Слике страница
[ocr errors]

CONNERY. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield, lie has referred to me?

HUDDLESTON. No; I regret I can not yield. ,^-^iit the Members of the House to feast their eyes on one [ Jlr. Connery I who refused to accept the honor of a m*~ -^is-ision, who refused to accept the salary, who refused to •••'•• - the social position and the best of everything that the liad to offer, and instead chose to cast his lot among r^vly and the louse-bitten. [Laughter.]

_ ineart goes out to any man who serves his country. I

-"-T toad an extraordinary sympathy with the disabled and ., " otli^r ex-soldiers, and I have voted for every measure that F t»«?«3n proposed in this House for their benefit.' I voted for

use in pay of those in the service and for all relief

proposed for those who are disabled. I have always

xny voice on that side.

. _T xiie tell you. moreover, by way of a little bit of "brag. tr" that I am the man who invented the bonus. On Decemr'-—f 1918, on the very first day of the session of Congress after * t lie armistice was signed I introduced the first soldiers' Ik>m«x«* W11 that wflH ever offered in Congress. [Applause.] And ~o» January 9, 1919, before the American Legion had even organized and before anybody else thought of such a thing, <!«• a speech in behalf of a bonus for soldiers. _ - j-« ii.l now. as I have always stood, willing to do anything enable in behalf of the soldier, so long as it is put ujx>n t»a«is of equality. But I tell you now that never will I t; to give those who enjoyed the best of everything while they -were in the Army, as against those who had the worst of t-verything while there—never will I vote to give them a sur»o*-f.or position in civil life. To me they all look alike. Ttie-re- are no more colonels, no more captains, no more private-s; they are just all patriotic men who should stand on a bass Is* of equality. [Applause.]

Tlie? idea back of all pensions and other soldiers' benefits is that •«%-« give these gratuities in order to insure that the country -will not lack for defenders in the future. Let me tell you that the best way to be sure of defenders in the future is to ke*-i» .America worthy of defense. So long as we hold fast to the- r>rir»ciples of democracy there need be no fear that the great mavises? will fail when you call upon them for service. But

"•*" ^e make distinctions, when we prefer class above class,

v-e come to countenance privilege, when we discriminate v*«- ^wo^n citizens of equal worthiness—then bring on your conscription laws. We will have need of them because men will :r-ve willingly. [Applause.] HOY G. FITZGERALD. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself

1*V»^. CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Ohio is recognized

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

UHOY G. FITZGERALD. Mr. Chairman, I wonder how of the Members of the House have read a very thought11 ing work by Lothrop Stannard entitled "A Revolt Against saHon"? If that book had not already been written, I the author would have recognized material for the in what we have just listened to. Think of it! An shot through the face, shot through the head on the field, lying out here in Walter Reed Hospital when ss assembled In 1920, with his face mutilated so hidet liat it was horrible to look at. He is patched up and to Congress by patriotic people in Alabama. He is in this House because he happened to be an officer, popular with cynics to say that the Members of the do not know anything about the legislation that is considered; and I know it is quite popular with those not like the American Legion to accuse it of ignorance accuse it of not knowing what it is engaged in with to its activities in this House. Yet, I am confident American Legion in the State of Mississippi knows going on and understands what it advocates. I want here just one sample of hundreds of communications been received, a resolution of the American Legion Corinth. Miss., because it speaks for the enlisted man; of it because the Legion of the State of Mississippi, may be dreadfully misinformed and as ignorant as this and as ignorant as the American Legion is said by the its of this bill to be about its policy, has indorsed this read:

The Perry A. Johns Post, No. 0,

Department Ok Mississippi,

Corinth, Minn., Han i, J928.

as the House of Representatives, Congress of the United States, Ix-forc it a measure that has the iinanimous support of all ^** organizations in America and of u vast majority of all veterans 'VVorld War; and

Whereas this measure la the Tyson-Fitzgerald bill, which accords to the disabled emergency officers of the Army that retirement which the disabled emergency officers of the Navy and Marine Corps received some. years ago; and

Whereas a small but active minority In the House has been working against this measure and saying that the former noncommissioned officers, privates, and sailors of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps were opposed to the same and considered it a discrimination against them: Therefore be it

Resolved, That we, the members of the Perry A. Johns Post, No. 6, American Legion, of Corinth. Miss., who served without commissions in the armed forces of the United States, do hereby declare our unqualified approval of the above bill; that wo urge our own Congressman and the Representatives of other Mississippi districts to vote for the same; be it further

Renolvcd, That we send copies of this resolution to every Mississippi Representative In Congress and to the Hon. Ror O. Fitzgerald, M. C., the coauthor of the bill, for publication In the Conouessioxal Record.

