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tion and Navigation from the Department of Commerce to the Coast Guard. This came about when the Coast Guard was transferred to the Navy from the Treasury Department for the duration of the war emergency
The seamen did not complain when the Coast Guard took over the functions of the Bureau, such as issuing seamen's certificates, examinations for licensed officers, and discipline of licensed and unlicensed officers. After all, there was a war on.
Besides, the Executive order establishing this procedure was to end 6 months after the termination of the war. Not 6 months after peace was declared, gentlemen-6 months after hostilities ceased.
During the war and since it ended the seaman has had plenty of cause to regret the Coast Guard control. “Hearing units” were established to try merchant seamen for infractions of discipline. In these "courts" seamen are tried by Coast Guard officers, usually lawyers in uniform who have no sea experience and do not know the practical end of merchant seamanship.
Not a few times, but often, seamen have been tried and sentenced to revocation or suspension of licenses for the smallest infraction of discipline, and often without the presentation or hearing of factual evidence.
These are not baseless beefs, gentlemen. They are facts. I am able to substantiate them through a host of seamen who were persecuted by the Coast Guard officers.
So the war ended. In the days that followed, seamen were buoyed by the expectation that their days under the Coast Guard soon would be ended. When the "duration and 6 months" came to an end, sure enough, the Coast Guard was returned by the Navy to the Treasury under an Executive order.
But the Coast Guard had decided long before that it wanted to retain control of the merchant marine. So, the other Executive order did not come through.
Instead, the Bureau was scheduled to be continued under the Coast Guard in perpetuity.
That was a bitter blow for seamen.
The membership of my union asked me, Why didn't the President hold public hearings on the transfer before he drafted the order? Why didn't you write to him and tell him what a good job the Bureau had done under the Commerce Department? Why didn't you ask him to let us--the men who would be most affected-speak out before he laid down the law ?
My answer was a weak one. I had. I had written to President Truman on three occasions asking to be heard.
In my letters to him I had pointed out the fact that the Bureau had operated successfully under the Department of Commerce since 1884. Seamen and shipowners alike were satisfied with it under that Department. I had pointed out to the President that when the transfer was effected all of the old Bureau employees were transferred, too. They were merely supplemented by Coast Guard officers, who superimposed Coast Guard ideas. The real work of the Bureau continued to be done by the old employees.
All of my letters were answered in noncommittal, official, Washington double talk by a Budget Bureau double-talk master. Each time I received an answer from him in reply to one of my letters to the President, I was inspired to new hope. They were in such a bright and cheerful vein. Everything was going to be rosy, they assured me. Oh, yes, thank you for your kind letter; we are glad to entertain your views. But they did not seem to mean anything. Nothing happened.
I would like to submit these letters to be incorporated in the record. (The letters referred to are as follows:)
JANUARY 11, 1946. The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,
White House, Washington, D. C. MR. PRESIDENT: By virtue of the authority vested in the President of the United States by title I of the First War Powers Act, 1941, approved December 18, 1911, the Honorable Franklin D. Roosevelt, on February 28, 1942, issued Executive Order No. 9083 and thereby transferred the functions of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation and all other functions of the Secretary of Commerce pertaining to shipping including the United States Shipping Commissioner and his office and functions from the Department of Commerce to "the Commandant of the United States Coast Guard to be exercised by him under the direction and supervision of the Secretary of the Navy.” These functions dealt among others with the shipment, discharge, protection, and welfare of merchant seamen.
On or about December 29, 1945, you issued your Executive Order No. 9666 directing the return of the Coast Guard to the Treasury Department in accordance with your policy of returning the Nation to peacetime status as expeditiously as possible.
Presumably this automatically transferred the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation, together with the functions of the Secretary of Commerce pertaining to shipping and the United States Shipping Commissioner and his office and functions from the Commandant's control (as the Commandant no longer functions under the direction and supervision of the Secretary of the Navy) back to the control of the Secretary of Commerce, however, it is respectfully requested that in order to leave no doubt in the matter that an Executive order be issued by you to that effect.
Seafarers International Union of North America, representative of 60,000
SEAFARERS INTERNATIONAL UNION OF NORTH AMERICA.
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,
BUREAU OF THE BUDGET,
January 25, 1946. Mr. JOHN HAWK, Secretary-Treasurer, Seafarers International Union
of North America, New York 4, N. Y. DEAR MR. HAWK: Your letter of January 11, 1946, to the President, relative to the transfer of the functions of the former Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation, was referred to this office.
Although the Coast Guard is still responsible for the administration of the BMIN functions to which you refer, its transfer to the Treasury Department has not operated to determine their final allocation in the Government structure. We are glad to have your views on this subject and assure you that they will be given careful consideration. Very truly yours,
F. J. LAWTON, Administrative Assistant.
. .:: MARCH 7, 1946. EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, BUREAU OF THE BUDGET,
Washington, D. C. .:(Attention : Mr. F. J. Lawton, Administrative Assistant.) GENTLEMEN: Kindly refer to your letter of January 25, 1946, addressed to the undersigned.
