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WASHINGTON, D. C., April 12, 1917. DEAR SIR : As agent for the owners of lots 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, and 23, in square 673, in the city of Washington, D. C., I can make the following proposal to lease to the United States Government for the period of 10 years the abovementioned property and to erect thereon a warehouse suitable for the purposes as outlined by you for the use of your branch of the service and to generally conform with the plans and specifications accompanying this letter.
This proposal is made provided the Government is willing to enter into this agreement not later than the 10th day of May, 1917, and also with the understanding that the Government will procure the right and franchise, and right of way to construct a railroad in said property connected with a main line of some railroad company. The above proposition is also conditioned upon the accomplishment of satisfactory arrangement with the owners of lots 18 and 19 entering into this contract (the owners of these lots have expressed their willingness to do this, but owing to some legal complication it will be necessary to delay several days before their signature can be had to a contract, and it is therefore necessary for us to make this condition in this proposal, which is in reality merely technical). The proposition is also subject to strikes, earthquakes, bombardments, fire, flood, or any unusual or unforeseen conditions beyond control. The said building is to be completed within 20 weeks from the date of signing a contract for the erection of same, or to have one story ready for occupancy in 14 weeks from said date.
The annual rental for this building will be $40,000, which is based upon a figure slightly in excess of 20 cents per square foot of floor space.
If your department would so desire, I believe it would be possible to make this building a three-story building, with elevator facilities with capacity to carry large trucks, at a rental approximating 20 cents per square foot of floor space. Very truly, yours,
FRANCIS BENNETT POE,
Real Estate Broker, 924 Seventeenth Street NW. Col. C. R. DARNELL, Field Medical Supply Depot, 23 M Street NE.,
Washington, D. C.
COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
W’ashington, D. C., April 26, 1917. Hon. NEWTON D, BAKER,
Secretary of War, Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. SECRETARY : Your favor of recent date relative to authority to make 10-year contracts for a warehouse depot for the field medical uspplies is at hand.
In reply I beg to call your attention to the provision found in Statutes at Large, volume 37, page 718, which authorizes contracts for the lease for periods not exceeding six years of all modern fireproof storage accommodations within the District of Columbia at rates per square foot of available space not exceeding 25 cents.
I am inclined to believe that it might be possible for you to make satisfactory arrangements under that statute without further legislaion. Sincerely, yours,
JOHN J. FITZGERALD,
RAILROAD CONNECTION WITH ARMY MEDICAL SUPPLY DEPOT. The CHAIRMAN. Are you interested in having a railroad connection with the storehouse of the field medical supply depot!
Col. FISHER. Yes, sir; I am anxious to speak to you about that.
The CHAIRMAN. We have not the estimate here, but we have a letter on the subject. Where is this building!
Col. FISHER. At 21 M Street NE., just east of North Capitol Street.
The CHAIRMAN. You are asking for this authority: That the Secretary of War is hereby authorized to enter into an agreement or agreements with such railroad or terminal company or companies that he may
deem proper for the purpose of establishing, maintaining, and operating a sufficient and satisfactory track connection or connections with the medical supply depot, United States Army, in the city of Washington, D. C., as said depot now exists or may hereafter be established: Provided further, That so much of said track connection or connections with appurtenant turnouts and sidings as can not be constructed over any right of way or property now or hereafter owned or occupied by such railroad or terminad company or companies as may be located and constructed in, upon, over, and through public Mounds, space and streets of the United States, as the same are now or may be hertafter ascertained and established.
We will want a good deal of information about this. Have you a map showing the location of this railroad and where it would be built?
Col. FISHER. This railroad is just across the street from the building they are putting up now. It would simply run across the street and be elevated to enter the building. That is all that would be necessary. The CHAIRMAN. Who would pay for that?
MAN Capt. Daly. The railroad company would pay for it. All they are after is the authority to make the extension. There would be no charge to the Government.
The CHAIRMAN. Of course no private party is permitted to have a railroad connection across a public street to a warehouse in Washington under such circumstances, and at the end of six years this right would be of extraordinary value to the owner of this property.
