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Mr. O'BRIEN. And further, may I point more directly to the further point that there is no way by which we could measure or could consider or could base any petition on the propriety or the fairness or reasonableness of the rate of compensation. .
Mr. BULWINKLE. In other words, if it says that it is necessary in the interest of national defense, then this subsidy would have to come out of your department.
Mr. O'BRIEN. Of course, Mr. Bulwinkle, we are simply pointing these things out.
Mr. BULWINKLE. You do not mean to say that your department would not protest a little bit if they required the payment of a subsidy out of the Post Office Department's funds, where there were no benefits to the Post Office Department out if it? Would you not kick?
Mr. O'BRIEN. We might kick.
Mr. BULWINKLE. I think you would kick on that a little bit, would you not?
Somebody would, I know, either before the Appropriations Committee, or some other place.
Mr. O'BRIEN. I feel that when a Government official is kicking about something Congress is doing, he is not doing the proper thing.
Mr. BULWINKLE. Well, someone would protest mildly about the payment of such a subsidy. We will leave out the kicking.
Mr. O'BRIEN. We feel that it would be unfair, if you want to consider the Post Office Department as an agency of the Government and perhaps the only agency which has to show its income and expenditures and balance its budget, you will find that the Budget or the accounts would be badly out of balance by having to incorporate an indeterminate amount of subsidy as we had to do in the past in the ocean mail cases.
Mr. BULWINKLE. I know about the ocean mail cases. That is what I was driving at.
Mr. O'BRIEN. So, if this section of H. R. 1012, namely, section 28, is adopted, it would be, or would seem proper to incorporate in there some language which I will confess I have not now formulated, the notice being so short, which would require the Board if it reversed itself to show good reasons therefor, by way of findings or opinion.
The Civil Aeronautics Act as now on the statute books contains provisions for appeal to the courts by any person who is aggrieved by any order of the Board, and this H. R. 1012, on page 50, contains language to the same effect, that the petition may be filed by any person disclosing a substantial interest in such order within 60 days after the day upon which the time for securing reconsideration of such order by the authority has lapsed.
In order to explain what I am interested in, in connection with that section, I will have to make this statement; that on March 12, 1942, the Civil Aeronautics Board issued an order accompanied by a finding in which it found that some $3,800,000 excess profits from compensation to a carrier by air-mail payments had been accumulated during the pendency of the hearings, or the proceedings which had begun in December 1939.
Upon appeal for reconsideration by the carrier, the Board held further hearings at which I was present. It took further testimony and heard argument and received briefs. Thereafter, on November 12, 1942, it issued an order which in terms revoked what it had previously established by the so-called final order of March 19, 1942.
or the Government of the United States, rather, could collect some $3,800,000 and the methods of collection were actually suggested in the order. In November 1942, the Board by that order, wiped out that whole indebtedness and said that because of the unsettled conditions today, the need for the carrier to be in a sound financial condition owing to the war and the unpredictability of future events, that it would be better economic policy, I think is the wording, to leave that money in the treasury of the carrier without any direction or directive as to what use should be made of it.
We appealed that order to the Board. That is, we filed a petition for reconsideration and reargument, setting forth such reasons as we could set forth at that time. The Board upon consideration refused to hear oral argument or to reconsider its November 12 decision, stating that thet basis for our appeal had already been considered at some previous time and there was nothing which required its reconsideration. Thereafter, we filed another petition for reconsideration of their refusal to reconsider and set forth several grounds upon which we believed the Board would be warranted in granting oral argument and reconsideration. The Board again refused to reconsider and stated its reasons therefor.
The document which was last issued by the Board refusing reconsideration in that case having reached us, and we having studied it, it looks to us as though the Board may have committed error. That is, it may not have properly disposed of this question and if we were a private concern, a private person, such as the law refers to, we could take an appeal to the courts, but it would certainly be passing strange for the United States, ex rel. the Post Office Department, to sue the Civil Aeronautics Board in a Federal court.
