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Mr. GREEN. Then he can retain his hundred dollars and get that instead of having to take $93.75?
Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. And get all of the benefits of tliis act, and he will get more than $100 instead of $93.75, as suggested by the gentleman from Connecticut. It has been suggested that the idea that we must treat officers and enlisted men alike is communistic. When we go into court on a claim for personal injury, suppose the plaintiff be a workman in a factory or a man employed on the street, and he has been injured, do we treat them all alike? Why no. The very first thing that is inquired into when the damages are to be determined is what was the plaintiff's earning power at the time of the injury. It is the earning power of the individual in this great democracy of ours that has not yet been degraded into a communism.
We say that we will compensate the man in proportion to his loss, and we promised by the law of this country that we would treat these emergency officers as we treated the officers of the Regular Army. It has been the accepted policy of tliis country from the beginning to accept the rank of the officer in the Army as a guide as to what should be paid him for compensation in the case of a pension.
Mr. ABERNETHY. And how many of these emergency officers are there?
Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. About 3,397.
Mr. ABERNETHY. And what will be the cost to the Government?
Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. Two million two hundred and ninety-four thousand dollars a year, rapidly diminishing because of the high death rate; 1-2 died last year.
Mr. AKERXETHY. And that is all that is involved?
Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. Yes. We are not taking a cent from any enlisted man. There' is no discrimination. I would like to have some of those who are so interested in the enlisted man try to do something for the enlisted man here in this House. There is plenty of opportunity for them to do something constructive.
Mr. NEWTON. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. Yes.
Mr. NEWTON. In reference to this question of cost, the gentlemen's estimate, I believe, is based on those emergency officers who now are on the rolls at 30 per cent permanent disability, but the bill provides for those who have that rating within one year after the passage of the act. Has the gentleman made any estimate as to those who have approximately 30 per cent disability, who may come within the provisions of the act?
Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. No; except that I know that 122 of them died last year waiting justice and the fulfillment of the obligation of the law by this House. There is very little likelihood that those who are temporarily disabled 30 per cent or more who will be put on permanent rating, and I think they would be entitled to it if they are, within the next year will equal the number that will die before we get this law under operation.
Mr. CROWTHER. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. Yes.
Mr. CROWTHER. The gentleman said that he wished some of the Members who are so concerned about the enlisted men would try to do something for these men.
Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. Yes.
Mr. CROWTHER. I think tie gentleman from Ohio has had the same experience that I have had, and that every other Member of the House has had, in respect to the tremendous difficulties we face in trying to do something for the men who are really deserving of something in the line of compensation, by reason of the hard-boiled decisions of the medical board and the board of appeals and the various other organizations connected with the Veterans' Bureau, and the difficulty of proving the illness is of service origin. The fact is that many of our boys came home from service determined to show some degree of courage, and did not want to ask Uncle Sum for any support, did not consult a doctor when they were really in bad shape. When they finally were compelled to make their applications for compensation when they were finally forced to demand something the board then said, "There Is no record of medical attendance upon the applicant between the date of his discharge and the date of filing his application." We all would like to do something for some of these enlisted men. I shall probably vote for this bill, but I say to you I think it is extremely unfair in some of its provisions. I know of an officer, a professional man, who suffered a shrapnel wound in his shoulder blade. It does not hinder his earning capacity so fur as his profession is concerned. He is now getting $30 a month. Under this bill he will get
$125 a month for life. Right around the corner is a little fellow who was so crippled in the service that he can hardly perform manual labor of any description. All he gets is $35 a month compensation, and that is all that he will get so long as he lives under the present law.
Mr. SCHAFER. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. ROY C,. FITZGERALD. Yes.
Mr. SCHAFER. Does not the gentleman think that the gentleman from Now York [Mr. Crowther] is rather severe in his indictment of the Veterans' Bureau boards requiring evidence, when it is because of the laws that Congress has passed that certain evidence is required before the Veterans' Bureau can make a favorable adjudication? When Congress has failed to liberalize those laws, and the specific provisions of the law require certain evidence before compensation can be paid, I do not believe that any Member of Congress should come on the floor and hurl a general indictment at the medical boards of the Veterans' Bureau.