Done by a unanimous vote of the above-mentioned former members of the armed forces of the United States of American during the World War.

C. W. Noiiwood, Post Commander.

That is an example of hundreds of just such indorsements.

Mr. SIMMONS. Will the gentleman yield?

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. Certainly.

Mr. SIMMONS. The gentleman has received what, I think, practically every Member of Congress has received, and that is requests that this bill be passed without amendment. What is going to be the attitude of the gentleman from Ohio, in charge of the bill, on that matter?

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. To resist every amendment.

Mr. SIMMONS. Then those of us who have amendments which we intend to offer will have to understand that so far as the gentleman is concerned—and those who are following him, if he can control them in the House—it will be absolutely useless for us to offer our amendments?

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. Oh, no. I make no pretense of controlling anyone in this House; neither does the American Legion.

The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from Ohio has expired.

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. Mr. Chairman, I will take three or four more minutes. I want to say to you that this legislation has been before the House for seven years. It has been three times passed by the Senate, and the greatest fight possible has been made to get it before this House, but I have been assisted by yourself most ably, and others, twice liefore the Rules Committee, when I have sought until the present session merely to get this bill before this House for consideration, and because of that, I will say to my good friend from Nebraska, I can not jeopardize this bill, and you must not ask me to either make it more liberal or make it less liberal.

Mr. SIMMONS. What I wanted to ascertain was whether it was to be the policy of the gentleman in charge of the bill on the floor to resist amendments.

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. The safety of this bill demands that course.

Mr. BURTNESS. Will the gentleman yield?


Mr. BURTNESS. Is it the gentleman's position that Members of the House should not offer any amendments?

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. Oh, no, no.

Mr. Bt'RTNESS. Is it the gentleman's position not to permit Members to pass upon the merits of amendments which may be offered, and vote in accordance with their judgment as to the merits of those amendments?

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. Certainly not. I do not ask anybody to follow me.

Mr. BURTNESS. But the gentleman takes the position that regardless of the merits of amendments we should not adopt any amendments?

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. No; I do not take any such position at all, but I say to you that there is not any merit in any amendment proposed to this bill.

Mr. BURTNESS. Does the gentleman know the different amendments that may be proposed?

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. Yes; I know every amendment that can be proposed to this bill. I know them.

Mr. GREEN. The gentleman believes amendments will kill the bill?

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. That is the whole trouble. My good friend from North Dakota, where it is awfully cold at times, I know is a warm-hearted man and he must realize that, after 1 have had a part in this struggle for several years, a struggle which has been very bitter and has strained friendships, I must insist on the bill as It Is. That must be my position after seven years of discussion and after all these matters have been debated and heard again and again. The Congressional Record is full of discussions about this bill and all its features, and those discussions have been going on for years. The matter has been so thoroughly discussed that we know in advance all the suggestions which can be made, and I say to my good friend that any amendment which is made to this bill' that throws it. into conference with the Senate jeopardizes its passage. I believe myself that the principles and the immediate passage of this bill are much greater than the benefit of any particular amendment, which must necessarily delay if not defeat the bill; therefore, I personally am opposed to any amendment. Of course, I do not ask anybody to follow me in this House.

Mr. BURTNESS. I appreciate the gentleman's personal position in that respect, of course, but it does occur to me that if we follow the gentleman's general view there is not very much left of representative government in this country, especially if Members are not privileged to have amendments considered.

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. I resent the idea that this House can be controlled by anybody within it or by anybody outside of it. [Applause.]

Mr. SIMMON'S. Do I understand the gentleman to say that he resents the letters, telegrams, and demands we have been getting that we pass this bill without amendment?

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. No; I have a broader conception of the lights, of the American people. I know they may not be diplomatic and that they may ask us to do things which we should not do. They have asked me to support this bill, some of them not having any idea, possibly, that I have had anything to do with it and where I stand. One of the Members of the House came to me and said that he resented the telegrams which he liad been receiving from a number of his constituents asking him to support the bill when he said, " They ought to know I am for this bill," and it almost turned him against it But we have heard statements made on this floor that the American Legion does not know what it is about; that the American Legion is not informed; that the American Legion is misrepresented by its officers here in Washington, and that if the rank and file only knew what was in this bill they would be against it. When such statements are made, can you blame the American Legion from all over tiie country, 46 departments of the American Legion urging passage of this bill, for sending in telegrams to us, from every .State in the Union, telling us tliat they know what this is about and understand what the measure is? That is what they are trying to impress on you, and do you want to resent their attempt to show you that they know what they are doing?

