Guide to Senate Records: Chapter 18 1921-1946
Chapter 18. Records of Senate Select Committees, 1789-1988
Records of Senate Select and Special Committees, 1789-1988 from Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States
Committee records discussed in this chapter:
- Records of Select Committees, 1789-1815
- Records of Select Committees, 1815-47
- Records of Select Committees, 1847-1921
- Records of Select Committees, 1921-46
- Records of Select Committees, 1946-68
- Records of Select Committees, 1969-88
Records of Select Committees, 1921-46 (67th-79th Congresses)
18.45 Twentieth century advancements in technology, increasing governmental and economic complexity, and the employment of specialized committee staff combine to account for an enormous increase in the volume of records generated by individual committees during the period from 1921 to 1946. Because of their volume and complexity, the records of each select or special committee of this period are described here separately, in order of the date of establishment of the committees. There are two exceptions: The records relating to the various committees on campaign expenditures, though filed as separate units, are described collectively; and the records of five other committees, which comprise a combined total of approximately 1 linear foot, are described briefly at the end of this section under the heading "miscellaneous committees."
18.46 In the Senate, select investigative committees flourished during the period from 1921 to 1946. Such committees investigated Government agencies, Government contractors, industries, and important issues of national concern. A select investigative committee could not only perform a useful service but also provide an enormous boost to the personal reputation of its chairman, as evidenced by the remarkably successful Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program and its chairman, Harry S. Truman.
- Select Committee on Investigation of the United States Veterans' Bureau (1923)
- Special Committee to Investigate Air Mail and Ocean Mail Contracts (1933)
- Special Committee to Investigate Receivership and Bankruptcy Proceedings in the Courts of the United States (1933)
- Special Committee Investigating Munitions Industry (1934)
- Special Committee to Investigate the Administration of the Virgin Islands (1935)
- Special Committee to Investigate Production, Transportation, and Marketing of Wool (1935)
- Special Committee to Investigate Lobbying Activities (1935)
- Special Committee to Investigate Unemployment and Relief (1937)
- Special Committee to Investigate Conditions in the American Merchant Marine (1938)
- Special Committee to Investigate the Administration and Operation of the Civil-Service Laws and the Classification Act of 1923 (1938)
- Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program (1941)
- Special Committee to Investigate Gasoline and Fuel-Oil Shortages (1941)
- Special Committee Investigating Petroleum Resources (1944)
- Special Committee on Reconstruction of Senate Roof and Skylights and Remodeling of Senate Chamber (1945)
- Special Committee on Atomic Energy (1945)
- Committees to Investigate Campaign Expenditures
- Miscellaneous Committees
18.47 The Select Committee on Investigation of the United States Veterans' Bureau (68A-F22) was established on March 2, 1923, in response to numerous complaints about improper treatment of disabled veterans or the survivors of deceased veterans and to charges of maladministration by the Bureau. Using a large network of volunteer lawyers, physicians, and other experts throughout the country, the committee investigated hundreds of individual cases and gathered information on hospitals and vocational training institutions that were providing services for disabled veterans. The committee drafted the World War Veterans' Act of 1924 (Public Law 68-242) that revised and consolidated the laws affecting the Veterans' Bureau.
18.48 The records of the committee (17 ft.) include correspondence, memorandums, individual case files, hearings transcripts, charts, reports, and other documents relating to individual cases or to overall Bureau policies and operations. There are also cross-reference slips, form letters, and file cards among the committee's records.
18.49 Early in the Great Depression, with the economy in shambles and the New Deal not yet begun, ocean mail and air mail contracts came under attack as examples of extravagant Government spending designed to benefit a chosen few. S. Doc. 210, 71st Cong., 2d sess., The Truth about the Postal Contracts under Title VI, Merchant Marine Act 1928 and Its Application as a Subsidy to Shipping, provided a comprehensive exposition of the allegations concerning the Government's ocean mail contracts. Written by a former official of the U. S. Shipping Board, S. Doc. 210 charged that ocean mail contracts amounted to excessive subsidies of U.S. merchant vessels, even though many ship owners were already being subsidized for the purchase of the vessels. In addition, the charge was made that postal contracts were frequently awarded without competitive bidding. Air mail contracts also were attacked as being tailored to help bankrupt or failing companies rather than to encourage competition.
18.50 In response to these allegations, the Special Committee to Investigate Air Mail and Ocean Mail Contracts (74A-F25) was established on February 25, 1933, with Hugo Black of Alabama as chairman, to investigate all such contracts and the "individuals, associations, partnerships, or corporations" involved. The committee's activity ceased after the submission of its preliminary report regarding ocean mail contracts on June 18, 1935.