By virtue of Public Law 263 of the Seventy-ninth Congress, the President is empowered to reorganize various agencies of the Government. We assume that the general powers conferred upon the President by this law encompass the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation. Moreover, we are informed that bill No. 9, which is currently being proposed, but not actually before either the House of Representatives or the Senate, seeks to vest the functions of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation, formerly exercised by the Department of Commerce, in the Maritime Commission.
While we are not entirely clear as to the powers of the President under the Public Law 263, and also the scope of bill No. 9, we consider it advisable, at this time, to communicate with the President of the United States for the purpose of making known the position of the Seafarers International Union on the general issued involved. Unfortunately, many bills are passed which vitally affect the interests of the unlicensed personnel in the maritime industry, under such circumstances, that not only are we not given an opportunity to make our views known to the lawmaking bodies, but we are not even apprised of the passage of the bills themselves, until circumstances develop which bring them to our attention.
Apparently, proposals are in existence to transfer the functions of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation to either the Coast Guard of the Treasury Department, or to the Maritime Commission. We are strongly and unalterably opposed to either of these governmental agencies as a custodian of these important functions.
We believe that we are correct in stating that the original purpose of the legislation creating the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation and the United States Shipping Commissioner's office was to further extend the benevolent protection of the law to the unlicensed seaman. Stated in another way, these various remedial laws were designed to protect the seaman against the ship operators and owners. Vested in the hands of impartial Government agencies imbued with the spirit and the purpose of these laws, they have, in times past, satisfactorily performed the purpose for which they were created. However, by transference to the Maritime Commission, these powers and functions will be vested in the hands of an agency of the Government, which is, at the same time, the owner and operator of merchant vessels. Where monetary interests are concerned, a decision favorable to the seaman and adverse to the Government would serve to operate against the financial interests of that very agency of the Government which administers the law, and from such decision there is no appear. We urge that such an arrangement is inherently unsound and improper and should not be foisted upon the American seaman by our President. Even where the interests of the Government are not directly involved, the close alinement in interest and sympathy with ship operators of the Maritime Commission in the role of a large shipowner, could easily operate to prejudice the judgment and mental processes of those individuals designated to enforce the laws.
Our objections to the Coast Guard, as an agency designated to administer these laws, are equally as emphatic. We have stated our position on a number of occasions, both to the Coast Guard itself and to various members of the House" and Senate committees interested in the affairs of the United States merchant marine. In brief, the Seafarers International Union of North America is opposed to the control or interference, to even the slightest extent, of a military branch of the Government in the affairs of the merchant marine. We have found from actual experience that there is a fundamental antipathy between the unlicensed personnel of the merchant marine and this military branch of the Government.
The experience of the thousands of seamen whom we represent, with wartime, control by the United States Coast Guard, has been unsatisfactory and distasteful. Historically, the policy of this country has always been to confine the military functions of this Government to their proper sphere. Our experience with the Coast Guard during the course of this war verifies and confirms the soundness of that policy.
We object to the intrusion of the United States Coast Guard into the affairs of the merchant marine, a civil activity. We fear the effect of such an intrusion, and encroachment upon the rights and gains that we have won over the course of many years. We fear that such control can and may be exercised in such a way as to injure and emasculate the labor organizations which have thus far been responsible for the great improvement in the lot of the American merchant seaman.
The experience of the unlicensed personnel, since the creation of these laws, with the Department of Commerce, has been satisfactory and we can see no sound reason for the removal of the functions of the Bureau of Marine Inspection. and Navigation from the control of the Department of Commerce. We know of no objections that have been raised by the shipowning interests to the general operation of these laws, prior to the entrance of this country into the Second World War.
This subject is of the greatest importance to our organization. We feel that we have been deprived of the opportunity to urge our views on the legislative bodies of our Government prior to the passage of the Reorganization Act, in the deliberate and careful manner which is provided for by our legislative pro-, cedure. However, we have complete confidence in our President and believe that he will restore that right by according us the fullest opportunity to state our views in detail.
· We respectfully suggest that the President arrange for a public hearing, so that the views of all parties concerned may be presented and in that manner aid him in his final judgment.
Very truly yours,
MARCH 27, 1946. Mr. JOHN HAWK, Vice President, Seafarers International Union of North America,
Atlantic and Gulf District, New York 4, N. Y. DEAR MR. HAWK: I appreciated receiving your letter of March 8 in which you present additional information regarding the permanent allocation of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation. The points which you raise will receive attention, and we are glad to have your views.
