« 이전계속 »
As they now operate, it appears to me—and to most of us who have observed their operations—that they are really autonomous. If the Secretary of War in former days or the Secretary of the Army in these days has interfered to direct or guide any of their decisions, I do not know of it; and I do feel that in a civilian agency there could be times when it might be entirely proper.
I do not infer impropriety in having the decisions of a subordinate in a bureau or agency directed or guided by those in authority over him. I am quite sure we accord that authority to the President of the United States, whoever he is. If he feels that one of his departments is not reaching the right decision, he will tell them the decision they should reach; and they probably will reach it. I don't see anything particularly improper in that. His is the responsibility, after all.
Answering your question one step further, to repeat, I think that their decisions—that is, the decisions of the officers of the corpswould inevitably be influenced, and that means at once the destruction of their full responsibility.
As I endeavored to point out, if their decisions are influenced, no matter how properly, they are not the decisions of the Army engineers, and these things are not done in a way to develop that sense of responsibility and that ability to assume responsibility and command which I feel is absolutely essential if we are to maintain the efficiency of this branch of the military service.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. I respect your opinion, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Lanham?
Mr. HARDY. I think it would contribute much to your impression of the outlook of the committee to have heard the testimony this morning
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Karsten? Mr. KARSTEN. Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask the witness just what is this Rivers and Harbors Congress. I do not know very much about the organization.
Could you tell us about it, sir?
I have been a member of the organization only about 15 years. I can't give you much of the history of it, but it is an organization made up of those who are interested in the use, conservation, and control of water, inland water transportation, flood control, and irrigation.
Mr. KARSTEN. You say those who would be interested in the control of inland waters. What would that include ? Could you tell me?
Mr. BUCKMAN. It would include flood control. It would include division of the water in the river for irrigation purposes, the retention of the water from time to time for use in consumption in industry or in human consumption, and so forth.
Mr. KARSTEN. What about getting commercial interests, a barge line, say? Would they have any interest in your organization ?
Mr. BUCKMAN. I don't know whether they have or not, but I wouldn't think it at all improbable that some of the members of this organization are members of barge-owning companies. I know we had one. I certainly don't want to take up the time of the committee, Mr. Chairman, by reading this list; but, if the gentleman would tell me what State he is from, I will tell you who our vice president is from your State.
Mr. KARSTEN. I want to know just in a general way who is in this organization and how many members you have.
Mr. BUCKMAN. I see. Possibly I had better tell you that the president of the organization is Senator McClellan, of Arkansas, that the national vice presidents are Senator Kenneth Wherry of Nebraska, Congressman Whittington of Mississippi, Congressman Francis Case of South Dakota, and the chairman of the projects committee is Congressman Sid Simpson of Illinois. I am the vice chairman of the projects committee. The executive vice president is Mr. William Webb. I will skip the directors at large, and the regional directors.
Mr. KARSTEN. That is quite sufficient. I gather from that it is a. nonpartisan organization.
Mr. BUCKMAN. There isn't any question about that, sir. Mr. KARSTEN. What I was also trying to develop, though, is just what interests you do represent. You pointed out agriculture and flood control and perhaps irrigation; is that correct?
Mr. BUCKMAN. I don't recollect pointing out agriculture except as it might be related to irrigation. In other words, I would say that the interest which formed and continued to hold this organization together is that common interest in use and conservation of water.
Mr. KARSTEN. How many members would you say are in your organization, sir?
Mr. BUCKMAN. I would say we have about 600 active members. That is a guess, but it is about right.
Mr. KARSTEN. They are spread all over the country; is that correct? Mr. BUCKMAN. Yes, over all 48 States.
Mr. KARSTEN. I appreciate your testimony. It was not directed to the bill itself; rather, it was directed to something that may happen if this does become law.
I would like to have your views on what you think of this bill as it applies to other Government agencies, without taking the engineers into consideration.