Mr. CONNERY. Will the gentleman yield?


Mr. CONNERY. The gentleman from Alabama in his speech said the American Legion did not know what was in this bill, but the gentleman from Iowa knows that the gentleman from Nebraska [Mr. Simmons] spoke at length on this bill before the American Legion at Omaha and was voted down. They knew everything that was in this bill, aud they voted him down overwhelmingly.

The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from Ohio has agiiin expired.

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself live additional minutes. Of course, the American Legion has hud an opportunity to know the position taken by the gentleman from Nebraska. He has appeared before committees and he has appeared on the floor of the national convention of the American Legion. So Legion members have had every opportunity to learn everything they want to know about this bill, and at nine annual conventions of the American Legion there bus been a favorable report but never a minority report with regard to this bill.

Mr. SIMMONS. Will the gentleman yield?


Mr. SIMMONS. It is true I did speak at the American Legion convention in 1925 against this bill. I think those who were there will bear me out in saying that the galleries were with me but the delegates on the floor were not. May I s-ay in answer to the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. Connery] I did not say everything there against the bill, because we did not know then what we know now about this bill. So please do not hold that up against the American Legion.

Mr. CONNERY. The bill was up for five years in exactly this form.

Mr. SIMMONS. And gradually many of us are finding out more things against it.

Mr. GREEN. Will the gentleman yield?


Mr. GREEN. lias the gentleman received any resolution of disapproval from any Legion post with respect to this bill?

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. No; but I have heard there are three or four posts out of 13,000 posts of the American Legion and auxiliary which have opposed this bill.

Mr. GREEN. Does the gentleman recall what States they are in?

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. No; one of them was in Pennsylvania and was brought about by one of the Members of the House recently.

Mr. SIMMONS. One was tn Toledo, Ohio, was it not?

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. No; I beg your pardon. I* the gentleman is referring to a letter received this morning, I want to call the attention of this House to some very dishonest things which have been done. This may not apply to the Toledo matter, but he has not got, and does not state that he has, the action of that post of the American Legion behind him. A man did this out in Arcadia, Calif., and is denounced by the American Legion because he used Legion paper to tell it, and he was sore only because we did not tack on to this bill the Wurzbach bill, which we could not do, and he is denounced by the enlisted men of Arcadia, Calif., because he, the postmaster, did this thing on Legion paper.

Mr. GREEN. May I say to the gentleman I have received a large number of resolutions and telegrams in favor of this measure aud not a single one opposing it.


Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. I first yield to the gentleman from North Carolina.

Mr. ABERNETHY. Is it any offense for a wounded soldier to petition Congress through a telegram? Why should anybody be offended at that time?

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. Some of us get irritated. I know that those cold to humanitarian appeals are annoyed.

Mr. HUDDLESTON. Is the gentleman acquainted with Capt. Mutt Murphy, of Birmingham, Ala.?

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. No; I am not

Mr. HUDDLESTON. Captain Murphy was a captain overseas, rendered very splendid service, and just this moment I have been handed a telegram from him. He was one of the organizers of the American Legion and has attended every one of its national conventions. He was a member of its national executive and its national legislative committees. Would the gentleman allow me in his time to read the telegram?

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. Oh, they have plenty of time on the other side.

I do want to clear up one or two matters here, because the officers have been denounced, and it has been suggested that this being a Republic we must treat all soldiers alike. It has been said that during time of war we have a sort of monarchy; that is, we have an orderly arranged machine to perform n certain kind of work; but in order to get this orderly arranged machine this Congress, representing the American people, entered into an obligation, which I am here to plead with the Members of this Congress to fulfill.

It was a straightforward obligation—an obligation to treat these emergency officers in regard to pensions and all other allowances just the same as the officers of the Regular Establishment are treated. A gentleman who has recently spoken has suggested that this is a plain pension bill.

Why, gentlemen, the average amount this bill will give to these emergency officers is only $132 a mouth, an increase over .$02 a month.

Suppose it is a pension matter and suppose we have got to do what any honorable body would do, fulfill our obligation to these meu to whom the obligation was made. Is that an argument of merit? If we do not pass this bill there are at least 100 more of these men who are going to die every year it is delayed. I can not submit to amendments enlarging this bill to take in those who are less than 30 per cent disabled, no matter how great niy sympathy may be. because it means delay of the bill and means that 150 more will die during the year before the bill can be passed. AVe never can right the wrong to those who are gone. There were 122 of these men who died last year, and we never will be able to right the wrong to those who have died during the seven years this measure has been pending in Congress.

