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The result was an improved bill, one which was favorably reported by the Senate Commerce Committee and passed by the Senate without objection. I am, of course, very hopeful that you and your committee will likewise be satisfied with this measure after giving it your own careful appraisal.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to make this brief statement and for your interest in expediting consideration of this legislation.
The CHAIRMAN. Our first witness this morning is the sponsor of H.R. 7309, our colleague from Michigan, the Honorable Elford A. Cederberg. Mr. Cederberg, we will be glad to hear you at this time. STATEMENT OF HON. ELFORD A. CEDERBERG, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MICHIGAN..
Mr. CEDERBERG. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, as a cosponsor of this legislation I want to express my appreciation as well as the appreciation of amateur radio operators in the 10th Congressional District of Michigan, which I represent, for your scheduling this hearing on these bills about which they are so enthusiastically
I first became interested in this subject in the fall of 1961 when one of the ham operators in my district came to me and expressed the interest of his fellow operators in a revision of the Communications Act to enable American servicemen to carry on their hobby while on duty in foreign lands. This, of course, would require a change in the law making possible bilateral agreements for operation of amateur radio stations.
After making inquiries with the Department of State and the Federal Communications Commission I learned of some of the problems involved and of the limitations imposed by our own laws. In the 2d session of the 87th Congress I introduced H.R. 9684 proposing an amendment to the Communications Act of 1934 and in the 1st session of the 88th Congress I introduced a similar bill identified as H.R. 7309. I have conferred with Senator Goldwater, who with other Senators, introduced S. 920, which was passed by the Senate last fall. I realize our earlier bills failed to meet some of the security objections raised by agencies responsible for the protection of our national security interests. However, in my opinion S. 920, as passed by the Senate, meets these objections.
I approve of the wording of the bill which "authorizes" the operation of amateur radio stations here by aliens instead of licensing them. I did not realize the great interest in the possibilities a reciprocal arrangement holds until I began receiving mail from around the country from these so-called ham operators.
Today we have American citizens all over the world representing the United States in an official or semiofficial capacity in connection with programs Congress has authorized. We likewise have our military forces stationed in many countries. Our churches have their missionary groups in practically all countries of the world. When these people go from our shores we should have a continuing interest in them.
I have come to realize what communication means to many of them a group of Americans abroad communicating by amateur radio
in their own language with other Americans. We might say this is a selfish approach-and so it is.
There is more than just entertainment through conversations between these amateur operators. Since I became interested in this legislation I have learned of the frequent humanitarian service given. by these fine amateur operators.
One of these operators in the Washington area has had a number of unique experiences which could substantiate our support for legislation of the type sought here today. I refer to Mr. E. M. Peterson, who is Director of Youth Activities in the surrounding seven-State conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He is an enthusiastic ham operator. Referring to the humanitarian side of this hobby, I was interested particularly in one of several unusual experiences of Mr. Peterson. At the time of the earthquake in Iran a few years ago, all normal channels of communication between that country and the outside world were cut off. Fortunately, American amateur radio operators were able to use their sets in Iran and one of these was an American missionary. He began sending out emergency calls. His call was picked up by a ship in the Mediterranean Sea. The ship's radio operator began calling any ham radio station in America. Mr. Peterson was the first in the Washington area to pick up the call and establish a communication link. The result was that very shortly blankets, clothing, and other supplies were sent on their way to Iran by the missionary's church headquarters.
This hobby of an amateur radio operator in nearby Maryland is credited with saving the life of a child in South America, I am told. An amateur in South America-I do not know whether he was an American or a native, began trying to contact fellow hams in the United States, saying a child there would die unless it received a particular drug, not available in South America. This occurred on a weekend. The local amateur picked up the call and contacted the National Institutes of Health. He was advised only one pharmaceutical company manufactured the drug and that was a Midwest company. Our local ham went on the air to contact hams in the city where it was manufactured. The message went through and the Midwest ham contacted the vice president of the pharmaceutical company, who obtained further details, opened his establishment on Sunday and arranged for a shipment of the drug to South America by the next plane.