Mr. BUCKMAN. May I say in the first place, with regard to the bill itself, I think the committee should know that I am uninstructed from the organization I am here representing. The organization, I believe, is not on record in regard to whether it favors reorganization covered by this bill or otherwise . It has confined itself to repeated' expressions of opinion, resolutions, and efforts over a long period of years to hold the river and harbor works wholly within the Corps of Engineers and in holding the Corps of Engineers under the War Department.
If you want my personal opinion for what it is worth, I shall be very glad to discuss it with you.
Nr. KARSTEN. The reason I asked that is that we are not holding a hearing on the transferring of the engineers from the War Department or to any other department. Our hearing is directed to this bill.
For that reason, I would appreciate your personal observation on that.
Mr. BUCKMAN. Will you ask the question, or will you set me free? Mr. KARSTEN. My question is: what are your views with respect to this bill, whether you think it should be enacted or whether it should not be enacted, assuming that we forget about the provision relating to the engineers. Mr. BUCKMAN. You get me into a very unhappy position. I came up here trying to gain the consent through persuasion of enough F. of this committee to positively exempt the Corps of Engineers rom any provision of this bill, and it is with reluctance that I would express any view which might alienate any of you from that objective. Nevertheless, I think I have enough of the common, garden variety of courage to tell you what I think, and that is that I am very definitely opposed, although I am a good Democrat, to giving the Executive any more power than he now has in any form, this bill or any other way. Mr. KARSTEN. What would you say about this tangled, snarled bureaucracy that we heard so much about? Do you not think we should do something to clear that up? Mr. BUCKMAN. I certainly do, and I am very glad you have given me the opportunity to answer that question. The CHAIRMAN. Does any other member wish to ask Mr. Buckman any questions? Mr. Bon NER. I would like to ask him a few questions. I have always been greatly interested in your organization. Mr. Karsten asked the question: just what was the purpose of your organization? I want you to correct me if I am wrong. The original purpose of your organization was to develop and coordinate the inland waterways for transportation and national defense. Mr. BUCKMAN. I think that is absolutely correct. Mr. BoNNER. Your organization has been the prime mover in that purpose. Mr. BUCKMAN. I think that could be said; yes. Mr. Bon NER. There was a part of your statement that I really wanted some further information on. There is a feeling that there has been a lot of lobbying, I might say, or effort, put forth by the engineers themselves to bring this particular question, this particular agency of Government to the attention of this committee. I haven't felt that way. I have felt all along that it arose spontaneously from the friends of the engineers by the people. Am I correct in that? So far as my experience is concerned, you are absolutely correct. Mr. BUCKMAN. So far as my experience is concerned, you are absolutely correct. If there has been any activity on the part of the engineers now or in the past at any time to gain sympathy for their position or support, I don’t know about it. Having served on the Resolutions Committee of this organization for 15 years, I think repeatedly year after year, at place after place and time after time, there have come before those committees civilians from all parts of the country, so far as I know, motivated by their own interests, their own local interests, urging that the committees adopt resolutions insisting that the work be kept in the Corps of the Army Engineers. As you know, this is an old question. 851.70—49—8
Mr. BONNER. What is the name of the society, the National Society of Engineers ?
Mr. BUCKMAN. The American Society of Civil Engineers.
Mr. BONNER. Didn't they first promote the movement that all river and harbor projects should be removed from the Corps of Engineers and be delegated by contract to private engineers ?
Mr. BUCKMAN. I can't answer that positively. I am a little ashamed that I can't. I have been a corporate member of that organization for 20 years. But my impression is that that was a report made by a committee that studied the matter, and that the organization did not take action on it. I am not sure.
Mr. BONNER. If I may refresh your memory: when it was some years ago proposed to set up a Department of Public Works, wasn't that proposed at that time?
