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Mr. HINSHAW. What was the number of it at that time?
I might explain at this point that the bill I think included all of these people when it left the House. The Senate amended the bill. It went to conference a few days before the expiration of that Congress, the 80th Congress. The Senators insisted on their version of the bill.
I was one of the conferees and they would only give on a very few points. We were anxious to get a bill passed and they threatened to hold up the whole thing, so we accepted the rest of their bill and that is what is the War Claims Act of 1948.
Mr. KLEIN. In other words, this provision we are talking about now was in the original bill ?
Mr. HINSHAW. It was in the House bill.
Mr. Wilson. Knowing that many of you members are busy, with so many important duties of your office, it sometimes becomes hard for you to devote the time needed to study all the details of such legislation that comes before you. I know the jobs that you gentlemen have.
This legislation is for American citizens whose very life depends on the needed help that you can approve,
Also, remember, gentlemen, it could have happened to you.
Now, I would like to interject here the condition of many widows of these former Government workers. I have a list of 37 widows who are in need and they have no way of getting compensation because their husbands came under the purview of the Missing Persons Act. Their husbands died and they have nothing:
Now, these people are 65, 70; some of them a little younger than that. That is a very hard condition for these women and kids to be in because they have nothing.
I also say that it has cost Mrs. Wilson and myself up to $10,000 of our own money to try to help these people. Now, I am putting this in because a lot of people think I am getting paid. I am not getting paid. My expenses come out. Sometimes some rich man gives me a hundred dollars to go to Washington, but that is all I ever got.
But I feel this way, that if we help our fellowman, something will help us. It is a satisfaction to help other people. It really is.
So I would like, above all, to help these women and children because I know them, I have seen them, I have studied them. They have come to me and I have gone to them.
This is one bill that should be taken care of as quickly as possible to give these people the benefit that we could in the War Claims Act and which were given to other folks.
I might mention here also that the workers in Wake and Guam have a fine representation in Washington. They have a good organization and they have had benefits under the War Claims Act and they are seeking more benefits, which is fine with me; they should get more benefits because everybody that suffered like these people should get all the benefits possible. You can never repay them for what they have suffered.
But, at the same time, they have had a bill passed, Senator, introduced and passed by Mr. Langer. I am sure that this bill could be attached to that because it comes under similar wording. Do you know that bill?
Mr. HINSHAW. Are you talking about S. 541, or S. 2231 ?
Mr. Wilson. S. 541. That is the bill. Similar wording is in that bill for American citizens that came within the purview of the Missing Persons Act.
Mr. HINSHAW. That is S. 541 to extend detention benefits under the War Claims Act of 1948 to employees of contractors with the United States.
As I gather it, it is suggested that a sort of omnibus bill be made of these two, if we decide to consider S. 541.
Mr. Wilson. If you remember, Congressman Hinshaw, there was a bill that passed the House in 1950 and it never got to the Senate for this same Missing Persons Act. They didn't even have a hearing on it. It was killed in committee over there.
So I thought to get the action we need on this particular thing we might include it with that same bill.
Mr. HINSHAW. That is a suggestion which the committee will consider in executive session.
Mr. Wilson. I don't know much about politics, although I know something about it. I am not a lawyer at all. I am just a citizen.
I also bring out at this time the further benefits I would like to seek in regard to the War Claims Act for minor children. These minors in the camp were allowed half benefits instead of full benefits. These children are now adults.
Now, many of these children will never be the same in mind and health. I have a case in Acadia, where a little girl was born 4 months after the mother was incarcerated in the prison camp and that child is still in a brace today from the neck to the waist. She will never be the same.
We have cases where the teen-agers are in mental hospitals.
It seems astounding that that is so, but that is the fact, children that have been subjected to this terror and mental anguish in the camp.
So I bring again to the attention of the committee that I would like to have these children given the full benefits if possible under the War Claims Act as were awarded the adults.
