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are going to destroy the esprit de corps and you will not have such efficiency and economy in the Corps of Engineers itself.
So I say further, members of this committee, that if you do that, taking a branch of the armed forces of this country and subordinate its functions to the direction of a civilian agency, then you will have taken a long step toward destroying the know-how that the engineers themselves acquired during peacetime to perform the tasks and discharge the responsibilities encumbent on them in wartime.
I would like to quote a little more fully from General Eisenhower's statement than has been quoted heretofore. He made a statement in another hearing sometime ago in reference to the Corps of Engineers. He said, and I quote:
I have always believed that not only do the Army engineers render a splendid service in the rivers and harbors work, but I also believe that the rivers and harbors program does more to train our engineers in the large concepts by which they perform their wartime mission than could any other field of endeavor.
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I could discuss this subject perhaps at some greater length, but I have tried to touch the high spots of the situation as I view it. I submit to this committee that appropriate language to exempt the Corps of Engineers from the provisions of this act could be written into the bill in section 5 on page 7-add a new subsection entitled “No, 7.”'
SUBSEC. 7. Abolishing or transferring any civil functions of the Corps of Engineers of the United States Army, or of its head, or affecting such corps or its head, with respect to any such civil function, no reorganization contained in any reorganization plan shall take effect if the reorganization plan is in violation of this subsection.
Gentlemen, that is the statement I want to make to this committee and thank you for your time.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. That was a very fine statement in behalf of the Army corps.
Mr. LANHAM. I might ask if you believe in principle that there should be no exception if you would have a reorganization bill?
Mr. PICKETT. No, I don't think so because I have just stated that I think the Corps of Engineers ought to be exempted.
Mr. LANHAM. Where any other department of the executive branch is affected or not?
Mr. PICKETT. That is right. You differ with that.
Mr. HARDY. Do you think of any other agencies that you feel should be exempt?
Mr. PICKETT. I have not tried to think of any. I was mostly concerned with the Corp of Army Engineers. That is as far as I went. When I saw they were not exempt from the provisions of the bill, I made up my mind that they ought to be and I would like to see this committee write such a subsection into this bill.
Mr. HARDY. You would be satisfied with the bill if that was provided for?
Mr. PICKETT. I don't know whether I would or not. I would not commit myself to support or oppose this bill whether you put this exemption in or not. I don't think I will support it if you don't.
. Mr. Harvey. This is, I think, relevant to your testimony which I appreciated and enjoyed very much. I tried to locate in the hearings
of 1937—and they may probably have been in 1939—but the essence of it said this: That if you have confidence in your Government and have confidence in the duly elected officers, particularly that of the President, that any attempt to take exemptions in the act itself is not a direct thrust at any commission who might make recommendations but is a display of distrust in the Chief Executive. Would you go so far as to say this exemption that you are requesting is a mark of distrust of the Chief Executive? Mr. PICKETT. I would not say that. I think that even a man of the greatest integrity and the highest purpose can make an honest mistake and if they do not exempt the Corps of Engineers in this instance, they are making a mistake. Chairman DAwson. Are there any further questions? §: response.) Chairman DAwsON. Thank you very much. We have a group who have come to us from Virginia who would 1ike to testify on this matter by one representative. I think, after this next witness, I am going to ask that we take a short recess until, say, 2 o'clock and continue to hear other witnesses upon this matter, because it is the purpose to conclude our hearings on Monday. Mr. HARDY. Mr. Chairman, I would just like to make a brief comment before I present the witness who will testify, a gentleman from my district. I want to make a comment upon Mr. Pickett's testimony with respect to the publicity, and I would like the committee to know that back in the early fall when these reports began to be carried in the press, with respect to recommendations which would come from the Hoover Commission, I was besieged at that time with an avalanche of protests with respect to the Army engineers. Now, during the last few days, I have received numerous communications from my district and I would like for the record to show that communications were received from these individuals and organizations: Leon T. Seawell, president, Hampton Roads Maritime Association. T. G. Walton, member, Virginia House of Delegates. W. S. Harney, Norfolk Association of Commerce. C. Wiley Grandy, president, Norfolk Association of Commerce. Hugh Johnson, commissioner of revenue for Norfolk County. Sheriff J. A. Hodges of Norfolk County. Lisle A. Lindsay, a prominent businessman and farmer in Norfolk County. Leslie T. Fox, mayor of Portsmouth. C. A. Harrell, city manager of Norfolk. R. A. Robertson, treasurer of Norfolk County. Colon L. Hall, chairman of Norfolk County Board of Supervisors. E. T. White, clerk of Norfolk County. Eric W. Rodgers, secretary, Roanoke River Basin Association. Sidney Killam, treasurer, Princess Anne County. William Hudgins, clerk of Princess Anne County, and speaking on behalf of the Board of Supervisors of Princess Anne County. Also, Benjamin B. Burroughs of the Lynnhaven Water Association.
