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ployment Rights, the Labor Department administers programs to assure that returning servicemen are given these rights.
I say to you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the subcommittee, in my judgment, this is one of the most effective administrative systems that I know anything about, and I have virtually no criticism of it. I have no criticism of it, no suggestion to make about it.
Then within the U.S. Employment Service and the affiliated State services the Department and the States operate a veterans' employment service. Each local employment service office has a veterans' employment representative who is responsible for assisting veterans in finding jobs or occupational training.
The Department is currently extending these services and hopes to reach out and contact every dischargee as soon as he is interested in employment. Job materials are now being mailed to 50 percent of veterans being discharged. Soon the figure will be 100 percent.
Additional efforts are underway to establish veterans' employment centers near large military separation bases and to give employment service briefings at smaller separation posts. Over 450 briefings were given in fiscal 1966 to approximately 28,000 military retirees.
The next step, which we are working on now, is to provide full counseling and related employment service before the veteran is discharged. We are working with the Department of Defense on that. Beyond that there is the broader purpose to do whatever is necessary to assure every returning veteran at least as full an opportunity to work as he would have had if he had remained.
In conclusion, there are three requirements to be met by any fair system:
The first is to assure the fullest possible equality of exposure to the demands upon the Nation's young men which the necessity of the military draft involves. The short of what has been said here is that there is nothing in the civilian manpower needs of the economy which warrants any consideration in determining who shall assume the military service obligation.
The second requirement is to do those things which will minimize any prejudicial effect of military service on the educational and employment opportunities of those who perform this service.
And there was reference to this by Senator Javits and Senator Prouty, too, the third requirement is to make full use of the potential in the military service system for improving, so far as possible, the position of those who serve.
Ours is hopefully, and quite possibly, the last generation which will face, in its maturity, the need to call upon our sons to fight for what we have worked unsuccessfully to attain. It is very little to insist that we do it with the unqualified commitment to take full account of the battle each of them must fight-and win-inside himself. Thank you.
Senator KENNEDY of Massachusetts. Mr. Secretary, that is an extremely comprehensive, helpful testimony. I think your responses on the questions were very enlightening. They will be considered by all the members not only of this subcommittee, but by the full committee and the Senate itself.
Senator KENNEDY of Massachusetts. Senator Prouty?
Senator PROUTY. Mr. Secretary, you have referred to the number of employment service counselors who are available to interview draftees rejected for educational deficiencies or for administrative reasons. Do you think there is sufficient coordination between the Selective Service and the Defense Department in this respect ?
Secretary Wirtz. I think we have got more to do on it.
Senator PROUTY. You would increase that number quite substantially?
Secretary WIRTZ. Yes, and I should have mentioned that in connection with the related points of that experimental program we have had in Washintgon and Baltimore, we are right now spreading that out to five other cities, Rochester, Chicago, St. Louis, Los Angeles, and San Antonio. We have got to move further into this field, especially as the number of rejectees is now increasing.
Senator PROUTY. Do we have any way of knowing how many individuals now classified as unemployable were also classified by Selective Service as 1-A?
Secretary WIRTZ. No, sir; we do not have those figures.
Senator PROUTY. What is the present percentage of unemployment in the country?
Secretary Wirtz. For the country as a whole, all groups, it is 3.7 percent. In all, 3.7 percent. That is the figure for February. There is a breakdown that is essential here. That the figure for married man is 1.6 percent, which is as good as you can get. All that is left there is the transition, and some seasonal unemployment.
The unemployment rate among the 16- to 19-year-old age group is approximately 12 percent.
The unemployment rates in the areas in which the conditions are the same as those which we find in these rejectees are much higher.
The unemployment rate in the slums, the urban and rural slums, depending on how you define it, is someplace between 10 and 35 percent.
Now, 35 percent is not an unemployment rate strictly defined, but our recent studies show that about a third of the people in the urban and the rural slums do face severe unemployment problems of one kind or another, and I think the meaningful figure-well, I am not sure. The short figure, Senator Prouty, is 3.7 percent, but that is an average in so many things it does not really mean very much.
Senator PROUTY. If the draft ended tomorrow, what would be the effect on unemployment?
Secretary WIRTZ. That involves a very broad question. My own answer to it is that it would not affect the unemployment rate unless it were for a very short ripple, because I think this Nation is completely committed to using its full resources better for the purposes of peace than for the purposes of war, and it would not take us more than days to take up the slack, so I don't think it would change, except for a ripple.
Senator Prouty. I just have one more observation, and I would like your comment. Donald P. Moynahan, former Assistant Secretary of Labor, whom you know very well, of course
Secretary Wirtz. Yes, sir; and he worked on this "third of a nation" report.
Senator PROUTY. Wrote an article in the November 5 edition of the New Republic entitled “Who Gets in the Army?" And in that article, he states, and I quote—“The poverty program is heading for dismemberment and decline. Expectations of what can be done in America are receding. Very possibly, our best hope is seriously to use the Armed Forces as a socializing experience for the poor, particularly the southern poor, until somehow their environment begins turning out equal citizens.”'
Now, perhaps he reaches that conclusion because of some of the rather dismal statistics which we have received this morning, but I would like to have your comment.
Secretary WIRTZ. I don't agree with any part of that statement.
Senator Javits. Mr. Secretary, you have made certain statements this morning which are tremendously portentious in terms of the future of the young people of the Nation, and I would like to summarize those, and ask you a basic question. One, you say no college deferments, no skill deferments, no occupational deferments, not by law, but by practice, if we begin to draft the 19-year-olds as the President has recommended.
