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national cemeteries. We are informed that to obtain this figure it would be necessary to conduct a sampling in each of our hospitals and domiciliaries and that such study could not be completed in less than 30 days.

I hope this information is helpful to you and if we can be of any further assistance to you, please advise us. Sincerely,

CYRIL F. BRICKFIELD, General Counsel.

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Mr. RUTHERFORD. Next will be Mr. Phillip S. Hughes, Assistant Director for Legislative Reference, Bureau of the Budget.



Mr. Chairman, I believe you have copies of the statement. I can read it if you wish or I can attempt to summarize it still more briefly.

Mr. RUTHERFORD. If you would read it, Mr. Hughes, you may proceed.

Mr. HUGHES. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee: We appreciate this opportunity to appear before you to present to you the administration's position with regard to the national cemetery system.

We fully realize the difficulty and sensitivity of this problem and the extent to which it can involve the deep beliefs and emotions of a major segment of our population. Accordingly, we stand ready to assist you

that we can. In essence, the views of the administration were set forth in the Bureau's report of February 12, 1962. The report pointed out that, while opposition to specific items of legislation to expand the national cemetery system had been expressed before, no overall reexamination of policies respecting national cemeteries had been undertaken by this administration prior to this committee's request for an overall policy statement.

in any way

The report also indicated that the administration had made a thorough review of the subject in response to your request.

As a result of this review, and on the recommendation of the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of Defense, the report expressed the opposition of the administration to any further expansion of the present national cemetery system. The Arlington National Cemetery, for obvious reasons, should be treated as a special case, and therefore is an exception to the policy.

Today I would like to review briefly the principal considerations underlying this decision:

Fundamental is the fact that the national cemetery system had its origins and substantially all its development under circumstances and conditions differing greatly from those of today.

Basic changes have taken place in the size, nature, and needs of the veteran population and in veterans' benefit programs as well, which seem to us to require reevaluation of the suitability of the national cemetery system for meeting present day needs.

In our view, neither the present national cemetery system nor any practical expansion of the system can be truly available to the majority of veterans and their families.

Expansion of the system just to provide for a minority of the many millions of eligibles would be extremely costly.

Finally, we believe that other Federal burial benefit programs are both more suitable and more equitable.

Colonel Temple, representing the Department of Defense, has stated that national cemeteries, except Arlington, are used mainly by those living in the immediate vicinity.

About 83 percent of the burials in national cemeteries were those of persons who died within 50 miles of the cemeteries. While detailed information on lesser radii is not available, it appears that the majority of those buried came from within a much shorter distance of the cemetery than 50 miles.

These facts, in our judgment, illustrate the infeasibility of making the burial privilege available to all eligibles, since, as a practical matter, it is not possible to build a cemetery within 100 miles of every eligible, much less within 50 or 25 miles.

This is particularly true, of course, for the many eligibles who reside on the farms and in the smaller cities and towns across the country.

Colonel Temple also stated that only 40 percent of the veterans who died within 50 miles of well-located national cemeteries in populous areas were buried in those cemeteries.

On the average, then, 60 percent or more of those who have been within 50 miles of a national cemetery have not chosen to use it.

To summarize this point of availability of the benefit, I would like to mention one final statistic: In fiscal years 1959, 1960, and 1961, less than 12 percent of the veterans who died each year were buried in national cemeteries, and the experience through December indicates that the same percentage will apply in this fiscal year.

Thus, the privilege is not being used for nearly 90 percent of the veteran burials because of inaccessibility of cemeteries, personal preferences or other reasons.


I stated earlier that a planned general expansion of the system would involve enormous cost. Detailed cost estimates for a limited expansion have been provided by the Department of the Army.

I would like to emphasize that these estimates are properly conservative and would provide for only a part of those who are eligible.

Any expansion plan to provide for more of the eligibles would, of course, increase the costs. Of significance here is the fact that burial in national cemeteries is authorized for more than 40 million persons, and potential eligibles are being added at the rate of about 650,000 a year.

We have reached the point where 48 percent, just about half, of the adult males in the United States are eligible for burial in a national cemetery, and their wives and dependent children are eligible also.

These tremendous numbers reflect the impact of World War II, the Korean conflict, and the cold war, and the veteran population which they reflect is radically different from that which existed or was contemplated prior to World War II when the eligibility criteria for burial in a national cemetery was evolved.

The veterans' benefit programs are quite different, too, ranging from compensation for those with service-connected disabilities, only about 10 percent of all veterans, and the non-service-connected disability and death pensions available to all needy war veterans and their survivors, to the World War I adjusted compensation and the extensive readjustment programs provided at the close of World War II and the Korean conflict.

We believe that these programs provide comprehensively and liberally for the veterans of this country.

The remaining major consideration which I mentioned is the existence of other Federal burial benefit programs. These are the allowances for active duty personnel, the cash burial allowance of the Veterans' Administration, and the burial allowances under social security.

The allowance of up to $250 payable by the Veterans' Administration is requested for practically all eligible veterans. The social security allowance, which varies by individual from $120 to $255 and currently averages $211, provides additional funds for the large majority of those who are, as well as those who are not, covered by the Veterans Administration allowance.

At the present time over 80 percent of the adult population is eligible for the social security burial allowance.

In summary, then, it is our conviction that further expansion of the national cemetery system is not a sound approach to the problem of veterans' burials. Since the system was developed there have been major changes in the size, nature, and scope of the veteran population, and other more comprehensive, equitable, and suitable programs have been provided.