18.51 The records of the committee (72 ft.) include extensive financial, operational, and organizational information that individuals and companies involved with ocean or air mail contracts were required to furnish during the course of the investigation. Data from Federal income tax returns are among the records, as well as correspondence, investigative memorandums, notes, reports, vouchers, and subpoenas. Copies of the committee's published hearings and prints are included, as well as transcripts of the separate hearings regarding ocean mail contracts that were held in 1934 by the Postmaster General. Additional material received from the Post Office Department, historical information on various ocean mail routes, speeches by Black, and various news clippings are also included.
18.53 The large number of bankruptcies during the depression years, as well as the widespread perception that the interests of creditors were often disregarded in the proceedings, prompted the establishment of the Special Committee to Investigate Receivership and Bankruptcy Proceedings in the Courts of the United States (75A-F24). The committee, which was created by S. Res. 78 on June 13, 1933, and continued until 1938, was authorized to conduct its investigation "with particular reference to the appointment of receivers and trustees in bankruptcy in such proceedings, and the fees received in the course of such administration, and generally of all matters concerning which information would be desirable in order to correct by legislation such abuses as may be found."
18.54 Henry F. Ashurst of Arizona served as the original chairman. He later resigned and was succeeded by William G. McAdoo of California. The committee identified abuses and inequities in the existing system regarding receivership and bankruptcy proceedings. When Congress drafted legislation to revise bankruptcy and receivership laws, the special committee played an indirect role in the process by making material it had gathered available to the Committees on the Judiciary of the Senate and House of Representatives. The Securities and Exchange Commission and certain committees of the American Bar Association also were given access to some of the special committee's records.
18.55 The committee held hearings in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Phoenix; transcripts of these were printed in nine parts. In addition, the committee made detailed statistical surveys of all receivership cases heard in the Southern District of California during a 2-year period and of all cases involving section 77B of the Bankruptcy Act in the Southern District of New York during a 1-year period. The committee sent questionnaires or invitations to comment to Federal district judges, judges of circuit courts, lawyers active in reorganization practice, and other interested parties.
18.56 The records of the committee (17 ft.) include correspondence, minutes, memorandums, subpoenas and subpoena returns, published and unpublished hearings transcripts, and investigative reports. There are also reports or completed questionnaires from referees, receivers, and judges, as well as reports and court documents regarding certain corporations involved in bankruptcy or receivership proceedings, photostatic copies of income tax returns and audit returns, and newspaper clippings and other published materials used by the committee for reference purposes.
18.57 Continuing public disillusionment over the final outcome of World War I, distrust of those who had profited from the war, and dismay over the Great Depression created the atmosphere that led, on April 12, 1934, to Senate establishment of the Special Committee Investigating the Munitions Industry (74A-F27). The committee, chaired by Gerald P. Nye of North Dakota, had broad authority to examine the structure and activities of the munitions industry, to investigate and report on controlling the traffic in munitions, to recommend legislation to "take the profit out of war," and to consider establishing a Government monopoly of arms manufacture.
18.58 The investigative staff, working from offices in Washington and New York City, functioned under the direction of committee secretary Stephen Raushenbush. Alger Hiss served as legal assistant to the committee. The committee held its first hearings in September 1934 and its final hearings in February 1936. There were 93 hearings in all, covering four topics: The munitions industry, bidding on Government contracts in the shipbuilding industry, war profits, and the background leading up to U.S. entry into World War I. The published records of the committee include hearings, reports, and prints, totaling almost 20,000 pages.
18.59 The records of the committee (160 ft.) reflect the work of both the Washington and New York offices and include documents subpoenaed or otherwise acquired by the committee from Government agencies (especially the Departments of State, Treasury, and War), munitions companies, shipbuilding firms, banks, and individuals. Information from income and profits tax returns of certain individuals and corporations was furnished to the committee by the Department of the Treasury and is among the records. Correspondence, memorandums, reports, case files, directives, briefs, printed informational materials, graphs and charts, as well as administrative records of the committee, are included. There are also minutes of meetings, both of the committee itself and of groups being investigated. Subjects covered include war profits, bidding on Government contracts, lobbying activities, and the period of neutrality preceding U.S. entry into World War I.
18.61 In response to complaints about Governor Paul M. Pearson's administration of the Virgin Islands, Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes sent Paul Yates to serve as Pearson's administrative assistant. Yates eventually resigned and filed detailed charges of more than 60 incidents of maladministration or corruption in the Pearson government. Acting upon Yates' charges, the Senate Committee on Territories and Insular Affairs called for a special investigation. On March 13, 1935, the Special Committee to Investigate the Administration of the Virgin Islands (74A-F24) was established, with Millard Tydings of Maryland as chairman. During the course of the investigation, Governor Pearson resigned.