Now, there is another matter that keeps constantly cropping up here. It is suggested that somebody, in some way, is going to be injured by the passage of this bill. My colleagues, there is not a way under heaven for any man, enlisted man or officer, to be injured by this bill. There is no way that can be devised. In the first place, he need not come under its provisions unless he wants to, and if he does come under its provisions, even the second lieutenant will be benefited by it. because the second lieutenant will get $100.25, where the greatest amount he can get


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

under the law is $100. I would like to read to yon that conies to me from one of these second lieutenants. is the telegram:

San Fhancisco, Calif., Uay 11, 193S.


of Rci>rc«ciitatires, TTatliington, D. C.:

emergency officers' retirement bill, believe my case typical. y enlisted as private Corps Engineers at beginning of war. Sac.000 yearly position as engineer. Have spent 10 months In discharged second lieutenant with total permanent disability, <x>imeeted. Now receive $100 per month compensation. If •under your bill on account more than 5 years' service will more than $160. Difference will pay interest on mortgage on e-lth other benetlts of retired officers. Surely we are deserving consideration.

Roy H. Flamm.

reason for the wrong impression that, second lieutenants receive less than $100 was that when the Veterans' was asked for the table of those who would be benefited tlilss bill if it became a law, the bureau used the present pay of Army officers, which gave the impression that a second lieute/ritint would receive only $93 as three-fourths pay for retirement because of disability. They will be retired on 75 per ce-ivt of the pay they received when discharged, which, until after the end of the war, was such as to yield them $106.25 a month retirement pay. Much has been said about colonels and something lias been said about generals. There is only one possible Keti«?ral to come under this bill. I regret it exceedingly, gentlemen, that there are 4 colonels in all the TJnited States in the 3.OOO officers to be benefited. There are 17 lieutenant colonels, majors, possibly including that individual known as Lamar of this House, who lay a physical wreck for months on iiia oed in the Walter Reed Hospital. Is it not awful that we iave in the House such a criminal as would discriminate against foe enlisted men? [Laughter.] Yet we have another officer, a of this House, who might come under this bill, glad that the gentleman from Alabama [Mr. Huddleshas expressed himself of thinking meanly of such men, for me an opportunity to say that I am proud to serve in Blouse with men like Lamar Jeffehs and Carroll Reece, •«vho have been decorated by our country for heroic conduct fields of battle in France.

I want to read another telegram from California, from
of Los Angeles. There is some little rivalry between
cities, but evidently they are in accord ou this bill.
s follows:

Los Angeles, Calif., May 10, 1988.
G. Fitzgerald,

it of Representatives, TTanIitnflton, n. C.:

I ly announced by press to-day Lieut. Gov. Buron Fitts, dls-
:» urgency officer of the World War, loses his 10-year fight with
f^cience to save his right leg. Amputation will take place to-
May 10, Government hospital, Sawtelle, in an effort to save
•c»f the State executive. Following 18 major operations and 10
intense suffering to check spreading Infection, amputation

Disabled Emergency Officers Wom/d Wab.
C. C. Batless.

-^ _*are-ntlemen, is it not to be regretted that among the 28,000 ^*>s of the Veterans' Bureau that they have only been find a place for 49 of these men who may be affected bill? The money from this bill will be used to keep together, to keep the little children in school nnd give ^/c«.»t- *"* education. This man mentioned in this telegram is the ''* VI^*"1**11*- Governor "f California. He has been struggling for LVHf* a" tne time. He has been honored by the people of

^Vert**" *"*'*' and assumed all the duties which his people have nwJ»»- **Jm to assume. This man can not save his limb, and we to pray in this House that his life may be spared long to show that this Congress has not repudiated its »^»ns, but has done the square thing. [Applause.] l^ANKIN. Mr. Chairman, I yield one minute to the

— from Alabama [Mr. Huddleston]. *^UDDLESTON. Mr. Chairman, no finer gentleman and r officer ever served in the Army than Capt. Matthew of my home city. On taking my seat a moment ago messenger handed me this telegram from Captain

Birmingham, Ala., May It, 192S.

« Hou*c uf Kepmientatirrn. Waxliittfrton, />. C.: "Vritli "em. Am national charter member of American Legion. State commander twice. Was on national executive and

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

able by

[ocr errors]

legislative committees. Am with yon and glad yon are against TysonFitzgerald bill on account of discriminatory features against enlisted men.

Matt Mchpht.

The sentiments which Captain Murphy expresses show hia worthiness of my description of the kind of man he is.

