Page images
PDF
EPUB

the rights of a party before the Commission and the rights of a party to invoke and pursue original and appellate judicial proceedings involving the Commission's determination. The liability of the Secretary in any such case shall extend only to liability for court costs.

(c) For the purposes of this section, the Interstate Commerce Commission is authorized to avail itself of the cooperation, records, services, and facilities of the Department of Agriculture.

(d) The Secretary is authorized to cooperate with and assist cooperative associations of farmers making complaint to the Interstate Commerce Commission with respect to rates, charges, tariffs, and practices relating to the transportation of farm products.

Now, before I describe that just a little bit more clearly, I might say that again in the Seventy-ninth Congress, in Public Law 733, this duty was reenacted and broadened in section 203 (j) of that law. That section which is much shorter than the other one reads as follows:

The Secretary of Agriculture is directed and authorized to assist in improving transportation services and facilities and in obtaining equitable and reasonable transportation rates and services and adequate transportation facilities for agricultural products and farm supplies by making complaint or petition to the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Maritime Commission, the Civil Aeronautics Board, or other Federal or State transportation regulatory body with respect to rates, charges, tariffs, practices, and services, or by working directly with individual carriers or groups of carriers.

Mr. HOLIFIELD. Now, let me ask you a question: Do you contend that this law would conflict with the laws quoted ?

Mr. Crow. I would raise the question as to whether there might not be a question as to whether it would conflict if the language is not still further clarified. I do not believe it is the intent of this act to conflict with it.

Mr. HOLIFIELD. Will you confer with our legal counsel on language which you feel should be adopted ?

Mr. Crow. Yes, sir, I shall be very happy to, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. HOLIFIELD. On language for clarification purposes in order that we might have your ideas in proper legal form to consider. Supply that to us as quickly as possible.

Mr. Crow. Yes, sir.

Mr. HOLIFIELD. Now, I want to ask you a further question: Is it not true that that language refers to privately owned farm products rather than Government owned or declared surplus foods?

Mr. Crow. That is correct, except to the extent that Government owned products are a part of this total.

Mr. HOLIFIELD. Then where is the conflict?

Mr. Crow. Only in the possible interpretation of it. If the legislative history is clear I do not think that there is a conflict.

Mr. HOLIFIELD. Your thought or belief is that it might conflict on the grounds of the Secretary's privilege to appear before the Commission?

Mr. Crow. That is right.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Rather than the materials that are transported ?

Mr. Crow. That is right; my fear arose when I was looking at the earlier draft which says (reading]: advise all executive agencies on traffic management and as to reasonableness of carriers' rates and chargesand this is the pertinent partand represent all such agencies in negotiating rates and charges with carriers and in proceedings involving carriers' rates and charges before Federal and State regulatory bodies.

If we read that after reading all of the rest of the bill the conclusion could be reached that it does not include this function set forth in the two laws I quoted, but our solicitor advises us that it would be subject to an interpretation either way.

When we see the wording of this next draft it helps to clarify it, because it says (reading] : with respect to transportation and other public-utility services for the use of executive agencies, represent such agencies in negotiations with carriers and other public utilities and in proceedings involving carriers or other public utilities before Federal and State regulatory bodies.

“For the use of executive agencies" seems to us to clarify it some by eliminating any possibility of including our appearance on freight rates on farm products in general, and it seems that this begins to narrow it down to products owned by the agencies, but we are not sure of that on advice from the solicitor.

Mr. HOLIFIELD. You have not had a conference with the counsel of the FWA on this matter?

Mr. Crow. No, sir; I have not; only with our solicitor.

Mr. HOLIFIELD. I suggest that you do have a conference with their counsel and our committee counsel on this point, because I think it is something that can be worked out probably through a cla::fication of the language.

Are there any questions?
Mr. BOLLING. No.
Mr. HARVEY. I think your suggestion is an excellent one.

