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Mr. KLEIN. Were you paid by the United States Government ?
Mr. Wilson. I was paid by the United States Government, but native wages. We didn't care about the wages.
Mr. KLEIN. You were working for the Government?
Mr. WILSON. Some of them were. The ones that are concerned in this particular amendment were working for the Government.
Mr. KLEIN. This is not limited, Mr. Chairman, to those working for the Government. It is for all civilian internees?
Mr. HINSHAW. This applies to a category of persons which was excluded by the other body in their offering a substitute for H. R. 4044 of the 80th"Congress.
Mr. KLEIN. Does this bill apply to all civilian internees in the Philippines?
Mr. HINSHAW. It applies, I think, exclusively to those who came under the purview of the Missing Persons Act which includes the Government employees, the people who were working for the United States in the Philippines and who were hired in the Philippines for that work, not hired in the United States.
Mr. KLEIN. They are the ones covered by the Missing Persons Act?
Mr. HINSHAW. Yes, who came within the purview of the Missing Persons Act and persons who came within the purview of the Missing Persons Act are excluded from the War Claims Act.
Mr. WILSON. You see, there is a difference, it seems, between people who are hired in the United States and sent abroad and people who are hired locally.
In other words, we have just taken over some bases in Spain and so we hire Spanish people, but they do not come under United States Federal security laws. They come under local laws and the same thing applied to these people in the Philippines.
If you are hired in the United States and sent abroad naturally you have all the benefits, like social-security, medical benefits, social-security benefits and like that. But when you are hired abroad you don't come under that at all.
Mr. KLEIN. Those people who had been hired in this country and sent over there would probably come under the War Claims Ačt?
Mr. WILSON. Yes.
Mr. KLEIN. In other words, they are not in the same category of those of whom you speak?
Mr. Wilson. No, they had all the disability benefits and pension benefits.
For instance, if they came back to the States they gave them seniority and priority on the work they did even though they were internees.
Mr. HINSHAW. Has this ever been introduced before?
Mr. Wilson. It has been introduced in each successive Congress, but no action taken. Some action taken by one body, but not the other in the various Congresses that have come up.
Mr. KLEIN. If the bill were enacted how would it help these people? Were they compensated as prisoners of war were for every day they were incarcerated ?
Mr. Wilson. They get the same benefits which is $60 a month for the adults and $25 a month for the children, plus disability benefits,
which is based on the Federal security law, and if you can prove you are disabled you get so much a day for every day you are unable to be gainfully employed.
Mr. KLEIN. The money would come out of the war claims fund ?
Mr. WILSON. Which are former enemy assets. It does not come from the Treasury at all.
Mr. HINSHAW. Are there any further questions?
Mr. SCHENCK. No. I think our colleague asked some of the ques. tions I had in mind. I appreciate Mr. Wilson's statement. I am very deeply interested.
Mr. HINSHAW. I have several letters addressed to the Chairman of the full committee which should be inserted in the record at this point. I think I shall read them into the record so that we can all understand what is mentioned.
This is a letter from Mr. E. G. Baumgardner of Miami, Fla., dated February, 1954, addressed to the chairman.
DEAR SIR: I am writing this letter in behalf of a particular friend of mine and all others who fall in the same category. These are the civil service employees and other civilian employees employed by the United States Government in the Philippines at the outbreak of the war with Japan and who when the Philippines fell into Japanese hands were held by the Japanese as prisoners of war and not interned as civilians as they should probably have been.
The writer was himself a prisoner of war, confined in the Davao Penal Colony and Cabanatuan Prison Camp in the Philippines.
You are probably aware that the civilian internees, while not being well treated, did not suffer the treatment of the prisoners of war by any means. The civilians mentioned above who were held as prisoners of war suffered the same starvation, mistreatment, forced labor and diseases suffered by the prisoners of war and unfortunately came out of these camps with the same physical handicaps and undermined health as did the prisoners of war themselves.
It is for the benefit of the above persons that I ask you to push bill No. 3298, which if passed, will in some measure help to alleviate the circumstances of many of the above persons. Respectfully,
E. G. BAUMGARDNER. Mr. KLEIN. May I interject one question ? Mr. HINSHAW. 'Yes. Mr. KLEIN. Do you know how much this would cost, Mr. Wilson? Mr. HINSHAW. It is estimated at $12 million.
