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Hon. WILLIAM L. DAWSON,

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,

BUREAU OF THE BUDGET, Washington, September 18, 1957.

Chairman, Committee on Government Operations.

MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in reply to your letter of April 2, 1957, requesting our views on H. R. 6537, a bill to authorize the disposition of certain obsolete and excess property to the United States Volunteer Life Saving Corps.

H. R. 6537 would authorize the Secretaries of the three military departments and the Commandant of the Coast Guard to dispose of property which is obsolete or excess to the needs of their respective agencies. Under the requirements of section 202 of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended, such property must be screened for further possible utilization by governmental agencies. That section provides more specifically for the economical and efficient management of Government property by requiring that maximum utilization of property be promoted and, as far as practicable, each executive agency transfer its excess property to other Federal agencies in lieu of purchasing new items. This is a sound policy which would be seriously impaired by any authorization for disposal of property by certain agencies without considering the needs of the Government as a whole. Only when no need for excess Government property is found in any Federal agency is it declared surplus and its disposal authorized. Under existing law, the United States Volunteer Life Saving Corps may purchase such property that has been declared surplus and made available for sale. The donation of personal surplus property, however, is limited by section 203 of the act to purposes of education, public health, and civil defense.

We would be opposed to any legislation such as H. R. 6537 which would permit the sale or donation of Government property which is merely excess as that term is defined in section 3 of the act. We would also be opposed to expanding the present surplus property donation program to include the United States Volunteer Life Saving Corps, except to the extent that such authority may be provided under title 14, United States Code, section 641 (a), for the same reason that we have opposed extending the program to volunteer fire departments, rescue squads, and numerous other organizations.

We have not questioned the worthiness of these purposes but have recommended to your committee and to the Senate Committee on Government Operations that, in view of the serious administrative difficulties involved, any further expansion of the donation program should be supported only for major purposes which are compelling in the national interest, and which are not primarily local responsibilities.

Sincerely yours,

PERCIVAL F. BRUNDAGE, Director.

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,

BUREAU OF the Budget, Washington, D. C., June 3, 1957.

Hon. WILLIAM L. DAWSON,

Chairman, Committee on Government Operations,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.

MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in reply to your request for a report on H. R. 7067, a bill to amend the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 to permit the donation and other disposal of property to tax-supported public recreation agencies. Property involved in this amendment includes both personal and real.

In regard to personal property, we believe it inadvisable to enlarge the number of organizations or purposes for which such property may be donated. You may recall that the Government has had very unsatisfactory experience in the past under statutes authorizing donations for many different purposes. In 1949 those statutes were repealed because it had been found that the numerous claimants caused surplus property to remain in warehouses at Government expense for long periods, sometimes even for years, while first one group and then another examined the lists of available surplus. In the end, most of the property was not wanted by any group and had to be sold. In such

instances, the losses due to damage and deterioration of stocks and the added costs of warehouse space, care and handling, and administration seemed unjustified. The laws were repealed in order to speed up, simplify, and make less costly the task of surplus property disposal. We have, therefore, generally opposed bills proposing to expand the donation program to include such purposes and institutions as mosquito control districts, 4-H clubs, volunteer fire departments and rescue squads, municipal gas, water, and sewer systems, scientific research institutions, and for general maintenance of cities and towns. For the same reasons we oppose extending the program to public recreation agencies.

In the case of real property, other considerations are involved. For various reasons dictated by national interests and programs, the United States owns a considerable amount of real property in certain areas and very little or none in others. Since surplus real property is not transportable, in contrast to personal property, which can be evenly distributed throughout the country, those States or political subdivisions in which little or no Government-owned real property is located are at a distinct disadvantage in obtaining an equal share of the benefits to be derived from disposals. As you know, the Surplus Property Act of 1944, as amended, provides that real property determined by the Secretary of the Interior to be suitable for park or recreational purposes may be sold to States and political subdivisions for 50 percent of its fair value. We believe that this arrangement should be continued since it provides for a reasonable distribution of benefits derived from surplus real property disposal programs.

We do not question the worthiness of these purposes but hesitate to expand existing programs. This position, in part, grows out of the difficulties described above, and in part is attributable to a belief that any further expansion of existing programs should be supported only for major purposes which are compelling in the national interest, and which are not primarily local responsibilities.

Sincerely yours,

PERCIVAL F. Brundage, Director.

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,

Hon. WILLIAM L. DAWSON,

BUREAU OF THE BUDGET, Washington, December 24, 1957.

Chairman, Committee on Government Operations.

MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in reply to your request for a report on H. R. 9522, a bill to amend the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 to authorize the disposal of surplus property to certain welfare agencies. We believe it inadvisable to enlarge the number of organizations or purposes for which surplus property may be donated. You may recall that the Government has had very unsatisfactory experience in the past under statutes authorizing donations for many different purposes. In 1949 those statutes were repealed because it had been found that the numerous claimants caused surplus property to remain in warehouses at Government expense for long periods, sometimes even for years, while first one group and then another examined the lists of available surplus. In the end, most of the property was not wanted by any group and had to be sold. In such instances the losses due to damage and deterioration of stock and the added costs of warehouse space, care and handling, and administration seemed unjustified. The laws were repealed in order to speed up, simplify, and make less costly the task of surplus property disposal. We have, therefore, generally opposed bills proposing to expand the donation program to include such purposes and institutions, as mosquito control districts, municipal water and gas systems, 4-H clubs, municipal governments, and scientific and research organizations. For the same reasons we oppose extending the program to certain welfare agencies as proposed in H. R. 9522.

We have not questioned the worthiness of these purposes but have recommended to your committee and to the Senate Committee on Government Operations that, in view of the serious administrative difficulties involved, any further expansion of the donation program should be supported only for major purposes

which are compelling in the national interest and which are not primarily local responsibilities. Sincerely yours,

PERCIVAL F. BRUNDAGE, Director.

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,
BUREAU OF THE BUDGET,

February 14, 1958.

Hon. WILLIAM L. DAWSON,

Chairman, Committee on Government Operations.

MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in reply to your requests for reports on H. R. 10010 and H. R. 10118, identical bills to amend the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 to authorize the disposal of certain surplus property to public health agencies of a State, its political subdivisions and instrumentalities.

We believe it inadvisable to enlarge the number of organizations or purposes for which surplus property may be donated. The Government has had very unsatisfactory experience in the past under statutes authorizing donations for many different purposes. In 1949 most of these statutes were repealed because it had been found that the numerous claimants caused surplus property to remain in warehouses at Government expense for long periods, sometimes even for years, while first one group and then another examined the lists of available surplus. In the end, most of the property was not wanted by any group and had to be sold. In such instances the losses due to damage and deterioration of stock and the added costs of warehouse space, care and handling, and administration seemed unjustified. The laws were repealed in order to speed up, simplify, and make less costly the task of surplus property disposal. For these reasons, we have opposed bills proposing to expand the donation program to include such purposes and institutions as welfare agencies, municipal water and gas systems, 4-H Clubs, municipal goverments, scientific and research organizations, rescue squads, local fire departments, and municipal corporations. For the same reasons we would oppose extending the donation program to include such additional purposes as land drainage, mosquito and insect control, and similar programs, as proposed in H. R. 10010 and H. R. 10118.

Sincerely yours,

MAURICE H. STANS, Acting Director.

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,

Hon. WILLIAM L. DAWSON,

BUREAU OF THE BUDGET, Washington, D. C., April 3, 1958.

Chairman, Committee on Government Operations,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.

MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This will acknowledge your requests for reports on H. R. 10377, H. R. 11115, H. R. 11516, and H. R. 11324, identical bills to amend the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 to permit the donation of surplus property to volunteer fire-fighting organizations.

These bills are also identical with H. R. 7552, H. R. 3406, and H. R. 7929, about which we wrote you last year. As we explained, we believe that further expansion of the donation program should be supported only for major purposes which are compelling in the national interest and are not primarily local responsibilities. Accordingly, we recommend against favorable consideration of any of these bills.

Sincerely yours,

PHILLIP S. HUGHES, Acting Assistant Director for Legislative Reference.

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,

Hon. WILLIAM L. DAWSON,

BUREAU OF THE BUDGET, Washington, D. C., March 26, 1958.

Chairman, Committee on Government Operations,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.

MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in reply to your request for a report on H. R. 105789, a bill to amend the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 to permit the donation and other disposal of property to taxsupported public recreation agencies. Property involved in this amendment includes both personal and real.

In regard to personal property, we believe it inadvisable to enlarge the number of organizations or purposes for which such property may be donated. The Government has had very unsatisfactory experience in the past under statutes authorizing donations for many different purposes. In 1949 most of these statutes were repealed because it had been found that the numerous claimants caused surplus property to remain in warehouses at Government expense for long periods, sometimes even for years, while first one group and then another examined the lists of available surplus. In the end, most of the property was not wanted by any group and had to be sold. In such instances, the losses due to damage and deterioration of stock and the added costs of warehouse space, care and handling, and administration seemed unjustified. The laws were repealed in order to speed up, simplify, and make less costly the task of surplus property disposal. For these reasons, we have opposed bills proposing to expand the donation program to include such purposes and institutions as mosquito control districts, 4-H Clubs, volunteer fire departments and rescue squads, municipal gas, water, and sewer systems, scientific and research organizations, and for general maintenance of cities and towns. For the same reasons we would oppose extending the program to include public recreation agencies.