Capt. Daly. Yes; I expect that is so. It would save a great deal of expense in the way of trucking on the part of the Quartermaster Department if the cars could be run into the warehouse.
The CHAIRMAN. Why do you not make this connection with the building you have now instead of the building you are going to lease?
Col. FISHER. The building they are going to lease is between the railroad and the old building.
Capt. Daly. And we lease the building that is now used. Col. FISHER. At present it is quite difficult to get enough trucks. We are sending out stuff in such enormous quantities that the quartermaster Department has had trouble in finding enough trucks for us. We are sending out stuff in carload lots, and it would not only save the expense of trucking, which is not the most interesting thing just now, but it would facilitate the delivery of medical supplies if we could run this railroad right into the warehouse.
CLAIMS FOR DAMAGES TO AND LOSS OF PRIVATE PROPERTY.
(See p. 554.)
The CHAIRMAN. Have you this next item, “ Claims for damages to and loss of private property, $5,000”?
Capt. Daly. Yes, sir. There is $5,000 appropriated for this purpose in the appropriation act for the fiscal year 1918, and that has already been obligated by the claims that are on hand.
The CHAIRMAN. Where have these damages been sustained ? Capt. Daly. There are a few cases of damages due to heavy gunfire, and a great many of the cases are due to damages down on the Mexican border. In addition to that, Mr. Fitzgerald, we have damages amounting to a little over $4,000 on account of Camp Willis, the
National Guard camp at Springfield, Ohio. There are approved claims amounting to $4,000 that are now awaiting this appropriation. We have $2.97 left out of the 1918 appropriation. Since the submission of this estimate the Camp Willis approved claims have come in, and they amount to nearly $4,000.
Mr. Sisson. When did these damages accrue?
Capt. Daly. The damages at Camp Willis accrued during the period that they were mobilizing the Ohio National Guard troops at that camp.
Mr. Sisson. Last year?
Capt. Daly. Yes, sir; but the papers have only recently reached us approved. They were acted upon and investigated by a beard of officers, and have finally been determined and accepted by the claimants. There are a great many other smaller claims at various places along the Texas border.
Mr. Sissox. What was the nature of the $4,000 claims!
Capt. Daly. Damages to crops, damages to land and improvements. I do not remember all the details.
Mr. Sisson. Due to the carelessness of the troops!
The CHAIRMAN. And the department can not adjudicate any claim in excess of $1,000?
Capt. Daly. No; and all these claims have to go to the auditor for settlement after we get this appropriation.
The CHAIRMAN. But you are limited to the payment of claims that do not exceed $1,000!
Capt. Daly. Yes, sir.
DISPOSITION OF REMAINS OF OFFICERS, SOLDIERS, AND CIVIL EMPLOYEES.
The CHAIRMAN. For disposition of remains of officers, soldiers, and civil employees you are asking $536,000.
Capt. Daly. This is an estimate based on existing war conditions. It is arrived at based on the percentage of mortality in the National Guard and Regular Army during the fiscal year 1917. That is the basis. I am simply giving you this to show how we arrived at the $536,000. This $536,000 is based on the normal death rate, and we have not included any casualties due to combat. The normal death rate is estimated at one-third per cent, based on the strength of the Regular Army and the National Guard on duty along the Texas and Mexican border for one year.
Mr. Sisson. That is 1 in 300 ?
Capt. Daly. Well, the total strength was 294,488 men and the normal deaths were 504. The regulations provide $50 for each enlisted man, exclusive of transportation, and $75 for each officer, exclusive of transportation, for the casket and all other expenses incident to the interment. We have based this estimate on $100 per man.
The CHAIRMAN. Why?
Capt. DALY. Because of the European situation. We expect most of the details over there, and the transportation cost in handling them will be much larger than it would be here.
The CHAIRMAN. Based on an army of how many men!
Capt. Daly. Based on an army of 1,072,000 men. It is presumed that the normal death rate per year in a force of 1,072,000 men would
be about the same as when the troops were on the border, which was one-third per cent of the total enlisted strength; but for the foreign service the estimate is increased to one-half per cent and the total expenditure increased to $100. Applying that same rate of percentage for normal deaths, it would give us 5,360 men, and at $100 per man it would be $536,000. There have been no obligations incurred against this fund, but they are preparing to organize a burial corps, and there are several requisitions and requests from our ports of embarkation, and I think one request from the commanding general of the forces across the water, for caskets and embalming fluids, and things of that sort, which we have not been able to supply.