Mr. CROWTHER, Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. No. I shall answer the gentleman. The gentleman from Wisconsin [Mr. Schafeb] has had too much experience with the Veterans' Bureau not to know that he has had to devote hours and hours and d«ys and nights aud weeks of his time in getting justice for the boys from Wisconsin. He knows what I have done, and he knows how difficult it sometimes is to enlist sympathy from these men in the Veterans' Bureau. The bureau is inclined to construe the laws strictly and perhaps they feel that they must.
Mr. SCHAFER. And the gentleman from Wisconsin knows that each case presents great and involved problems, and that, the boards can not allow compensation in a great many worthy cases because of limitations written into the law by Congress. When Congress enacts specific laws requiring certain medical evidence before compensation can be paid, no one, particularly Members of Congress, should condemn the bureau boards for requiring such evidence before compensation is paid.
Mr. KEARNS. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield for one short question?
Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. Certainly.
Mr. KEARNS. I have often thought about it and wondered why we do not put into this bill the emergency Spanish-American War officers.
Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. One reason is because our World War Veterans' Committee here has no jurisdiction over that. I would be glad to do it otherwise, if It is desired by the veteran officers of the Spanish War. Another reason is that the United Spanish-American War matters are handled by their own association, and their representative in Washington is exSenator Means. I understand that he is opposed to having them included, not regarding it as beneficial.
Mr. KEARXS. Is he opposed to your bill?
Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. No. Every patriotic organization in the United States is in favor of this bill. We have 11,000 posts of the American Legion, or 13,000 with the auxiliary, and we have, as I said, the support of the Disabled Veterans of the World War. Ninety per cent of them are enlisted men.
Mr. KEARXS. Do you tell me that the committee, if it wanted to, could not include the wounded emergency officers of the Spanish-American War; that they would like to, but could not do it?
Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. It could not do it under our committee's jurisdiction. If you will introduce a bill for the Spanish-American War veterans, I will back you in every constructive measure you may introduce in their behalf. I would like to back you in any measure you would favor In their beluilf.
Mr. KEARXS. I am opposed to all of them, but if this becomes a law I can not see why the Spanish-American wounded veterans should not be included.
Mr. ROY «. FITZGERALD. I am trying to induce tills House to fulfill its legal obligations to these men who relied upon the promise made to them that they were to be treated without discrimination.
Mr. KEARXS. I would not introduce a bill of that kind, iR'cause I am opposed to all of thorn.
Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. We are trying to destroy the discrimination now existing between the officers of the Regular Establishment and the emergency officers who were promised the same treatment in this regard. There are only five West Point officers who have been retired for battle casualties of the hundreds and hundreds of officers retired since the war. There are 123 emergency officer battle casualties to 1 of the West Point officers.
Mr. CRISP. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. Ye.s.
Mr. CRISP. I understand this same recognition has been conferred upon disabled emergency officers of the Navy and Marine Corps.
Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. Yes; and they had 15 months to come in under it; and we lire now opening the door to let them come in for another year.
Mr. CRISP. The gentleman says there is discrimination between the Navy and Marine Corps on the one hand and the emergency Army officers on the other?
Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. Yes. There is discrimination. These disabled emergency Army officers constitute 93 per cent of our officer battle deaths during the war. These emergency officers furnished 90 per cent of our combat officers (luring the war.
Mr. CHALMERS. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield there?
Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. Yes.
Mr. CHALMERS. I wanted to remark, Mr. Chairman, concerning this controversy between the gentleman from Ohio and the gentleman from New York [Mr. Crowther] that if you can bring into the House a measure that will liberalize the medical administration of the Veterans' Bureau I would like to support such a measure. [Applause.]
Mr. RANKIN. Mr. Chairman. I yield 45 minutes to the gentleman from Nebraska [Mr. Simmons.]
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Nebraska is recognized for 4f> minutes.
Mr. SIMMONS. Mr. Chairman, I have prepared a statement on this bill which will take to read at least a large part of the time that has been granted to me in the debate, and I therefore request that I be not asked to yield until I have finished that which I have prepared; and then, if any time remains after that, I shall be glad to answer any questions that Members of the House may wish to ask.
The so-called disabled emergency officers bill has been before Congress in some form every session since the war. During the six years that I have been a member of this body it has been pending before the World War Veterans' Legislation Committee. It is proper that we review its lack of progress during those six years.
