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sufficient deviation from that doctrine to invite further exceptions for additional groups with service in military occupations, expeditions, or campaigns other than during a period of war.
The extent of the Government's responsibility to provide pensions for disability or death in no way attributable to active military or naval service is evidenced by the consistent policy of the Congress, since the enactment'of the first pension law, to restrict such service pensions to those who rendered service for a specified period in time of war. The proposed legislation would be a distinct departure from such established policy and would favor one small group to the exclusion of others, thus creating an inequality as to those other groups.
If H. R. 451 is enacted, a heavy administrative burden will be placed upon the War Department in that it will be called upon to supply proof for processing and identifying claimants to the Veterans' Administration. The measure makes no provision to meet the very considerable administrative expense which it is estimated would be thus created by its enactment. In view of the administrative difficulties involved in determining the number of persons to be affected by this bill the War Department is unable at this time, to estimate with any degree of accuracy the total cost to the Government that would result from its enactment:
For the reasons stated above, the War Department is opposed to the enactment of H. R. 451, Eightieth Congress.
The Bureau of the Budget advises that there is no objection to the submission of this report.
Sincerely yours, .
ROBERT P. PATTERSON,
Secretary of War.
Washington 25, D. C., September 22, 1947. Hon. EDITH NOURSE ROGERS, Chairman, Committee on Veterans' Affairs,
House of Representatives, Washington 25, D. C. DEAR MRS. ROGERS: Further reference is made to your letter of March 26, .1947, requesting a report on H. R. 886, Eightieth Congress, a bill to extend pension benefits to persons who served on certain vessels operated by the Army during the war with Spain, the Philippine Insurrection, and the China Relief Expedition. In accordance with your request the report also covers the variances from H. R. 886, as contained in the following bills:
H. R. 1589, Eightieth Congress, a bill to extend the benefits of the pension laws to certain male nurses who served under contract with the United States between April 21, 1898, and February 2, 1901.
H. R. 1812, Eightieth Congress, a bill to include as Spanish-American War service under laws administered by the Veterans' Administration certain service in cooperation with the War Department during the Spanish
American War. The purpose of all of these bills is to grant benefits to various restricted groups of civilian employees who served with the armed forces of the United States during various specified periods, all of which fall within the official dates of the war with Spain, the Philippine Insurrection, or the China Relief Expedition.
The purpose of H. R. 886 is to confer upon certain persons who served as civilians in the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection, or the China Relief Expedition as members of the crews of vessels operated under the jurisdiction of the Quartermaster General of the Army for the transportation of troops or military stores certain service pension benefits as are granted to veterans of the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection, and the China Relief Expedition.
It may be noted that, as drafted, the bill probably would not confer all of the basic pension benefits applicable to veterans of the War with Spain. It refers only to pensions under sections 1 and 3 of the act of June 2, 1930, as amended. A table showing the rates under these sections is attached. No reference is made to sections 2 and 4 of that act, as amended, which provide special increased rates for aid and attendance for any “soldier," "sailor," "marine,” or “nurse," who is entitled to pension under sections 1 or 3, respectively, and whose physical condition qualifies him for such increased rate. Neither does the bill expressly include section 1.of the act of May 24, 1938 (Public Law 541, 75th Cong.), as amended, by which a special rate of $90 monthly is available to veterans who served in such war for a prescribed period between April 21, 1898, and July 4, 1902, and have attained the age of 65. This provision is an independent enactment and does not purport to amend sections 1 or 3 of the act of June 2, 1930,
which are specified in the bill. Moreover, the bill does not make reference to section 2 of the act of May 24, 1938, supra, as amended, under which an aid and attendance rate of $120 is granted to any "soldier,"" "sailor," "marine," or "nurse,” entitled to pension who served between April 21, 1898, and July 4, 1902, and whose physical condition qualifies him for such special rate.