Mr. HANKIN. In the beginning, Mr. Chairman, I desire to say that I have never altered my position on this bill. I opposed it from the very day it was first offered, and I oppose it now. I am opposed to it for a great many reasons, but I am going to take the little time I have to answer the arguments made on yesterday by the gentleman from Ohio I Mr. liov G. Fitzgerald] .

You will find in his remarks a reference to the gentleman from Ttiine.-isee [Mr. Gakbett], the minority leader on the floor, one of the finest and bravest and most conservative men who ever occupied a seat on this floor—a reference to his sentiments as "communistic," because he opposes this change in our American policy, wherein we pension our soldiers according to disability and not according to rank.

On page 8I5i>8 of the Congressional Record he makes this astounding statement: (

The settled policy of this Government from the beginning down to date, including the Spanish-American War, has been to compensate those injured in the service in accordance with their rank; to compensate tbem for disabilities incurred in service by pensions based upon rank, and based upon the settled policy of this democratic and not communistic country from the beginning.

Ill the first place, he brands as "communistic" those of us who do not subscribe to the doctrine that a pension should bo based on rank. In the next place, he misrepresents, possibly unwittingly, the policy of this Republic from the earliest days down to the present time.

When the Civil War closed, the greatest conflict up to that time that the world had ever seen, there had been a measure passed to take care of a few superannuated officers, and in a few years there were 30 generals of the Civil War sitting on the two sides of this House.

I am talking to you men mostly on the Republican side of the aisle now. Those men who fought in the Union Army, in whose tracks you may safely follow if you want to preserve the life, the dignity, the strength, and the glory of this Republic, for 60 years turned down and defeated and refused to subscribe to a bill that would pension the soldiers of the Civil War according to their rank.

I speak now to you men of the South nnd recall to you the soldiers of the Southland in that great struggle, those brave men who faced the battle lines for four long, bloody years, and who went back and redeemed their Southland under conditions from which no other country lias ever survived; and yet not in a single Southern State have they ever subscribed to the doctrine that Confederate soldiers should be pensioned according to rank, instead of on disability. They would spurn this bill with contempt if it were brought to them, just as the Federal soldiers spurned it with contempt on this floor and in their meetings.

Oh, but he brands as communists those veterans of the Spanish-American War, who in the dark days of 1898, when it looked as if a world catastrophe was going to be precipitated, not in Europe but upon the burning plains of Cuba, volunteered to face dangers known to the Tropics that were even worse than those of the battle front. They have refused from that day to this to adopt the policy or to recommend a policy of pensioning soldiers according to rank instead of according to disability. Why? Because it is a repudiation of all the democratic policies of our American institutions.

The gentleman goes on and talks about the American Legion. I received a telegram from an American Legion post, composed of men of the best blood of America, at Aberdeen, in my district, men whose ancestors have fought in every war from the Revolution to the present day. Some of thorn were officers and some enlisted men. Every one of them is just as patriotic and just as intelligent as is the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Roy G. Fitzgerald] .

I sent (hem a copy of this minority report, which is all that we could get. It took 'us three or four years to get that. They have refused us hearings before the Veterans' Committee. They granted us hearings by unanimous consent, nnd then on motion of the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Roy G. Fitzgerald] shut, us out, and we just had to dig this information out. I sent it, down. It has not been questioned here. It is in tliis pamphlet, and was compiled by the various departments here, largely the Veterans' Bureau. I have this telegram:

Daniel W. Byrd Post In regular session at Aberdeen condemns the disability emergency officers' retirement bill. Congratulations on your stand.

The resolution wad by the gentleman evidently was not passed by the Mississippi Legislature. If It had been, It seems to me the secretary of state would have sent me a copy. Perhaps it was introduced.

I sent a copy of the minority report to a young man down there who has been In the service, a brilliant young officer, a member of the Legion, and he wrote back that—

If the people generally knew Just what this proposed bill was for, there would be a howl of protest the like of which has never been heard before. I am In favor of any kind of a bill for the disabled veterans, and you are, too, but tills one—no!

There is a man wlio served just as honorably as those who have criticized us. Down at Tupelo, my home town, I received one of these inspired telegrams, which stated that the American Legion was for this bill. That is getting close to home. I am a member of that post I wrote to those boys and said that I wanted to do what they wanted me to do if I knew what that was. I asked them to inform themselves on the subject and to discuss it. All I had was this minority report and tlw Congressional Record, which I sent them. They wrote back that they had had a meeting and indorsed my stand in opposition to this measure, and the adjutant wound up by saying:

I am glad to say that there was not a dissenting vote In that Instance.