In fact, to get a better record of these particular teen-agers, we would refer you to the Bureau of Employees Compensation who have all the disability and medical records of such people.
I would also like to put in the record that the Surgeon General of the United States made a statement in 1948—I have that statement, but I cannot find it now—that all persons who were incarcerated in Japanese, or any oriental prison camp, would always be responsive to maladies common to malnutrition and beri-beri. And that is a known fact.
I refer you to the veterans' hospitals and the veterans who suffered in Bataan and the camps in Europe.
That is all I have, gentlemen. Thank you.
Mr. HINSHAW. Mr. Wilson, I think it would be well for you to repeat at this time some of the testimony which you presented, yourself, and which perhaps other witnesses whom you brought to the committee presented, in 1948, concerning the diet that was offered in San Tomas and the percentages and amounts of weight loss and illness and so forth, for the benefit of these gentlemen who were not privileged to hear that testimony in 1948.
Mr. Wilson. We go back to October 1941, when I gave my service to the Armed Forces, most of us did, and I was told to make land mines to stop the Japanese invasion in October 1941, a directive from Washington, from the White House, to Colonel Parker, who is now deceased in Corregidor, and I couldn't believe it. We had blackouts in Manila in October 1941, and they sent us out there a bunch of boys with broomsticks to defend the Philippines. That is a fact.
On December 7, the Japanese came over the northern island of Luzon and they bombed Baggao, which was 185 miles north of Manila.
Between Manila and Baggo we had Clarks Field and we had on the ground 65 planes gassed up and ready to fight. We could have gone up and blown those Japanese out of the air, but the order was not to attack the Japanese until we have declared war.
We also asked that we should be allowed to send our wives and children out of the Philippines before this thing happened, or even when it happened, because Manila was not taken, you know, until Jan
Admiral Yarnell stated, and it is in the record of former Commissioner Francis Sayre, to the President in 1942 that he was advised to keep the people there.
In other words, that makes the men, women, and children expendable as soldiers. The reason being that as long as they were American citizens in the Philippines, the Filipinos would have said, “Well, they are going to stand by us."
This is something you may never have heard of, but it is a fact.
So then the Japanese came closer and closer to Manila and we had a coordinating committee like civil defense and we had the women and children in one place. We put 10 or 15 men with these families and the Japs walked in and they said, “Into the camp.” They put us in halls, they put us in various stadiums, and they said, “Take food for 3 days.” They wouldn't let you take any more than what you could carry in your hands.
These people were incarcerated in San Tomas prison in Manila, which is the oldest university in the Philippines, full of bed bugs, lice, cockroaches, and everything else.
No plumbing facilities and everything. It had been an old univer
They gave us no food for 6 months. The food that came into the camp came over the fence by loyal Filipinos, given to the various people and friends and employees of those Filipinos. That is how we got food for the first 6 months into that camp.
Those that didn't have any Filipino servant had to have their food given to them by others who had food.
Then the Japanese decided to close the gate, as we call it, and they sent some people home on the Gripsholm.
Then they really got tough. In 1944 we were allowed 75 grams of rice a day. You could put it in your hands. That was what we had to eat.
When we went into that prison camp we had pigeons flying around as you usually do. We had dogs, we had cats, we had animals in there.
Gentlemen, in 1944 there wasn't anything that moved, that lived, in that camp. It was eaten, dogs, cats, pigeons, rats, and even the leaves, the bark of the trees.
And, remember, there were women and children in here. You would see the little kids fall over on their faces, bloated stomachs. These were American children.
Thank goodness, in 1945, in February, we heard a lot of planes come over and that was the beginning of the real end.
But General MacArthur sent in a tank destroyer division, I think it was approximately 700 men that came down from the north-I can't think of the bay up there. His direction was to surround the San Tomas prison and protect us from being slaughtered.
We had in that prison camp a Japanese who was an operator for the United States Army. He got out of there and told MacArthur these people are going to be killed, rescue them. These men came down and they surrounded the camp with tanks and there were over 50,000 Japanese within a perimeter of less than a half mile, but they didn't know how many Americans had come down.