Mr. Crow. I do have, if the committee would like to have it for the record, a prepared statement describing the work that we do in an effort to get equitable transportation rates on farm food products and in general regardless of who uses the rates and the work we do in attempting to forecast the demand for railroad equipment and working with the railroads and the ICC in an attempt to get an adequate car supply for transporting farm products. This describes what we try to do.

Mr. HOLIFIELD. I suggest that you submit it for the committee files and we will decide later whether it is to be printed in the record.

(The statement referred to was filed with the committee.) Mr. Crow. There is one other point I would like to mention. I presume there is no need to go into a description of what we do in these cases, but we have had between 500 and 600 of these cases in the past 10 years. These people who handle them have an intimate knowledge of agriculture and agricultural marketing as well as of transportation, and the main thing that we are trying to do is to place in the records before ICC the facts in behalf of agriculture and the shippers alongside the material which is put in by the railroads in order to enable them to reach the right conclusion.

Mr. HOLIFIELD. We certainly do not want to interfere with a function which I know your Department has handled satisfactorily for many years, and I do not believe it would be necessary to put such cases in our hearing record.

Mr. Crow. There is one point that you might want in the record, and that is that most of the products that the Department buys under its procurement programs are wheat, cotton goods, butter, cheese, and canned goods, and so forth. They move on the same rates that the public would be moving those products on, so that when we go before

the Commission in the name of the Secretary of Agriculture opposing a 13-percent increase in railroad freight rates, or a 20-percent increase in truck rates, or getting other readjustments in the rates, those rates are the rates which are used by the Government departments and agencies as well as anybody else thereafter.

In addition to those general actions that affect the Department's own products, we do, on request of the Commodity Credit Corporation and other agencies in the Department handle specific cases for them before the regulatory bodies.

Therefore, there is a little problem that needs to be borne in mind as this paragraph of the bill is written, as to whether we need to have two people speak for the Department before the ICC on a rate, we will say, involving wheat, one speaking because the Department owns some wheat, and another speaking for all of the wheat, no matter who owns it.

We, of course, in our capacity of carrying out these two laws that I referred to can deal with the wheat in general, and on a reimbursible basis on request we can handle those cases for the Commodity Credit Corporation if they have some peculiar thing that they want us to handle. The important question is the desirability of having the Secretary of Agriculture represented twice, perhaps, at a proceeding.

You may want to give consideration to that point.

Mr. HOLIFIELD. We certainly do. We thank you for bringing that point up.

We do not want any of this legislation to bring about duplication in the agencies, and I would think that on a detail like that it would be a matter certainly of administrative agreement between the departments rather than a matter that has to be written into legislation, but at the same time we do not want to write legislation that would preclude that coordination.

Mr. Crow. That is the reason I raise that point. Those are briefly, Mr. Chairman, the high lights of my statement.

If you have any questions to ask I shall be glad to try to answer them. This statement that I have left with you describes in detail what we do.

Mr. HOLIFIELD. It all depends upon the analysis of your statement and the conference between you and the FWA and our legal counsel as to whether any further action is necessary.

Mr. Crow. Will your counsel call me, Mr. Chairman?

Mr. HOLIFIELD. Mr. Kennedy is our legal counsel and I suggest that you get together with him after this meeting and arrange a conference.

Mr. Crow. Thank you.

Mr. HOLIFIELD. We will adjourn at this time. I am not at present prepared to say to the other prospective witnesses whether we will have a Monday morning meeting or not.

If the room is available we will try to have one Monday morning. You will be notified before the day is over as to whether we will hold a meeting Monday.

(Thereupon, the subcommittee adjourned subject to the call of the chairman.)

FEDERAL PROPERTY ACT OF 1949

THURSDAY, MARCH 31, 1949

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE REORGANIZATION

SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE COMMITTEE ON
EXPENDITURES IN THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS,

Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met at 10 a. m., Hon. Chet Holifield (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Mr. HOLIFIELD. The committee will please be in order.

We will take up further consideration of H. R. 2781, with particular reference to title II of the bill which is of great concern to the State Department.

