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GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION,
Washington 25, D. C., February 20, 1956. Re H. R. 7227, Surplus Donations for Civil Defense. Hon. John L. McCLELLAN, Chairman, Committee on Government Operations,
United States Senate, Washington 25, D. C. DEAR SENATOR MCCLELLAN: Your December 9 letter requests our views on proposed changes in H. R. 7227, 84th Congress, as passed by the House of Representatives. These changes are set forth in the December 9 committee print, attached to your letter.
The Senate committee print is intended to be proposed as a substitute for H. R. 7227 as passed the House. Our views on House-passed H. R. 7227 were expressed in our letter to you of December 16.
As outlined below, all of our recommendations for changes in H. R. 7227 as passed the House, have been adopted or in some manner taken care of in the committee print.
The possibility of a new priority being created between donations for education and public health on the one hand and civil defense on the other is eliminated. Also, the division of responsibility between the Secretary of Defense and the Federal Civil Defense Administrator, with attendant implications, is elimi. nated in the committee print.
The committee print makes applicable to donations for civil defense, the provisions concerning education and public health donations which were included in Public Law 61, 84th Congress with respect to: imposition of conditions on the use of donated property; certification by each State agency or official as to usability and need; minimum standards of operation for each State agency or official; and provisions for Federal-State cooperative agreements.
Section 5 of the committee print provides an interim arrangement for the benefit of such States as have not, on or before the enactment of this proposed legislation, enacted appropriate State legislation providing for such civil defense donations.
As indicated in Staff Memorandum No. 84–1–38, December 9, attached to your letter, representatives of this Administration have worked very closely with representatives of your staff, the Senate legislative counsel and representatives of other agencies concerned in the preparation of this committee print.
In view of the foregoing, this agency favors the changes which the committee print would make in H. R. 7227 as that bill passed the House.
The Bureau of the Budget has advised that there is no objection to the submission of this report to your committee. Cordially yours,
EDMUND F. MANSURE, Administrator.
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,
BUREAU OF THE BUDGET,
Washington 25, D. C., February 17, 1956. Hon. John L. MCCLELLAN, Chairman, Committee on Government Operations,
United States Senate, Washington 25, D. C. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN : This is in response to your letter of December 9, 1955, requesting a report on the committee print in the nature of a substitute for H. R. 7227 as it passed the House. The bill would authorize donations of Government surplus personal property for State and local civil defense organizations on the same basis as is presently authorized for education and public health purposes.
H. R. 7227 is one of several bills which have been introduced for the purpose of extending the donation program to State and local civil defense organizations including S. 1527 and H. R. 4660, which were drafted and submitted to the Congress by the Federal Civil Defense Administration.
We believe that the amended language of H. R. 7227 which was prepared by the staff of your committee in consultation with representatives of the interested agencies, represents a definite effort either to correct the administrative problems which have been pointed out in earlier reports to the committees or to leave the door open for administrative action or controls which we believe will give the needed flexibility for handling these problems.
We have but one suggested change to offer in the language of the bill. The bill provides that the Administrator of Civil Defense “may impose reasonable terms, conditions, reservations, and restrictions upon the use of any single item of personal property donated * * * which has an acquisition cost of $2,500 or more." This language is taken from Public Law 61, 84th Congress, as it applies to donations for educational or public health purposes. We do not wish to question the limitation as it applies to donations for education or public health but we share the belief expressed in the reports to your committee from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and the Federal Civil Defense Administration that the application of this provision to donations for civil defense purposes should be reconsidered.
A limitation which applies only to items costing $2,500 or more is not really much of a limitation because very few single supply items cost that much. Many if not most items donated for civil-defense purposes will not be used currently but will be stored for future emergency, probably under varying conditions of warehousing and protection. Even though individual lots of property worth millions of dollars might be involved, the Government would be without authority to impose reasonable terms or restrictions upon the use of such property unless the cost of each individual unit of property is $2,500 or more. We believe the $2,500 limitation may be too bigh a figure considering the need for effective controls over supplies stockpiled for civil-defense purposes.
Apart from this suggestion, we believe the amended bill is satisfactory with the understanding that the Federal Civil Defense Administration will not actually allocate any property directly but instead will delegate the operating phases of the work to the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in order that allocations for surplus property for education, health, or civil-defense purposes will be integrated in a single operating organization. We have been told informally that the Federal Civil Defense Administration and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare have agreed upon an integrated allocation system to be operated by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. We consider an arrangement of this kind to be absolutely essential in order to avoid the delay and expense of a priority system as well as any requirement for a Federal agency to decide disputes when health, education, and civil-defense programs compete for the same property.
We believe one of the most essential provisions in th amended bill prepared by your committee is the requirement that each State provide a single integrated agency to receive and distribute surplus property instead of requiring the Federal Government to allocate property to two or more agencies in a State, each competing for the same property. We recognize, of course, that it may be necessary to operate temporarily with more than one agency in a State until necessary State legislation is enacted. We do not object to the provision in the amended bill which would authorize such temporary arrangements until 90 calendar days have passed after the close of the first regular session of a State legislature beginning after the bill is enacted.
