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In addition to the military supplies and equipment issued to the National Guard "without charge against militia appropriations," as authorized by the various acts above cited, issues have also been made to the National Guard from purchases made from appropriations for arming, equipping, and training the National Guard carried in each annual War Department appropriation act.
Those States which had elected to accept reimbursement in kind for stateowned property brought into the Federal service made requisitions for the property desired, and issues were made and the value thereof set off gainst the State's credit on the books of the Militia Bureau. Then the question arose as to who should pay the cost of packing property furnished the States on these requisitions, and the Judge Advocate General rendered an opinion on July 3, 1925, holding that there was no authority in law for the War Department to transfer to the States the title in the property thus issued. The result of this ruling was that although some requisitions had been filled in an effort to make reimbursement in kind, yet such issues did not transfer the title in the property to the States, but it remained in the United States and the States were accountable therefor to the United States.
Under section 87 of the national defense act, Federal property, issued to the various States for the use of the National Guard, remains the property of the United States and the States are accountable to the United States for the money value thereof when lost, damaged, or destroyed, due to carelessness or neglect of the State or its agents. The procedure authorized is to have the property surveyed and if it is finally determined by the Secretary of War that the loss, damage, or destruction was due to the carelessness or neglect of the State, or its agents, the State is required to make reimbursement to the United States for the money value of such property. A number of the States elected to have the amounts charged against the States on these reports of survey set off against the credit set up on the books of the Militia Bureau in favor of the State for State-owned property brought into the Federal service in 1917, and this practice was followed until the Comptroller General rendered a decision on March 26, 1927 (A-14155, published in 6 Compt. Gen. 26), holding in the case of the claim of Colorado for reimbursement for State-owned property brought into the Federal service after July 3, 1917, that as the free issues of military supplies and equipment made pursuant to the act of July 11, 1919 (41 Stat. 126, 127), and subsequent acts hereinbefore cited, were equal to, or in excess of, the value of the State-owned property brought into the Federal service by Colorado after July 3, 1917, for which Colorado was claiming reimbursement, such issues amounted to a substantial compliance with the promise contained in Militia Bureau Circular Letter No. 1, of July 3, 1917, that the States should be reimbursed in kind for State-owned property brought into the Federal service by the National Guard.
The decision of the Comptroller General, above referred to, is applicable to all of the other States which had brought State-owned property into the Federal service in 1917; that is, the issues made to such States under the act of July 11, 1919, and subsequent acts, in every case exceeds the value of the State-owned property brought into the Federal service in 1917. As a result of this decision, the Militia Bureau discontinued the practice of filling requisitions made by the States for military supplies which were to be charged against the credit of the States on the books of the Militia Bureau, and also discontinued the practice of setting off the amounts chargeable to the States on approved surveys against the credits on the books of the Militia Bureau.
A statement giving data with reference to the claims of the various States which brought State-owned property into the Federal service in 1917 is transmitted herewith; this statement is divided into two schedules, viz: Schedule A, giving data as to the credit set up on the books of the Militia Bureau in favor of those States which elected to be reimbursed in kind; Schedule B, giving data relative to those States that elected to receive reimbursement in cash.
The information relative to the amount allowed or disallowed in each case by the General Accounting Office, as shown on the attached Schedule B, was obtained from the General Accounting Office as of December 11, 1925. It may be that other claims have been acted upon and either allowed or disallowed since that date. It is recommended that your committee request the Comptroller General to furnish full information with reference to the action taken in the General Accounting Office on all claims of the various States for State-owned property brought into the Federal service in 1917, both prior and subsequent to July 3.
Those States which demanded cash reimbursement rather than reimbursement in kind and which had their claims acted upon in the General Accounting Office soon after they were presented and before the free issues equaled or exceeded their claims, were reimbursed in cash, and they also received free issues of military supplies and equipment under the act of July 11, 1919, and subsequent acts. On the other hand, some of those States which elected to accept reimbursement in kind have not been fully reimbursed in kind and they do not have the title to the property that was actually issued to them.
Furthermore, there are a few States which elected reimbursement in cash for property brought into the Federal service after July 3, 1917, which had their claims disallowed by the General Accounting Office. No credit was set up in favor of these States on the books of the Militia Bureau. Thus, these Statės did not get either a cash reimbursement or a credit on the books of the Militia Bureau.
Pennsylvania has a claim for $295,377.86, which was not presented until March, 1924. This claim also includes State-owned property brought into the Federal service during the mobilization of the National Guard in 1916 for service on the Mexican border. This claim has not been transmitted to the General Accounting Office nor has the State been given any credit on the books of the Militia Bureau.