While H. R. 886 deals only with service pensions for veterans, its enactment would doubtless become a precedent on which base demands for granting this civilian group all of the other types of benefits which are accorded those who served in the active military or naval service during the War with Spain, including service-connected disability compensation, death pension, and death compensation for dependents, hospitalization, and burial benefits.
In the past, several bills have been introduced in the Congress for the purpose of granting benefits to various civilian employees who served during the War with Spain and also to those who served in other wars in which the United States has been engaged. However, these groups do not, in general have a pensionable status. Reference is made to hearings before the Committee on Pensions, House of Representatives, Seventy-fifth Congress, third session, on H. R. 6498, January 21, 1938, on pages 28 to 31 whereon are listed a great number of bills introduced for the benefit of civilian groups employed in the several wars, which have been considered by the Congress.
During the Seventy-ninth Congress a bill was introduced, H. R. 1498, designed to have the entire service of the crew members who served on certain revenue cutter vessels during the Spanish-American War recognized as naval service. The bill passed the House of Representatives and the Senate but was returned by the President to the House of Representatives without his approval on August 1, 1946. In his veto message (H. Doc. No. 763, 79th Cong.) the President concluded as follows:
“During the wars in which the United States has engaged, large numbers of persons have rendered valuable assistance in a civilian capacity to our armed forces. In granting veterans benefits, Congress has long differentiated between active military service and civilian employment with the armed forces. Approval of the bill would constitute a departure from this policy which I cannot justify.”
While it is recognized that many of the civilian employees who served during the Spanish-American War were subject to certain dangers and hazards, they generally received pay in excess of that allowed military or naval personnel, they were not subject to strict military discipline and have never been recognized as components of the Army or Navy proper, their services being merely accessory thereto.
There are no adequate statistical facts upon which to base an estimate of the cost of H. R. 886, if enacted. The principle established however, would constitute a precedent which might serve as a foundation for the approval of the demands of large civilian groups for whom bills have previously been introduced, thereby resulting in a heavy obligation upon the Government in the future.
H. R. 1589 provides that all laws administered by the Veterans’ Administration which extend benefits to any woman who served honorably as a nurse, chief nurse, or superintendent of the Nurse Corps under contract with the United States for 90 days or more, between April 21, 1898, and February 2, 1901, be extended to any man who served honorably in any such capacity under contract with the United States for 90 days or more between such dates.
Contract, nurses (female) who served on or after April 21, 1898, and before February 2, 1901, are eligible for service pension under laws reenacted by Public, No. 269, Seventy-fourth Congress, August 13, 1935, as amended, and under Public, No. 541, Seventy-fifth Congress, May 24, 1938, as amended. Contract nurses (female) are also eligible tor benefits authorized by veterans' regulations issued pursuant to Public, No. 2, Seventy-third Congress, March 20, 1933, provided the regulatory requirements are met. The benefits include compensation for service-connected disability, pension for non-service-connected disability, hospitalization, domiciliary care, and burial benefits.
The legislative history of the acts granting pension and hospital benefits to female nurses who served honorably under contract during the period in question indicates that consideration was given the fact that prior to February 2, 1901, when the Nurse Corps (female) was declared a component part of the Army, there was no service in which a female could enlist and that service under contract was the only manner in which a female, because of her sex, was allowed to serve. The contract nurses were paid $30 per month, took the oath of allegiance, were under military discipline, wore uniforms with the emblem of the Medical Department, received the same rations and quarters as enlisted men, and worked under the same conditions as enlisted men.
Male contract nurses serving with the armed forces during the period in question were not precluded from enlistment in the military or naval service. These nurses were civilian employees. There were also many other classes of civilian employees serving under contract during this period, such as employees of the Quartermaster Corps, assistant and contract surgeons, veterinarians and teamsters. Experience has demonstrated that extension of veterans' benefits to one civilian group would lead to demands for similar treatment of other civilian groups.