In the Sixty-eighth Congress I was a member of the Veterans' Committee. Before coming to Congress I had been adjutant of my home American Legion post and later was department commander of the American Legion for Nebraska. I know the organization. I believe firmly in the high ideals on which it is founded. I believed that the American Legion would sponsor no legislation that violated those ideals. I had read the propaganda that had been sent out from Washington about this bill. I believed, without more investigation, that the facts stated about the bill were true, that the bill did what its sponsors said it did and I believed the statements and arguments made in its favor. None had been made against it. I was a member of a subcommittee of four that reported favorably to the World War Veterans' Committee on this bill. I then started out to see if we could not secure its passage. I found first that there was not a unanimous opinion in favor of the bill, although the committee seemed to be for it. I asked the reasons for the opposition.
I studied the bill, Its history, the history of other bills, and finally reached the conclusion that the bill was wrong in principle, that its proponents among the service men had been misled by erroneous statements of fact, that it created a series of unjustified discriminations, that the emergency officers themselves had been misinformed as to its effects, and as to the status of fellow officers, and finally that the bill should be defeated. Having reached that conclusion, I advised the American Lesion men of my State, and on April 6, 1026, addressed the House in opposition to this bill. Of the four men who signed the subcommittee report in the Sixty-eighth Congress for this bill, two are on the floor now working and will be voting against it. I refer to Mr. Mili.ioax of Missouri and myself.
What has happened in that committee during these yenrs? Tin- bill was reported to the Sixty-eighth Congress without, a minority report. In the Sixty-ninth Congress four World War veterans signed a minority report against it. The bill is before Congress to-day by a vote of 8 to 7 from that committee, and the chairman of that committee, Mr. Royal Johnson, of South Dakota, himself a distinguished World War emergency officer, refusing to sponsor it In its present form and favoring many amendments.
I stated two years ngo. and now repeat that—
Tin- mc-n who organized Hie Legion with far-sighted purpose declared thnt the Legion would be nil-inclusive, represent ing the oBicer and enlisted man; the disabled and the overseas veterans stood side by side with a buddy whose duty kept him in the L'uitud States—all were
comrades—binding themselves in an organization all for one, one for all, in the continued service of God and country. The American Legion fought the battles of the service men in the organization of the Veterans' Bureau, the establishment of hospitals, the passage of liberal compensation laws, based on service-connected disability, the passage of the adjusted compensation act. and much other beneficial legislation. Throughout it ail the Legion made no distinction and asked that none be made between the service men of America. The Legion kept its determination that there would be no distinction or discrimination on account of rank among the veterans.
This bill is the only legislation that the Legion has advocated contrary to that policy; it is the only legislation that Congress has repeatedly refused to approve.
Many Members of Congress, relying on statements made by veterans' organizations, and without further investigation, have promised to vote for this bill. It becomes important then to consider the arguments advanced for the bill. If they nre shown to be erroneous and untrue, then Members who have promised to support, in reliance upon those statements, should consider themselves free to vote their convictions on this legislation.
Let ns consider, then, the arguments advanced by the committee's report for the bill.
The committee in charge of this bill over the objections of 7 out of 15 members refused to hold hearings on it. It is before the Honse. then, without testimony or printed hearings.
No departmental report is available on it. Those of us who wanted to know facts about it have been compelled to do our own Investigating and secure our own information. What we have been able to secure we believe to be accurate and true. If it is not. the fault lies with the committee that: refused to investigate the bill fully and refused to furnish the Congress with full information on it.
One of the reasons given for the passage of this bill is that— I quote from the report of the World War ATeterans' Committee on H. R.500 filed March 29, 1928:
There were nine classes of officers who fought In the World War. These were the regular officers of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps; the provisional officers of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps: and the emergency officers of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Kight of these nine classes have been heretofore retired by the Congress for wounds and disabilities incurred In line of duty. The only officers for whom the Congress has failed to provide retirement are the disabled emergency Army officers.
Retirement should he extended to the disabled emergency Army officers of the World War, as these officers, out of the nine classes, arc the only ones which the Congress has discriminated against.
Those statements nre not true. The proponents of this measure hope by constant reiteration to make them true. And they were succeeding fairly well until the Senate passed S. 777 which included 201 disabled emergency officers of the Navy and Marine C'orps. Then the same committee comes back and blandly "points ontthat the Senate act—S. 777—includes those disabled emergency officers of the Navy and Marine Corps, 201 in number, who did not obtain retirement under the act of June 4, 1920."
