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TO PROVIDE FOR SETTLEMENT OF CLAIMS FOR DAMAGES
RESULTING FROM THE DISASTER WHICH OCCURRED

AT TEXAS CITY, TEX., ON APRIL 16 AND 17, 1947

MAY 11 AND JUNE 8, 1955

Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary

Serial No. 23

UNITED STATES
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE

WASHINGTON : 1956

78228

GA

COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY

EMANUEL CELLER, New York, Chairman
FRANCIS E. WALTER, Pennsylvania CHAUNCEY W. REED, Illinois
THOMAS J. LANE, Massachusetts

KENNETH B. KEATING, New York
MICHAEL A. FEIGHAN, Ohio

WILLIAM M. MCCULLOCH, Ohio,
FRANK CHELF, Kentucky

RUTH THOMPSON, Michigan
EDWIN E. WILLIS, Louisiana

PATRICK J. HILLINGS, California
JAMES B. FRAZIER, JR., Tennessee

SHEPARD J. CRUMPACKER, JR., Indiana
PETER W. RODINO, JR., New Jersey

WILLIAM E. MILLER, New York
WOODROW W. JONES, North Carolina DEAN P. TAYLOR, New York
E. L. FORRESTER, Georgia

USHER L. BURDICK, North Dakota
BYRON G. ROGERS, Colorado

LAURENCE CURTIS, Massachusetts
HAROLD D. DONOHUE, Massachusetts JOHN M. ROBSION, JR., Kentucky
SIDNEY A. FINE, New York

DEWITT S. HYDE, Maryland
JACK B. BROOKS, Texas

RICHARD H. POFF, Virginia
WILLIAM M. TUCK, Virginia

HUGH SCOTT, Pennsylvania
ROBERT T. ASHMORE, South Carolina
JAMES M. QUIGLEY, Pennsylvania
CHARLES A. BOYLE, Illinois

BESS E. Dick, Staff Director
WILLIAM R. FOLEY, General Counsel
WALTER M. BESTERMAN, Legislative Assistant

WALTER R. LEE, Legislative Assistant
CHARLES J. ZINN, Law Revision Counsel
BESSIE M. ORCUTT, Administrative Assistant

SUBCOMMITTEE No. 2

THOMAS J. LANE, Massachusetts, Chairman
E. L. FORRESTER, Georgia

WILLIAM E. MILLER, New York
HAROLD D. DONOHUE, Massachusetts USHER L. BURDICK, North Dakota
CHARLES A. BOYLE, Illinois

CHAUNCEY W. REED, Illinois

DEWITT S. HYDE,1 Maryland
WALTER R. LEE, Legislative Assistant

CYRIL F. BRICKFIELD, Counsel

1 Mr. Hyde served as a member of the special subcommittee which made an investigation
of the Texas City disaster pursuant to H. Res. 296 of the 83d Cong.

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CONTENTS

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Page

Text of H. R. 4045..

1

Statement of —

Baker, W. Kendall, Burris, Benton, Baker & Zweiner, attorneys,

Houston, Tex.

140

Bryan, Austin Y., Jr., attorney, Esperson Building, Houston, Tex. 40, 118

Burger, Hon. Warren' E., Assistant Attorney General, Department of

Justice.

7, 26

Daniel, Hon. Price, United States Senator from the State of Texas... 24

Elledge, Vernon, attorney, 1603 Second National Bank Building,

Houston, Tex

137

Leachman, Neth L., attorney, Dallas, Tex.

112, 140
Liftin, Morton, attorney, Department of Justice-

8, 26, 73
Markwell

, Russel H., attorney, Markwell, Stubbs & Decker, Galves-
ton, Tex.

29, 126
Robinson, T. R., county judge, Galveston County, Tex.

38

Thompson, Hon. Clark W., Representative in Congress from the

State of Texas.

3, 27, 115

Additional information-

Bryan, Austin Y., Jr., reply to supplementary statement of the

Department of Justice

214

Burger, Warren E., Assistant Attorney General, Department of

Justice, letter, May 19, 1955, to Hon. Thomas J. Lane, subcom-

mittee chairman.