The second thing you say
Secretary WIRTZ. May I interrupt, Senator, because at an earlier point in my testimony, I made quite clear my reservation without prejudice on the point of college deferments, in respect to its being referred to as a matter of public debate, did indicate that the record would show an earlier personal position on that, but I tried very hard to confine my testimony to the issue of comparability, rather than to a position here on the college student deferment.
Senator Javits. Do we take it to mean, therefore, that if college deferments are continued, then you believe that we must equate training deferments with college de ferments?
Secretary WIRTZ. As far as that is humanly possible.
Senator Javits. Right. And that does not mean what we have been doing up to now, but would mean a totally new policy of the evaluation of training, training exemptions, based upon the national interest and the type of training being engaged in?
Secretary Wirtz. Yes, sir.
Senator Javits. And that would also include the capability of the individual to engage in that kind of training?
Secretary Wirtz. If that is part of the college test, and I suppose it is, I think it should be.
Senator Javits. Now, the President has just sent us a message on what he wants out of Selective Service, and here is, in my judgment, a really critically important major idea. Have you had an opportunity, as a Cabinet officer, to suggest that to the President, so that he could evaluate whether he wished to recommend that to the Congress or not?
Secretary Wirtz. The pattern of that—there is no mystery about it-is that I did testify quite at length before the National Commission, as did the other members of the Cabinet, who are in this particular area, and other agencies.
There was a quite full presentation there, and since the report is in, there has developed a pattern of continuing discussions of it. They have not advanced to the formalization of positions beyond those stated by the President in the message, but there are at present active, healthy discussions of the kind of possibilities that I am talking about here.
Senator Javits. But the President was not bound by the report. In giving his message, he recommended some things, and did not recommend others. Is that not true?
Secretary WIRTz. Yes, sir.
Senator JAVITS. So that is it not conceivable that as a result of the debate within the administration, he may make us a recommendation along this line?
Secretary Wirtz. I don't know. I am wrong in my understanding, if anything I have suggested here is contrary to the development in the President's message. In fact, I think it is an implementation of it.
Senator JAVITs. Well
Secretary Wirtz. And whether there would be a fuller communication or not, I don't know. I said earlier, Senator Javits, and with great sincerity, that I thrilled to the report of that Commission, and I thrilled to the President's message of March 6, and to the reaction here today. I just have a feeling that we are facing up to complete reality, in this area. I have tried to advance points which I think are an implementation of that pattern.
Senator Javits. Now, could we ask the administration not in an adversary way, but as a matter of basic fact, could we ask the administration that when it makes its recommendation on college de ferment, it also take account of this idea of deferment on the ground of training for skills which are in the national interest, and make its recommendation on that as well, or do you feel that we have to do that, whatever the President recommends?
Secretary WIRTZ. I don't know the contemplated pattern, as far as communication is concerned. A further message, I just don't know. And I assume that we have, in the opportunity here today, the best forum of exchanging views between the two departments on this kind of matter.
Senator Javits. But, Mr. Secretary, we are somewhat disadvantaged in this, because the President says, “I will give you a recommendation on college deferment. I am considering it."
Now, what I say is how do we get to him the fact, if we feel that way--and I gather we do—that we would like a recommendation also, if he gives us a recommendation on college deferment, on industrial and business training.
Secretary WIRTZ. I understand, and would feel it is a very appropriate form of communication, and would present no problem.
Senator KENNEDY of Massachusetts. Mr. Secretary, just on this point, I have read the message of the President, and I saw his position recommendation with regard to graduate students, and also with regard to dental and medical students. But I did not take it to say plainly whether he would or would not make a recommendation or recommendations on college students.
Secretary WIRTZ. No I didn't either.
Senator KENNEDY of Massachusetts. And I felt therefore that it was up to the Congress to make this recommendation, and that we would consequently have access to the information, and the various reports, of the Marshall Commission, as well as to other information.
Secretary Wirtz. That had been my general understanding, without having know what it was, but as I understand the situation from Senator Javits, it is that if there is a recommendation on the college student point, this other point will be considered in connection with it.
Senator Javits. That is all.
Secretary WIRTZ, And I think we all understand the chairman. I understand the matter as the chairman has put it.
Senator Javits. Now, Mr. Secretary, may I ask you to help us this way: You have articulated your ideas on training as equivalent to a college de ferment. If you are not satisfied with the oral articulation, would you do us the favor of, in a rather technical paper, specifying what we should do if we decide we are not only for a college deferment, but we are also for this kind of a training deferment, which will be equated with a college deferment? Would you look over your testimony and help us with a technical particularization which we would require, should we come to that conclusion?
Secretary Wirtz. I will surely inquire into it, and as I understand the request again, it is, it leaves an element of discretion as to whether we find anything that is worthwhile. If we don't I will say I will report that.
Senator JAVITS. That is all.
Senator PELL. I would not want the record to indicate that we support the idea of those deferments. I, for one, think there should be no college deferments, and no training deferments.
Senator JAVITS. Well, Senator Pell, I will be very clear. All I say is if we should decide on the one, the Secretary suggests that training is properly equitable with a college deferment; therefore, I say give us the technical help, so we have the tools, if we should decide on one or the other, or both or neither.
Secretary Wirtz. I should like to make it clear at this point in the record, too, Senator Pell, that at an earlier point, I took two positions. One was not to express a judgment on the student deferment, and the other was to express a recognition that any direct equating of the two will defy ingenuity so far as I know it, but only to press the point that that relationship ought to be explored, and dealt with as fairly as possible.
Senator KENNEDY of Massachusetts. Mr. Secretary, just on this point, it is appropriate for us to remember that the thrust of your testimony, as the leading manpower authority in this country, is not you see no need, from a manpower viewpoint, that student de ferment needs to be retained.