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March 28, 1947.

Chairman, Banking and Currency Committee,

United States Senate, Washington, D. C.

DEAR SENATOR TOBEY: Enclosed herewith is a telegram I have just received from Mr. John C. West, president of the University of North Dakota, urging passage of Senate bill No. 866, which is now before your committee.

I know that you are giving this legislation every possible consideration.
With kindest personal regards,
Sincerely yours,

MILTON R. YOUNG, United States Senator.

GRAND FORKS, N. DAK., March 28, 1947.


Washington, D. C.

Pressing need for housing for faculty families here prompts me to urge you to advocate passing of Senate bill 866 now in Banking and Currency Committee. JOHN C. WEST, President, University of North Dakota.


March 28, 1947.


United States Senate, Washington, D. C.

- Dear SENATOR: Enclosed herewith is a telegram I have just received from Mr. John C. West, president of the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, N. Dak., concerning Senate bill S. 866.

The enclosure is self-explanatory, and is being forwarded to you for your consideration and attention.

I hope you are well and wish to extend my kind regards and best wishes.


Washington, D. C.


GRAND FORKS, N. DAK., March 28, 1947.

Pressing need for housing for faculty families here prompts me to urge you to advocate passing of Senate bill 866 now in Banking and Currency Committee.

JOHN C. WEST, President, University of North Dakota.


On behalf of the American Association of University Women, I wish to reaffirm the association's support for the general housing bill which was expressed to this committee last year.

The events of the past year in the housing field have made even more apparent the need for an effective, long-range, comprehensive housing program. We regret the delay that has already occurred in launching such a program.

The present bill, S. 866, contains the basic features of the measure which we supported last year. Every major section of the bill is essential to a program which will begin to meet the housing needs of American families-financial aids to private enterprise to serve middle-income groups, encouragement for rental housing, assistance to communities for urban redevelopment, public housing for at least a part of the large group for whom private industry has not provided and cannot provide, and steps to improve the housing of rural families. We regret that the provisions for research have been weakened for we regard research

as one of the most necessary and appropriate of Government services, and there are few fields where research is more needed than housing.

We hope that the Banking and Currency Committee will report S. 866 promptly, favorably, and in its entirety, and that the measure will be passed by both Houses of Congress without further delay.

KATHRYN MCHALE, General Director.

Washington 6, D. C., March 28, 1947.

Subject: S. 866.


Chairman, Committee on Banking and Currency,

United States Senate, Washington 25, D. C. MY DEAR SENATOR: We have been informed that the Banking and Currency Committee has limited the hearings on Senator Taft's bill, S. 866, to allow 2 days for the proponents of the legislation and 2 days for the opponents. We also understand that the committee is only interested in hearing comments on the differences between S. 866 of the E'ghtieth Congress and S. 1592 of the Seventyninth Congress. Our industry opposed S. 1592 in the Seventy-ninth Congress on the basis of certain fundamental issues. S. 866 does not cure or eliminate the objectionable features of S. 1592 and the differences between the two bills are so inconsequential that we are not asking to be heard orally. However, we feel it is important that our position be made a part of your record, and we respectfully request that this letter be made a part of the hearings.

The 25,000 members of the retail lumber industry represent every possible shade of political thought. The industry is made up of small businesses, but its members are leaders in the religious, social, economic, and political life of their respective communities. These men are unanimous in their opposition to this legislation. This opposition is based on fundamental ideals which are inherent in the republican form of government. These objections do not stem from a laissez-faire philosophy nor are they inconsistent with the requirement that Government must keep pace with political, economic, and social advances. The reasons for our opposition to this legislation are as follows:

1. Under our system of government, every man, regardless of his station of life, is permitted to lose his economic, political, and religious identity when intermingling with others. This was one of the greatest strides in world history in bringing man to his full individual stature. The idea of segregating any group and isolating them in large-scale subsidized projects is a violent step backward. For a few dollars you induce the individual to degrade himself to the point where he believes that the responsibility flows from Government to him rather than from him to Government.

If this Government under the Constitution is to continue at all, it must remain based upon the ideal that just powers of Government are derived from the consent of the governed-and not upon the popular but vicious and fallacious belief that citizens can obtain more or better housing, clothing, or food, merely by voting for them.

A government based upon a great body of ideals can protect its citizens' liberties, but it has nothing of a material nature to give its individual citizens unless individual citizens first create and deliver those material objects to the personnel of the Government. Ctizens, therefore, cannot successfully transfer to the Government responsibility for their food, clothing, or shelter, without first surrendering these material possessions to that Government for redistribution.

Is it not clear, then, that this transfer of property demands also the relinquishment of personal liberty? For in effect, the Government through taxation is commandeering the material objects it desires to redistribute.