Mr. Wilson. I think you will find it in the record of the War Claims Commission. I can get on the phone in 5 seconds and get the exact figure. They have it here.
Mr. HINSHAW. I believe there is a War Claims Commission estimate.
Miss Katz. I have the information.
Miss Katz. The War Claims Commission thinks there are approximately 1,500 that would come under and get the same benefits as other civilians did under section 5 of the War Claims Act. My contention personally is that if we are able through Mr. Wilson to locate the survivors, I don't think we are going to find very many civilian employees alive who have not had medical care except what they could pay for in the last 9 years. I don't think we are going to have more than about 300 cases of actual living people like Mr. Wilson and myself.
And section 5 has a dependency clause in it, too, where mothers and fathers can't inherit for young men that died. If they have not had children or wives, there are not any other survivors, they would be abated cases and there would be no money paid out.
My understanding is that the Bureau of Employee Compensation has a complete list of all the persons that came within the purview of the Missing Persons Act and what happened was that the War Claims Act would ask the Bureau if any claims that came in came in within the purview.
So another thing would be to locate survivors and the survivors are limited to the children and wives under section 5, although they are not under section 6.
If a POW died since, his father and mother can put in for benefits. If a civilian died, his father and mother cannot put in for benefits. Does that help?
Mr. HINSHAW. Yes, that helps. I take it this group is not organized as were the civilian internees who were not employees.
Miss Katz. I don't think as many of them as should have put in claims because when the act was written in 1948, I was back in General MacArthur's headquarters in Tokyo and they advised me at The Adjutant General's not to put in a claim because I definitely was not going to get any disability or detention benefits.
When I returned to the United States in 1949 I went to the VA, even though I was not a veteran. They said go ahead and put in a claim because maybe Congress will rectify this error.
So I did. Now we are hoping you will.
Mr. WILSON. I have a list of nine-hundred-odd of these people mentioned in Pasadena. If I remember right, I think 13 of them died in the last 2 years. That leaves the widows or something like that to be taken care of.
That is all I have.
Mr. HINSHAW. This letter dated March 24, 1954, is from Selma Carson, of 1682 Hawthorne Avenue, Sarasota, Fla., addressed to the committee. It reads as follows:
GENTLEMEN: I am most interested for the following amendments to be passed :
1. I think it only fair that the equalization of benefits for children should be the same as adults. We went into debt for thousands of dollars so our children could have milk and a few extras in food.
2. Even though we were under the Missing Persons Act we should be paid our benefit of $1.50 a day People working for large concerns and companies were paid their $1.50 per day, why not the Government employee? We were not fed in the camp any more or better than the average person. I was paid by the Government but like to put in my claim for $1.50 per day.
3. My war damage, which I much underestimated, was cut in half and I was paid two-thirds of the half.
4. Before the war I was working as a graduate nurse and making my own living. Now, due to ill health, I have been unable to work and have received no compensation for loss of health. During internment I developed beri-beri, sinus headaches, and arthritis. I have received no compensation for my ill health.
My 3 years and 2 months in the Japanese internment camp at Santo Tomas and Los Banos have been the breaking up of my home and my children's education has been neglected. They were not able to attend schools like most children.
I sincerely hope you will be able to pass these bills and help the internees to what they rightfully deserve.
That is in the form of an affidavit subscribed and sworn to.
Then a letter addressed to the chairman of the committee under date of April 20, 1954, by Donald O. Permenter, of Chicago, Ill.:
DEAR MR. WOLVERTON: I wish to urge you to give your full support to the bill H. R. 3298 which is now before your committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce. This bill, introduced by Congressman Carl Hinshaw, of California, amends section 5 of the War Claims Act of 1948 so that internees will not be denied detention and disability benefits thereunder because of being within the purview of the Missing Persons Act of March 7, 1942.
There were a few civilian employees of the United States Government who were captured by the Japanese during World War II along with military personnel. These civilians were imprisoned with the captured military personnel and suffered the same treatment and deprivations at the hands of the enemy as did the military prisoners. Yet, under the War Claims Act of 1948, these few civilian prisoners of war were denied the same detention and disability benefits as were provided for military prisoners of war.
