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Mr. ELLIOTT. I think that is a good idea.
Mr. ELLIOTT. Then, taking up title III, which commences on page 29: Section 301 contains the general provisions which temporarily retain in effect all the policies and procedures which have been prescribed relating to property, either by the Director of Federal Supply, or the Secretary of the Treasury or the War Assets Administrator, or other officers acting under authority of the Surplus Property Act of 1944.
In due course those procedures will have to be revamped and re organized. In the meanwhile it certainly will be undesirable to have chaos by having all of the policies and procedures go out of effect through the passage of a law. This provides that the present policies and procedures are to be retained temporarily in effect until they can be revised, without disturbing operations.
Section 302 deals with the repeal of a number of laws and the saving of other laws. This repeals the Surplus Property Act of 1944 with certain qualifications.
Section 13 (g) is saved. That relates to the airport program.
13 (h) should be saved, and I would recommend, sir, that there be inserted in there, as an exception, 13 (g) and 13 (h) also.
Mr. BURNSIDE. That is for airports! Mr. ELLIOTT. Section 13 (h), was an act passed in the closing days of the last Congress and relates to donation of property for monuments.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Is that donation of property made in the discretion of the Administrator or upon congressional authorization?
Mr. ELLIOTT. I believe it is at the discretion of the Administrator, is it not, Mr. Joss?
Mr. Joss. The Congress authorized that in the last Congress.
Mr. Joss. The Administrator has to make a determination as to whether or not it is proper monumentally located.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Does not his recommendation have to come, under the existing law, to the Congress for specific authorization?
Mr. Joss. No.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. You mean then that the Administrator can just decide if any piece of land could be donated, we will say, to the American Legion or to a public body for a monument?
Mr. Joss. That is my recollection.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. I would like to have a little justification for that in the record, Mr. Elliott.
Mr. ELLIOTT. I might say that I thank you for the compliment, but when you refer to the American Legion, we do not consider ourselves a public body. Mr. HOLIFIELD. I added public bodies also.
Mr. ELLIOTT. The act provides donations to States and political instrumentalities thereof, or municipalities. It is limited to public bodies, and not extended to private bodies. It relates to any surplus land, including improvements and equipment located thereon, which in the determination of the Secretary of Interior is suitable and desirable for use as a public park, public recreation area, or historic monument for the benefit of the public.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. I think we had better look further into that.
Mr. Harvey. I rather think we better, because the language of section (h) is rather broad, and I think we should go more into details in considering it in executive session.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. I think so.
Mr. ELLIOTT. For the record, that is Public Law 616, of the Eightieth Congress, approved June 10, 1948.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. There were a lot of laws approved in the last days of the Congress, that were approved rather hastily, I think, and it might be well for us to go into the matter later, and you may proceed to something else.
Mr. ELLIOTT. All right. Section 32 (b) (2) of the Surplus Property Act is also excepted from the repeal. That is the section which relates to the foreign scholarship program, and it was felt desirable that that be continued. If you would like some detailed information on that program-it has not been a job of the War Assets in the past-the gentleman from the State Department could explain it. Mr. HOLIFIELD. That is the exchange scholarship program? Mr. ELLIOTT. Yes. Mr. HOLIFIELD. And that is retained ? Mr. ELLIOTT. That is retained. Mr. HARVEY. Where does that language appear?
Mr. ELLIOTT. That is in line 10, section 32 (b) (2); line 10 on page 3 of section 32 (b) (2) of the Surplus Property Act, 1944.
. Mr. HOLIFIELD. Did you skip 28? Mr. ELLIOTT. I guess I did. I am sorry; I did not intend to..
Section 28 suspends the statute of limitation, and that is excepted from the repeal.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. What is the effect of that?
Mr. ELLIOTT. The Department of Justice originally asked for this section, both in the Surplus Property Act of 1944 and as it is excepted in this act. It would suspend the statute of limitations relating to frauds, against the United States.