The kind of good will cited in just these two instances is of a nature we cannot purchase with any kind of a foreign aid program. I am sure the radio logs of hundreds of amateur radio operators in this country reveal many and perhaps even more thrilling accounts of humanitarian service.
I understand approximately 31 countries extend American nationals amateur radio privileges when they are within their borders yet our laws do not permit a reciprocal arrangement when nationals of those countries are within our borders.
I realize our national security is of No. 1 importance but I believe we can enact a law protecting security and at the same time make possible a reciprocal arrangement for amateur radio operators. I hope your committee will favorably report such a bill.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any questions? If not, we thank you for your appearance and testimony, Mr. Cederberg.
Mr. CEDERBERG. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. We have with us Commissioner Rosel H. Hyde, who has probably seen more of the amateur radio activities as it has grown up than any other member of the Commission because of the various positions that he has held with the Commission that would permit him to observe this field closely. I think it is most appropriate that the Commission did suggest that Commissioner Hyde come here on behalf of the Commission.
Commissioner Hyde, we would be glad to hear you on this matter. I had not anticipated we would take much time on this bill today because it is not controversial, as I understand. I must say, though, sometimes I look upon these noncontroversial bills before this committee with some trembling and fear because they always seem to develop into sharp controversies before we get through. If time permits, Commissioner, I have a couple of other bills that I do not want to characterize as unimportant, because they are important, but they are matters that should not require much discussion.
However, we always like to make a record. I may ask you about them in order to expedite our own program within this committee. Both of them have passed the other body and have been referred to this committee, and they are S. 1005 and S. 1193. So after we get through with this one I may want to ask you about these other two bills if you are in position to testify on them.
We are glad to have you back with us and you may proceed.
STATEMENT OF HON. ROSEL H. HYDE, COMMISSIONER, FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Mr. HYDE. Thank you, Chairman Harris. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I have the statement of the Commission regarding S. 920 and H.R. 9035. My statement is brief and I believe, sir, that it might conserve time if I presented the exact text rather than undertaking summary.
This bill would amend section 303 of the Communications Act of 1934 (dealing with operators) and section 310 (dealing with station licenses) to provide that the Commission may, if it finds that the public interest, convenience, or necessity may be served, issue authorizations, but not licenses, for alien amateur radio operators to operate their amateur radio stations in the United States, its possessions, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, provided there is in effect a bilateral agreement between the United States and the alien's government for such operation by U.S. amateurs on a reciprocal basis.
It also provides that other provisions of the Communications Act and the Administrative Procedure Act will not be applicable to any request or application for or modification, suspension, or cancellation of any such authorization.
The bill further provides that whenever the Commission receives an application from an alien for such authorization, the Commission shall notify the appropriate agencies of the Government of such fact, and the agencies shall forthwith furnish to the Commission such information in their possession as bears upon the compatibility of the request with national security. The Commission may then grant the requested authorization unless it shall determine that information received from such agencies necessitates denial of the request.
While this is not a part of the Commission's legislative program, should the Congress decide that such legislation is desirable, we would have no objection to enactment of the bill.
Such legislation constitutes a departure from the general policy embodied in sections 303 (1) and 310(a) of the Communications Act against granting radio station licenses or radio operator licenses to aliens.
At the present time, there are only two exceptions to this policy. The first was contained in a convention between the United States and Canada, effective May 15, 1952 (TIAS No. 2508) which permits citizens of either country who are station licensees to operate certain radio equipment, including amateur radio stations, while in the other country.
The second exception results from amendments to sections 303 (1) and 310(a), adopted in 1958 (Public Law 85-817), which permit the licensing of certain alien pilots flying aircraft in the United States.
