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up so as to house war workers. That was one thing. Another thing we were supposed to do was to encourage conversions with Federal funds or with private funds. It was conversion of existing structures. Another job I had was to get the cooperation of all real-estate men and all managers of properties to house war workers. We housed in something like 2 years--I canot say how many we directly housed, but we handled over 19,000 families so we did many things, including the encouragement of construction of new housing. Mr. WHITTINGTON. Do you mean by individuals? Mr. KIRKPATRICK. Yes, sir. Mr. WHITTINGTON. Did you encourage or not?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. Very definitely, when we could get the program from National Housing Agency, but my point is we found it extremely difficult and at times impossible to get NHA to program housing because no man could build a house, regardless of who it was, unless he had permission of the National Housing Agency. That was a wartime regulation and in fact it has now gone back to that at this present
moment, sir. Mr. BARDEN. You see, Mr. Whittington, when there was a call for housing at a particular point, the Housing Agency would, in the language of the witness, program 50 houses. They would come in and say, “There are 50 houses needed." There was quite a difference in getting those 50 houses programed for private construction and for Government subsidized construction.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. I am painfully aware of that.
Now the National Housing Agency comes back and tells me that they did no such thing in my area and I want to know if you had any instruction from them in your capacity out there as director not to approve this construction by private agencies and only to do the work for which the Federal money was being spent. They denied that to me. What I want is the proof.
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. I have the proof; reams of it, sir.
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. Let me get one thing straight: I have no authority to approve or disapprove. That was done at Washington. The programing was done in Washington. I did have authority to ask for the housing and present the need for it and that I.constantly did and was consistently refused.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. That is to say, now, where the private housing according to your reports, provided for housing for national defense, war workers and veterans, and at the same time it was at the same cost to them, guaranteed at the same cost and the same rental, that the National Housing Agency consistently refused permission for that work to be constructed ?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. Yes, sir.
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. The reason was, according to them, that we did not need it.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Was that because you had already constructed national housing there?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. They said we did not require any housing in Milwaukee.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. What bothers me is, did they offer to construct national housing there?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. Oh, yes; several times. It was suggested to me that what we needed was a project of temporary housing, so-called. Temporary war housing by the Government only was what we needed, according to them.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. It was because you did not follow these suggestions to ask for war housing in federally subsidized war housing?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. It was all war housing, sir, but because I did not ask for both types of housing at the same time, I was refused the type of housing I wanted.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. In other words, what you thought would suffice and be sound was the private housing?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. Yes, sir.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Therefore, they said, because you did not ask
Mr. HENRY. I think that what he is saying is, that the Government's attitude on the whole proposition was so inconsistent at times, that it is almost unbelievable.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Who was the Administrator of the National Housing at that time?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. It was John B. Blandford.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. He is not at the head of the organization anymore?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. That is correct.
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. I cannot insert them now, sir, but I would be happy to send them to the committee.
Mr. WHITTINGON. It would be very helpful.
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. The Government wartime conversion program sponsored by NHA was one of the most needlessly wasteful actions taken during the war. Its aims, I regret to say-for I helped Phil Klutznick try to make a success of it-was to kill off free-enterprise conversions, get control of more property in urban areas, and keep the personnel of HOLC in jobs. When this program was started NHA deliberately stopped all free-enterprise conversions and in areas like Milwaukee where so-called private conversions ran ahead of Government conversions NHA repeatedly interfered with accomplishment of free-enterprise production by orders and curtailment of programs.
A study of the records of NHA will disclose that NHA circumvented almost every attempt of Congress to insure that its warhousing appropriations were not used as capital by Government housers to set up lucrative real-estate management businesses for themselves. The so-called errors of NHA in building temporary housing to an extent that much of it never had an occupancy ratio of 70 percent were deliberately committed in anticipation of the postwar use to which this housing is now being put. This housing is now
being used-at tremendous cost in public funds and scarce materials, to enlarge the sphere of and increase Government control of the shelter and the lives of Americans.
It is my considered opinion that NHA personnel, in joint action and agreement with OPA personnel, has deliberately created a large portion of the present housing shortage. It is also my belief that this was done to encourage a demand for authoritarian control of most of the real property in this country similar to the controls proposed in the Uthwatt report in Great Britain, which report proposes asthe first assumption
that this involves the subordination to the public good [sic] of the personal interests and wishes of land owners for every aspect of a nation's activity is ultimately dependent on land. I think we can all agree, gentlemen, with the last statement of the Honorable Dr. Uthwatt, because it was the refutation of government ownership of land on which Thomas Jefferson based his fundamental philosophy of Americanism. Of course, the plea is made that this control is desired for the public good, but the public is not some vague, indefinable thing, but on the contrary, is made up of millions of individual human beings; and men are free only as individuals. All you have to do to make this Uthwatt statement à completely Fascist statement is to substitute the word "state” for the two words "public good” and you have the basic philosophy of Hitler and Mussolini. The record of this joint effort by OPA and NHA can be traced with reasonable clarity. I suggest to you that it was no accident that the following actions have been taken.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. How long were you director under the National Housing in Milwaukee?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. I started in the fall of 1942, resigned, I think, in April 1943—I resigned my pay, I did not resign my job, I maintained the office out of my own pocket, continued the functions and continued the cooperation with the National Housing Agency and went back on the pay roll in, I think it was November 1943, continued and resigned in January or February–February, I think, 1944, but even after that, I continued to pretty much direct its affairs.