It was felt by the Justice Department, that because of the great 'volume of war surplus it was not desirable to have a rather short statute running against violators of the statute.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. I remember now the arguments on that, and as I understand that is retained?
Mr. ELLIOTT. Yes; that is correct.
There is a provision, which begins in line 11 of this section, that retains priorities and preferences in the Surplus Property Act with regard to real estate, until December 31, 1949. The reason for that date is it is the date for the expiration of the Surplus Property Act under present law. The reason for the retention of the priority and preference provision with respect to real estate, is that it was felt particularly that it would do justice to the former owners. recall the Surplus Property Act of 1944 provides that former owners of real property have certain priorities in the disposal of that property, and it was felt their position should be preserved as it is under existing law.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. At this point will you explain what the elimination of sections 501 and 502 in the plan for 1947 would do, and what is implied?
Mr. ELLIOTT. That embraces the set-up for a firmer legislative framework for the War Assets Administration, in the office of the Adminis
trator, which had been previously created as I understand it by Executive order.
Mr. Joss. Yes.
Mr. ELLIOTT. And the reorganization plan that was submitted establishes that upon a congressional basis.
Mr. HARVEY. That is a matter purely of clearing previous sections of this bill, is it not, wherein you mention the duties and functions of personnel of the War Assets Administration, as becoming a part of the new division of procurement and supply?
Mr. ELLIOTT. Yes. And to make the act consistent with the liquidation of the War Assets Administration.
Mr. HARVEY. Yes.
The second portion of this repeal section, 302, beginning on line 16, would repeal the present provision of law that was contained in the Independent Office Appropriations Act of last year, which, as it has been amended by the act passed by this Congress, would cause the liquidation of the War Assets on June 30 of this year and would scatter the property to the four winds.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. That has already been repealed by the Surplus Property Act this committee reported in the past; has it not?
Mr. ELLIOTT. No; that has not been repealed; the effect of that act
Mr. HOLIFIELD). It has been extended.
The third subsection of this section, which begins on line 22, would repeal certain acts authorizing the Secretary of War to make donations of surplus property.
In practical effect those statutes have already been superseded by public law 889 of the Eightieth Congress, which is listed as one of the statutes as not to be effected by this act, and that is the statute, Mr. Holifield, to which you had reference yesterday.
Mr. HARVEY. May I ask a further question to clarify my own thinking ?
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Yes.
Mr. HARVEY. Mr. Elliott, as I recall, the present statute is to permit the Army and possibly the Navy and others to dispose of certain materials without declaring them surplus. That is correct; is it not?
Mr. ELLIOTT. That is correct;
Mr. HARVEY. What will be the effect of this act with relation to that? Will those duties still be optional with the armed services, or will this bring any disposal under the direction of the proposed agency?
Mr. ELLIOTT. This act will not affect that, because in a latter provision, on page 32, commencing on line 3, subsection 4, that act, Public Law 889, Eightieth Congress, is specifically exempted from the operations of this act.
It is my understanding that some of the donations authorized under Public, 889 by the military, are donations to public bodies of materials which will help in the training program. That part of 889 is basic, with the intent of carrying out certain military policy.
Mr. Harvey. I think, Mr. Chairman, that at the proper time it would be well when we have representatives of the armed services up testifying with respect to this bill, to keep that provision in mind.
You will remember, I think, that we did have that matter up before the subcommittee last year.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. That is right, and we will take up further at that time.
You have the approval of the Army on this; it merely relates to this property?
Mr. ELLIOTT. Yes, but to the extent to which they need property for the training program and other operations they are in better position to say what it is than I.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Very well.
Mr. ELLIOTT. The same thing is true with subsection 4, which begins on line 25. That is the Navy's counterpart of the Army bill, and in terms is superseded by Public Law 889.
Subsection (b) of this section, which commences on line 8 on page 31, is the provision which supersedes Executive Order No. 6166, insofar as that relates to the Bureau of Federal Supply.