If we have indigent cases who need assistance, would it not be better for local social agencies to handle the cases individually and provide assistance in the form of direct rent assistance or other means. This allows the individual to commingle with the rest of the community and to maintain his self-respect which would help him assume his normal responsibilities to himself and his Government. The committee might well consider the Federal Government's past experience in public housing before embarking upon a new program.

In spite of mass regimentation of occupants, costly operation, and subsidies, Federal housing projects have never yet succeeded in housing the often-mentioned

underprivileged 20 percent. Private industry has (in a very few cases) succeeded locally in housing the original inhabitants of a slum clearance area, but who can find such examples in the experience of USHA?

2. The belief that a dollar grows bigger after it has traveled to Washington is utterly fallacious. As a matter of fact, the contrary is true. Once the local community is unable to keep its eye on the money its people pay into Government, the less effective that money becomes. The idea that the Federal Government is more efficient than local government in the administration of its expenditures is equally ridiculous. Petty graft at the local level in no way compares to the legalized expenditures of Federal officials to propagandize their own services. The argument that this problem cannot be handled at the local level has already been exploded by the Indianapolis project.

3. For a good many years the office seeker has been too willing to hide the real truth as to who pays taxes. Most of our people have been led to believe that the rich man pays the taxes and that the little man is, or should be, free from such responsibilities.

That approach is dishonest. For whenever a corporation or businessman pays a tax it doesn't come out of dividends-it comes out of the consumer, because the tax is added to the cost of the product. It would be far better for the individual to be confronted with the actual amount he pays in taxes. If he were confronted with that amount, he would develop an interest in Government costs that would make it unhealthy for the office seeker who promises something for nothing.

4. Housing is somewhat like good government in that we are entitled to enjoy neither unless we earn them through our own efforts.

I am sending a copy of this letter to each member of the committee with the suggestion that they ponder these fundamental thoughts before they determine the course of action they intend to pursue on this piece of legislation.

Basically, this omnibus housing bill appears to promise shelter to nearly everyBut while it promises construction of homes, it spends its force upon stimulating credit in the housing field where credit is already abundant.


This bill will have an inflationary effect upon the housing and building material market in three ways:

(a) It proposes to put public housing programs in competition with local private builders for the same available supply of materials;

(b) It increases the present building demand by encouraging all those with the least ability to pay to immediately borrow money for the purpose of building new homes; and

(c) It provides for the Government expenditure of approximately $7,000,000,OCO in the housing field at a time when the national debt is gouging approximately $6,000,000,000 annually from taxpayers merely to pay interest; and at a time when our national foreign commitments may require unknown billions of dollars for an indefinite period of time.

S. 866 does all this without actually guaranteeing the construction of a single house more than the private building industry would normally produce anyway. Sincerely yours, NATIONAL RETAIL LUMBER DEALERS ASSOCIATION, H. R. NORTHRUP, Secretary-Manager.

San Antonio 3, Tex., March 28, 1947.

Re: S. 866, National Housing Commission Act.

Chairman, Senate Banking and Currency Committee,

Washington, D. C.

DEAR SIR: I am enclosing a clipping from the editorial page of the San Antonio Express expressing the views of this daily newspaper on the housing bill before your committee. The expressions of this editorial are more or less universal among the leaders and the groups that are trying to do something for our cities and help their citizens. Of course, there is opposition here the same as in any other city to housing bills, but these groups are in the minority. The commissioners of this authority have gone on record endorsing the Wagner, Ellender, and Taft bill because of its many provisions, including that provision giving private enterprise an opportunity to serve as large a part of the need as it can.

If it is possible for you to do so, I would like to have you insert in the record of your committee this clipping from the editorial page of the Express and this letter advising you that this authority is in accord with all provisions of the bill. Sincerely yours, EDWIN R. SIMMANG, Chairman.

[From the San Antonio Express, March 24, 1947]


Another long-range housing bill-designed to encourage construction of up to 15,000,000 city and rural homes during the coming decade has been introduced by Senators Taft of Ohio, Wagner of New York, and Ellender of Louisiana. The authors consider it nonpartisan, and the proposed legislation has strong administration support.

The Senate passed a similar Wagner-Ellender-Taft housing bill last April, but it bogged down in the House of Representatives despite an appeal by President Truman in July for speedy action. In his message to Congress last January Mr. Truman reiterated his request for a comprehensive, long-range housing program such as that as that embodied in the Wagner-Ellender-Taft bill:

"At a minimum, such legislation should open the way for rebuilding the blighted areas of our cities, and should establish positive incentives for the investment of billions of dollars of private capital in large-scale rental housing projects. It should provide for the improvement of housing in rural areas and * * * authorize a single peacetime Federal housing agency to assure efficient use of our resources on the vast housing front."