Here is another one from Denver, Colo. He says:

The press reports you in opposition to the bill to place emergency World War officers on the regular retirement pay. A similar bill was introduced in Congress in 1896 and In 1898 to place the Civil War volunteer officers on the Regular Army retired list, and was opposed by the Civil War officers, and you are properly doing. They defeated It, and the Congressional Record will show it.

That is signed by a man named Brasheer, officer, patient, wardee, and he gives the company and command. Let us now go up to Portland, Me. I see my distinguished friend from Maine [Mr. Nelson] here. He made one of the most eloquent speeches yesterday that I have listened to for a long time. I have this from a Portland man:

I have been much Interested In the stand that you have taken with regard to retirement for disabled emergency Army officers. Because of the fact that I served throughout the war us a private soldier the cry of "sour grapes" may be raised, but nevertheless I stand my ground. This bill appears to be based on the policy that commissions were granted only to a group of supermen, far superior to the average mortal In every way. It has been my observation that the average emergency officer received during his active service a sum in excess of bis ability to earn In civil life. Indeed, bis discontent In many cases was due to the false standard of living to which he had been accustomed during the war.

He goes on and says he hopes the bill will be defeated.

Mr. HBRSEY. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. RANKIN. Not just now.

Mr. MERSEY. It is on the matter of the way the American Legion of Maine stands on this bill. They stand for this bill. I am quoting an organization.

Mr. RANKIN. I know you are quoting from something which is the result of propaganda, just as has been done in Aberdeen and other places.

Now, here is a man from New Bern, N. C., who was in the service, according to his statement. He is a lawyer there. His name is W. B. Rouse. He says:

New Bern, X. C., April ID, 19H8. Congressman Rankin,

Member Congreta, Washington, D. C.

Dear Congressman: I am taking the liberty to write you my views on Senate bill No. 777. concerning benefits for disabled emergenc> officers of the Great War, which is now before the House for action.

Taking into consideration the high purpose of our entry Into the war the equal and universal service required of every able-bodied man In the country, It is passing strange why Congress would even undertak to sot a premium on the disability of one soldier over that of another By what process of reasoning or operation of the mind can It be said that a first lieutenant disabled to the extent of 30 per cent shall draw from the United States Treasury $12.r> a month as compensation for his loss of earning power, while an enlisted man with the same degree of disability shall draw only $30 a month? Further, under the con pcnsatlon act the disabled man Is classified according to his vocation this to determine the actual handicap of the existing disability, but th< proposed bill does not even recognize this feature in measuring the handicap of the officers. An officer may be 30 per cent disabled am

ngage in a vocation or profession In which bis disability is not a handicap, still a first lieutenant would receive $125 in monthly payments.

In this bill Congress is undertaking to enact class legislation which, If carried out, Is going to destroy the good comradeship existing between the service men of the Great War, and if passed will furnish the incentive to the enlisted men to make their demand on Congress for their equally Just pound of flesh.

Please do not be fooled into believing that the service men of this country arc demanding this legislation, because such is not the fact It Is true that tile Legion and other organizations have been fooled into Indorsing this bill. This hill was brought before these organizations under Its caption only. The contents of the bill were never discussed nor disclosed. The service men have never had the opportunity to know the merits or demerits of the bill. They were duped into the indorsement of It.

You will notice that he says the contents of the bill were never disclosed. They were duped into indorsing it

In conclusion—•

Says Mr. Rouse—

the passage of this bill will be a bold, unjust, and indefensible discrimination between equally disabled enlisted men and officers, and an unjust discrimination between officers of different rank. We therefore hope that our Congressman will respect the equal rights of our comrades In arms and rote to pass only such laws as will insure the continuation of this cherished condition.

I have also a telegram here from Mr. Rouse under date of May 9 to the same effect.

Now, let us get down to the State of Alabama. Here is a protest from an ex-service man at Birmingham. We have a good many protests from that section.

They jumped on this man In California. They are denouncing him because of his opposition to this bill. And yet his post of Veterans of Foreign Wars includes this paragraph in one of its resolutions:

As enlisted men and as emergency officers with overseas service during the World War we would give the enlisted man disabled In combat more consideration than the emergency officer who remained safely at home with his family and enjoyed the emoluments of his easily acquired commission.

I venture to say now that the vast majority of these wen on this list were never in a battle.

Here are two ex-service men in Alabama calling my attention to it, and saying:

It Is useless for us to call your attention to the provisions of the bill, but it Is our humble opinion that the bill is iniquitous, discriminatory, unfair, and un-American, and it docs not In any manner reflect the sympathy of the great mass of enlisted men who served their country and served it well during the World War period.