I am of the opinion that all of the States should be treated alike with reference to the State-owned property purchased from sources other than the War Department and brought into the Federal service, either before or after July 3, 1917. I think they should all be fully reimbursed for the value of such property. As the situation now stands some of the States have been reimbursed in cash for the property brought into Federal service prior to July 3, 1917, while others have not been reimbursed. Some of them have been partially reimbursed in kind for property brought into the Federal service after July 3, 1917, but still have a credit balance in their favor on the books of the Militia Bureau, and some of them have received neither a cash settlement nor a credit. The proposed bill will have the effect of ultimately reimbursing all States which have a credit on the books of the Militia Bureau, but it offers no relief to the States which received no credit and had their claims denied by the General Accounting Office. Nor does it afford relief to Pennsylvania. Furthermore, as shown by the attached statement, the credit remaining in favor of some of the States is quite large. Wisconsin had a credit of $214,761.31. During the last fiscal year the total amount of approved surveys of property shortages charged to Wisconsin was about $900. If this figure should remain constant it would require about 240 years to exhaust Wisconsin's credit on the books of the Militia Bureau.
I have been informally advised that the adjutant generals of the interested States recently conferred on the method of reimbursement and agreed that the. bill in question is the relief they desire. Their position strikes me as being quite liberal and reasonable. However, some of the States may not be willing to accept the form of relief the bill affords. It provides two methods of relief, viz: First, all amounts charged against States on approved surveys under section 87 of the national defense act are authorized to be charged as a set-off against the States' credit on the books of the Militia Bureau for State-owned property brought into the Federal service in 1917. As these credits were given only for property brought into Federal service after July 3, 1917, the bill gives no relief to those States which brought property into the Federal service prior to that date and whose claims were disallowed by the General Accounting Office. Second, all issues of property heretofore made to the States on requisitions and charged against a State's credit are ratified and the States will not be required to account for this property. In effect this provision transfers to the States the title in such property. In my opinion this is a meritorious provision. It carries out the promise made by the Chief of the Militia Bureau in his letter of July 3, 1917.
If it is decided that relief in the form contained in H. R. 15209 is proper, I suggest that the bill be amended so as to extend its benefits to those States which elected to be reimbursed in cash for property brought into the Federal service after July 3, 1917, and which were denied by the General Accounting Office and were given no credit on the books of the Militia Bureau, and also to include the State of Pennsylvania. This can be accomplished by inserting in line 9, page 1, after the word “been”, the words “or may hereafter be.'
On page 2 of the bill, line 9, it appears that the word “been” has been omitted between the words “have” and “charged.”
The records pertaining to the claims of the various States for State-owned property brought into the Federal service in 1917 are quite voluminous. If any additional information from the War Department is desired, I shall be pleased to furnish it, if possible.
If the Committee on Military Affairs wishes to have hearings upon the proposed legislation, the following-named officer is designated to appear before your committee:
Maj. Gen. Creed C. Hammond. A similar letter has been addressed to the chairman of the Committee on Claims of the Senate in reporting upon S. 4828. Sincerely yours,
C. B. ROBBINS, Acting Secretary of War.
SCHEDULE A Data on State-owned property purchased from other sources than the War Depart
ment and brought into the Federal service after July 3, 1917, for which credit was given on the books of the Militia Bureau
Data on claims of States submitted to the General Accounting Office for cash reim
bursement for state-owned property purchased from other than War Department sources and brought into the Federal service either before or after July 3, 1917
1 Allowed as a credit and claim later referred to General Accounting Office. ? See note (1) under Schedule A.
REPORT No. 1042
DONATE A BRONZE CANNON TO AVON, MASS.
JUNE 18 (calendar day, JUNE 19), 1930.-Ordered to be printed
Mr. REED, from the Committee on Military Affairs, submitted the
[To accompany H. R. 6264]
The Committee on Military Affairs, to which was referred the bill (H. R. 6264) to authorize the Secretary of War to donate a bronze cannon to the town of Avon, Mass., having considered the same, report favorably thereon with the recommendation that it do pass.
The merits of the bill are set forth in the House report thereon which is made a part of this report and reads as follows:
The Committee on Military Affairs, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 6264) to authorize the Secretary of War to donate a bronze cannon to the town of Avon, Mass., introduced by Mr. Wigglesworth, having considered the same, report thereon with the recommendation that it do pass.
The purpose of this measure is for the donation of a cannon which is among a number of cannon already authorized for distribution.
The report of the War Department explains the bill and is, therefore, made a part of this report as follows:
JANUARY 17, 1930. Hon. W. FRANK JAMES, Chairman Committee on Military Affairs,
House of Representatives. DEAR MR. JAMES: Careful consideration has been given to the bill (H. R. 6264) to authorize the Secretary of War to donate a bronze cannon to the town of Avon, Mass., which was transmitted to the War Department under date of December 9, 1929, with a request for information and the views of the department relative thereto.
No law exists at present which authorizes the donation of this cannon.
Previous acts of Congress have authorized the Secretary of War, in his discretion, to deliver to certain named schools, colleges, academies, Grand Army posts, parks, cemeteries, cities, and towns one or more brass or bronze cannon with carriages and cannon balls, the property to be subject at all times to the order of the Secretary of War. (37 Stat. 508; 38 Stat. 1198; and 39 Stat. 831.)
The cannon in question is now located at Watertown Arsenal, Watertown, Mass., and, although it is among those already authorized for distribution under the above laws which were enacted more than 10 years ago, its delivery has not as yet been requested.
In view of the above, no objection is foreseen on the part of the War Department to the passage of the proposed bill. Sincerely yours,
PATRICK J. HURLEY,
Secretary of War. O