I understand that only a very few of these neglected persons still survive. Let me here cite a case in question of one of these all-but-forgotten persons. Mr. Melvin M. Morgan, 715 Leavenworth Street, San Francisco, Calif., barely escaped death from the scourge of malnutrition and dysentery while a prisoner of the Japanese. At the present time Mr. Morgan sustains a total loss of vision in one eye and only 15 percent vision in the other, due directly to sufferings endured while a prisoner of war.
His is but one pitiful example of those few men who suffered unbearably at the hands of the Japanese, only to live to be disregarded by the War Claims Act of 1948, which neglected to provide him and the few others of his same status with the same detention and disability benefits as were provided for the military personnel with whom these men were imprisoned.
H. R. 3298 rectifies this shameful disregard for the sufferings endured by this handful of men at the hands of the Japanese. Again I urge you to give this bill your full support.
Mr. Wilson has said that there are some 900 case histories on file with the committee which the subcommittee could, if it chose to, examine. There are a few here on the desk. One of Millie B. Sanders,
Mr. WILSON. She is a different person. She is not a civilian employee. She is one of my pet projects.
Nr. KLEIN. This would not include Americans who happened to be there, who were just visiting there?
Mr. Wilson. Yes. Anybody who was in the Philippines, of American citizenship, British, Dutch, and some French were all interned.
Mr. KLEIN. I mean this bill.
Mr. Wilson. That only applies to guys hired by the United States Government, but civilian employees.
Mr. KLEIN. Were they under civil service?
Mr. KLEIN. I have one question which I would like to take up. I don't understand what this Missing Persons Act is and how it applies to these people. I note the reference to the fact that the reason they were not included in the War Cliams Act is because they had come within the purview of the Missing Persons Act.
Mr. WILSON. As far as I know, Congressman, the Missing Persons Act was passed in 1942 to give salaries to those employed by the Government abroad and caught in prison camps or caught abroad or killed abroad.
In other words, I got my 3 year's internment, I was paid native рау. . I got $6,000 for about 3 years' wages.
Mr. KLEIN. In other words, those civilian employees were not covered by the civil service laws. The Missing Persons Act provided
they would continue to receive this compensation or at least receive it for the period they were in prison camp.
Mr. Wilson. That is right.
Mr. KLEIN. It did not take into consideration the inhumane treatment?
Mr. Wilson. No, nothing like that. It was just simply a law passed so that these people would be paid when they came out of the various camps.
Mr. KLEIN. They all received that?
Mr. Wilson. And, of course, if you were hired in civil service you would get disability benefits. If you could not work again, you would get a disability pension.
But these people we are talking about get nothing. Then again you have the $1.50 a day which was paid the Army, which I am all for 100 percent, for the good they didn't receive under the Geneva Convention.
Mr. KLEIN. I am familiar with that. Those military personnel were also paid their salaries after they came out.
Mr. Wilson. That is right. They have their salaries. They get the whole deal. The boys deserve it. I am not against anybody getting all they possibly can, but let us take care of them all.
Mr. HINSHAW. One point I would like to bring up at this time: I don't know whether it is applicable to this bill exactly, but in my files I have a letter from a woman who has exhausted the $7,500 allowance for disability under the Employees Compensation Act. She is no longer able to draw that compensation.
I presume that others will find themselves in the same boat. She has had treatment for all of these 6
years. Mr. Wilson. Pardon me, Congressman. I have certified statements I brought with me at this time in your office to the same effect. I think I have about 50 or 60 of them, these older folks that have had this medical disability allowance where their money has run out. The War Claims Act allowed them that.
Mr. HINSHAW. The War Claims Act allowed those in the Philippines to receive the medical benefits permitted under the Compensation Act?
Mr. WILSON. Yes, Employees Compensation handles that particular thing
Mr. KLEIN. Were you people entitled to it, too!
Mr. Wilson. Everybody except the Government employees were allowed up to $7,500 disability benefits. That is the maximum under the Federal security law.
Mr. KLEIN. You said that you people didn't get any of that?
Mr. WILSON. This is civilians other than those who came within the Missing Persons Act.
You see, in those camps we had 7,000 people. Out of that 7,000 you take 900, 900 didn't receive anything. Those are the people we are talking about today.
Mr. KLEIN. They are the ones who were employed by the Government in the Philippines?