As indicated in previous reports, we believe many administrative problems exist which will require careful and sustained attention. For example, it is vital that property donated for civil-defense purposes be properly preserved for long-term storage, that it be properly stored, that accurate inventory records be maintained and that adequate measures are taken within each State to assure that property does not deteriorate and is not diverted to uses which are not authorized Reasonable standards are necessary and we believe they should be strictly observed. Sincerely yours,
ROWLAND HUGHES, Director.
OFFICE OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE,
LEGISLATIVE AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
Washington 25, D. C. March 1, 1956. Hon. John L. MCCLELLAN, Chairman, Committee on Government Operations,
United States Senate. DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in reply to your request for the views of the Department of Defense concerning the committee print of amendments (in the nature of a substitute) to H. R. 7227, to amend further the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended, to authorize the disposal of surplus property for civil-defense purposes, to provide that certain Federal surplus property be disposed of to State and local civil-defense organizations which are established by or pursuant to State law, and for other purposes.
The first section of the committee print would amend subsection 203 (j) of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended, to require donations of surplus property to educational activities of special interest to the Department of Defense, as determined by the Secretary of Defense, to be made through the State agency of the State where the activity is located. Donations of surplus property to such educational activities, under the existing provisions of subsection 203 (j) (3) of the act, are limited to some 46 schools and activities located in 21 States, the Territory of Hawaii, and the District of Columbia, which have been designated as being of special interest to the Department of Defense by the Secretary of Defense. Where property is so determined to be useful for a particular school or activity, it is transferred through the General Services Administration directly to the school or activity. Because of the limited scope of the donation program under the existing provisions of subsection 203 (j) (3), the need for such donations to be made through a State agency cannot be readily seen and adoption of that procedure would result in additional administrative detail and expense in accomplishing the donation.
Accordingly, it is recommended that the last sentence of the proposed new sub. section 203 (j) (1) be amended, in line 15, page 2, to add before the word “shall” the following: “(except surplus property allocated in conformity with paragraph 2 of this subsection)”. Additionally, it is recommended that the second sentence of the proposed new subsection 203 (j) (2) be amended, in line 4, page 3, to delete the words "the appropriate State agency for distribution to”.
Enactment of the provisions of the committee print with the foregoing amendments would inean that donations of surplus property to activities of special interest to the Department of Defense could be accomplished as they are accomplished under the existing subsection 203 (j) (3).
Subject to the adoption of the foregoing amendments, the Department of Defeuse would have no objection to the enactment of the provisions contained in the committee print.
The Department of Defense reaffirms its views on H. R. 7227, as it passed the House of Representatives, which were submitted to the committee on August 2, 1955. Additionally, the Department reaffirms its views of November 22, 1955, concerning this matter.
The Bureau of the Budget has advised with respect to this report and the report of November 22, 1955, as follows:
“Although there is no objection to the submission of such report as you deem appropriate, it is noted that the report reaffirms the views expressed in your letter of November 22, 1955, to the chairman of the committee on an earlier draft of the bill. One of the views expressed in this letter is that civil-defense activities ‘should receive first consideration in the disposal of such property. If civil-defense activities are to receive first consideration or, for that matter, if any of the eligible donee programs is to receive preference over the others, it would appear that a system of priorities would be necessary.
"In all of the reports on the various bills to permit donations for civil-defense purposes, we have objected to any return to a system of priorities because it means that the entire program to dispose of surplus property will be delayed while first one priority group and then another is given an opportunity to select items from lists of surplus property. Such a system was found to be very unsatisfactory and costly during the years immediately following the war.
"We have also objected to arrangements whereby the disposal of surplus property would be further delayed and complicated by providing a third agency such as the General Services Administration to act as an umpire in allocating property claimed for both programs.
"We believe you may wish to reconsider the position taken on this point in the letter of November 22, 1955, in view of this background and of the position taken by the Department of Defense in reporting a similar bill (H. R. 4660). This report, which was enclosed with your letter of July 18, 1955, included a statement that an increase in priority and preference provisions of the present law will serve to defeat the basic policies and principles sought to be accomplished by the legislation as initially enacted.'” Sincerely yours,
RICHARD A. BUDDEKE,
Director, Legislative Programs. Senator KENNEDY. At the conclusion of our discussion of S. 3693 and the related bills (S. 1527 and H. R. 7227), the subcommittee will
proceed to consider H. R. 7855, a bill to continue the authority of the Administrator of General Services to negotiate the disposal of surplus property until June 30, 1956. This bill passed the House of Representatives on August 2, 1955. The authority contained in this bill is intended to permit the Administrator to continue disposing of surplus property by negotiation where it has been determined that further advertising will not serve any useful purpose.