Now, Mr. Chairman, there are three representatives from my district here.
I would like the record to show that Mr. E. T. Beall, representing the city manager of Norfolk; H. M. Thompson, who is an official both of the Norfolk Industrial Commission and the Hampton Roads Maritime Association; and in addition to these, Mr. W. S. Harney, manager of the Norfolk Association of Commerce; and Mr. H. W. C. Wade of the Norfolk Port Authority were trying to fly up this morning and they were not able to get here.
ow, Mr. Chairman, I would like to present Mr. H. J. Wagner, traf
fic director of the Norfolk Port Authority, who will speak for the entire Virginia delegation.
STATEMENT OF H. J. WAGNER, TRAFFIC LIRECTOR, NORFOLK PORT AUTHORITY, NORFOLK, WA.
Mr. WAGNER. My name is H. J. Wagner, traffic director of the Norfolk Port Authority, a city organization charged with promoting the interest of the port of Norfolk, Va. I am here also speaking for the division of ports, department of conservation and development, Commonwealth of Virginia, city of Norfolk, Norfolk Port Authority, city of Portsmouth, Hampton Roads Maritime Association, Norfolk Association of Commerce, Norfolk Industrial Commission, Lynnhaven Waterways Association, Board of Supervisors of Norfolk County, Board of Supervisors of Princess Anne County, all in tidewater, Virginia. I think, Mr. Chairman, I should first like this committee to understand that so far as we are concerned, we are not here by reason of any propaganda by the Army engineers or others. Of course, like all others, we first learned of the proposal to incorporate these civil functions of the Army engineers into a proposed Department of Public Works from the report of the Hoover Commission. When we found that in this proposed bill, in this H. R. 1569, no exemption similar to that incorporated in the 1945 Reorganization Act was incorporated in this act we were, to put it mildly, excited. I doubt if there is any section of this country closer to the Army engineers than tidewater Virginia. Probably in no equal area in this country is there a greater concentration of Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and other Government activities. I doubt if any community in the country has worked closer with the Army engineers and probably if you have asked more of them, and certainly no section of the country has had greater consideration than have we from the Army engineers. Now, we are in the “but-ers” class. We have, or we favor, of course, the economy in government but we cannot see how there can be any economy in transferring the functions of the Army engineers affecting the waterways of this country to a Department of Public Works which might well be headed by a man very much interested in public roads but having little or no interest in waterways. It is hard for me to follow the argument that no exemption should be made, assuming as I do assume that every member of this committee and Congress agrees that existing functions of the Army engineers should be continued in full, because, ultimately, Congress has got to say, as I see it, whether or not, if the President proposes that the Army
engineers' functions, civil functions be consolidated with the Department of Public Works, whether or not that should be done.
Now, why in the world should not this Congress, if it believes it, say to the President in advance of any reorganization, leave the civil functions of the Army engineers alone. Ultimately you are going to say it; why should you not say it in advance. You said it in '45. I can see no objection to saying it now.
That is all I have to say.
Mr. LANHAM. Do you not realize, sir, that every bureau and every branch of the Government has the same feeling that the Army engineers have about their function and the function they are doing should not be disturbed, and do you not know that we would be asked to exempt every board and bureau if we once opened the gate for exemptions? Can you not see our position?
Mr. WAGNER. I can see your position, but at the same time you have to exercise good judgment at one time or another on that question. Why don't you do it in advance if you believe in it?