Mr. BUCKMAN. I don't recall it, but I wouldn't deny it. I do know this: if it will asist you in exploring my information on the subject, that there are among many engineers in civilian life a feeling that what they call monopoly over these engineering works now placed in the hands of the Corps of Engineers by the Government should be dispersed among the civilian engineering fraternity.
I have never for a moment subscribed to that, myself, but I think there are probably a considerable number of individuals among the engineers who do. Whether they are members of the society or not, I don't know.
Mr. BONNER. The records of the engineers are now kept by the War Department; is that correct?
År. BUCKMAN. Yes, so far as I understand. I don't pretend to know anything about the internal workings of the engineers.
Mr. BONNER. If they are in the War Department, they are available for all the engineers in addition to those who are assigned to river and harbor work.
Mr. BUCKMAN. They are available after they have been reported to Congress.
Mr. BONNER. I understand that. The whole engineer's office?
Mr. BONNER. Should they be transferred to a private agency, would they then be accessible and available?
Mr. BUCKMAN. You mean a private agency?
Mr. BONNER. Not to a private agency, but to a separate agency, an agency of Public Works.
Would they then be accessible to the War Department as they are now?
Mr. BUCKMAN. As I said before, I have had very little experience and contact with other departments of the Government, but the limited experience that I have had would lead me to believe that it would be much more difficult to obtain information from the files of almost any denartment of Government than it would be from the Corps of Engineers, because I have tried to get it from the Corps of Engineers and they have always given me free access to every decimal point that they had ever used.
Mr. BONNER. That is all.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you have a question of Mr. Buckman, Mr. Harvey?
Mr. HARVEY. No. Mr. BURNSIDE. Do you know of any contemplation to change the present status of the Corps of Engineers? • Mr. BUCKMAN. I will say this, and this is merely the working of my own mind: A long time ago when ex-President Hoover was Secretary of Commerce, I had a talk with him, and incidental to that conversation he mentioned the fact that he thought that the functions of the Corps of Engineers should be taken away from that organization and placed in the Department of the Interior or the Department of Commerce. No doubt, he was just as honest in that conviction and belief as he has been in all his others. That made a deep impression on me, although I didn't agree with him then and don't agree with him now. That is still his opinion. Now I find that the President has summoned Mr. Hoover as his counselor, in this question of reorganization, and since he surely would be inclined to listen to the counsel of his chief counselor, whether he finally accepted it or not, it poses the question in my mind as to whether he may not listen then to that advice, if such still be the advice of Mr. Hoover, and I don’t know whether it is or not. So, when you say, “Is anything of the kind contemplated?” I don't know, but it seems to me that there is a train of circumstance existent which is self-presumptive evidence that something of the kind may be contemplated. Do I make myself clear? Mr. BURNSIDE. Is that, then, the reason why you have been worrying about this, or maybe some of the others of the Corps of Engineers people have been worrying about it? Mr. BUCKMAN. I don't know why they are worrying about it or whether they are worrying about it, but it has troubled me, and still does, not only for that reason, but because I think you are all well acquainted with the fact that this is an old question, whether the Corps of Engineers shall have control of these works or whether some other Federal agency has it. It isn't know to be new. It has been going on for a long, long time. It is an old feud, for instance, between the Department of the Interior and the War Department. There has been more than one suggestion made, if not formally, at least informally, in high places, that the rivers and harbors should be transferred to some other agency. One of the late Secretaries of the Interior said to me in the mid1930's that if he could not gain control of the river and harbor works, he felt that he would be doing something less than the full service he might do as Secretary of the Interior, indicating very definitely how he felt about it. Those of us who have lived a long time with these problems of waterways recognize nothing new whatever in the present situation. I want to say before I close, Mr. Chairman, that I appreciate very much the waiver of the parliamentary point that I am not speaking to the bill, but merely to an ancillary subject, and I appreciate permission to do that. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Buckman. Mr. KARSTEN. For the clarification of the record, Mr. Buckman, you would be opposed to the bill even though the amendment you suggest were adopted