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Mr. HINSHAW. That is a good idea. But I am afraid it would not work because it is claims against the Japanese and it would have to be an international court.
Mr. KLEIN. Another problem we have, Mr. Chairman, is that matters, the Court of Claims do not come to this committee. We would not have jurisdiction. It would have to go to the Committee on the Judiciary. So that is another problem.
Mr. Hinshaw. I think we will have to give this careful consideration. We hope to do something constructive at an early date.
I recognize the problem. I wish that it had been brought to us before. In all probability this is not the committee to which this matter should come. It probably should come to the Veterans' Affairs Committee. Let us look into that and we will advise Colonel Wing as soon as we can find out.
Mr. KLEPINGER. Because, Mr. Chairman, if you think it does not come before this committee, certainly they can prepare something along the same lines to go to the committee of the House that has jurisdiction. Is that your suggestion, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. Hinshaw. Yes. I don't think it would be easy to get an amendment to the law for the purpose of establishing this in the Court of Claims as a valid claim. Of course, the treaty with the Japanese has been entered into so that cannot be reopened. Any other Court of Claims, international court or otherwise, would not be the place to go.
I think the place to go is the Veterans' Administration and to rely on them to establish regulations in accordance with the study that they are now completing, setting forth the reasons for granting disability, full disability allowances for those who were unable to be employed as they are accustomed to, and less than that for others who were less effected.
Mr. KLEPINGER. I merely throw out this suggestion as you pass along. It is this: That if you have an enactment that permits it to be determined by the Veterans' Administration, I rather doubt whether, under such regulations, unless it had a specific provision in it permitting a ceiling that ordinarily would be much higher under judgments of this kind, where a man came back and his whole profession, say, for instance, his surgical career, is ruined.
Mr. KLEIN. I would agree with you that the compensation these people received at $2.50 a day is certainly no where near what they should get. Take a man like Colonel Wing who seems to be unable to go back to his usual employment.
Mr. KLEPINGER. That is right. He has given up his whole career in the movie industry.
Mr. KLEIN. That is right.
I am amazed when you tell me that the Veterans' Administration does not compensate him in any fashion for that permanent loss of his means of obtaining a livelihood.
Mr. KLEPINGER. It is not a battle casualty; it is imprisonment.
Mr. KLEIN. Mr. Chairman, may I suggest you ask the Veterans' Administration for a report?
Mr. HINSHAW. I think we should have the Veterans' Administration come before us and make a statement.
Mr. KLEIN. You take a young man, who was drafted in the service, about 19 years old, and he goes through some of these tortures and comes out permanently disabled. That boy cannot do anything for the rest of his life. And if he is not going to be compensated for loss of earnings in the future certainly the $2,500 he might receive when he comes out is little or nothing.
Mr. KLEPINGER. I think it would be very interesting to get the Veterans' Administration reaction to the proposed amendment.
Mr. HINSHAW. I think we will call them before us some day early next week and ask them to explain what the situation is.
Mr. Beasley, you can take care of that and notify us when they are ready to appear.
Mr. KLEPINGER. Thank you a lot.
Mr. HINSHAW. You have presented the problem as a lone person. Nevertheless, it affects a great many. I am sure if the others realize there might be some relief through your appearance that they would be extremely grateful to you.
Mr. WING. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HINSHAW. Included in today's record will be a letter from Mr. Milton Glazier, Laclede, Idaho, in support of the pending measure and another from Mr. George McPherran of Boise, Idaho, one from Melvin Bard of Mountain View, Calif., a letter from Mrs. Lillian S. Robinson of San Francisco, Calif., a letter from Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Ray, Sr., of Vale, Oreg., and also a letter from Frank R. and Ruth E. Barr of Fairfield, Calif.
And Mr. Klein, do you have a letter from a constituent?
Mr. HINSHAW. San Francisco is considerably out of my district; and it is further from my bailiwick than New York is from Washington.
Mr. KLEIN. At any rate she wrote that same letter to all the members of the committee.
Mr. HINSHAW. Nevertheless, we will place these letters in the record. (The letters are as follows:)
LACLEDE, IDAHO, May 21, 1954. Representative PAUL F. SCHENCK of Ohio,
House Office Building, Washington 25, D. C. Hon. PAUL F. SCHENCK: I take this means to ask your support and help in the passing of Senate bill 541 which passed the Senate, and has been referred to the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce. Representative Charles A. Wolverton of New Jersey is chairman of the committee. Representative Wolverton has since appointed a subcommittee of which you are a member.