Mr. LANAHAM. Why should you fear that the President will offer any such suggestion? You mentioned the Hoover report.
As I understand it, the Hoover report has never been made. There has been no report from the Hoover Commission so far as I know.
Mr. WAGNER. All I know is the press reports and that was in the press reports.
Mr. LANAHAM. You may have seen a press report that some task force of the Hoover Commission had made some recommendation, So far as I know, nobody knows whether that is true or not.
Mr. WAGNER. Í understand the report has not been completed but that sections have been completed.
Mr. LANAHAM. I understand that absolutely no decision has yet been made by the entire Commission on any of these task force suggestions. I may be wrong. Mr. Hoover will be here Monday to answer that question. But the predicament we are in is, if we start making any real exemptions, we throw the door open and there is no end to it and in the end we have no reorganization.
Mr. WAGNER. That final decision is for you, Mr. Congressman. But I come back to it that you are going to have to face it some time.
Mr. Lanham. I am perfectly willing to face it and I agree with you thoroughly, everything you have said about the Corps of Engineers. They have done a remarkable job and I do not want to see them disturbed. But I think that if we are to get any reorganization of our executive departments, that we must give the President the right to suggest to us what changes should be made, reserving always the right to veto any suggestion that does not meet with our approval.
I feel certain in the first place that the President is not going to recommend any such thing and I am just as certain that Congress almost to a man would object to any reorganization plan that did try to transfer these functions to some other agency.
Mr. WAGNER. Mr. Chairman, may I just say this in that connection, that I think our fears and the fears of a great many millions in this country would be allayed if the majority leader were to say the President of the United States would not transfer the civil functions.
Mr. LANHAM. If he has any sense, he will not; and he is a pretty sensible man.
Mr. McCORMACK. I am sitting here as a member of this committee. Mr. WAGNER. I realize you are.
Mr. McCORMACK. And I am going to sit here as a member of the committee, because I am living with this committee, I am a part of this committee, and I join with Mr. Lanham in expressing the opinion, my own personal opinion, that the very high regard the Corps of Engineers is held in, that any reorganization plan taking them out of the Department of the Army would not be recommended, and if recommended, that any Congress would, in all probability, very rapidly disapprove of it.
Mr. WAGNER. Thank you for that statement.
Mr. McCORMACK. I am expressing my personal opinion. Every statement you have made I concur with as to the relations of the Corps of Engineers. I have no problems up my way and I happen to be author of a bill that allowed 100 percent to be paid by the Congress for all flood projects. It was prior to the latter 1930's when the States had to contribute the land free from all encumbrances and pay the administrative expenses. Although there are no flood control oblems in my district, I was looking at it from the national angle that flood control was a challenge of the National Government.
I know how I would feel if I lived in an area which, when the winter snows melted, would be subjected to danger and damage to property. I have always felt that that was a problem which constituted a challenge to the Federal Government. I even felt it in the early 1930's when the first organic act was passed whereby the Federal Government appropriated money for building of the dam, but the State had to make its contribution of the land and that usually meant two or three townships in the case of a dam, and all administrative expenses.
I voted for it as a safeguard, but I felt even then that the Federal Government should assume the whole thing and it has never left my mind.
I think in ’37 or '38 I introduced a bill to eliminate, and after a hard fight it became law. It is the law now, as you know. So I happen to be author of that bill of 100 percent contribution by the Federal Government for flood controls. Even the purchase of land, the elimination of easements, rights-of-way and the paying of administrative expense as well as the appropriation of money for the physical construction of the dam. Everything you and others have said about the Corps of Engineers we all agree with.
I can only express my own opinion that I cannot conceive of any President who would recommend transferring it from the Army, Department of the Army, and if they did, the strong probabilities are that it would be disapproved. I could not go beyond that because I cannot read the minds of 435 men in one House and 96 in the other. I do not know what would happen 2 or 3 years from now when I am not a Member of this body. How can I tell? But I can express probabilities.
Mr. WAGNER. I want to say your views are very much appreciated by our people, at least.
Mr. HARDY. Mr. Chairman, I would like to bring up one or two questions here.
Mr. Wagner, you have associated with a commercial activity in the Norfolk area for a long time. How long have you been there?