Then, without blushing, they go ahead and incorporate their report on H. K. 500, which again states that only the Army officer has not been retired. What are the facts? In the naval appropriation net of 1920 authority was given to retire the emergency officers then in the service the same as regular officers were retired. In the next bill for 1921 that act was amended so that only those applying up to October 1, 1921, should be benefited by it. During that year 284 men were retired. With the exception of those men who were then in the service. Congress has not retired the emergency officer of the Navy and Marine Corps. The Veterans' Committee admits it now by accepting Senate amendments that do retire them. There were on September 30. 1027, 5<>5 emergency naval officers and 77 emergency marine officers drawing compensation from the Veterans' Bureau for war disabilities who were not retired, and of that number more than one-half of them will continue to draw compensation the same as enlisted men, even should this bill become a law. So it is now admitted by the Senate and by the committee handling this bill in the House that the statement that only the emergency officers of the Army have not been retired is not true. May I point out to yon further this very important distinction between the Navy anil marine officer who bus been retired and the emergency Army officer?
The Navy and maritie men who were retired under the act of June 4, 1920. were men in the service at the time of their retirement. I quote Secretary of the Navy Wilbur:
All temporary and reserve officers retired under the general laws affecting those classes were either In the service at the lime of retirement or retirement proceedings had been instituted prior to their separation fi-oui the service. With reference to the reserve force several officers were retired who had been relieved from active service but whose enrollment in the reserve had not terminated.
So that this fact now is clear—only those emergency officers in the Navy and Marine Corps when the act of June 4, 1920, was passed have been retired. Emergency officers of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps who were discharged from the service have not been retired, and have not been given greater compensation than their comrades In the service. The emergency Army officer for whom this bill was drawn, for whom the propaganda has been sent out that they were the only emergency officers out of nine groups not retired, were discharged from the service. Those Navy and marine officers who were discharged from the service draw now, and have been drawing exactly the same compensation that the discharged emergency Army oflicer draws. All three classes of discharged emergency officers, to wit, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps have been treated exactly alike.
The statement, then, that only the emergency officer of the Army has not been given retirement is disproved by the record, by the statement of the Secretary of the Navy, and by the bill now under consideration, which specifically covers all three classes—the report showing that it covers 201 naval and marine officers. That argument then Tails when the facts are known.
Again reference is made to General Orders, No. 75, of the War Department, August 17, 1918. The quotation made in the report is from General Order No. 73, dated August 7, 1918, but that is as accurate as are many statements in the report.
The report sets out the first two paragraphs of the order. There are six paragraphs of the order, and I am at a loss to know why the entire order was not set out, unless the reason is that to have done so would have shown that the intent and purpose of that order was entirely different from that which the proponents of this measure would have you infer from the part that is quoted.
The entire order Is as follows:
(General Orders, No. 73)
War Department, Washington, Augutt 7, 1SK.
1. This country has but one Army—the United States Army. It Includes all the land forces In the service of the United States. Those forces, however raised, lose their Identity In that of the United States Army. Distinctive appellations, such as the Reguliir Army, Reserve Corps, National Guard, and National Army, heretofore employed in administration and command, will be discontinued, and the single term, the United States Army, will be exclusively used.
2. Orders having reference to the United States Army as divided into separate and component forces of distinct origin, or assuming or contemplating such a division, are to that extent revoked.
3. The insignia now prescribed for the Regular Army shall hereafter be worn by the United States Army.
4. All effective commissions purporting to be, and described therein ns, commissions in the Regular Army, National Guard, National Army, or the Reserve Corps, shall hereafter be held to be, and regarded as, commissions in the United States Army—permanent, provisional, or temporary, as fixed by the conditions of their Issue; and all such commissions are hereby amended accordingly. Hereafter during the period of the existing emergency all commissions of officers shall be In the United States Army and in Staff Corps, departments, and arms of the service thereof, nnd shall, as the law may provide, be permanent for a term, or for the period of the emergency. And hereafter during the period of the existing emergency provisional and temporary appointments In the grade of second lieutenant and temporary promotions in the Regular Army and appointments in the Reserve Corps will be discontinued.
5. While the number of commissions in each grade and in each staff corps, department, and arm of the service shull be kept within the limits fixed by law, officers shall be assigned without reference to the term of their commissions solely in the interest of the service; and officers and enlisted men will be transferred from one organization to another as the interests of the service may require.
6. Kxcept as otherwise provided by law. promotion In the United States Army shall be by selection. Permanent promotions in the Regular Army will continue to be made as prescribed by law.
