whether the claims are paid from those funds or paid from appropriations, as the law stands now, possibly is not too significant. However, we do not have any position on that one way or the other.
We do think that it would be just to pay some benefits to these people that suffered so severely in this war.
Mr. CARRIGG. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. CARRIGG. As I understand it then if we are to consider H. R. 9390 it would contain all of the matters that were contained in H. R. 9094, plus these additional requirements and suggestions made by the Commission?
Mr. GILLILLAND. These changes and differences between H. R. 9094 and H. R. 9390 are principally technical changes. The language of H. R. 9094 does not in express language limit civilian internees to those who were interned in Korea, and I think one of the intentions was to make that more precise to exclude some possible claimants not intended to be covered by the act. That was one of them.
Then I think it was desired to make a definite cutoff as to the period of time covered by the bill. The language apparently in H. R. 9094 was a little uncertain on that and that was corrected in H. R. 9390.
Then there were some changes in phraseology at other points to more exactly express the intendment of the legislation. It is substantially the same bill as H. R. 9094 in improved form.
Mr. CARRIGG. Mr. Chairman, is 9094 your bill?
Mr. HINSHAW. Now, I would like to know what you mean on page 5 in line 24 where you say:
The compensation allowed to any prisoner of war under the provisions of this paragraph shall be at the rate of $1 for each day prior to the date of enactment of this subsectionand then that language appears again in line 23, on page 6; tủis being the bill that was offered by the administration, which I introduced.
It seems to me that as there are 3,500 POW's who are still unaccounted for, or dead, and that we may receive back some of those 3,500 at some time and you put a cutoff date for them, prior to the date of the enactment of this bill or this subsection.
Mr. GILLILLAND. That is correct.
Mr. HINSHAW. Not extend that in some way to include those who may return at a later date?
Mr. GILLILLAND. Well, I do not think we would have any objection. It is our thought that possibly that could be handled better by an amendment, and certainly such an amendment would be appropriate when the situation is clarified. In order to work out a schedule of time for processing claims, and the time for administration under the statute, it seemed better to have a cutoff date.
This bill provides for 6 months to file claims. Now, if some of these people would show up 5 months and 20 days after the bill is enacted, we would have a problem there, and the same thing would be true perhaps as to administration.
That is the sole purpose of it, to have a bill that has some exact dates, targets to operate under.
Certainly we would think that any of them who are subsequently identified as in that class, or if it should subsequently be determined that they were prisoners of war and that they died, then they should be just claimants under the law. It is just a question of machinery to set
Mr. HINSHAW. Well, it seems to me that it should be made unnecessary to amend this law for any who may be released subsequent to the date of the enactment of this subsection or these subsections, and I would request that language be prepared, if you will, to extend it for those who are not released prior to the date of the enactment of this bill and who may be released at a subsequent date.
Mr. GILLILLAND. Very well; we will.
Mr. HINSHAW. Now, I say that in view of the fact that there is a reorganization plan which transfers the powers and duties of the War Claims Commission to a consolidated commission of several functions.
Mr. GILLILLAND. That is right.
Mr. HINSHAW. And that that plan has not been objected to in any quarter, and consequently, so far as I know, will go into effect.
Mr. GILLILLAND. Yes.
Mr. HINSHAW. It is quite possible that this may not be enacted prior to that time.
Mr. GILLILLAND. Yes, sir.
Mr. HINSHAW. But if it is enacted prior to that time, I think that the language should still show, should be in this bill.
Mr. GILLILLAND. Assuming a continuing agency, I do not know that it is any particular problem. If the agency, of course, is one that terminates, then it would be difficult to have language that would accomplish this result—that would extend past the time of the termination of the agency,
Mr. HINSHAW. I think we should assume that the agency will not terminate but will be extended either through an act extending it or through the taking effect of this reorganization plan.
Mr. GILLILLAND. All right. Well, we will undertake then to draft some language for you, Mr. Chairman, and submit it.
Mr. HINSHAW. All right. Now, there is some language that I do not understand in respect to the Armed Forces and I would like to refer to the language on page 5, beginning at the last word on line 11, to the end of the paragraph which reads as follows: except any such member who, at any time, voluntarily and knowingly gave aid to, collaborated with, or in any manner served any such hostile force.
Is it taken that that language includes people such as Colonel Schwable ?
Mr. GILLILLAND. I do not believe I could answer that question at this time.
Mr. HINSHAW. Are the 60 members of the Air Force who were concerned ?
Mr. GILLILLAND. That is a question that would have to be appraised in the individual case. It is not an easy one. That would be the most difficult part of the administration of this particular statute, that one thing.
Mr. HINSHAW. Would you take it that some administrative rule or some court procedure would be necessary before you would, as the Commission, be able to adjudicate that language?
Mr. GILLILLAND. I would say not, Mr. Chairman. I think that would be a matter that we would have to determine in the individual cases as we approached them in an effort to do what was right and just in the particular case.
Now, there is one aspect of this bill, I think, that might make that a little easier, that might be helpful, without dragging that issue out in every instance.
This bill contemplates payments to prisoners for violation of the Geneva Convention; mistreatment one way or another; improper food or beating, and so on. I think it might be assumed that some of the collaborators, if there were such, from the date of their collaboration, probably were not mistreated; from that time on their food and their treatment improved; and it might be possible to cross some of these bridges on that issue without having to get down into the question of a finding of whether there was a collaboration that would subsequently have to appear on somebody's record.
Mr. HINSHAW. Now, there were 60 to 80—some number, I do not remember-members of the Air Force-officers of the Air Force.
Mr. GILLILLAND. Yes.
Mr. HINSHAW. Who were given the opportunity to resign or show cause. They had been held prisoners of war.
Now those cases have in nowise been adjudicated. There has been nothing said one way or the other except that statement.
Now, do you take it that you would be able to solve the mystery and the riddles that go along with that great question, as a Commission and not be subject to suit, for example, for a claim on the part of any one of these individuals?
Mr. GILLILLAND. I would think we could. I think that cases of that kind might be solved though along this line that I just pointed out. An examination would be made into the question of whether or not they were in fact mistreated. The chances are if there were substantial collaboration with the enemy, or giving of comfort and aid to the enemy, that mistreatment probably stopped. That might not be uniform; but as I read the reports of the Potter committee, I get the impression that that did happen in at least some cases.
Mr. HINSHAW. Possibly so, but it would certainly lay upon the hands of the Commission thé duty to in some measure adjudicate that question.
Mr. GILLILLAND. That is right; it is not an easy thing at all, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HINSHAW. I think it should be settled before it gets into the hands of the War Claims Commission or its successor.
Do you have any questions, Mr. Beamer?
Mr. BEAMER. I am sorry, Mr. Chairman, I arrived late. I have just been reading Mr. Gillilland's statement.
Mr. CARRIGG. Mr. Chairman, may I ask a question ?
Mr. CARRIGG. Who will determine the definition of the word "voluntarily” in this bill?
Mr. HINSHAW. That is a very potent question. The word "voluntarily” means, of course, that he did it without duress or anything of that sort; that he collaborated without duress.
Now, do you think that you are able to decide that question?
Mr. GILLILLAND. Well, I think, Mr. Chairman, I might not be consistent with proper modesty, but I think I would be as capable of deciding that question as anyone would be.
Mr. HINSHAW. It will be necessary, I take it, to hold hearings, will it not?
Mr. GILLILLAND. I would think so.
Mr. HINSHAW. And is any provision made for personal hearings in this bill or in the War Claims Act?