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Mr. Case. If you interpret that matter of veterans' preference as a matter of price preference rather than price priority, will you not make every veteran a broker?
Colonel Howse. That is one of the next questions that arises, Mr. Case. I think perhaps reasonably some restrictions would have to be considered, and that is one of the difficulties we have had to pass on in this whole problem. If a veteran purchases for his personal use there must necessarily, I think, be a limitation as to the amount he can purchase. If a veteran wants to go into the business of disposing of surplus property we think we should assist him to get established in business under the terms of the act, but he should not, probably, be given preferred treatment as against a nonveteran who is in the same type of business.
Mr. Case. That is, to become a dealer, adding to the existing priority as to service, the price priority, on the purchase of surpluses for resale.
Colonel Howse. That is correct. You see, you would have assisted a preferred buyer with a system of preferred prices, and you would have the difficulty of determining the end of it. I might say for the recerd, if I can discuss this question of the jeep a little further
Mr. Ludlow. I think every soldier feels, since he has devoted his service to the country, that he has a sort of interest in a jeep.
Colonel Howse. I might add that the jeep is the most popular item of demand at the present time. On the other hand we feel that we have some sort of a responsibility to the veterans in another direction. We are setting up a committee to work with various governmental agencies to determine not only the possible use for surplus property in newer fields--as an example I mention the airplane engine preheaters that might be used as hay driers; but we have a very definite responsibility to determine that the misuse of articles also be pointed out to the veterans. There is for example, a great deal of talk about the use of jeeps for plowing. The Department of Agriculture has furnished some good information on such use.
Mr. Cannon. Suppose you elaborate on your answer in the record, because we have already spent some time on this item and have not, reached the estimate yet.
INVENTORIES OF SURPLUS PROPERTY Mr. WIGGLESWORTH. Let me ask you a question concerning the table you have set up. You show $265,181,000 as the cost of property disposed of. Is that over and above the inventory that you report as of the end of April 1, in the monthly report; is that included? Colonel HowsE. That does not include the inventory. Mr. WIGGLESWORTH. That is over and above the inventory? Colonel Howse. Yes.
Mr. WIGGLESWORTH. So that in effect you have had $1,400,000,000 that you report as the probable cost, $1,400,000,000 plus $265,000,000 or a total of $1,665,000,000, roughly, and of that you have disposed of $265,000,000 worth, and you have received $164,000,000 worth in terms of cash.
Colonel Hows. I think that is correct, Mr. Wigglesworth, if I did not get lost some place.
Mr. TABER. There seems to be a discrepancy in that table on page 11 of this monthly progress report, which indicates a declaration of $1,574,000,000; the inventory is $1,399,000,000, or a difference of $275,000,000, and a disposal of $265,000,000; and if you add $89,000,000 of inventory at the beginning of that period you would have instead of a discrepancy of $10,000,000, a discrepancy of $99,000,000 Am I wrong in that?
Mr. MULLENBACH. The inventory is about $90,000,000.
Mr. WIGGLESWORTH. The table that I requested has already been inserted in the record?
DISPOSAL OF JEEPS
Colonel Howse. Yes. Now if I may discuss the jeep for a moment: The Department of Agriculture is prepared to advise veterans who want to buy jeeps and expect to use them on the farm, that they are not going to get their money's worth; that it is going to cost them considerable money for repairs and equipment, I think there will be a good many situations of that kind which will play a very definite part in the use of equipment and in the disposal of surplus.
Mr. Ludlow. What would you say about the deterioration status of the jeep; are they very much deteriorated?
Mr. McNAMARA. If there are any good jeeps the Army is using them; they do not declare them surplus.
Mr. Cannon. We will take up the estimates. I might say in this connection that this is the fifth week we have been on these investigations. I have attended hearings for many years and this has been the most inquisitorial committee I think I have ever worked with, and that is as it should be. We want to get full information and I think every member of the committee can say to the House that if the Members will read the hearings, and I trust that every Member of the House will read every word, I have no doubt they will get full information on any phase of any question that is going to rise in connection with these agencies.
DISCUSSION OF INCREASE FOR PERSONNEL FOR 1946
For personal services, on page 2, your original estimate as submitted to the committee, had in it about the same personnel, about the same number of positions, and about the same organization set-up for 1946 as for 1945.
Colonel HOW'SE. Yes.
Mr. CANNON. But in your revised estimate which came down to us in the last few days I notice you have more than doubled you staff for personnel. That must have been brought about by some radical change in your policy. How do you account for this tre mendous increase in personnel in your supplemental estimate which was not contemplated in your original estimate?
Colonel Howse. Mr. Cannon, I can give you a very brief explanstion for that and elaborate on it as far as you may wish to have me do so.
Mr. CANNON. Yes.
Colonel Howse. It was simply that the original estimate was pre pared before the Board was even completely formed, before there had been any operating experience whatsoever, before there had been any
contact, to speak of, with the disposal agencies to determine the problems they would have to cope with. The Chairman of the Board was neither nominated nor confirmed at the time this estimate was originally gone into; it was worked up almost entirely, if I might use the expression, out of hand.
Mr. TABER. Are we going to take up these items separately, or altogether?
Mr. CANNON. We will take them up altogether.
Mr. TABER. You have got in here a total of $1,398,000 as against an original estimate of somewhere around $1,000,000.
Colonel Howse. May I assist you there: I think we had an original estimate of $702,000, for 157 positions.
Mr. TABER. Is that it?
Mr. TABER. And how much did you have this year; that is, how much do you have now, as of the present time?
Colonel Howse. You mean people actually employed ?
DISTRIBUTION OF PERSONNEL, 1945 Mr. TABER. And how are they distributed? In the office of the Board how many have you now?
Colonel Howse. Mr. Taber, may I file that for you? I do not have the information with me, but I will be glad to file it with the committec, if you like.
(Information requested follows:)
Surplus Property Board, May 19, 1945
$12,000 12,000 12, 000 8,000 6, 500 6, 500 4,600 2, 600 2, 600 2,600 2, 600 2,000
OFFICE OF THE ADMINISTRATOR
2,600 2, 600
Mr. TABER. And in the Office of the Administrator?
Mr. TABER. How many in his office; the Deputy, and the staff service.
DISTRIBUTION OF PERSONAL SERVICES, 1946 Mr. TABER. I wonder if you could give us a break-down. I am not going to ask you to give us a detailed break-down of what you have on that administrative picture, although perhaps we ought to have it—but I would like a break-down on that general division and the compliance division. I would like to have you give us a detailed break-down of what those 10 employees would be and what would be their duties. Do you have that?