By order of the Secretary of War:
Peyton C. March,
Ociu'ral, Chief of Staff. Official:
H. P. Mccain,
It will be noted that the purpose of the order was to wipe out the "distinctive appellations" of "Regular Army, Reserve
Corps, National Guard, and National Army" and to substitute in lieu thereof the term "the United States Army."
Orders referring to the "origin " of "component forces" were revoked. The insignia of the Regular Army was to be worn by all.
The inference of the report is that the distinction between the Regular and emergency officers was abolished by this order, paragraph 4, which is not copied in the report, but which I set out herein shows that it was the different forces that were merged nnd that commissions in the Regular Army, National Guard, National Army, and Reserve Corps were to be regarded as commissions in the—
United States Army—permanent, provisional, or temporary aa fixed by the conditions of their issue.
Note, then, that this General Order 73 not only did not wipe out the distinction between the Regular and emergency officer, but it distinctly pointed out and restated those distinctions. Again paragraph 4 provides that—
commissions of officers « • • shall as the law may provide, be permanent for a term or for the period of the emergency.
Paragraph 5 shows that the purpose of the order was to make (he administration and the movement of troops easier. Paragraph 6 states that—
Permanent promotions In the Regular Army will continue to be made as prescril>ed by law.
Why did not the proponents of this measure who drafted the report set out the order in full? The answer is obvious. To have done so would have been to have disproved the thing they wanted to prove.
The "amplification" of the selective service act to which the report refers by this order shows that the War Department considered and maintained the distinction between the regular and emergency officer, and sought by that order only to wipe out the different "component forces" for administrative reasons only.
The analysis I have made of this general order is sustained by the War Department. I wrote the Secretary of War asking the reasons for the issuance of the order. He has replied that:
This order was issued during the existence of a great national emergency and with the apparent underlying idea of the slmplificntlon of administrative details, particularly those relative to the classification, assignment, and promotion of personnel.
I am sure that you must realize the vast amount of detail incident to the administration of an array of several million men and how greatly this work was Increased by the necessity for segregating the records of the several distinct categories of personnel.
The records of the War. Department indicate that the results attained by the order, from an efficiency standpoint, fully justify 1U issuance.
So the argument that the War Deportment recognized the basis of this bill and favored it by that order fails when the full facts are shown.
Again the claim is made in the report that the war Congress intended to do this thing for the emergency officer, but was unable to express itself clearly, and therefore failed. That statement is coupled with the statement that—
Retirement based upon earning capacity Is the only fair standard of recompense. It is the measure of damage in the courts of law and it Is the standard by which Injured workmen are recompensed In civil life.
Fortunately we are able to determine from the Record just what Congress intended to do. An examination of the ConCessional Record shows that the war Congress not only did not intend to give these benefits to the emergency officer but also specifically refused to apply the principle of compensation based on earning capacity to the soldiers who came to their country's service.
Reference is made to the Congressional Record, volume 55, part 7, first session. Sixty-fifth Congress. The (late is September, 1917. The matter under consideration was the war risk insurance act. The administration had had a bill prepared. It was reported by the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce. The bill as reported provided for compensation for death or disability of the commissioned officer nnd enlisted man. It provided—page 67">l—that in the event of death of a soldier, commissioned or enlisted, that the widow should receive compensation based on a percentage of the soldier's pay, but not less than certain amounts. It further provided that in the event of disability of the soldier, commissioned or enlisted, tlie compensation should be bused on a percentage of his pay. The hill became the subject of debate for days. It was pointed out that the bill discriminated against the enlisted men nnd in favor of the officers and their widows and dependents. The gentleman from Alabnma [Mr. Hunm.ESTON] and the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Black] discussed the mutter at length.
On page 7061 is the amendment offered by Mr. Black, now a Member of this body, who may and will correct nie if I am in error. The amendment placed all widows' allowances on an equality. He jtolnted out—page 7073—that the purpose of his amendments was to—
remove distinction and discrimination from the benefits conferred by the bill.
He illustrated repeatedly that officers and their dependents would receive more than enlisted men and their dependents under the bill as drafted by the committee. Members of this House should read his speech at that time.
On page 7075 Mr. Alexander stated that the bill was— framed on the theory of compensation for services and Is based on the pay received by the commissioned officers and enlisted men.