73

Connally, Ben C., United States district judge, Houston, Tex., letter,
May 24, 1955, to Hon. Emanuel Celler.

186

Department of the Army report dated May 10, 1955 -

14

Elledge, Vernon, attorney, 1603 Second National Bank Building:

Letter, June 15, 1955, to Hon. Thomas J. Lane, with suggested

amendment

230

Leiter, June 16, 1955, to Hon. Thomas J. Lane.

230

Extracts from report on an investigation of the properties and hazards

of ammonium nitrate and high-percentage ammonium nitrate

fertilizers, submitted to the Commandant of the Coast Guard by

A. D. Little, Inc., Cambridge, Mass -

130

Federal Bureau of Investigation, memorandum re statutory relief
for Texas City disaster victims....

81, 82

Justice, Department of, supplementary statement on S. 1077 and

H. R. 4045.

188

Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., memorandum re Texas City Disaster
Relief Bill

232

Library of Congress, American Law Section:

Memorandum on the validity of legislation vesting in the Federal

district courts in Texas jurisdiction to determine the measure of

damages owed to claimants suffering injuries in the Texas City,

Tex, disaster, etc...

186

Memorandum in support of contention that insurance companies

who had paid persons suffering property losses arising out of the

Texas City, Tex., disaster will not be entitled to recover from

such persons any part of moneys distributed to them under an

act of Congress enacted subsequently to the judicial rejection of

claims filed by such persons under the Federal Tort Claims

Act

231

Report of the special subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary

appointed to investigate the claims arising out of the Texas City

disaster (H. Rept. 1386, 83d Cong., 2d sess.) -

142-185

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XL4
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53-005-00

TEXAS CITY CLAIMS ACT

WEDNESDAY, MAY 11, 1955

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE No. 2 OF THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE,

Washington, D. C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 a. m. in room 346, Old House Office Building, the Honorable Thomas J. Lane, chairman of the subcommittee, presiding.

Present: The Honoral.le Messrs. Thomas J. Lane, E. L. Forrester, Harold D. Donohue, Charles A. Boyle, William E. Miller of New York, and Usher L. Burdick.

Also present: Cyril F. Brickfield, counsel, Walter R. Lee, legislative assistant.

Mr. LANE. The subcommittee will be kind enough to come to order.

This committee has under consideration this morning H. R. 4045 filed by Mr. Thompson of Texas, a bill to provide for settlement of claims for damages resulting from the disaster which occurred at Texas City, Tex., on April 16 and 17, 1947.

(H. R. 4045 is as follows:)

(H. R. 4045, 84th Cong., 1st sess. ]

A BILL To provide for settlement of claims for damages resulting from the disaster

which occurred at Texas City, Texas, on April 16 and 17, 1947 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That this Act may be cited as the “Texas City Claims Act".

SEC. 2. (a) There is hereby established a commission to be known as the Texas City Claims Commission (referred to in this Act as the “Commission”), which shall be composed of three members to be appointed by the President. The President shall designate the member of the Commission who shall be the chairman thereof.

(b) Two members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum.

(c) The members of the Commission shall each receive $50 per diem when engaged in the actual performance of duties vested in the Commission, plus reimbursement for travel, subsistence, and other expenses incurred by them in the performance of such duties.

(d) The Commission shall have the power, without regard to the provisions of the civil-service laws and the Classification Act of 1949, as amended, to appoint and fix the compensation of such personnel as it deems necessary for the purposes of the performance of its duties, and the appropriations therefor are hereby authorized.

(e) Service of an individual as a member of the Commission or employment of an individual by the Commission shall not be considered to be service or employment bringing such individual within the provisions of sections 281, 283, 284, 434, or 1914 of title 18 of the United States Code, or section 190 of the Revised Statutes (5 U. S. C. 99).

Sec. 3. (a) The Commission shall receive, investigate, and allow claims against the United States for damages sustained by individuals, firms, companies, associations, and corporations as a result of the disaster at Texas City, Texas, on

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