The first witness this morning will be the Senator from Nevada, Senator Malone.
STATEMENT OF HON. GEORGE W. MALONE, A UNITED STATES
SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF NEVADA Senator MALONE. Thank you, Senator Kennedy.
I commend the subcommittee for their diligence in amending this bill.
As we are all aware, one of the most serious problems facing our basic economy today is the present farm crisis, and the Senate, as well as the executive branch, is considering every possible way to render assistance to the American farmer.
I am generally familiar with the procedures of the General Services Administration in regard to military surplus. I believe that certain agencies, i. e., Public Health and Education, have been assigned highest priorities--and that, I think, is proper--but that makes it very difficult for soil-conservation districts and other public agencies to obtain surplus military equipment.
As soil conservation districts operate in the public interest, and because of the quasi-emergency farm problems, I think it would be definitely in order that these districts be assigned a higher priority, to give them greater access to surplus equipment.
I therefore submit for your subcommittee's consideration an amendment to H. R. 7227, which would put soil conservation districts on the same priority as educational and public health agencies and civil defense.
Senator KENNEDY. The amendment will be printed in the record at this point.
(The amendment to H. R. 7227, submitted by Senator Malone, is as follows:)
[H. R. 7227, 84th Cong., 2d sess.)
AMENDMENTS to amend further the Federal Property and Administrative : Services Act of 1949, as amended, to authorize the disposal of surplus property for civil defense purposes, to provide that certain Federal surplus property be disposed of to State and local civil defense organizations which are established by or pursuant to State law, and for other purposes, viz: Beginning with line 3, page 1, strike out all to and including line 16, page 2, and insert in lieu thereof the following:
That paragraph (1) of section 203 (j) of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended, is amended to read as follows:
“(1) Under such regulations as he may prescribe, the Administrator is authorized in his discretion to donate for purposes of education, civil defense, public health, including research, or soil conservation in any State without cost (except for costs of care and handling) such equipment, materials, books, or other supplies as shall have been determined to be surplus property and which shall have been determined under paragraph (2), (3), or (6) of this subsection to be usable and necessary for any such purpose. In determining whether or not property is to be donated under this subsection, no distinction shall be made between property capitalized in a working-capital fund established pursuant to section 405 of the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, or any similar fund under the control of any executive agency, and any other property."
On page 3, line 11, immediately after the period, insert the following: “In the case of such surplus property, the Secretary of Defense may determine, upon advice which shall be given by the Secretary of Agriculture, whether such property is usable and necessary for soil conservation purposes."
On page 3, line 14, strike out the words “or civil-defense”, and insert in lieu thereof a comma and the words “civil-defense, or soil conservation”.
Senator MALONE. I ask unanimous consent that representative correspondence received from the Duck Valley Soil Conservation District, Owyhee, Nev., and Jiggs Soil Conservation District, Lee, Nev., be printed in the record as part of my statement.
Senator KENNEDY. It may be included.
DUCK VALLEY SOIL CONSERVATION DISTRICT,
WESTERN SHOSHONE AGENCY,
Owyhee, Nev., January 24, 1956. Senator GEORGE MALONE, Senate Office Building,
Washington 25, D. 0. DEAR SIR: A discussion was held at the meeting of the Nevada Association of Soil Conservation Districts last September 28, 1955, at Reno, Nev., regarding the problem of obtaining equipment declared surplus by the military services.
The fact that Federal agencies, public health and educational agencies have been assigned highest priority, makes it very difficult for soil-conservation districts to obtain surplus military equipment.
Since soil-conservation districts operate in the public interest we feel they should have access to equipment declared surplus by military organizations. We wish to take this opportunity in appealing to you about this problem. Very truly yours,
GUS GARITY, Chairman.
Jiggs SOIL CONSERVATION DISTRICT,
Lee, Nev., January 30, 1956. Hon. GEORGE MALONE, Senator from Nevada,
Unted States Senate, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: The Jiggs Soil Conservation District has been trying to obtain surplus, heavy equipment to further the soil-conservation and development program throughout the district. We have found, however, that Federal agencies have been assigned a higher priority than State agencies which makes it very difficult for soil-conservation districts to obtain surplus equipment.
We believe that in our program of soil and water conservation which involves land leveling, water control, cropland and rangeland seeding, and brush control on all lands, both public and private, in the district that the use of equipment would contribute to the resource conservation and development and thus serve the general public interest.
Our district at present is developing agreements with all the State and Federal agencies concerned with the district to coordinate the entire conservation and development program. We intend to give serious consideration to the USDA and USDI watershed programs after our initial districtwide surveys are completed.
At present we can see the need for a medium-sized, crawler-type tractor with accessories, a medium-sized scraper, an industrial-type chisel and heavy disk plows.
As we stated previously, this equipment would be used to bolster and speed up the soil-conservation program on all lands within the district under a soil-conservation district ranch plan and further would be used only for approved conservation work.