Here is a letter from Mr. Julius B. Cooper, of Birmingham, Ala., to the same effect. And here is another one from another ex-service man in Alabama.

Now, let us get down to showing that this "communism," of which the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Roy G. Fitzoerai.d] complains, is spreading over the country. It is invading Ohio. This "communism," in accordance with which the gentleman from Ohio says they believe iu pensioning a man according to his disability instead of according to his rank. Here is one example:

Dear Mr. Uankin: Copies of your minority report on the TysonFitzgerald bill were received by me at my office In Toledo.

I have attended a good many State and National conventions of the American Legion, and fully realize how the so-called Legion support for this bill is obtained. Committees, composed In many cases of men who are personally interested In the bill, bring forth a favorable report to the main assemblage, and then it passes unanimously without discussion. Another factor Is that delegates to these conventions are made up largely of former officers, or at least they led the governing voices.

Keep up your good fight. If the rank and file of the returned soldier* knew the side of this bill as you have presented it, they would ask that every Congressman vote against It.

I am a salaried employee of the American Legion in Lucas County,
Ohio; have been at the same job for six years.
Very truly yours,

Henry B. Herman,
(Secretary Lttcai County Council, American legion,

Adams and Erie Streets, Toledo, Onto.

Here Is a resolution that was sent to me from the post at Woodville, Ohio. Let me read it:

Therefore &e it retolved by Clarrnce Hieman Pott, No. 4«, America* Legion, That the; protest the enactment into law of the Tysun-Fitzgeralil bill for being unwarranted, un-American, and tending to embiirniss other legislation of superior importance affecting the welfare of disabled men.

Not only that, Mr. Clinirinnn, hut we come on down to Cambridge. Ohio. That post of the American Legion urges your opposition to the emergency officers' retirement bill and your support of the universal draft bill.

There Is another one coming from Cambridge, Ohio, and if these American Legion men all over the country find out what is behind this bill you will flnd a stronger protest against the enactment into law of any legislation that has such discriminatory provisions in it.

1 have no access to the White House any more than any other Democrat has and I do not know what the President thinks, but if he carries out the policies he has followed in the past. I can not understand how you men on that side of the House can believe he will sanction legislation of this kind. Why? Because it discriminates most violently against the enlisted man who served in the World War in favor of the officers who are claiming this gratuity. It discriminates against the officers and men of the Spanish-American War; it discriminates even against your officers in the Civil War; and last, but not least, Mr. Chairman, it most violently discriminates against the sacred dead who, as Abraham Lincoln !-a;d upon the field of Gettysburg, "paid the last full measure of devotion" upon the field of battle, or who have died since the war closed.

The most popular soldier who has ever been in this Capital, in all the years of its existence, sleeps over yonder in an unmarked grave at Arlington—the Unknown Soldier. My picture of the result of this bill is to see a broken-hearted mother, in widow's weeds, standing before that tomb which contains the composite remains of all our sacred dead who paid the " last full measure of devotion," as Lincoln said, in the World War, because she must realize, as we all know, that she is discriminated against by this bill, regardless of who that unknown soldier might have been. If he were an enlisted man, his buddies who were shot down around him and who managed to survive the conflict are discriminated against in favor of other men, a great many of whom never got nearer to the battle front than Dallas, Tex., or Los Angeles, Calif.

We say this is a pension based on rank, but in the name of all the gods at once who ever heard of a decent pension law that ignored the widows and orphans of those who made the supreme sacrifice in their country's cause?

If that unknown soldier happened to be an officer he is discriminated against, because it denies to his widow and his children the same benefits that it gives to the men on this roll who are drawing salaries of $5,000, $6,000, $10,000, and even .$12,000 a year.

Hod forbid that this Congress should ever pass such a piece of legislation or that the President should ever permit it to become a law. [Applause.]

Mr. ROT G. FITZGERALD. Mr. Chairman, I want to take a minute or two because I would like to have my good friend from Mississippi ascertain whether or not this Congress has teen deceived. I would like to know if the American Legion after nine years, composed of 90 per cent enlisted men. Is Incapable and has not the intelligence to know what it is it has been fishting for. I am also curious to know about the State of Mississippi and whether or not what has been handed to me by that American Legion, which has been attacked on the floor alleging lack of intelligence and misrepresentation by its officers, has been deceived. I want to read a memorial of the the State of Mississippi, through its legislature, imploring Congress to pass this bill.

Mr. Bt'SBY and Mr. RANKIN rose.