The purpose of this legislation is to amend the War Claims Act of 1948 so as to remove limitations preventing payment of detention benefits to civilian employees taken prisoner of war in 1941 at the start of World War II. The existing War Claims Act granted detention benefits to military prisoners of war and civilian internees who suffered maltreatment from the enemy, but no benefits were granted to about 1,200 men captured on Wake, Guam and the Philippines who were detained in the same camps, did the same work, suffered. the same mistreatment as the military prisoners of war.
A large number of these civilian prisoners of war are physically unable to work. Widows and dependents of men who did not return are in dire circumstances. Therefore the passage of Senate bill 541 would do these men and their dependents a lot of good. Thanking you in advance, I remain, Yours truly,
BOISE, IDAHO, May 29, 1954. Hon. PAUL F. SOHENCK,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. SCHENCK: I am advised that you have been appointed to a subcommittee to consider all bills pending before the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce with reference to the War Claims and Trading With the Enemy Acts. I therefore direct your attention to S. 541 which passed the Senate last year, and is a companion bill to H. R. 4422. You have had this bill in committee for almost 2 years now, and it would be greatly appreciated if you would set a hearing for this bill. The bill would eliminate the discriminatory provisions of Public Law 896 which was passed some time ago.
Your attention to the above will be greatly appreciated.
"In March of 1942 while I was a prisoner of war held in the Woo Sung Camp at Shanghai, China. While there I was hit in the back by one of the Jap guards with the stock of the rifle injuring from the 9th to the 12th joints of the spine, which showed up in the X-ray pictures when I first returned home to the States. Arthritis having set in now to such an extent that it is impossible to get a night's rest without taking a sedative. My whole body aches and pains all the time and keeps me from getting any rest, therefore I am not able to hold down a steady job. Up to date, the only compensation I have received is when I was in the Marine Hospital in Seattle." Very truly yours,
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF., May 19, 195). Hon. PAUL F. SCHENCK, Subcommittee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. SCHENCK: In justice name do you serve! I, Melvin Bard, ex Wake Island POW, need not abjure, or cite ill victims of malnutrition, nor implore you to use your intellect regarding the vital fact of setting an early date for hearing of bill H. R. 4422 and S. 541 and expediting clearance of the same to House of Representatives—rather, I give sincere thanks for your due deliberation and subsequent decision based on mankind's inherent tendency to render good and wise decisions as it is revealed to him in the light of God's wisdom and justice. God bless and guide you, each one. In sincere appreciation,
SAN FRANCISCO, 27, CALIF., May 29, 1954. Hon. PAUL F. SCHENCK,
House Office Building, Washington 25, D. C. MY DEAR CONGRESSMAN: I am addressing you as a member of the subcommittee appointed by Mr. Charles Wolverton to consider bills pending before the committee to amend the War Claims and Trading With the Enemy Acts.
This letter is in reference to tort claims bill S. 541, which passed the Senate and is now pending before the House of Representatives under House bill H. R. 4422.
This bill, as you may recall, would enable civilian prisoners of war who were captured by the Japanese in December '41 to receive $2 a day for the duration of their imprisonment. This money would not come from our Treasury, but from Japanese frozen assets.
My husband, Mr. Milton A. Robinson, was a civilian employed by the contractors, when taken prisoner by the Japanese on Guam in December '41, and remained a captive for nearly 4 years, as did many of his coworkers. Two years ago this spring Mr. Robinson passed away, no doubt as a result of his incarceration in the Japanese prison camp.
May I urge that you set a time for hearings on this matter at an early date, as the bill has been with the committee for nearly 2 years now. It is important to me because, since my good husband's demise, my resources, naturally, are depleted, and I have a very modest income, and the passing of this bill would benefit me, as well as many others of the group to which my husband belonged. Whatever you can do in our behalf will be appreciated, I am sure, by all members of the group of workers of Guam, Wake, and Cavite, as well as by me. Respectfully and gratefully yours,
Mrs. LILLIAN S. ROBINSON.
VALE, OREG., June 1, 1954. Hon. PAUL F. SCHENCK,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. SCHENCK: It is our understanding from Mr. Chas. A. Wolverton that you have been appointed to a special subcommittee to hear H. R. 4422, a companion bill to S. 541 which passed the Senate in 1953. This bill would extend detention benefits under War Claims Act of 1948 to employees of contractors in the United States. As the provisions of this bill are entirely just, it will be much appreciated if you will lend your endeavors to securing a hearing on this matter at an early date. The committee on interstate and foreign commerce has had H. R. 4422 under consideration for 2 years now.
So it would surely seem that action should be forthcoming. Your support to accomplish this will be very much appreciated. Yours sincerely,
Mr. and Mrs. OSCAR RAY, SR.