Mr. Bryan, of the legal department?
Mr. BRYAN. Yes, sir.

Mr. HOLIFIELD. Mr. Bryan, you may proceed to make such oral statement as you wish to make at this time.

STATEMENT OF BELTON O. BRYAN, ASSISTANT LEGAL ADVISER,

STATE DEPARTMENT

Mr. BRYAN. Mr. Chairman, I would like to preface my remarks by saying that the Department of State is in general agreement with titles I and III of the bill under consideration. We feel that the provisions of those two titles will provide sufficient authority for the State Department, insofar as its activities are concerned under the two titles.

Title II, covering foreign excess property and the disposal of foreign excess property, I would like to make a brief statement for the record at this point, with the permission of the committee.

Mr. HOLIFIELD. You may proceed.

Mr. BRYAN. Title II of the proposed legislation, governing the question of foreign excess property, has been carefully reviewed in the Department of State. The provisions of the several sections under this title appear adequate to safeguard the interests of the Department of State with respect to its programs authorized by existing legislation.

It will be noted that each executive agency owning foreign excess property shall be responsible for the disposal thereof, except where commitments exist under previous agreements, in accordance with the foreign policy of the United States. While the Department is unable to express a general view as to whether the several executive agencies of the Federal Government are in agreement on their respective responsibilities under the proposed bill, it is believed, insofar as the State Department is concerned, that the remaining provisions thereof are essential to an orderly continuance of its responsibility now governed by law.

The proposed legislation permits the Department to perform its residual responsibilities in liquidating its activities under the Surplus Property Act of 1944, as amended.

Furthermore, the proposed bill provides authority for effectuating the cultural and educational exchange program authorized by the Fulbright Act of August 1, 1946, Public Law 584 of the Seventy-ninth Congress. Likewise it provides an adequate arrangement to carrying out the Foreign Service buildings program.

Mr. HOLIFIELD. May I interrupt you to ask just how this facilitates the Fulbright Act requirements

Mr. BRYAN. Mr. Chairman, in section 201 provision is made as follows: The Secretary of State shall, in order to effectuate the purposes of section 32(b)(2) of the Surplus Property Act of 1944, as amended, utilize the foreign currencies and credits accruing to the United States under section 32(b) of such act.

I think there are three purposes generally mentioned in section 201; that is, the Fulbright Act, the Foreign Service buildings program, an the utilization of foreign currency for local expenditures.

I thought perhaps after we had concluded with the general statement you might wish me to take up the bill, section by section, at which time if the committee would like to hear them, we have a number of people here, three or four representatives of the Department, who are familiar with each of these operations, and the committee may wish to ask them some questions.

Mr. HOLIFIELD. Very well.

Mr. BRYAN. As I indicated, the bill provides that the Secretary of State shall continue to carry out the Foreign Service buildings program, which Congress implemented on July 25, 1946, by enacting Public Law 547, of the Seventy-ninth Congress, in which they authorized the Department to utilize credits derived from lend-lease and surplus-property disposal abroad. The provisions contained in title II of the proposed bill parallel in many respects the authority contained in the Surplus Property Act of 1944, as amended, and permit the individual executive agencies to dispose of such property accordingly. There is a slight drafting change that the Department would like to offer for the consideration of the committee in connection with section 201, and perhaps when we get down to discussing the sections, if it is agreeable, I will offer that to the committee.

Mr. HOLIFIELD. Very well.

Mr. BRYAN. That concludes the general statement of the Department in connection with title II. I will now discuss the provisions of title II.

Title II covers the foreign excess-property program.

Section 201 addresses itself to the disposal of foreign excess property and provides that each executive agency of the Federal Government, except in connection with commitments which exist under present agreements, to dispose of its own excess property abroad in accordance with the foreign policy of the United States.

This section further provides that the Secretary of State shall have the authority to utilize the proceeds realized under the disposal of surplus property, as provided in section 202 (b) of the bill, to carry

« PreviousContinue »