Mr. McKenzie, whom many now in the House will remember, then spoke—page 7076—and stated, among other things, that—
It is true that these officers should get more pay when In the service, but when this war is over the thousands of them that we are now making officers of and giving commissions to will go back home and become private citizens again. « • « The wife and children of an officer have no more rights than the wife and children of the private. This provision in this proposed law Is in contravention of the very principles for which these boys are going forth to fight.
\t you want to destroy the morale of this great American Army that we an- building. If you want to bring dissatisfaction into millions of homes in this country, stand by the committee report. But If you want to be true Americans, if j'ou want to stand by that equality upon which our country was founded • « • vote for the amendment offered by the gentleman from Texas. Let us serve notice on all the world that thla Is a democracy, where we treat our citizens alike.
Tlio question was there put, and Mr. Black's amendment, wiping out all distinctions between widows and children of officers aud men, was carried on a division by a vote of 139 to 3. [Applause.]
The next section dealt with disability compensation as this bill we are now considering does. It proposed compensation based on pay iind gave an officer greater disability compensation than the enlisted men could receive. Mr. Black offered an amendment—page 7077—striking out the percentage of pay provisions and making all pay the same for the same disability to all soldiers—officers aud enlisted. He stated—
tbe amendment I have offered cuts out percentages paid to the men so that there will be no distinctions and discriminations In the benefits paid to the officers and privates for the game class of Injuries.
Mr. Campbell, of Kansas, spoke In approval of the amendment.
The amendment was carried without a division.
Mr. Edward Keating, then a Member from Colorado, was active in the debate. He extended his remarks on this bill, aud among other things stated—
the Huuse, by what was practically a unanimous vote, decided that, so far I».k pensions are concerned, officers and privates, or their dependents, should be placed on an exact equality. Ours Is an army of democracy, and at the very threshold of the great struggle we should do what we can to wipe out class distinctions.
Those speeches clearly show what the war Congress Intended.
Congressman Edward C. Little, of Kansas, a distinguished soldier in the war with Spain, charged that— the bill was drawn by men in touch with officers, and with officers only.
He vigorously attacked the insurance features of tie bill, as did many others, because of the fear that It would give officers mure insurance than enlisted men.
In the Senate Senator Smoot, speaking on these provisions, stated—
we ought to see that the provisions of the bill are such that there will l>e no discriminations between soldiers and officers.
All ought to stand on tbe same footing. (conqhessional Recoiid, p. 7738. October 4, 1917.)
The Recobd then clearly shows that the war Congress not only did not intend to give the disabled emergency officer more compensation than the enlisted man but that it specifically and almost unanimously refused to do so and rejected the basis of tliis bill that compensation should be based on the salary of the soldier.
Millions of men served America under those provisions. Those disabled have since been compensated under that law. Why now depart from it for the benefit of a few of the many who served?
Secretary of War Weeks, when discussing this very proposition, said:
It should also be remembered that the law relating to compensation ftor emergency personnel, which was enacted before tbe emergency officers accepted their commissions, makes no distinction between commissioned officers and enlisted men of the emergency forces as to disability compensation. The commissioned officers understood these conditions when they accepted their commissions, and as a matter of fact they were apparently glad to accept them under these conditions. Most of them, especially the Junior officers, were subject to the draft and many of them would have been drafted as enlisted men had they not volunteered and qualified as commissioned officers. It Is, then, a question about which I have in my mind a great deal of doubt as to whether any distinction should be made in regard to benefits that should be given to the temporary commissioned officers from that which is given to tbe temporary enlisted men. Certainly, it was perfectly clear in the minds of Congress when it enacted the laws that there should be no distinction.
The report says—
thus by tbe terms of the selective draft act the contractual rights of the emergency officers were based upon those of the Regular Army officers.
Those of us who have opposed this bill have not relied upon the contractual basis for our opposition. Its proponents have seen fit to argue that the Government Is under a contract to pay this increased compensation to these men. Both the law and the facts disprove their claim. Congress very plainly intended that there should be no distinction between the emergency officer and the emergency enlisted man so far as compensation for death or disability was concerned.
It has not been my desire to place this on a contract basis, but since the- proponents of this measure have charged that the Government 1ms and is violating its contract, no one should criticize us for determining the facts. The contract between the United States and the emergency officer was that the emergency officer should receive disability compensation on the same basis as the enlisted men. The "officers understood those conditions when they accepted their commissions ".and accepted subject to that condition. The United States has not only fully complied with its part of that agreement but has from time to time increased the benefits payable to the emergency officers.