As you gentlemen know, Executive Order No. 6166 is the present charter for the Bureau of Federal Supply in the procurement of property, and related functions and nonpersonal services. It will no longer be needed if this law is passed, because such provisions as are desirable have been rewritten and embodied in title I of this bill.
Subsection (c), which commences in line 14, on page 21, is substantially the same provision as contained in the present Surplus Property Act, and there are mainly two points involved: One is that this is additional legislation, except for the specific repealers and does not repeal any other laws; and then it makes it clear that this is, however, not subject to or limited by the provisions of any other law, except, of course, as is specifically provided in subsection (d), commencing on line 17. That subsection specifically preserves, unaffected by this act, certain other legislation, the first of which is the Philippine Property Act; and the second are the various statutes relating to programs for stabilization and price support of commodities, and, of course, also transfers to foreign governments and foreign aid.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. That would include all of the Agriculture Department functions and the ECA functions.
Mr. ELLIOTT. And the European recovery program, and so on.
The next one preserves the authority of the National Military Establishment with respect to property, which is now located in occupied territories. That is saved from the impact of title II.
The next one, which we just discussed, is related to the donation of property for educational purposes.
The next is the authority of the Munitions Board with respect to the stock piling of critical and strategic materials, and there again we have a procurement problem that is not related to the general needs of the Government, but is related to the specific national defense needs and should be exempted from the operations of this act.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Any properties, however, that you would acquire which were needed by the Munitions Board for stock piling will be available to them as a matter of general referral to the agencies authorized to accumulate strategic materials?
Mr. ELLIOTT. Yes, that is quite true, I think.
Mr. KURTH. Under Public Law 520, the Strategic and Critical Materials Stock Piling Act there is contained provision for transfer of all
surpluses of strategic and critical materials to the Bureau of Federal Supply, and under that act we have already taken over about $584,000,000 worth of materials from the RFC.
We are also acquiring materials which are taken over by the ECA by reasons of its operation. That amounts to about $21,000,000.
So that nothing in this act precludes taking over of certain strategic and critical materials in the stock-pile operations, or of the materials still to be declared strategic and critical by the Munitions Board.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Is the Bureau of Supply custodian of all strategic materials relating to national defense?
Mr. KURTH. The Bureau of Federal Supply is responsible for the procurement and warehousing of strategic and critical materials, rotating processes for materials in storage, and of the storage of strategic and critical materials, subject to policy direction of the Munitions Board concerning procurement.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Thank you, Mr. Kurth.
Mr. ELLIOTT. Exemption No. 6 relates to the authority contained in the section governing foreign service buildings, and that again is a special authorization which they wish to keep, on account of the impact of title II.
The rest are various exemptions for the Secretary of Agriculture, relating to the school aid lunch program, the disposal of labor supply centers, the export of agricultural products, and so on.
If I might say at this point one thing: The whole theory of all of these exemptions is that where the disposal of surplus property is incidental to the particular Federal program, then it should be exempted from the provisions of this act, which contemplates the use of property for the Government, or disposals of property for the best price, without other consideration. Where you do have a program, such as the school-lunch program, under which as you know, the Department of Agriculture furnishes to schools surplus agricultural commodities which they have acquired in connection with the price support and stabilization program, then there is that objective to begin with. It is not merely disposal for the best price to the Government, it is disposal in order that a lot of kids get a decent lunch. So that program should not be interfered with.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. However, if the Department of Agriculture does not designate the FWA to dispose of the labor camp, for instance, then you take over the disposal functions?
Mr. ELLIOTT. No, only if they ask us.
Mr. ELLIOTT. That is very true. In other words, the theory here was that if they had a program to dispose of some such activity as a labor camp then it is not excess to the needs or responsibility of the Department, if, in the case of a particular camp they say that they have no agricultural program that would be served by that disposal, then it would be reported to our agency for disposal.
The same general theory is applicable to exempting the Housing and Home Finance Agency, which is No.9, commencing in line 5 on page 33.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. When you are referring to exemptions, as far as your particular agency is concerned, it does not necessarily mean that those functions will remain where they are in the different reorganiza