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NINTH ANNUAL REPORT
SECRETARY OF COMMERCE.
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE,
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY,
Washington, November 15, 1921. To the PRESIDENT:
I have the honor to submit herewith, for transmission to Congress, in accordance with provisions of the organic act, the ninth annual report of the Secretary of Commerce. I attach hereto formal reports of the different bureaus, showing the scope and character of their work and expenditures during the fiscal year in question.
As I assumed office on March 4, 1921, this report covers but four months of the administration of the Department under my direction. The new administration during this four months devoted itself to two primary questions:
First. Reorganization of the departmental expenditures. Second. Reorganization of those bureaus concerned with industry and trade, that they may become of more effective service to the community.
The results of reorganization enabled a revision of the estimates of expenditure for the fiscal year 1921–22, so that while the total appropriations available for the Department for this period are $24.222,192, yet it now seems probable that the expenses during this fiscal year will approximate $20,200,000, showing a total saving of about $4,000,000, or 163 per cent, of the available appropriations.
The above economies should be accomplished notwithstanding the transfer of some savings and some supplemental appropriations to bureaus whose services to the public required expansion if they were to give full effectiveness.
The results of reorganization of the bureaus concerning industry and trade are in part indicated by the increase in volume of demand upon the Department for helpful action or information. These demands have now reached a rate of over 500,000 per annum.
The further practical results to American commerce and industry will be more evident later in the year and comment upon them can best be deferred until results have been further realized.
The establishment of a real Department of Commerce, effective in service to the producers, manufacturers, and distributors of commodities, able to give economic interpretation of importance to the American public generally, to stimulate American trade and merchant marine, requires a thorough reorganization and entire regrouping of the Federal functions bearing upon these problems. Inasmuch as these matters are now actively before Congress and the administration it is not necessary on this occasion to enter upon discussion of them. Yours faithfully,
HERBERT HOOVER. Secretary of Commerce.
Appendix A.-REPORTS OF ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS
OF THE OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY.
With the greatly increased demands of business upon the Department of Commerce, force is lent to the recommendations that have been made in preceding reports regarding new buildings, travel allowances, and other administrative detail. The Department is essentially a business organization, its staff is made up largely of men drawn especially from active commercial pursuits, and to render the highest service they should work under businesslike conditions. Moreover, the Department as it develops will become more and more the natural headquarters of American business and its needs for buildings and personnel should be interpreted in that spirit.
GOVERNMENT-OWNED BUILDING FOR THE DEPARTMENT.
Among the greater needs of the Department is a Governmentowned building to properly house its various and increasing activities.
The Commerce Building houses the immediate Office of the Secretary and the several divisions thereof, which consist of the Assistant Secretary's office, Solicitor's office, Chief Clerk's office, Disbursing Clerk's office, Appointment Division, Division of Publications, Division of Supplies, Library, and the Stock and Shipping Section; also part of the Bureau of the Censús, part of the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, the Bureau of Navigation, the Bureau of Lighthouses, and the Steamboat-Inspection Service.
This building is leased at an annual rental of $65,000. The Department began its tenancy on September 1, 1913, at an annual rental of $48,000. Later an addition to the building was erected and occupied by the Department on July 1, 1914, the combined rental being $65,000 per annum. To the close of the calendar year 1921 a total of $531.249.93 will have been paid in rent for this building.
While one of the cheapest rentals in the District of Columbia, it requires no argument to prove the wisdom of housing Government activities in Government-owned buildings. From an economical as well as an administrative point of view this should be done. The Commerce Building is overcrowded to such an extent that efficiency is greatly retarded. The Bureau of the Census, in addition to occupying a portion of the Commerce Building, has quarters in building “D,” a temporary structure erected for war needs. The division of statistics of the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce is also located in one of the temporary war structures, to the great inconvenience of the Bureau and the impairment of efficiency.
The growing need for a national archives building was forcibly emphasized on January 10, 1921, when fire of unknown origin in the basement of the Commerce Building destroyed a large quantity of valuable records of several bureaus of the Department.
The Department has records which if destroyed could not be replaced, and proper protection for them should receive the earnest consideration of the Congress. In addition to the present unsatisfactory manner in which these records are stored, they occupy space which could be used to advantage in connection with the increasing work of the Department.
As has been repeatedly mentioned in reports of my predecessors. these papers, possessing permanent value and historic interest, include census returns, statistical publications and reports going back as far as the year 1847, records of scientific inquiries, technical papers, shipping records, copies of documents of vessels from 1813 to date, and correspondence and records of rulings, etc., under the steamboat-inspection laws.
It should require no argument to justify the wisdom of erecting an archives building for the proper housing and protection of the valuable papers of all branches of the Government, many of which relate to the early history, growth, and development of the country. the loss of which would be nothing less than a calamity.
The public buildings act of March 4, 1913, authorized the preparation of a design for an archives building, and the Secretary of the Treasury was authorized to select a site.
Recommendations have hitherto often been made with regard to travel allowance. Under the most advantageous circumstances the present per diem allowance of $5 or $4 in lieu of subsistence compels employees traveling on Government business to defray their actual necessary expenses from personal funds. It is essential in the interests of the Department and of business it serves that the Department representatives keep in constant contact with industry. It therefore develops that the more useful the service rendered and the more active the individual in his work the greater is he penalized financially. The obvious unfairness of this arrangement needs only to be stated to be recognized, and it is hoped that this condition may be remedied this coming year.
The Department is asking in its annual estimate for an increased allowance not to exceed $7 a day, which, if granted, will afford a much-needed relief. There is no desire for extravagance, and suitable regulations can be made to keep the expenditures within reasonable bounds.
ESTIMATES FOR FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1923. Comparison BETWEEN THE ITEMS OF EstimATES FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF COM
MERCE SUBMITTED FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1923 AND APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1922.
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY.
23, 710.00 200,000.00
Salaries, Bureau of Lighthouses..
Vessels for general service....
275,000.00 138,000.00 125,000.00 66,000.00 14,500.00 175,000.00 82,300.00 50,000.00 50,000.00 100,000.00 125,000.00 120,000.00 225, 000.00 90,000.00 132, 750.00 60,000.00 50,000.00 70,000.00 17,500.00 16,500.00 85,500.00 60,000.00 75,000.00
500,000.00 275,000.00 138,000.00 125,000.00 66,000.00 14,500.00 175,000.00 82,300.00 50,000.00 50,000.00 100,000.00 125,000.00 120,000.00 225,000.00
90,000.00 132,750.00 60,000.00 50,000.00 70,000.00 17,500.00 16,500.00 85,500.00 60,000.00 75,000.00