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had to be weighed prior to the 4th of November, and had to make their fair share of donations to the combined Federal campaign funds based on this weight. If you were E-1 to E-3 you were told to contribute 1 cent for each pound. If you were of higher rank it went ur to 12 cents a pound. If you were E-8 you had to contribute 60 cents each pound you weighed. The plan said:
Figure your donation on your present weight. Then start your reducing program to save money. A lot of forms will be available on weight days for personnel desiring to spread the amount donated over a period of 1 year.
I could multiply this. I have received hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of letters. The kind of tyranny that is being practiced on these men is past believing.
Senator TOWER. Would the Senator yield for a question?
Senator TOWER. This wouldn't void a payroll deduction plan by which the boys want to save by buying bonds; they could still have it deducted from their pay.
Senator Ervin. It wouldn't interfere with that at all. It only prevents their being coerced into buying bonds or making contributions to charitable causes.
Senator THURMOND. And it wouldn't prohibit, as I understand it, the matter being called to their attention if they care to have it done.
Senator ERVIN. That is right.
Senator Ervin. That is right. I could go on and bring the letters. I have a member of the staff here to testify about some of these things, and we have literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of letters from all over the world on this thing.
Chairman RUSSELL. Senator Stennis.
Senator STENNIS. I just want to say this, Senator Ervin, everything you say is important to me on any subject. About the bonds, however, I imagine that there is an exaggeration in some of those letters. Normally, any organization that is trying to teach thrift, the principles of saving, accumulating something for a future day, whether it is raining or not, I would hate to pass a law prohibiting it. We have to have money to pay the salaries of these people who are complaining, to pay their retirement. That is one way to get money-through the sale of bonds. I imagine you are more interested in other parts of the bill than you are the bond part.
Senator ERVIN. That is the only thing prohibited in this bill coercion in bond and charitable drives.
Senator THURMOND. That is the heart of it.
Senator ERVIN. That is the heart of the bill. In other words, these men are told they must subscribe rather than being asked to subscribe. If they don't subscribe they have to report to higher authority the reason for not subscribing. This bill only prohibits coercion, it leaves them free to go ahead and invest. I have this boy in North Carolina who said that he had his own savings plan. He was sending his money,
all his surplus money, to his mother who was investing it for him. He 3-wants to invest it in that way instead of by buying bonds. It is a rather -heartening letter. He wrote to his parents and they transmitted it to
Senator STENNIS. How much is the percentage required of them on their salary basis? Is there some formula.
Senator ERVIN. Well, it varies with different posts, just whatever the post commander wishes.
Senator STENNIS. Could you give us some idea of the maximum or the minimum?
Senator Ervin. The minimum of a private is usually $6.25 a month. It
goes up according to rank.
Senator STENNIS. Do you have any further figures in addition to the $6.25?
Senator ERVIN. Yes, I can get them without any difficulty.
I think if these men offer themselves they ought to be free as civilians are to purchase or refuse
to purchase the bonds. Senator Tower. Mr. Chairman, may I supplement what the distinguished Senator from North Carolina said. I have had several letters complaining about coercion. I participated in a voluntary plan when I was in the Navy and was glad to do it, to save some money, but apparently this coercion does exist in many places and the pressure comes directly from DOD, apparently. I have even gotten complaints by word of mouth from boys in Vietnam that I have been talking to tħere that they are being coerced to buy them and they don't want to buy them. It would seem that something is appropriate on the matter anyway to avoid the coercive aspect of it.
Chairman RUSSELL. I don't think they ought to be any more subject to punishment through coercion than civilians.
Senator TOWER. They don't make us buy bonds and we get bigger salaries than they do.
Chairman RUSSELL. No. Senator STENNIS. I have never heard of any complaint. I don't think I ever heard this thing mentioned.
Senator ERVIN. Senator, I have received hundreds and hundreds of letters. I would hate to estimate how many hundreds.
Senator THURMOND. Would the Senator yield?