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. I will yield Just as soon as I read it.

M. Bl'SBY. I wanted to refer to that resolution and to ask whether the gentleman has a certified copy of the resolution.

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. I have not; and that is the reason I am asking about it.

Mr. Bl'SBY. I have not heard of it before; and they usually send us certified copies of such matters.

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. That is why I want the gentleman to have full opportunity to investigate the matter.

Mr. UI'SBY. I am not alleging it to be true; but am denying it to he true.

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. I do not know either: but I would like to know about it. It would really be valuable to the House to know if the American Legion has been deceived or if the American Legion has deceived me. or if the Representatives from Mississippi have been deceived about their own legislature and their own State. [Reading:]

In the Legislature of Mississippi. House Joint Resolution No. 20.

Meinoriulizlng Congress to pass the Tyson and Fitzgerald bills regardIng disabled emergency officers

Whereas of the nine classes of officers who served In the World War, eight classes, namely, regular officers of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps: provisional officers of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps; and emergency officers of the Navy and Marine Corps, have been granted by Congress the privilege of retirement for disability, when incurred In line of duty, leaving only the disabled emergency officers of the Army without such retirement privileges; and

Whereas there lg now pending before the Congress of the United States measures known as the Tyson bill, S. 777, and the Fitzgerald bill, II. R. 500, to correct this apparent injustice to the disabled National Uuard and other emergency officers of the World War; and

Whereas such proposed legislation Is equitable and seeks to do a long delayed justice to a class of worthy disabled officers of the World War entitled because of tbelr service, their wounds, and "disabilities Incurred therefrom to the same consideration and privileges as men of their rank who performed like service, but were of the Regular Army; and

Whereas an overwhelming number of the Members of Congress since the armistice have promised to correct this injustice to disabled emergency army officers by the enactment of legislation designed to adjust the unfair condition Imposed upon this one remaining class of officers: Be It

Ketolcid, That the Legislature of Mississippi urge upon Its legislators in the National Congress the Importance and desirability of speedily passing such legislation ; and be it further

Knolvfd, That copies of this resolution be sent to each Senator and Representative in Congress from the State of Mississippi.

Passetl and adopted April 16, 1928.

Mr. RANKIN. Will the gentleman now yield?


Mr. RANKIN. Has that memorial the signature of the speaker of the house?

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. No; and that is the reason I would like to know about it.

Mr. RANKIN. Does not the gentleman think he is rather presumptuous to be reading resolutions alleged to have been passed by the Legislature of Mississippi when they have not the signature of the speaker of the house?

Mr. ROY G. FITZGERALD. No; because I trust the American Legion, John, and I believe this was sent here, and they have probably got the original, as they furnished me a copy, properly signed, and passed by at least one chamber of your legislature. It may have been passed by both of them, but I have given you the number and I have given you the date so that you may investigate it.

I now yield three minutes to the gentleman from North Carolina [Mr. Abernetiiy].

Mr. ABERNETHY. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I did not intend to say anything more about this matter until the distinguished Representative from Mississippi [Mr. Rankin] read a letter from my home town from a friend of mine, Mr. Rouse, who is opposed to this legislation.

I received the same letter, or a copy of it, and thereupon I wrote to the American Legion Post of my town and asked them their reaction, and this is what the adjutant writes me, and I want the committee to listen to this very carefully. This was on April 12:

Your letter, inclosing a copy that was forwarded to you by Mr. Rouse of a letter he hud written to Mr. Rankin, received, and I note that the date of bis letter was the 10th.

Mr. Rouse, presented a resolution In opposition to this bill at the meeting of the post on Monday night, the Oth, and spoke forcibly for its adoption. At this meeting of the post there were 82 members present, of whom 5 were officers In the war and 77 enlisted men. His resolution was opposed vigorously by a number of enlisted men and was defeated by a vote of 81 to 1, Mr. Rouse himself being the only member to vote for its adoption.

This is all I desire to say.

Mr. RANKIN. Mr. Chairman. I yield 10 minutes to the gentleman from Missouri [Mr. Mili.ioan|. [Applause.]

Mr. MILLIGAN. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, the proponents of this legislation would have this House believe that every ex-servico man. both enlisted men and officers, throughout the United States, are clamoring for the immediate enactment of this legislation.

I think it was well stated by the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Speakh] when he stated that he believed that at least 90 per cent of the ex-service men of the I'nited States are not familiar with the provisions of this bill. I think this is quite true.

I have found that even the national organization of the American Legion itself Is not unanimous in its position upon

« ПретходнаНастави »