FAIRFIELD, CALIF., May 6, 1954. Representative J. ARTHUR YOUNGER,
House Office Building, Washington, D.C. MY DEAR CONGRESSMAN: We are writing you in regard to our tort claim, bill S. 541 which passed the Senate last year. It is for a group of hard-working construction men known as the workers of Wake, Guam, and Cavite. We were captured by the Japanese on Wake Island, Guam, and Cavite in the Philippines. We were on these islands building our military defense bases for our country, the good old USA. Most of these men were from our Western States. We need all the help we can get to get our legislation through this year.
The other Americans captured in the Philippines and Japan have received $2 a day, the military prisoners received $2.50 a day for their time of internment by the Japanese. This money does not come out of the Treasury of the United States but from the frozen assets of the Japanese. We were all in the same filthy prison camps and suffered the same hardships. Most of us are still suffering from the effects of malnutrition and the severe beatings received from the hands of the Japanese Navy, Army, and the brutal guards.
We understand the House Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee has set no schedule for this legislation at this time for the workers of Wake, Guam, and Cavite for their tort claim, bill S. 541, and is now pending before the House of Representatives under House bill H. R. 4422. This bill should have passed last year so surely should have some priority now.
We want an early schedule set for this legislation, have it adopted and passed by the House for the President to sign this year for sure. So many of our group need the money badly as so many cannot work steady on account of their condition.
Please either contact personally or by letter, Carl Hinshaw of California and Chas. A Wolverton of New Jersey, who are at the head of these committees and urge an early consideration be made for a schedule. This bill adopted and passed for these man who were doing their bit for their dear country when captured and kept away from their loved ones for 45 months. Many died while in the prison camps of the enemy.
Thanking you so kindly as we know you will have our interests at heart and will do all in your power to aid this group of men who are so worthy of consideration. We remain Sincerely,
FRANK R. BARR.
RUTH E. BARR. Mr. HINSHAW. We also have reports from the War Claims Commission, from the Bureau of the Budget, from the Department of State, from the Department of Labor, and from the Treasury Department, on the pending legislation. Those letters will be included in the record of the hearings.
(The letters are as follows:)
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,
BUREAU OF THE BUDGET,
Washington 25, D. C., September 23, 1953. Hon. CHARLES A. WOLVERTON, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
House of Representatives, Washington 25, D. C. My dear Mr. CHAIRMAN: The Bureau of the Budget was requested by your committee to comment on the following proposed legislation amending the War Claims Act of 1948:
S. 541: To extend detention benefits under the War Claims Act of 1948 to employees of contractors with the United States.
H. R. 6407: To authorize payment of certain war claims, including payment of certain claims arising out of the sequestration by the Imperial Japanese Government of credits of members of the military and naval forces of the United States and other United States nationals in the Philippines.
H. R. 5722: To amend section 7 of the War Claims Act of 1948, with respect to claims of certain religious organizations functioning in the Philippine Islands.
Subsequently, your committee requested this office to determine an executive branch position with respect to the issues and recommendations set forth in the Supplementary Report of the War Claims Commission, Concerning War Claims Arising out of World War II, dated January 9, 1953. Action has been initiated pursuant to this request and it is hoped that a position with respect to general war claims legislation can be developed. It therefore seems inadvisable to comment on the specific items of legislation listed above at this time, since they too should be considered as a part of the general problem.
It is therefore recommended that congressional action be deferred on these bills until the current study is completed. Sincerely yours,
Deputy Director. DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, July 29, 1953. Hon. CHARLES A. WOLVERTON, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and
Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives. My dear Mr. WOLVERTON: Further reference is made to your letter of July 22, 1953, transmitting for the Department's comments a copy of S. 541, an act to extend detention benefits under the War Claims Act of 1948 to employees of contractors with the United States.
The proposed measure is identical with H. R. 4422 introduced in the 83d Congress. Accordingly, the Department's views on H. R. 4422, which were transmitted to the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce under date of July 28, 1953, are likewise applicable to S. 541. Sincerely yours,
THRUSTON B. MORTON,
Assistant Secretary (For the Secretary of State).
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR,
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY,
Washington, August 10, 1953. Hon. CHARLES A. WOLVERTON, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
House of Representatives, Washington 25, D.O. DEAR CONGRESSMAN WOLVERTON: This is in further reply to your request for my comments on S. 541, a bill to extend detention benefits under the War Claims Act of 1948 to employees of contractors with the United States, as it was passed by the Senate.
I have recently mailed to your committee a report on H. R. 4422, a bill identical to S. 541, as passed by the Senate. I would appreciate it if you would regard my report on H. R. 4422 as responsive to your request fez comments on the companion bill as adopted by the Senate.