Even with the enormous cost involved in general expansion, the system cannot provide equitably for all veterans.

That concludes my statement, Mr. Chairman. We will be glad to help further in any way we can.

Mr. RUTHERFORD. Thank you, Mr. Hughes.
The gentleman from Colorado, have you any questions?

Mr. ASPINALL. Mr. Chairman, of course what has happened is the development within the administrative branch of the Government, itself, the executive branch of Government.

Is that right?

Mr. HUGHES. I think that is not the only thing, Mr. Aspinall. I think there have been two developments. Certainly over the years, as previous witnesses have pointed out, there have been apparently administratively-I am not familiar with the history, myself—liberalizations of the criteria.

Also though, and much more recently, there have been the tremendous expansions of the population itself, which have accentuated the effect of liberalizations which perhaps at the time were not expected to cause much more than a minor ripple in the workload and in the burial load of these programs.

Mr. ASPINALL. What if Congress does not do anything, Mr. Hughes? What happens to this program?

Mr. HUGHES. As I see it, Mr. Chairman, the national cemeteries would gradually, at varying rates, depending on their location and on their availability, fill up over the period of the next, perhaps, 40 years, and during this period, as well as subsequently, the burial allowances would be paid by the Veterans' Administration and by the social security program.

As the existing cemeteries reached their capacity the availability of this benefit to the relatively small proportion of the eligible population who can or who elect to use it would become exhausted.

Mr. ASPINALL. Do you think that you can promise us that the agency of Government handling this responsibility would not, from time to time, be requesting of Congress funds to purchase additional land ?

Mr. HUGHES. No, sir; I do not think I would be that optimistic. Mr. ASPINALL. Especially under what has happened heretofore.

Mr. HUGHES. I am sure there will continue to be interest both in the executive branch, perhaps, in future years, and in the Congress, in some expansion of the system.

Mr. AsPINALL. What you are saying, then, is that in your opinion you think it is about time to establish some congressional policy, at least for the time being; is that right?

Mr. HUGHES. Yes, sir.

Mr. ASPINALL. How long has this been studied by the Bureau of the Budget ?

Mr. HUGHES. This particular bill?

Mr. ASPINALL. Not this particular bill, no. This particular problem.

Mr. HUGHES. We have been aware of the problem for, certainly, the period of my tenure in the Bureau, which is 13 years.

Mr. ASPINALL. Has your thinking changed or has it been about the Same all the time?

Mr. HUGHES. I think it has been pretty consistently the same, sir.

Mr. ASPINALL. What you are proposing to us at the present time is no new policy as far as the administration in the executive department of the Government is concerned !

Mr. HUGHES. Not so far as the Bureau of the Budget is concerned.

Mr. RUTHERFORD. Mr. Hughes, you state primarily the policy is no expansion, the fill-up and closeout.

Mr. Hughes. Yes, sir; with full recognition of the other benefits that are available.

The answer,

Mr. RUTHERFORD. You have one notable exception, and that is Arlington, that it should never be permitted to be closed to burials.

Mr. HUGHES. That is a very difficult one, Mr. Chairman, and we do not have an answer at this time with respect to that. and various answers, have been suggested already.

Some of them lie in a more restrictive burial policy, perhaps, with respect to that cemetery.

Some lie in the acquisition of further land which will, in effect, postpone but not eliminate the day of reckoning. We frankly do not have an answer.

Mr. RUTHERFORD. All national cemeteries and Veterans Administration cemeteries, and all Government cemeteries being closed, there only being one and it having no restriction as to area or place of death but only the basic qualifications, and yet you want that cemetery to remain open.

There is only one solution to suggest itself, isn't it, that you will have to alter some qualifications of eligibility for burial in that national cemetery, in this case Arlington National Cemetery?

Mr. HUGHES. Certainly I think this is the most likely alternative. Any solution with respect to Arlington Cemetery will pose some very difficult choices of relating to the nature of the exclusions, how tight they should be, whether dependents, for instance, should be buried, what land acquisition policy should be followed, to what length the Government is willing to go to acquire additional land adjacent to the cemetery, and so on.

Mr. ASPINALL. Mr. Chairman. I would like to highlight what the chairman is driving at.

If I understand what the chairman is saying, it is that if we close out what we have left, that is not too many acres, and if we give everybody the same chance to receive the benefit that the present law provides, we are going to have to provide an additional 40,000 acres of land. You can't do it around Arlington. Is that the point?

Mr. RUTHERFORD. That is my point. The point is we have been given the answer that the only way to keep it open is to buy more land. We must arrive at the conclusion that you can only go so far in that direction.

However, the easy way out is to buy more land, since it only costs more money. To be perfectly frank, you are only stepping on a lot of sensitive, emotional toes, when you even suggest or throw out the subject of altering the eligibility of these people.

I am not asking you to prescribe eligibility qualifications, A, B, C, D, but I do feel this, that sooner or later we are going to have to arrive at this conclusion.

So far each executive agency has been rather free with their advice on what the policy is, and “this is our policy,” and “we are either neutral, against it or for it,” and you can't go any further.

Your agency, particularly, has been a whipping boy on a great number of things. But I do feel this, that an executive agency such as yours,

the Bureau of the Budget, must have everyone get a stamp of approval. This is a new one here.

Even the Bureau of the Budget is approved by the Bureau of the Budget, in your letter that you are not opposed, that it is all right to transmit this letter to us. I just noticed that one. But every letter we

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