So, the only way you could handle it, so far as I could see, is to say,
as it saw fit. Doing it in that manner, or taking that attitude, of course, is not conducive either to good business or expedition.
My personal idea is that there should be some way by which an independent administrative body, or another committee or another board could hear an appeal, whether it be in the form of a judicial procedure before a judge or whether it be a committee composed of members of a Government agency, I have no idea. Naturally in connection with the case that I have just been talking about, where a large sum of money is involved, it seemed to me reasonable to have a further appeal from the Board's decision before the Government undertook to say, "We will relinquish our claim to $3,800,000.”.
There are a few other cases in which similar principles are involved and which we petitioned the Board to rehear, one of which was heard, and on which, for reasons which they have thought sufficient, they have not reversed themselves. There are cases we think might also be properly considered by an appellate tribunal.
Those are all of the remarks that I care to make at this time.
Mr. WOLVERTON. I regret that I was not in early enough to hear all that was said, and it may be that some of the questions I shall ask have already been covered. În that event, have no hesitancy in saying so.
Is your department making any study of the use of air lines for mail purposes, looking toward an expansion of those air lines from a world standpoint? In other words, this is what is in my mind : There has been much that has been said as to the necessity that grows out of post-war conditions and that it is important at this present time that we should be planning to meet those world post-war problems.
I am interested to know whether your department is making any study of the part that you could play in that post-war period in maintaining our dominance in the air, or so-called dominance.
Mr. O'BRIEN. Well, Congressman Wolverton, I am not able to give that information. I am in the legal department and not in the administrative end of the Air Mail Service, I cannot say definitely. Mr. Martin, Chief of the Division of Air Mails, is present in the committee room. If you desire to have him answer that question, he is available now.
Mr. WOLVERTON. That seems to be the dominant thought in the mind of a great many people at the present time, that there is the necessity to capitalize what is termed our present dominance in the air to the end that it will be utilized commercially after the war. Special reference is continually being made to the world conditions.
I am interested to know whether your department, which has to do with the mail and the payment of mail rates, is doing anything along the line of creating a subsidy that would help maintain that dominance throughout the world, if it exists to the extent that some think it does.
Mr. O'BRIEN. I cannot answer, specifically. My opinion of the situation, as far as I can estimate it, is that at the present time we are concerning ourselves with the carriage of the mail by air anywhere and everywhere it is desirable to so transport it, whether it be domestic or foreign and that where there is any service available for transportation by air that we seek to take advantage of it and send the mail that way; but so far as trying to determine the post-war relationship of the United States in the air to other countries, I have an idea we are more or less leaving that to the agencies of the Government which we think are more charged with it than we are.
Mr. WOLVERTON. One of the columnists last night made some reference to it in his article when he said:
It is a foregone conclusion that the post-war period will mark a real birth of air transportation, passenger, freight, and mail.
It is because of reference to the mails that I am bringing it particularly to your attention this morning, the same as I have already brought it to the attention of other departments of the Government that have appeared before this committee, to ascertain what if any plans have been or are being made by your department in that connection.
Mr. O'BRIEN. There may be, referring, of course, to the foreign mails, some plans being studied by Mr. Grayson or Mr. Purdum, with respect to foreign services to countries we now have some contact with; of course, not to the others.
Mr. WOLVERTON. Well, does your Department have membership on the Advisory Council or whatever it is known that is considering post-war problems at this time?
Mr. O'BRIEN. I do not know.
Mr. WOLVERTON. Well, I do not want to prolong my questions, in view of the fact that you have said that you do not feel that you are the qualified one from the Department to express the Department's views on the subject; but at least I am hopeful that as a result of the questions that I have asked, that they will create enough interest on your part to take it up with someone in the Department in order that this committee may know what, if anything, is contemplated by the Post Office Department in planning to meet these post-war problems.
Mr. O'BRIEN. It is a very interesting subject, Congressman, and I am sure our department is greatly interested.
Mr. WOLVERTON. The interest in the subject at the present time is more than academic. It is a very practical interest that is being taken by some, and it would seem to me that your department could fit into the plans in a very important way.