Senator THURMOND. I have gotten considerable complaint on this same subject, and while I have talked with men in my travels in Vietnam only two or three mentioned the matter. I didn't get the complaint that the Senator from Texas did but I did have some complaint there. My experience has been that there is some coercion, not because the officers want to do it but because it is brought from on high. They feel they have got to do it, and if they don't do it, then it indicates to their superiors a lack of leadership on their part in getting the men to buy these bonds or to contribute. Not only that, now you have also got the United Fund drive in these various places too. I got some complaint last year about the pressure brought on them to contribute to the United Fund in these various places, and they put out regular reports on that, how many are contributing in each company and unit right on down, and from the information that has come to me, I have become rather convinced that there is some coercion, if not intentionally on the part of the officers, because they are merely carrying out the orders that come to them.
Senator STENNIS. From higher up?
Senator THURMOND. Yes. The officers in uniform certainly wouldn't do it unless they were asked to do it and they felt it was necessary in order to show a fine leadership on their part.
Senator Ervin. I got a letter from one serviceman, a lance corporal, in the Marine Corps from Albany, Ga., on February 7 of this year in which he sets out what his pay and his expenses are. He says
that this $6.25 constitutes about 25 percent of what he has got that is spendable resources after he pays his other expenses.
Senator STENNIS. That is pretty heavy. My remarks are about the bonds only. I have heard some complaints about these drives for funds.
Senator THURMOND. Will the Senator yield? I am in thorough accord with the Senator's views on thrift and savings and I think that is most important, and I think a commanding officer is doing his men
great service if he will call to their attention the fact that they can buy bonds and save, but stop with that and not make it appear that if they don't buy bonds then they are not cooperating or they are not good members of the unit or they can't get promotions and things of that kind. I think it is the coercive part that the Senator is trying to protect here, and on that point it appears he has considerable merit.
Senator ERVIN. I have a letter dated March 6, 1967, from an Air Force base in Mississippi:
On a personal level I was pressured to buy bonds. Also in basic I was politely told if we didn't subscribe to the President's combined Federal campaign we wouldn't receive our stripes on graduation. They didn't adhere to this however as everyone received his stripes.
That is the kind of threat that is repeated time after time in these things.
Chairman RUSSELL. Are there any further questions of Senator Ervin? If not, we will hear from the Honorable Fred B. Fitt, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower, who has been designated by the Department of Defense to testify on this bill. You may proceed, Mr. Fitt.
STATEMENT OF ALFRED B. FITT, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF
DEFENSE (MANPOWER) Mr. Fitt. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee.
I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to present the views of the Department of Defense concerning S. 1036.
The purpose of S. 1036 is to protect members of the Armed Forces of the United States by prohibiting coercion in the solicitation of charitable contributions and the purchase of Government securities.
The bill would do two things:
Make it unlawful for any commissioned or other member of the Armed Forces to coerce or attempt to coerce any member of the Armed Forces to invest his earnings in Government bonds or securities or to make a donation to any institution or cause. The bill does, however, specifically allow any member of the Armed Forces to call meeting or take any action appropriate to afford any member of the
Armed Forces the opportunity of voluntarily investing in securities issued by the United States, or voluntarily donating to any institution or cause. | Impose such punishment as a court-martial may direct, upon any member of the Armed Forces found guilty of willful violation of the statutory prohibition against coercion.
Executive Order 10927, dated March 18, 1961, governs fundraising within the Federal service for voluntary health and welfare agencies. The Chairman of the Civil Service Commission is charged thereunder with making arrangements on behalf of such agencies-to solicit funds from Federal employees and members of the Armed Forces at their places of employment or duty stations.
President Kennedy reemphasized in the Executive order the established Federal policy governing these Federal campaigns:
Such arrangements shall *** permit true voluntary giving and reserve to the individual the option of disclosing the gift or keeping it confidential.
Department of Defense Directive 5035.1, as amended, implements within the Department the Government-wide policy and procedures prescribed in the manual published by the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission, in carrying out his responsibilities under Execu
tive Order 10927. The Chairman's manual expressly and positively forbids compulsion, coercion, or reprisal directed at any employee or service member because of the size of his contribution or his failure to contribute:
Any practice that involves compulsion, coercion, or reprisal directed to the individual serviceman or civilian employee because of the size of his contribution or his failure to contribute has no place in the Federal program.