The proponents of this measure now demand that the contract be broken on the part of the emergency officer and at the same time make the baseless charge that the Government is breaking its contract.
Again the report states—
the congressional policy of retiring our disabled officers Is therefore well established.
The Adjutant General of the Army states that many bills have been introduced in both Houses of Congress at different times authorizing the appointment on the retired list of the Army of those officers who served in the volunteer army in the Civil War, but none of them has ever been enacted into law. Likewise, he advises me that no legislation of this character has ever been passed for the benefit of the emergency officers who fought during the war with Spain.
Admittedly no such legislation has passed for the emergency officers of the World War, save the naval riders to which I have referred, under which less than 300 men were retired, men not on the same status as those referred to In this bill. Why, then, this difference between the committee's report and The Adjutant General? The reason is that this bill is called a retirement bill in order that something like a parallel case might be set up to that of the Regular officer who Is retired and In order that the prejudice which the proponents of this bill try to create against the Regular officer might be exploited to the benefit of the emergency officer.
The proponents of the measure have taken all the advantages that can be taken of that argument, and now, in order to find a precedent for this bill, cite not retirement acts but service pension acts. The service pension acts, to which reference is made, have long since been superseded by Congress through the enactment of pension legislation, giving equal pension to all, and to-day the men of the Civil and Spanish-American Wars are all pensioned on the same basis as the men of the emergency establishment are all compensated on the same basis— that of their disability, and not on the basis of rank.
The retirement of an officer means his withdrawal from active service. You can not retire the men that this bill seeks to benefit, for they have already been discharged—their connection with the service ended. The bill then is not a retirement bill, but a compensation bill, whose sole purpose is to compensate a small group of officers not on the basis of their disability, but their rank—and as such creates the bitterest kind of discrimination.
The report states that the bill benefits 3,251 emergency officers. There were on March 31, 1928, 10,269 emergency officers drawing disability compensation, some of them with a far more serious disability than those whom this bill benefits. Why discriminate between these officers?
There are 243.028 enlisted men drawing disability compensation, of whom 69,386 are permanently disabled 30 per cent or more. Why discriminate against them? Did they not also serve?
The bill holds out hope of additional compensation to 7,000 disabled emergency officers. It holds out no hope to disabled enlisted men.
To sum up, it brings benefits to 3,297 out of the 253,297 now receiving compensation from the Veterans' Bureau.
Members have been told that this bill is of minor importance. The precedent sought to be established here is of great moment.
Disability pension bills are pending before Congress. Within a few years the first of them will be pressing for consideration, and then will ccme the general pension bill. When that time conies, are they to be based, as pension laws now are, on an equality, or will they be based on rank?
The Congress in this bill, if it passes, will set the precedent for pensions based on rank. If the Congress can not resist this measure, what hope is there that pension laws based on rank will not pass? There were 243,981 emergency officers in the three services during the World War. This bill, if it becomes a law, will bind the Congress to pensions based on rank— and that is the basic issue involved. So that when you vote for this bill you are voting to commit the Congress to a pension policy based on rank, and as such are dealing with a quarter of a million officers.
Again the statement is made in the report that—
The Congress baa continued its established policy of retiring emergency officers of the Navy and Marine Corps by enacting in 1922, 1923, 1924, and 1925 private laws providing retirement for naval and Marine Corps officers who had not availed themselves of the benefits of the act of June 4, 1920.
The plain Inference of that statement is that the Congress since 1921 has continued to grant retirement privileges to all naval and marine officers needing retirement. What are the facts?
In addition to the men retired as above stated under the act of June 4, 1920—
one temporary officer and four reserve officers of the Navy have been retired by special act of Congress.
The quotation is from a letter of the Secretary of the Navy dated May 3, 1928.
Why should not those who reported this bill tell the truth about it? The answer is that they have not investigated it and so do not know the facts. The bill should be sent back to the committee for hearings, full and complete hearings.
The bill provides that all persons who can meet the following four conditions shall come within its provisions:
First. They must hove served as officers of the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps during the war.
Second. During such service they must have incurred physical disability in line of duty.
Third. Either now have or within one year have been rated at 30 per cent permanently disabled.
Fourth. Apply for the benefits of the act within one year.
These are the conditions; any emergency officer who can meet those conditions will be entitled to the benefits of the bill. What does it mean?