If it is ascertained that a subsidy is necessary to get the fullest advantage possible, it would not be the first time that the mail had been used as an instrument for providing at least a part of that subsidy.
Mr. O'BRIEN. We did have subsidy mail contracts with the merchant marine, but that is all changed and we no longer have such contracts, but merely pay straight compensation for the transportation of mail which is much more satisfactory than were the subsidy contracts.
Mr. WOLVERTON. Now, I do not want to get in a discussion on that; but if it is deemed that as our national policy that it is important that we have air service to all parts of the world, it may be important to have that service, regardless of what the cost may be to this Nation. Some have looked upon air transportation throughout the world as a means of policing after the war and there are others who look upon it as important from the standpoint of building up our commerce throughout the world. I am not one of those who is scared at the thought of a subsidy that somebody will have to pay, if it is determined to be important enough to make it a part of our national policy. It maybe somebody will have to pay for it. Maybe it could be a direct Government subsidy. Maybe it will be given in different ways, by help through mail rates or otherwise.
So, I am not scared at the thought of a subsidy if it is finally determined that it is the thing from our national standpoint that we must do.
Mr. BULWINKLE. All right; we thank you.
Mr. BULWINKLE. We have some very important witnesses to be heard yet.
Mr. HINSHAW. Are there to be any other gentlemen from the Post Office Department to be heard at a later time?
Mr. BULWINKLE. Well, I think that the Second Assistant's office is the one that you want to refer to. I think that you can convey the information to the Second Assistant's office, and they can give you a pretty good idea of what they are doing.
Mr. HINSHAW. I mean, are we going to have anyone before us?
Mr. BULWINKLE. I do not know; I cannot say.
Mr. WINTER. Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask one question of the witness. It is not quite clear to me, Mr. O'Brien, as to what you mean. Do I understand you correctly to be suggesting that in section 49, subsection (a), of the bill under consideration that it is your desire that something be put into that section that would permit the Post Office Department to appeal to some other department of the Government a decision by the Board or the Authority?
Mr. O'BRIEN. Yes; that would be my idea, that if there was an apellate review body, the composition of which I have no particular suggestions to make on.
Mr. WINTER. Some independent agency set up so that another department of the Government can appeal from another Government agency?
Mr. O'BRIEN. Yes, sir; that is the idea.
Mr. HINSHAW. I take it that that is embraced in the Walter-Logan bill.
Mr. O'BRIEN. I understand there is a provision of that kind in that bill; yes, sir.
Mr. BULWINKLE. All right. Does anyone else have any questions? If not, we thank you. Mr. O'BRIEN. Thank you. STATEMENT OF COL. ROSCOE TURNER, INDIANAPOLIS, IND.
Mr. BULWINKLE. Col. Roscoe Turner, we will hear you. - Colonel TURNER. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I do not have an awful lot to say.
Mr. BULWINKLE. Would you give your name and your occupation, and your address to the reporter for the record ?
Colonel TURNER. Roscoe Turner, vice president of the National Aviation Training Association, and president of the Roscoe Turner Aero· nautical Corporation of Indianapolis, Ind.
Mr. BULWINKLE. You may proceed, sir.
Colonel TURNER. First I want to say for our association that we are very grateful for the position this committee has taken in promoting aviation and that we are in accord with section 308 relative to the training and section 309.
Mr. BULWINKLE. Colonel, before you go into that, I think it might be well for you to tell the committee, so we will all know who you are, something about what you have done.
Mr. HINSHAW. The colonel is too modest to do that.
Colonel TURNER. I thank you very much, Major, but I know quite a few of these gentlemen, and so I do not think it is necessary for me to tell them anything except that I am just an aviator.
Mr. WOLVERTON. If modesty prevents the witness from speaking of himself, I would suggest that Mr. Hinshaw inform the committee, and the House, through the means of this record, that will be made, just who the witness is.
Mr. HINSHAW. Mr. Chairman, that is a very delightful occupation for me, but as I desire to be absolutely accurate, I would have to, of course, have the factual information before doing so.