It is fantastic. Then they began to fight. We had our guns inside the campgrounds, which is against international law. That is why you might never have heard or read about it. They were shelling from inside the campground and the Japanese were shelling back at us.
We had many people killed or blown to pieces that lived through those 3 years of suffering and tortures besides killing many of the GI's and injuring many of the others.
That is what we went through after we had the 3 years of suffering and torture. I myself weighed 192 pounds when I went into the camp, and I weighed 102 when I came out.
Mr. KLEIN. These were all civilian internees ?
Mr. Wilson. No military. We had a few that came in there, but they were hidden.
Mr. KLEIN. You say you had wives and children of some of the military personnel ?
Mr. Wilson. Yes. Not very many, because they were sent home a year before that.
Another strange thing is that the Navy ordered their wives home and children home a year before the war broke and so did the Army. We knew the war was coming. We couldn't do anything about it. We couldn't get out of there.
The ships were leaving Manila empty, but they would not let us send the women home. They made them expendable.
You can read Mr. Sayre's report to President Roosevelt in 1942 which will give you the facts.
Mr. HINSHAW. That is in the 1948 testimony, the statement of Mr. Sayre?
Mr. Wilson. That is right.
Mr. HINSHAW. He figured that in the event of the attack on the Philippines that the presence of the Americans and the fact that the United States didn't seem to be disturbed about their being there would cause the Filipinos to contribute much more effort toward the defense of the Philippines than they otherwise would, and I guess it
That is exactly what happened.
Mr. WILSON. There was also another camp. They had so many they couldn't even keep them in San Tomas, so they kept them in
Los Bangos. They had to rescue them. There was shooting and firing going on. They took them out in ducks across the lake. They had a rough time, too.
But that was war. As far as I am concerned, I will take it, but women and children, that is different, and to make the people suffer all these years of apathy toward these things.
We take care of everybody else in the world. We sent billions of dollars overseas. Let us take care of our own people first.
We go to Europe. What do you see! You see “made in U. S. A.” on the docks of every town, in France and Italy. You go there you see "made in U.S. A.” We give everything.
Let us take care of our own first. I can tell you these people are in bad shape. But we have a wonderful country, thank goodness, and we are going to take care of our own with the help of you gentlemen.
Mr. HINSHAW. We thank you, Mr. Wilson. There are undoubtedly some questions that we would like to ask of you.
Mr. KLEIN. Mr. Wilson, I am sorry my plane was late coming from New York. That is why I missed the first part of your testimony.
What did you say you were doing there at the time?
Mr. WILSON. You see, what we did, Mr. Klein, I was in business in the Philippines. I had an exporting business. When we knew the war was coming we naturally tried to get rid of our business and make some assets or something.
I couldn't, so I hung on. We all had to get into the war effort. The Army was calling for help. So I got rid of my business. I turned it over to some Filipinos. I got what I could out of it. A few thousand dollars. My business was worth a hundred thousand dollars. I lost the blooming lot.
Naturally we belonged to many clubs there, you know, the white people did. I belonged to the Army-Navy Club. I had many friends. Î have met General Eisenhower, General MacArthur. They said, “Well, Frank, why don't you get in and do something to help us?"
He said, “Do you know anything about lumber?”
Colonel Parker took me to a lumber mill run by the British that had not been running for a year. He said, "I want this running in ten days. I want to make land mines."
I said, "Land mines?”
Next to me was Major General Vernon. In 1940 I took Major Vernon around the Philippines myself and he and General Gruenther mapped the topography of the island and they said, "Here is whero the Japanese will come here and here and here," and they did exactly that. It makes you think what it was all about.
Mr. KLEIN. When was this?
Mr. Wilson. In 1940, in 1941 I was making land mines to stop the Japanese invasion.
Mr. KLEIN. Were you working for the Government?