DOD Directive 5035.1 in the same unequivocal language sets forth the same principle as the fundamental precept for fund-raising campaigns within the Department of Defense.
Campaigns to promote the sale of U.S. savings bonds and similar Government securities within the Federal service including the Department of Defense are specifically and separately addressed. Repeating and reemphasizing the firm Federal policy prohibiting complusion coercion or threats of reprisal in the course of U.S. savings bond campaigns within the Federal Service Postmaster General O'Brien chairman of the 1967 drive declared:
There was some criticism during the last campaign that employees were being coerced. I firmly believe the publicity was out of all proportion to the isolated instances of abuse that may have arisen from our enthusiasm * * * But let us recognize that there is a difference between persuasion and coercion, and between promotion and pressure; the difference lies in the presence or absence of threats, stated or implied * * * the job of the supervisor is to present the case for bonds on its merits, indicating what the employee has to do to join the program. And that is all. Nothing else is required; nothing else is expected; nothing else is wanted; nothing else is legitimate.
My office in turn, on behalf of the Secretary of Defense, has again in the past year unquivocally and in writing instructed the Secretaries of the Military Departments and the Directors of the Defense Agencies, on December 21, 1966, that
Any practice that involves compulsion, coercion, or reprisal directed to the individual serviceman or civilian employee because of the size of his contribution or his failure to participate has no place in the Federal program.
And on May 1, 1967, in conjunction with the beginning of the 1967 campaign:
I urge your whole-hearted support during this year's campaign by insuring that each civilian and military member of the Department of Defense is informed of the advantages of savings bonds, and given the opportunity to join the payroll savings. plan. The responsibility of all personnel involved in this year's campaign is, in the words of Postmaster General O'Brien, “to present the case for bonds on its merits, indicating what the employee has to do in order to join the program. And that is all. Nothing else is required; nothing else is expected; nothing else is wanted; nothing, else is legitimate.'
The Secretaries of each of the Military Departments have issued numbered directives which specifically address, and unequivocally prohibit, the use of compulsion, coercion, or threats of reprisal in the conduct of Federal campaigns:
Secretary of the Navy notice 5120 reiterates the need for constant vigilance in the conduct of U.S. savings bond campaigns to preserve and assure true voluntary participation.
Army regulation 608-15 states that any practice that involves compulsion, coercion, or reprisal directed toward individual servicemen or civilian employees, has no place in the program.
Air Force manual 211-5 states that compulsion, coercion, or reprisal directed toward individual servicemen or civilian employees, have no place in the program.
These directives and instructions clearly, concisely, and unequivocally record the firm prohibition against compulsion, coercion or reprisal within the Federal service and within the Department, in the conduct of Federal campaigns and fund drives soliciting Federal personnel.
By the same token, I believe the committee will recognize that, however much we would wish it otherwise, in any organization as large as the Federal military and civilian work force, there will occasionally be regrettable excesses of zeal or improper judgments somewhere along the line in the course of our concerted efforts to promote good causes through the voluntary participation of our people. In those cases in which the possibility of such abuses was brought to our attention we have carefully investigated all pertinent circumstances to the extent possible.
Of approximately 50 referrals of this nature which came to the at attention of my office or my principal deputies since October 31, 1966, 40 were referred by Members of the Congress.
In 20 out of the total of 50 cases, broad allegations of coercion were stated or implied, but the information essential to onsite investigation was not or could not be provided, and the allegations were not otherwise substantiated by the facts available to us.
Fifteen cases were based on a general news article, radio broadcast, or the like, and lacked specifics.
In another 15 cases, names, dates, and locations were available, and detailed investigations were conducted by the military departments at our request.
Nine of these investigations resulted in findings that the facts did not substantiate the allegations made.
In four of these investigations, it was determined that misinterpretation of procedure by potential contributors-purchasers had resulted in the allegations of coercion. Supervisors and campaign workers were carefully counseled in an effort to avoid recurrence of such incidents.