In the case of real property, other considerations are involved. For various reasons dictated by national interests and programs, the United States owns a considerable amount of real property in certain areas and very little or none in others. Since surplus real property is not transportable, in contrast to personal property which can be distributed throughout the country, those States or political subdivisions in which little or no Government-owned real property is located are at a distinct disadvantage in obtaining an equal share of the benefits to be derived from disposals. The Surplus Property Act of 1944, as amended, provides that real property determined by the Secretary of the Interior to be suitable for park or recreational purposes may be sold to States and political subdivisions for 50 percent of its fair value. We believe that this arrangement should be continued since it provides for a reasonable distribution of benefits derived from surplus real property disposal programs. For the above reasons we would oppose enactment of H. R. 10789.

Sincerely yours,

MAURICE H. STANS, Director.

EXHIBIT 2-REPLIES FROM THE FEDERAL CIVIL DEFENSE ADMINISTRATION
FEDERAL CIVIL DEFENSE ADMINISTRATION,
OFFICE OF THE ADMINISTRATOR,
Washington, D. C., May 9, 1957.

Hon. WILLIAM L. DAWSON,

Chairman, Committee on Government Operations,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in reply to your request for a report on H. R. 4107 and H. R. 6316, 85th Congress, similar bills to amend the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 to permit the donation of surplus property to volunteer fire-fighting organizations, volunteer reserve services, squads, and first-aid crews.

H. R. 4107 and H. R. 6316 are similar to H. R. 10839 which was introduced in the 84th Congress before section 203 (j) of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 was amended by Public Law 655, 84th Congress. (H. R. 10839 was pending in the Committee on Government Operations at the close of the 84th Cong.)

Public Law 655 authorizes the donation of surplus property for civil defense purposes and permits donations to the State agency designated for the purpose of distributing allocated property (act of July 3, 1956; 40 U. S. C., sec. 484 (j). Since the enactment of Public Law 655, therefore, surplus property may be donated to the States and used by volunteer fire-fighting crews, volunteer reserve services, squads, and first-aid crews, if these groups are integrated into civil defense, have an assigned mission in the civil defense plan, and use the donated property for civil defense purposes. The proposed bill, however, would authorize the donation of surplus property for the day-to-day operations of the aforementioned groups.

Public Law 971, 84th Congress, extended the authority of the General Services Administration to negotiate the sale of surplus property (40 U. S. C., sec. 484 (e); 70 Stat. 918). At the time of the hearings on Public Law 971, there was testimony that the General Services Administration continued to be in need of such legislation because some State and municipal governments cannot participate in the sale of surplus property for the reason that local law will not allow them to enter competitive bidding (pp. 60 and 61 of the hearings before the Subcommittee on Reorganization of the Senate Committee on Government Operations, 84th Cong., 2d sess., with regard to S. 3693, S. 1527, H. R. 7227, and H. R. 7855). Thus, one of the reasons for extending GSA's authority to negotiate the sale of surplus property was to make surplus property available for purchase by such groups as those mentioned in the proposed legislation. They can purchase surplus property through negotiation within the framework of the regulations promulgated by GSA under Public Law 971 whether or not they qualify under the civil defense program.

If surplus property were donated for the purposes of the proposed bills, the Federal Government would incur heavy administrative expenses. As we visualize the operation under the proposed authority, the additional donees would, of necessity, require the establishment of a system of priorities. The Federal Government would set up minimum standards for eligibility and would require the designation of a single State agency to receive the property. This would be a tremendous task because of the many groups that would be eligible all over the United States. In the past, a system of priorities has proved to be virtually unworkable. The Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government (Hoover Commission), in its report on surplus property, recognized that "the inclusion of other donees, such as cities and counties, would pose complex problems of determining priorities" (p. 45). From the standpoint of economy and better property management, we are of the opinion that the requirements of the aforementioned groups can be much better met by the sale of surplus property under the procedures of the General Services Administration. One final point is worth mentioning. The bills, as drafted, do not take into consideration the provisions of Public Law 655 and would, if enacted, repeal that law. We doubt whether this is the intention behind the proposed legislation because it was originally drafted before the enactment of Public Law 655 and, at that time, it was intended to authorize an additional donation authority rather than to repeal authorities already granted. Consequently, if these bills are to be considered by the Congress, they should be revised so as not to repeal the provisions of Public Law 655.

For the reasons above stated, this Administration opposes the enactment of H. R. 4107 and H. R. 6316.

Advice has been received from the Bureau of the Budget that there would be no objection to the submission of this report.

Sincerely,

VAL PETERSON.

Hon. WILLIAM L. DAWSON,

FEDERAL CIVIL DEFENSE ADMINISTRATION,

NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS,
OFFICE OF THE ADMINISTRATOR,
Battle Creek, Mich., October 18, 1957.

Chairman, Committee on Government Operations,

House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in reply to your request for a report on H. R. 6537, 85th Congress, a bill to authorize the disposition of certain obsolete and excess property to the United States Volunteer Life Saving Corps.

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