Mr. WHIITTINGTON. Did you do so without pay?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. I am a builder of houses. I have been such for many years.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. You did that before you went into this work? Mr. KIRKPATRICK. Yes, sir; I did.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. When they declined to permit private building out there, and you were convinced of the Fascist, communistic, or whatever other description you desire to use of the National Housing Administration or Agency, why did you continue with that sort of an organization?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. It was a wartime agency, sir. Many things I put up with on the basis of war. Many citizens, millions of them, did many things during war that they would not think of in peacetime. There are many controls necessary in war that are not necessary in peace.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. That is true, but a good many people did not go along with what they thought was not really in the promotion of war; and when they were convinced that it was subversive, communistic, or fascistic they did not continue in such work. I was just wondering why you continued with that sort of an organization.
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. I was hoping to change it. I never rejoined them. I continued my job.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. You accepted pay after you went back?
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Did they program the private housing that you recommended or the public housing?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. They did program the private housing that I recommended.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. You did get some private housing out there!
The CHAIRMAN. You would not know how many more expediters, inspectors, investigators, and so forth, that it takes to build a Govern: ment house than it does to build the same house by private means?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. I have built none, but I have a pretty good idea. The CHAIRMAN. It takes about 10 times as many, we have found. Mr. KIRKPATRICK. I can believe that, sir.
NHA established war housing centers for the superficially laudable purpose of assisting in the housing of war workers. The regulations, however, were drawn in a manner to bring about community dependence upon these agencies, and the confidentially announced aim was to continue the centers as postwar Government controlled and financed real-estate offices. (Where these centers had been discontinued, they are now being revived under the guise of veterans' housing centers.)
NHA tightly restricted residential construction long after the need for wartime curtailment of building had passed.
While NHA prevented the start of postwar building activities, OPA continued to use its powers under rent control to force
or encourage the sale to owner-occupants of about 5,000,000 dwellings which had theretofore made up a large percentage of the supply of rental properties. Since rental properties, due to turn-over, always accommodate many more families than the same number of properties housing owneroccupants, it can be unqualifiedly proved that the number of units which we need to meet our acute housing demand is almost exactly equivalent to the number of families which would be taken care of if we still had the rental units we had in 1940. For illustration, in Milwaukee, about 40,000 single-family and two-family houses, which formerly constituted part of our total rental properties, have been sold to owner-occupants. As rental properties, these 40,000 units, due to turn-over, would have housed over 50,000 families, and our acute and immediate housing shortage in Milwaukee is about ten or twelve thousand units.
I say that OPA is responsible for this shortage by reason of the fact that it has been completely unrealistic in its administration of rent control to the point that it amounts to practical expropriation of property. The result has been that millions of citizens have sold their properties because they could not get a reasonable return from the rentals received.
At this point I would like it clearly understood that I advocated rent control in my home community, but I never dreamed that such control would be exercised in a manner which has caused the displacement of more families and created more physical and financial hardships for millions of citizens than any other administrative action taken by any agency in the history of our country.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. When these housing projects were constructed in Milwaukee, in the Milwaukee area, before hostilities, before the war, how many of them were constructed there?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. Do you mean Government housing projects?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. National Housing Agency did not come into existence
Mr. WHITTINGTON (interposing). I am talking about slum clearance, and so forth.
The CHAIRMAN. It is the United States Housing Authority. Mr. KIRKPATRICK. We had no United States Housing Authority in Milwaukee.
The CHAIRMAN. How about Defense Homes Corporation ?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. We have none. We have one Public Works Administration project, 518 units constructed in 1934, I believe it was, sir. It was either 1934 or 1935; it was one that consequently became known as the Tugwell Greenbelt town on the outskirts of Milwaukee in a village called Greendale.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the size of that?
Mr. WHITTINGTON. What was the protest of you and other men of like thinking against public construction, and what was your connection in protest, if any?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. Well, unfortunately, I have to make an admission that I thought in 1934 and 1935 that probably it was a very good thing because I thought that it was a warranted expenditure to go in and clear slums and help house people and subsidize families who otherwise would not have a decent place to live. As a matter of fact, that is when I became acquainted with many of the people in the Government housing agency.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Had you anything to do with the construction operation?
Mr. KIRKPATRICK. No, sir; I had nothing to do with it. I was rather favorably inclined. It was only after I saw the manner in which it was handled and the costliness of it that I became rather pretty much of an opponent of Government housing because I do not think it has housed the people for whom the funds were intended to be spent, and I think it has cost too much.