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JULY 2, 1941. To the Military Affairs Committee of the Senate:
I ask that bill S. 1579 would not be made a law. The reasons for my strenu: ous opposition to this proposed legislation are:
1. The weakest point in the bill is its wide scope that gives the Government the power to seize any property under a caption of national defense. They have seized property wrongfully in the past, and will now do so—then ram it down your throat and make you like it.
2. Three years ago I called the press' attention to the practice of this illegal seizure of citizens' private property. This was heralded by the papers over the entire United States. I foretold then that the power would be requested to curtail people's freedom and rights. The seeds of this plan were cut and dried 3 years ago. I ask that the committee do something now to stop this Fascist tendency, for I fear that 3 years hence we will suffer deep regret.
3. Why should we be subjected to a long ordeal through the courts in order to protect our rights and sustain our freedom?
4. The President or his agents are attempting to usurp the right to set the price of property. The trend toward such a dictatorial policy was evidenced by an undiplomatic remark of Judge Chesnut from the bench of the circuit court in Baltimore.
5. This bill would serve as an instrument for greater opportunities for malicious abuse of the power of eminent domain. This is clearly illustrated in the illegal seizure 3 years ago of property in the R. G. Fields estate of which I am an heir. I charge fraud and collusion in connection with the case. The Government attempted to put over a false sale and a false condemnation. Certain heirs had no knowledge nor gave any consent to the transaction. They were never approached by any representative of the Government with respect to the case. Nor are they the only persons to be treated thus.
6. Undoubtedly the Army is behind the movement to have this bill passed.
I reiterate my request that you of the committee make a thorough investiga: tion of the bill itself and of its full import in light of past practices with the taking of property. Respectfully,
Mrs. ELIZABETH F. WIMSATT,
Washington, D. C.
1 Now the site of the Federal post office in Rockville, Md.
A BILL TO AUTHORIZE THE PRESIDENT OF THE
SITION BY THE UNITED STATES
JULY 1, 16, AND 17, 1941
Printed for the use of the Committee on Military Affairs
COMMITTEE ON MILITARY AFFAIRS
ROBERT R. REYNOLDS, North Carolina, Chairman ELBERT D. THOMAS, Utah
WARREN R. AUSTIN, Vermont EDWIN C. JOHNSON, Colorado
STYLES BRIDGES, New Hampshire JOSH LEE, Oklahoma
CHAN GURNEY, South Dakota H. H. SCHWARTZ, Wyoming
RUFUS C. HOLMAN, Oregon LISTER HILL, Alabama
JOHN THOMAS, Idaho SHERIDAN DOWNEY, California
HENRY C. LODGE, JR., Massachusetts
WESLEY E. McDONALD, Clerk
REQUISITION OF PROPERTY BY THE UNITED STATES
WEDNESDAY, JULY 16, 1941
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D.C. The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 11 a. m., in the committee room, United States Capitol, Senator Robert R. Reynolds presiding:
Present: Senators Reynolds (chairman), Lee, Schwartz, Hill, Downey, Chandler, Kilgore, Austin, Bridges, Gurney, Thomas of Idaho, and Lodge.
Also present : Lt. Col. D. A. Watt, military aide; Wayne Coy, and Judge Robert P. Patterson, Under Secretary of War.
(S. 1579 revised, is as follows:)
A BILL To authorize the President of the United States to requisition property required
for the national defense
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That whenever the President, during the present national emergency, but not later than June 30, 1943, determines that (1) the use of any property is required for the defense of the United States, (2) all other means of obtaining the use of such property for the defense of the United States upon fair and reasonable terms have been exhausted, and (3) the use of other property having equivalent utility for the defense of the United States cannot be obtained, he is authorized to requisition such property for the defense of the United States upon the payment of fair and just compensation in the manner provided for by the act of October 10, 1940, Public, No. 829, Seventysixth Congress, third session.
SEC. 2. Whenever the President determines that the use of property acquired and retained pursuant to this Act is no longer needed for the defense of the United States, he shall, if the original owner desires the property and pays the fair value thereof, return such property to the owner; but, in any event, property so acquired and retained shall, if the owner desires the property. and pays the fair value thereof, be returned to the owner not later than December 31, 1943.
Sec. 3. The President may, from time to time, issue such rules and regulations and require such information as may be necessary and proper to carry out the provisions of this Act, and he may exercise any power or authority conferred on him by this Act through such department, agency, board, or officer as he shall direct or appoint.
Senator REYNOLDS. Mr. Secretary, would you be good enough to just have a seat right here where you could be heard better by the committee?
Senator LEE. Mr. Chairman, perhaps the Secretary would like to say something before it goes on the record. If so, I suggest that we give him that opportunity. If he is prepared to discuss this before us on record, why, then, all right. Senator REYNOLDS. 'This, Mr. Secretary, I might state for your in
I formation, is a matter of a substitute, which has been presented by