You are correct in assuming that the Reorganization Act of 1945 (Public Law 263 of the 79th Cong.) confers upon the President general reorganization powers which encompass the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation. No doubt you have also noted that after the President shall have determined that reorganization plan is administratively desirable and in harmony with the purposes of the act. He must present it to the Congress where it must remain for 60 days before becoming effective. Provision has thus been made for due legislative consideration.
If you have any further views which you wish to present we shall be glad to receive them. * Very truly yours,
F. J. LAWTON, Administrative Assistant.
MAY 28, 1946. To the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,
White House, Washington, D. O. DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: We wrote a letter to you under date of January 11, 1946, expressing our position on the subject of the transfer of the functions of the United States Shipping Commissioner and of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation to the United States Coast Guard. For your convenience, we attach a copy of this letter, identifying same as “Exhibit 1."
This letter apparently never came to your personal attention and was referred to the Bureau of the Budget division of the Executive Office of the President, because we received an answer to this letter under date of January 25, from this Department, signed by Mr. F. J. Lawton, Administrative Assistant. A copy of this letter is attached and identified as "Exhibit 2."
Not being familiar with the routine of your office, we wrote our letter of March 8, 1946, to the Bureau of the Budget, attention of Mr. F. J. Lawton. Copy of this letter is attached and marked "Exhibit 3.” In this letter we expanded upon our position and requested that you, the President, arrange for a public hearing, so
that the views of all parties concerned could be presented and in that manner aid you in forming a final judgment.
In response to this last-mentioned letter of March 8, 1946, we received a letter dated March 27, from the Bureau of the Budget, signed by Mr. F. J. Lawton. This letter is attached hereto and marked "Exhibit 4."
Although none of the letters received from the Bureau of the Budget promised a public hearing, we were not advised that such a hearing would not be held and we deemed it almost incredible that summary action would be taken by the Office of the President without consulting further the views of the maritime unions representing the great number of men who have rendered such valiant service to the Government during the war.
Accordingly, we were somewhat shocked, to put it mildly, when we were advised that part I of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1946 had, in fact, been submitted to the Congress on May 16, 1946. We were not advised in advance of the intention of the Bureau of the Budget to submit such a plan, nor were we officially informed that the plan had been submitted.
The law permitting the President to submit plans of reorganization is somewhat unusual in that it limits the powers of Congress in passing upon the proposed plans of reorganization. A time limit of 60 days is imposed. The law imposes the onerous task upon any group objecting to the proposals of originating a resolution, having same brought to the attention of both Houses of Congress, and then having a joint resolution passed, negativing the President's proposals, all within the period of 60 days from the date of the submission of the proposals to the Congress.
It should also be noted that the terms of the law tend to deprive the people of the United States of the time-honored protection of public hearings which are the usual incident to the proposal of new legislation to the Congress.
We respectfully point out to the President that our position in this matter has been adopted and affirmed by all other maritime unions in the industry, representing both licensed and unlicensed personnel, including the following organizations : Seafarers International Union of North America ; Sailors Union of the Pacific; National Maritime Union; Pacific Coast Marine Firemen, Oilers, Watertenders, and Wipers Association; Marine Cooks and Stewards; Marine Engineers Beneficial Association; Masters, Mates, and Pilots Organization; American Communications Association; the Radio Officers Union; and the Inlandboatmen's Union of the Pacific.
The letters from the Bureau of the Budget did not advise us that the presentation of our views would be limited to cursory correspondence with it. Accordingly, we were never given an opportunity to be head on a subject of vital importance to the hundreds of men employed in the maritime industry. As a result of the submission of this proposal to the Congress in the manner indi cated, we are now presented with a task which is difficult and burdensome, and therefore obviously unfair.
In view of the situation as above described, we are convinced that this entire matter has never been properly brought to your attention and considered with the care appropriate to the importance of the subject. We therefore are addressing this letter to you in the hope and expectation that you will withdraw part I of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1946 from the Congress until such time as you have had an opportunity to carefully consider the proposed change after a public hearing on the entire subject.
Assuring you of our keen interest in this matter, which we deem to be vital to the welfare of the merchant marine, and trusting to be favored with your response at the earliest convenient opportunity, we are, with kindest regards, Sincerely yours,
SEAFARERS INTERNATIONAL UNION OF NORTH
AMERICA, ATLANTIC AND GULF DISTRICT,
JOHN HAWK, Vice President. Mr. Hawk. The next thing I knew, the President's Reorganization Plan No. 3 had been submitted to Congress. Part 1 hit me in the face when I picked it up.
The main argument for continuing the Bureau under the Coast Guard seems to me that it will more efficiently handle the matter of inspection of vessels and their equipment, since it is responsible, in a measure, for their safety at sea. No argument could be more falla