Basic policy of the bill would be to encourage private enterprise to meet as great a portion of the total housing needs as possible. It would restrict Federal financial aid to clearing slums and providing public low-rent housing to areas which "demonstrate that their needs cannot fully be met through reliance solely on private enterprise and upon local and State revenues." That is, the Government would not compete with private construction and financing enterprises, but would complement them where the public interest requires.

The national housing shortage continues critical. The administration's emergency housing program-primarily designed to help veterans-has lagged badly. The thorough reorganization of related agencies and the constructive aims proposed in the Wagner-Ellender-Taft bill should be applied as soon as possible

Re: National Housing Act.


Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C.

NEW YORK 17, March 19, 1947.

MY DEAR SENATOR TAFT: On January 27, I wrote you recommending that the National Housing Act or some separate legislation in connection therewith be adopted "forbidding the demolition of existing housing structures, with the accompanying eviction of tenants, so long as other accommodations are not readily available." I noted with pleasure that you appeared before the Senate Banking Committee yesterday in favor of the passage of the National Housing Act, which you have actively sponsored. I also learned of your program for Government building of 15,000,000 housing units over a period of years.

Only yesterday, the Civilian Production Administration, in this regional district, considered and very properly denied an application for leave to demolish one of the largest residential structures in the world, situated at 270 Park Avenue, in order to erect a commercial office building on the premises, which I described in my letter of January 27, 1947. However, should the Civilian Production Administration be discontinued, the tenants on said premises and tenants elsewhere, similarly situated, would be without protection, under existing laws, from eviction, and important existing housing structures would be demolished at a time when you and others are seeking desperately to correct this unprecedented housing shortage.

My associate, Mr. Peter J. McCoy, and I would be delighted to appear before the Senate Banking Committee or confer with you personally or both, or furnish any other data or advice pertinent to the matter, at your convenience. I earnestly hope that this critical situation may have your earnest attention, much as I realize the tremendous demands already made upon your time.

Very sincerely,





Louisville 3, Ky., March 29, 1947.

Chairman, Senate Banking and Currency Committee,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C.

DEAR SENATOR: The citizens of this community are aware of the efforts of our present Congress to relieve the housing shortage, and many of them are keeping abreast with every step that is taken by Congress in that direction. We also note at the present that the Taft-Ellender-Wagner bill, known as Senate bill 866, is to be reintroduced in the Senate, and realize that if the terrible housing situation is to be relieved it must be through this bill or one similar thereto. Therefore, I am asking that you please use your good offices to help speed up the passage of this needed piece of legislation.

Please find enclosed a clipping from the Louisville Courier-Journal of this date, which has pictures of houses on both sides of it. One of American prefabricated, air-conditioned homes, erected for the French citizens, and another picture of Quonset huts in our immediate vicinity, which are to be sold to our veterans of World War II. These articles were brought to my attention by two young veterans this morning, who are very alert and informed on the housing situation. Since I received this clipping I have had four calls from other veterans, asking why is it that French citizens can obtain good American homes, and yet American citizens must be housed in Quonset huts, as indicated in the article.

Newspaper articles similar to the one attached creates problems of inquiry, which must be answered almost hourly each week by those of us who labor in the field of housing. Therefore, I am asking that you please put to record this letter and newspaper article so that it will be called to the attention of the proper officials interested in our housing program.

Wishing for you every success in your efforts to help the American home seeker, I am

Sincerely yours,

E. E. PRUITT, Manager. (The pictures referred to are on file with the Senate Banking and Currency Committee.)

Allentown, Pa., March 22, 1947.

DEAR SENATOR: Hearings will open on March 28 on the public housing bill (S. 866) the new Wagner-Ellender-Taft bill, and the sponsors hope to jam it through. This appears to be an attempt to capture votes in some of the big cities.

This is the call to the colors in the battle for freedom and the right to own property. If Taft's cynical program is carried through, then the Republicans become simply another New Deal party.

Chicago and several other communities are to have local elections this spring. The Senate leaders have so soon forgotten the mandate of the voters last November. In order to capture CIO support they are standing pat on New Deal controls.

We voice our opposition to S. 866, which is the new Wagner-Ellender-Taft bill. The only significant change over the old Wagner-Ellender-Taft bill is that it increases the cost to the Federal Government from $6,000,000,000 to nearly $7,000,000,000 over a 45-year period.

This bill is not an emergency measure but is long-range slum clearance and public housing program. It is being rushed in hearings, not giving Senators time for thoughtful and responsible study.

It will cost $6,000,000,000 and place Government in the housekeeping business for every municipality for 45 years through loans and controls.

It is not a veterans' measure. We urge postponement of the bill's consideration until every Senator and the rest of the country can study it. The folks back home will let the Senators know how they feel about this steam-rolled legislation.

It is a real threat to personal liberty and free enterprise in the conduct of the building and real estate industry.

The emergency today is veterans' housing. Wagner-Ellender-Taft claims to help it does just the opposite-Wagner-Ellender-Taft is bound to hurt the

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