I pointed out to the Rules Committee and again on the floor of the House on March 30, 1928, that this bill in its present form did not exempt dishonorably discharged officers from its benefits, and that there was little doubt that in the absence of that inhibition that dishonorably discharged officers would be entitled to its benefits.
That opinion is supported by a brief which I have here for inspection by Members who care to see it. I am net going to insert it in the Record.
Section 23 of the World War veterans' act provides that—
The discharge or dismissal of any person from the military or naval forces on the ground that he wag guilty of mutiny, treason, spying, or any offense involving moral turpitude, or willful and persistent miscoudnct, of which be was found guilty by a court-martial, or that he was an alien, conscientious objector who refused to perform military duty or refused to wear the uniform, or a deserter, shall bar all rights to any compensation under Title II, or any training, or any maintenance and support allowance under Title IV.
There is no such limitation in this bill. There should be such a limitation. Certainly the officer who is guilty of these offenses should not be compensated. If it were necessary to make that exception for all service men, then it is common sense to make it for these officers. And yet after It has been called to the attention of the proponents of this measure, word has gone out from Washington that Congressmen must be urged to pass this bill "without amendment." Many Members have received such letters.
Why are you urged to do that? The men and women at home do not approve of the dishonorably discharged officers receiving these benefits. They have been told to send in these letters.
Will the veterans' organizations approve their Representatives here urging them to ask for this legislation which by any chance could benefit those who have dishonored the service? I do not believe they will; neither do I believe that the service men at home, when they know the facts, will censure Members for voting to perfect this bill. My judgment is that when the sen-ice men at home do know the truth about this bill they will approve those who favor changes in and defeat of it.
This bill benefits only the emergency officer who is living, his wife, and children. But what of the officer dead, his widow and orphan? There are 2,151 widows and 2,257 children of emergency officers drawing cc -pensation by reason of the death of the husband and father. Congress has said that they should receive the same compensation as the widow and orphan of an enlisted man, just as Congress has said that the emergency officer should receive the same compensation as an enlisted man. The widow and orphan of an officer killed in battle are left by this bill In their present status; they have lost not only the comfort and care of the husband and father but his earnings and support as well. They have given absolutely everything and get nothing by this bill. Those still living and still able to earn demand for themselves a great increase of pay, leaving the widow and orphan of a brother officer killed in battle without increased benefits. Is the officer living so much better than the officer dead that the Congress must aid the one and not the other?
This is the worst discrimination of all the unjustified discriminations in this bill. It has been called to the attention of the proponents of the measure. Their answer is given in the report that—
the existing law which cares for these dependents is in no wise changed by thl« act.
In other words, they say to the widow and orphan, "We are not interested in you and yours; your husband and father is dead; he is no longer here to fight for you nor to care for you. You take what the Government promised him it would give you. We are not willing to do that. We are going to get more than that for ourselves and can't be bothered with you."
This sentiment will be denied; but the cold, naked truth remains that that is just what this bill does and does not do for the emergency officer who served and came back and lives, and the emergency officer who served and did not come back and does not live.
The reason for the retirement of the Regular officer is well set out in the minority report. I quote, as they do, Secretary of War Lindiey M. Garrison:
The privileges of the retired list of the Regular Army constitute a consideration granted by the Government for the consecration of lives to its military service and the volunteering for life for such service in any exigencies that may arise, whether in peace or war. The military relation requires the officer to give up ambitions which are the rightful portion of every man in the great world outside, and for a measure of compensation which does not exceed what is barely sufficient to maintain himself and family in the status which the military service demands; and the law has said that when he serves a prescribed period of time, or has reached a certain age, or is disabled by injury or disease incident to the service, he must withdraw from active service and give way to a younger man better fitted for the rigors of military life. As the officer has not been trained for a business career or for any career in civil life he finds himself at the end of his service, certainly In the vast majority of cases, not only without a profession but without n competency.
Congress has thus far restricted th» privilege of retirement to members of the permanent Military Establishment; that is, to those "only who nave consecrated their lives to the military service. This is true not alone of the officers but of the enlisted man, who may retire only when he has served a sufficient time to Indicate that he has adopted the military service as a life career. To those who have thus pledged their services for life to the Nation, in peace or In war, Congress, as a matter of keeping faith with them, has provided by law that they shall be secure in their calling throughout their lives, and when they have performed what is deemed a life service shall be relieved of sonw