has to be considered. Now I think
that in regard to the Defense Department, it has been approached on a dollar
economy basis. And I think we're going
to gel in real trouble on this particular
basis. At least, certainly that is the heavy
preponderance of military opinion. Of
course, you can argue iheil lhe military
are affected by this particular sel of
economies. Frankly. I would trust the
criticism rather than the particular lask
force which worked on it,
MacNeil: Yes, that argument was
advanced last week by Hanson Baldwin
in the New York Times. | Reprint of
Hanson Baldwin's column appears on
Hodces: Hanson always expresses the
consensus of military views.
MacNeil: Cerlain military propagandists in the Pentagon have been
feeding thai line out for quite a while'
the people who lllillk there's no bottom
In the barrel. The Hoover Commission
report has dealt largely wilh lhe common use items in the Departmenl of Defense. I don't see, for instance, why it's
necessary for the three services to buy
eight hundred differenl kiiuls of screw
The Hoover Commission is for fur-
titer strengthening of the unification of
the Departmenl of Defense, the three
services within the one.
We have found, for instance, that the
Army, the Navy and the Air Force have
no proper catalog, although a catalog
was ordered by Congress eis late as 1919.
They still haven't an adequate inventory. They're trying to get one up
now in a great rush when the Hoover
Commission made recommendations and
they knew they were going to he exposed
in thai respeel. And it is in the held of
common use items alone lhat we're
stressing economy in the Department of
BURT: In your opinion, how much could
be saved in the Department of Defense if
your recommendations went through, Mr.
MacNeil: I couldn't give you that
offhand, but [we've saved altogether |
about four or five billion dollars [that
could 1 balance the budget.
BUCKLEY: Not enough for our Socialists, is it?
Hodces: The military budget is running around thirty-six billion, presently,
so that you could cut it down by a sixth,
Buckley: I would like to observe
that lhe Hoover Commission is engaged
in dealing with two types of things. For
one thing, il is streamlining government. And nobody excepl the direct
casualties of such streamlining is going
lo object to that. Thai is to say, we ought
to have some considerable solidarity
here on the majority of the recommendations that Mr. MacNeil. representing
his commission, is urging.
However, ihere is a whole other area
which is highly controversial, Io which
I'd like to refer for one moment. That
area is typified by Mr. Hoover and his
ideas of government, as distinguished
from Mr. Truman or even the incumbent and his ideas on the role of government. Mr. Hoover I look on as the
most efficient engineer of governmenl.
perhaps, in this century. I believe thai
on top of lhal hi' has a highly considered
and thoughtful view of how ihis country
can continue to progress, both in terms
of freedom and in terms of industry.
Consequently, the real body of lhe
recommendations lhat he is urging is
one lhal would hall lhe New Deal trend
toward flatulent human beings pater-
nalized by our government. These are
precisely the recommendations that I
would like to urge.
BURT: Let's get directly into one of the
Hoover report recommendations, and that is
to take the government out of a good deal
of the public enterprises, and revert them to
private enterprises, or to convert them into
private enterprises. What about that, Mr.
MacNeil: Well, the Hoover Commission, which is non-partisan, was set up
by a law in Congress that went through
unanimously in both Houses. We were
charged by that law to point out the
areas in which the government is competing with private enterprise [which
means] we would be remiss in our duty
if we did not. One of the areas in which
thai is done very greatly is in the Department of Defense. We found that
there were over twenty-five hundred, and
that count is not final, different business
enterprises in lhe Department of Defense. Some of these are very necessary
—we're not disputing that. We figured
out that about one thousand could be
eliminated. They represent a cost price,
incidentally, of over fifteen billion dollars, and some of them are not very
BURT: What are a few of those? Are
military canteens one of them?
MacNeil: Canteens are run like department stores in selling laundromats
Hodces: Well, we can't touch the
PX's, can we?
MacNeil: Oh, we recommended that
lhe law enforce the intent of Congress.
and we've been attacked by the military
for asking that the intent of lhe law
be observed . . . You can buy Chanel
Five for your girl there and a lot of
things of lhal kind, and a lot of people
who are nol members of the militarv
There is a "vast reservoir of puhlie support" for the recommendations of the bipartisan
Hoover Commission as related by Clarence Francis, National Chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Hoover Report.
Results of a study hy the Citizens Committee research staff indicates only 16 per cent of the
Commission's 311- recommendations seem likely lo draw strong opposition, and lhat reaction
within lhe government to ihis new Commission's recommendations is much more favorable than
thai aroused by lhe first Hoover Commission in 1919. The study shows thai 62 per cent, or
19414 recommendations, are meeting; with general support. On these recommendations, Mr.
Francis stressed the desirability of constructive action in order thai a record of worthwhile accomplishments can be set up. Such a program of action is being coordinated by Budget Bureau
Director Howland 15. Hughes.
The remaining 22 per cent, or 7114 recommendations, were shown by the Citizens Committee lo be evoking "general support, but sporadic opposition," and should receive time for public debate following such a record of accomplishment on non-controversial recommendations.
"AH citizens should be 011 guard," Mr. Francis warns, "against attempts by a few groups to
discredit the whole report because of their opposition to a few of its recommendations."
FACTS FORUM NEWS, October, 1955