It is estimated that approximately 180 persons might be entitled to pensions under H. R. 1589 at a cost of approximately $206,000 for the first year. No worth-while estimate of the cost of furnishing hospitalization and other benefits under the bill can be submitted.
H. R. 1812 proposes that active duty in the United States Revenue Cutter Service during the Spanish-American War, on board the Galveston or any other ship which cooperated with the War Department shall be considered as active military or naval service for the purpose of laws administered by the Veterans' Administration.
This bill is similar to H, R. 886, heretofore discussed, in that it would confer benefits to a restricted group of civilian employees. However, the benefits which it proposes to confer are not restricted to pension payments. The bills are further at variance in that H. R. 1812 refers to service during the Spanish-American War on ships of the Revenue Cutter Service whereas H. Ř. 886 deals with service on certain ships operated by the Army during the war with Spain, the Philippine Insurrection, or the China Relief Expedition.
Inasmuch as personnel of the Revenue Cutter Service who served under the direction of the Secretary of the Navy during the war with Spain, the Philippine Insurrection, or the China Relief Expedition are within the purview of laws granting pensions and other benefits to persons who served in the military or naval services during these periods of war, it appears that the primary purpose of the bill is to confer a similar status on Revenue Cutter Service personnel who did not serve with the Navy, i. e., those who cooperated with the War Department.
During the Fifty-sixth Congress the Senate Committee on Commerce included in its Report No. 65, to accompany S. 728, information from the Division of Revenue Cutter Service, Treasury Department, concerning the activities of that Service with the Army and Navy in the war with Spain. After describing the services rendered by the 13 vessels with the naval forces, the report indicates that there were 7 others, including the Galveston, carrying 10 guns, 33 officers, and 163 men with the Army, engaged in patrolling and guarding mine fields in various harbors from Boston to Mobile and New Orleans.
During the war with Spain, as during other wars in which the United States has been engaged, a large number of vessels were employed which were operated by civilian crews. As previously indicated, numerous bills have been introduced into Congress since the Spanish-American War to grant veterans' benefits to these civilian groups, but they have not been enacted. Specific examples include revenue cutters with less than 90 days' naval service in the Spanish-American War; revenue cutters which cooperated with the Arm rather than the Navy, during that war (such service being regarded as civilian_rather than military); revenue cutters which operated only with the Treasury Department; and other vessels which operated under the Quartermaster Corps in transporting troops and supplies to Cuba and the Philippines. Other more modern examples are the merchant marine and the Coast Guard Auxiliary and service as temporary members of the Coast Guard Reserve.
As to the cost of H. R. 1812, if enacted, there are no records available upon which to base an accurate estimate; however, as previously indicated in connection with H. R. 886, the principle established might result in a heavy financial obligation upon the Government.
It has long been the policy of Congress to limit benefits to persons who served in the active military or naval service and to the dependents of such persons. The proposed bills represent a distinct departure from such established policy and would favor certain small groups of civilian employees to the exclusion of others, thus creating an inequality to the excluded groups.
In view of the foregoing, the Veterans' Administration is unable to recommend favorable consideration of H. R. 886, H. R. 1589, or H. R. 1812, Eightieth Congress, by your committee.
Advice has been received from the Bureau of the Budget that there would be no objection by that Office to the submission of this report to your committee. Sincerely yours,
0. W. CLARK, Acting Administrator of Veterans' Affairs,
TABLE OF RATES.—Non-service-connected benefits Spanish-American War Veterans
including the Philippine Insurrection and the China Relief Expedition, provided by secs. 1 and 3 of the act of June 2, 1930, as amended
NOTE.—These rates include the recent 20 percent increase granted by Public Law 270, 80th Cong., approved July 30, 1947. The effective date of such increase is Sept. 1, 1947.
Washington, September 26, 1947.