FRIDAY, JULY 20, 1917.
STATEMENTS OF MR. THOMAS EWING, COMMISSIONER OF PATENTS, AND MR. E. J. AYERS, CHIEF CLERK DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
NEW INTERIOR DEPARTMENT BUILDING—INCREASE IN PAY OF EMPLOYEES.
The CHAIRMAN. You are asking that the persons who were put to work a month or so ago as the force in your new building be given the benefit of the 5 per cent and the 10 per cent?
Mr. AYERS. Yes, sir.
Mr. AYRES. It is a privilege extended to the others, and these people think that they ought to be treated the same as those under the legislative bill.
The CHAIRMAN. Are they new men or old men?
Mr. AYRES. Practically all of them are new men. We have had to take them from the civil service. It is an increase of the force due to the taking over of the new building.
The CHAIRMAN. They have not been suffering any from a lack of adequate compensation in the Government service!
Mr. AYERS. They were not on the roll before.
The CHAIRMAN. The next item is: To enable the Secretary of the Interior to employ during the fiscal year 1918, without reference to the civil-service rules, three substation operators, at $1,200 each per annum, and three assistant substation operators, at $900 each per annum, required in the operation of the electric substation in the new Interior Department Building, $6.300 or so much thereof as may be necessary?
Mr. AYERS. That is the substation put in by the Supervising Architect from which we get the current from the Capitol power plant. When we submitted the estimate for the technical force of our department this was not submitted, because they claimed that it had not been determined whether we would get the current from the Potomac Electric Power Co. or the Capitol plant. If the current had come from the Potomac Electric Power Co. this transformer
would not have been there, and it would not have been necessary to have these employees. Now, that we get the current from the Capitol plant, we have to operate the substation.
The CHAIRMAN. How is it operated now?
Mr. Ayers. The Treasury Department has maintained it. They have been insisting upon turning it over to the department since before the 1st of July.
The CHAIRMAN. Why should you ask Congress to give you these employees regardless of the civil-service rules?
Mr. AYERS. Because the Civil Service Commission at the present time has not the people competent to do this work; there is no eligible register.
The CHAIRMAN. If there is not an eligible register, you could get them without any register?
Mr. AYERS. I have no one in view other than to be able to take it on a minute's notice, when it is ready to be turned over.
The CHAIRMAN. The President has the power to do this.
MI YERS. Yes, sir. I do not care where we get the people, so long as we get somebody to operate the plant.
Mr. GILLETT. How do you know that they have no eligible register; have you inquired?
Mr. AYERS. Yes, sir.
Mr. AYERS. Undoubtedly they would try to furnish them if we pressed them.
The CHAIRMAN. If there is no register and they can not certify them you can select them where you please.
Mr. Ayers. This is the language which is contained in the amendment prepared recently for the other deficiency bill to take care of that situation. At that time it seemed as though the plant was to be turned over to us the next day. I have no objection to striking out that provision.
The CHAIRMAN. How did you arrive at this estimate?
Mr. AYERS. Through a conference with the superintendent of the Capitol plant and by a comparison of the compensation paid elsewhere. According to the Treasury Department the compensation would be at least $1,800 per man for this service, but we find that the compensation paid outside is about $1,200. The superintendent of the Capitol plant said, in his judgment, that was a fair compensation.
Mr. GILLETT. What department estimated $1,800 ?
Mr. Ayers. The Treasury Department, the Supervising Architect's Office.
PATENT OFFICE, RENT OF QUARTERS FOR MODELS.
The CHAIRMAX. The next item is:
For rent of quarters for accommodation of the Patent Office models now stored on reservation numbered thirteen, in District of Columbia, and for necessary expenses, including labor of removal of the models and their storage, $3,500, to continue available during the fiscal year 1918.
Where is reservation No. 13?