The Commission believes the procedures proposed in the bill for handling security clearances before granting permits to an alien amateur are appropriate. Under the proposed procedure the Commission, upon receipt of a request for authorization of an operation by an alien amateur, would ask the Central Intelligence Agency and the Departments of Defense, Justice, and State to supply it with any information in their possession bearing upon the particular request. While the Commission would not, of course, ignore information coming to it from other sources, its obligation in the security area would be limited to a check of the named agencies and making the finding that, with respect to national security, no information or recommendations before the Commission necessitate denial of the request.
The above-named agencies are those which are at this time considered to be the agencies referred to in the proposed bill as "appropriate agencies of Government." Additionally, the Commission would be guided by the views of the named agencies, or by information coming to it from other sources, as to whether requests should be made upon additional agencies as circumstances warrant.
In acting on such requests, the Commission would, of course, respect the confidential nature and sources of specific security information coming to its attention.
In connection with the responsibility for security arrangements which must be maintained if this bill is enacted, we would point out that a similar problem arose when Congress was considering the amendments to sections 303 (1) and 310(a) to permit the licensing of certain alien pilots flying aircraft in the United States (Public Law 85-817, 85th Cong., 2d sess., 1958, 72 Stat. 981).
In that instance, the problem of security arrangements was resolved by placing the responsibility for appropriate security-screening procedures in the Federal Aviation Agency which had the responsibility of issuing airmen certificates to the alien pilots who would subsequently apply to the Commission for licenses to operate aircraft radio stations (105 Congressional Record 16414 (daily edition); S. Rept. No. 2338, 85th Cong., 2d sess., p. 3 (1958)).
Under the bill the Commission would have the authority to deny an application summarily. Also, the Commission would have authority to modify, suspend, or revoke the permit of an alien amateur sum
marily or under such procedures as it may prescribe. The alien amateur involved would not have the right of appeal under section 402 of the Communications Act or under the Administrative Procedure Act.
It is expected that, in the negotiation of bilateral agreements, the State Department will consult with the Federal Communications Commission, which is normal procedure in matters in which we have a specific communications interest.
That completes the statement that the Commission authorized me to present. I should be pleased to undertake to respond to any questions. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Commissioner. There is a difference between issuing an authorization and issuing a permit. Is that not true?
Mr. HYDE. Yes. As a matter of fact, this would operate very much like a registration system, but subject to certain security checks that wouldn't operate with a conventional registration system. It would operate to recognize the license of the alien's government on a reciprocal basis rather than to issue a new license as such.
The CHAIRMAN. These would be bilateral agreements?
Mr. HYDE. This would always be on a reciprocal basis, subject to bilateral agreement between this country and the country of the alien concerned.
The CHAIRMAN. Not under a treaty arrangement?
Mr. HYDE. It could be under a treaty arrangement, but in the case of a treaty we, of course, would not need legislation. The one arrangement we do have for this reciprocal recognition of amateur licensees is in respect to Canada and this is carried out under a formal, ratified, and proclaimed treaty.
The CHAIRMAN. Suppose it would develop that you needed to cancel the operation. What would be the outcome?
Mr. HYDE. Under the legislation proposed here, the Commission could issue a notice of cancellation without affording any of the usual elements of due process that a citizen is entitled to.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, the Commission could cancel it with a certain number of days' notice?
Mr. HYDE. As I understand it, we could cancel it immediately, but we might, in the interest of comity, provide an appropriate hearing to handle this quickly and efficiently.
The CHAIRMAN. But, depending upon the circumstances, the Commission would have authority to cancel the authorization?
Mr. HYDE. Depending upon the circumstances, the Commission would have authority to cancel it forthwith; right.
The CHAIRMAN. Any questions, Mr. Devine?
Mr. DEVINE. Mr. Chairman, thank you. How much of a demand. has there been for this, Mr. Hyde, and from what sources?
Mr. HYDE. There hasn't been a substantial demand. We have had a few instances brought to our attention. Of course, we are not operators. We are merely the licensing authority and you would get better information as to the interest in this type of thing, I believe, from the representatives of the amateur organizations. A few have come to our attention.
Mr. DEVINE. Maybe "demand" was a poor selection of words. How many requests? Is there a great volume of requests?