House of Representatives, Washington 25, D. C. MADAM: Further reference is made to your letter of Septmber 5, 1947, requesting the views of the Treasury Department on H. R. 451, a bill to extend pension benefits under the laws reenacted by Public Law 269, Seventy-fourth Congress, August 13, 1935, as now or hereafter amended to certain persons who served with the United States military or naval forces engaged in hostilities in the Moro Province, including Mindanao, or in the islands of Samar and Leyte, after July 4, 1902, and prior to January 1, 1914, and to their unremarried widows, child, or children.
The purpose of H. R. 451 is to extend pension benefits to persons who served in any unit of the United States military or naval forces while such unit was engaged in hostilities in the Moro Province, or in the islands of Samarand Leyte, after July 4, 1902, and prior to January 1, 1914.
Insofar as is known at the present time, no personnel or former personnel of the Coast Guard would be effected by enactment of this bill.
The Treasury Department, therefore, is of 'the opinion that it is not concerned with this proposed legislation and no recommendations are submitted. Very truly yours,
THOMAS J. LYNCH,
Washington 25, D. C., July 25, 1947.
House of Representatives. MY DEAR MRS. Rogers: The bill (H. R. 451) to extend pension benefits under the laws reenacted by Public Law 269, Seventy-fourth Congress, August 13, 1935, as now or hereafter amended to certain persons who served with the United States military or naval forces engaged in hostilities in the Moro Province, including Mindanao, or in the islands of Samar and Leyte, after July 4, 1902, and prior to January 1, 1914, and to their unremarried widows, child, or children, was referred by your committee to the Navy Department with request for a report thereon.
The purpose of the proposed legislation is to include in the persons entitled to pension benefits under the act of August 13, 1935 (49 Stat. 614), any person who served in any unit of the military or naval forces of the United States while it was engaged in hostilities in certain of the Philippine Islands between July 4, 1902, and January 1, 1914, providing he was honorably discharged from the enlistment in which such service occurred. Also the surviving unremarried widow, child, or children of such person would-be made eligible for pension under the provisions of existing law.
Since the administration of pensions is wholly under the cognizance of the Veterans' Administration, the Navy Department desires to make no comment upon the merits of the bill.
The Navy Department has been advised by the Bureau of the Budget that
0. S. COLCLOUGH,
Judge Advocate General of the Navy. Mr. O'KONSKI. Now, I would like to ask a question. It is my understanding that this bill has been passed before by the House; has it not?
Mr. HOWARD. That is my understanding.
Mr. O'KONSKI. It has also been passed by the Senate on one occasion. That is my understanding.
Colonel STANDISH (clerk of the committee). It was vetoed by the President.
Mr. O'KONSKI. In which case this bill, if reported favorably, would merely mean that we are reaffirming the act of a previous Congress and that this legislation ought to be passed.
Mr. HOWARD. Yes, sir.
Mr. O'KONSKI. I don't have any particular questions. I think it is much-needed legislation and I am hopeful and quite confident that this committee will report it.
Now, if you have any specific statement you would like to make that will help the cause and strengthen our position in order to pass it, I would appreciate having it very much.
Mr. HOWARD. The only statement I have to make, Mr. Chairman, is when this report was submitted by the Veterans' Administration, General Bradley was Administrator of Veterans' Affairs, and he recommended against the bill.
It is the policy of the present Administrator, General Gray, not to recommend for or against these bills. He believes it should be left to the committee to decide. He just tries to give all pertinent facts and, therefore, we withdraw the second to the last paragraph of the report.
Mr. O'KONSKI. That is report No. 93 I understand.
Mr. O'KONSKI. I am very glad you pointed out that matter and the fact that the present Administrator makes no recommendation for or against.
Mr. HOWARD. Yes. I just wanted to give you his position on it.
Mr. O'KONSKI. I am very glad you pointed that matter out and it will be so stated in the record so there will be no confusion about it,
Mr. Howard. Yes, sir. Will you be interested in the rates, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. O'KONSKI. Yes.
Mr. HOWARD. Then, I will ask Mr. Loggins to give a statement on that.