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COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
SIXTY-SIXTH CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION.
JOSEPH W. FORDNEY, Michigan, Chairman. WILLIAM R. GREEN, Iowa.
CLAUDE KITCHIN, North Carolina. NICHOLAS LONGWORTH, Obio.
HENRY T. RAINEY, Illinois. WILLIS C. HAWLEY, Oregon.
CORDELL HULL, Tennessee. ALLEN T. TREADWAY, Massachusetts. JOHN N. GARNER, Texas. IRA C. COPLEY, Illinois.
JAMES W. COLLIER, Mississippi. LUTHER W. MOTT, New York.
CLEMENT C. DICKINSON, Missouri. GEORGE M. YOUNG, North Dakota.
WILLIAM A. OLDFIELD, Arkansas. JAMES A. FREAR, Wisconsin.
CHARLES R. CRISP, Georgia. JOHN Q. TILSON, Connecticut.
JOHN F. CAREW, New York. ISAAC BACHARACH, New Jersey.
WHITMELL P. MARTIN, Louisiana. LINDLEY H. HADLEY, Washington. CHARLES B. TIMBERLAKE, Colorado. GEORGE M. BOWERS, West Virginia. HENRY W. WATSON, Pennsylvanla.
ERNEST W. CAMP, Clerk. 2
SOLDIERS' ADJUSTED COMPENSATION.
COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS,
Tuesday, March 2, 1920. The committee this day met, Hon. Joseph W. Fordney (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Mason, we will hear you for two minutes.
STATEMENT OF HON. WILLIAM E. MASON, A REPRESENTA
TIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ILLINOIS.
Mr. Mason. I am obliged to you, Mr. Chairman. I only wanted to make a suggestion, and I will do it in two minutes. We are all very anxious to have some report upon the question of this-whether it be called a bonus or not, for the service man. I like to call it a bond or an honor service bond. I want to make this suggestion to the committee that if it is done I think it should be in the shape of a bond, if possible, with the name of the soldier, whether he is an officer or private, inscribed on the bond, to be paid at such time as may be designated at par. This will answer the question that is being put to us every day that it will require an immediate payment in cash. That is the only suggestion I have to make.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Mason, you may make such statement as you desire, and give it to the clerk, and it will be incorporated in the record.
Mr. GARNER. Mr. Mason, I would like to ask you a question. Do you mean to make the bonds transferable ?
Mr. Mason. Yes; I would make them transferable, but I would have the name on them, although, of course, you might find that that would be too expensive.
Mr. GARNER. You would have a bond payable to the person specified, like the bonds that are registered in the Treasury to-day?
Mr. Mason. Yes, sir.
Mr. GARNER. What effect would that have upon the present outstanding bonded indebtedness of the United States ?
Mr. Mason. I do not think that would have any effect at all. I think many of the men would keep the bonds where they were not pressed. That is my judgment, and my judgment is subject to revision by this committee. But I believe that many of the men would keep them as a badge of honor.
Mr. GARNER. You do not think that the issuance of $2,000,000,000 worth of bonds to circulate among the people would tend to decrease the value of the outstanding bonds?
Mr. Mason. That would be the natural tendency, but I do not think so.
Mr. FREAR. In that connection, I will ask you if, when the war was on, we ever questioned the issuance of a billion or two billion dollars of bonds in order to carry on the war?
Mr. MASON. No, sir.
Mr. FREAR. And consequently we are not going to be fighting before we start because of that question now?
Mr. Mason. No, sir. We were much more considerate of the fellows who were saving our country then we than are now.
STATEMENT OF HON. LOUIS T. McFADDEN, REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. McFadden, how much time do you want? There are two or three of these gentlemen who want to be heard very briefly first, and then we want to hear the soldier boys in preference to everybody else.
Mr. McFADDEN. I will only take five minutes. Mr. Chairman, there have been referred to your committee, I believe, something like forty-odd bills covering the question of bonus, farms for soldiers, and homes for soldiers, and other settlements with them for their services, known as bonus, compensation, etc. In connection with those bills I want to call your attention to this thought which is running in my mind and which I believe is worthy of your careful consideration. During the war we loaned to our Allies some $10,000,000,000. At the present time England owes $4,000,000,000. In connection with any settlement which you gentlemen see fit to make with the soldiers, it will involve either a cash payment or the issuance of bonds or loans to the soldiers. I believe it has been stated many times that an issue of bonds of two or three billion dollars at this time will materially affect the market price of all Government loans. I believe there is some doubt in your mind, as I know there is in my mind and in the minds of many others, as to the wisdom of issuing Government bonds at this time to pay the soldiers a cash bonus, because of the effect it might have on our economic situation.
All of us realize what a slender thread exists at this time as regards our financial situation. It seems to me that in the consideration of • this subject you should give consideration to the distribution of enough of these English bonds in the form of participation certificates issued by the Secretary of the Treasury in payment to these soldiers. In other words, let the Secretary of the Treasury take these English bonds, and I mention English bonds, because they are probably the highest rated in the market, selling at the present time in the United States almost on an equal basis with our own Government securities, between 90 and 100. I believe if those bonds were put in trust in the hands of the Treasurer of the United States, and the Secretary of the Treasury were permitted to issue participating certificates to the soldiers, in a form to mature in 10 or 20 years, that they would go into the investment channels of the country and would not interfere with our monetary system.
This thought, I believe, could be developed by your committee, and if I may be permitted I would like to file a statement covering my thoughts more extensively.
Mr. HAWLEY. Have you a bill on that subject?