18.62 The records of the committee (8 ft.) include the charges made by Yates and an index and digest of the charges. There are also affidavits, transcripts of hearings, exhibits, investigative reports, correspondence, memorandums, working papers, and records concerning committee expenses. Included are documents obtained by subpoena from the Government of the Virgin Islands, the Department of Interior, and the Naval Radio Station at St. Thomas. Some of the correspondence was originally encoded and has been deciphered. A diary for the period from May 15 to June 6, 1935, details committee activities in the Virgin Islands.
18.63 The Special Committee to Investigate Production, Transportation, and Marketing of Wool (79A-F33) was established on July 10, 1935, by S. Res. 160. The committee was necessary, according to the resolution, because "proper methods of marketing wool are essential to the establishment and maintenance of the prosperity of the industry; and . . .existing methods of marketing the wool crop have proved unsatisfactory to the wool producers of America."
18.64 Alva B. Adams of Colorado served as chairman of the committee until his death in December 1941. The committee dealt with such issues as concentration in the marketing phase of the wool industry, consignment problems, and estimates of shrinkage during cleaning of the wool. Adams suggested legislation designed to remedy the situation, but no bills were introduced before the onset of World War II interrupted the work of the committee.
18.65 The records (10 ft.) pertain only to the period from 1935 to 1938 when the committee made a comprehensive, 3-year, nationwide investigation of the wool industry. During this period, the committee sent questionnaires on technical and financial matters to wool dealers, manufacturers, and warehouses. It also examined the records of a number of important woolen mills and trade associations and, in 1938, held hearings relating to industry practices alleged to be harmful to growers.
18.66 Among the records are committee correspondence, memorandums and notes of chief investigator Earl S. Haskell and others, minutes of committee meetings, and financial records of the committee. The comprehensive staff report of January 4, 1938, "General Report on the Production, Transportation, and Marketing of Wool," is included along with accompanying exhibits and draft materials for the report. Also included are copies of correspondence and other documents from the files of companies, trade associations, or Government agencies that dealt with the wool industry, as well as reports and other materials on specific wool dealers and completed questionnaires. Charts, tables, and printed materials, including a newspaper issued as a spoof of the wool situation, also appear among the records.
18.67 The Special Committee to Investigate Lobbying Activities (75A-F26) was established by S. Res. 165 on July 11, 1935, in reaction to an intensive mass lobbying effort by utility companies against the Wheeler-Rayburn Utility Holding Company Act. The committee was directed to investigate "all efforts to influence, encourage, promote, or retard legislation, directly or indirectly." The committee had the power and authority to investigate the finances and political contributions of any groups or individuals who had attempted to influence legislation or public contracts. The committee was also to investigate efforts to control "the sources and mediums of communication and information." Hugo Black served as chairman until his appointment to the Supreme Court in 1937, when he was succeeded by Sherman Minton of Indiana. The committee continued until December 1940.
18.68 The voluminous records (120 ft.) include committee questionnaires completed by corporations and by individuals who had opposed the holding company bill, copies of income tax returns, correspondence files, administrative materials, and hearings transcripts. Case files created in connection with the lobbying investigation contain investigative memorandums and analyses, information regarding company finances, and copies of documents found in company files or supplied by a company on request. Other types of documents among the records of the committee include newspaper clippings, press releases, memorandums, notes, samples of documents relating to mass lobbying, annual reports, copies of subpoenaed telegrams, and documents concerning William Randolph Hearst's First Amendment challenge of the committee's right to subpoena his telegrams.
18.69 The records also contain certain correspondence files of Senators Black, Minton, and Lewis Schwellenbach of Washington. These files concern various topics, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "courtpacking" proposal, the Connery-Black wages and hours bill, and the holding company bill.
18.71 The Special Committee to Investigate Unemployment and Relief (75A-F27) was established on June 10, 1937, to study, survey, and investigate the problems of unemployment and relief. James F. Byrnes of South Carolina served as chairman.
18.72 The records of the committee, though scanty (6 in.), include documents relating to a variety of committee activities. One such activity was the compilation of tables of total costs of public relief, public assistance, Federal work programs, and emergency public works for the 5-year period, 1933-37. Explanatory notes for these tables are among the records. There are also records relating to the committee's study of the "security wage" in the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in certain cities of the United States, a study that focused in part on private employment of workers during periods when they were employed on WPA projects. Also among the records is a summary of an opinion poll conducted by the committee regarding unemployment and relief policy and the impact of technology on unemployment. Correspondence, staff memorandums, printed materials, legislative drafts, and a few typewritten papers on pertinent topics, such as "Congressional Relief Programs: A Record of Action in the Congress of the United States, 1803-1933," are also among the records of the committee.
18.73 During January and February 1938, the Senate Committees on Commerce and on Education and Labor held joint hearings on S. 3078, a bill to amend the Merchant Marine Act of 1936. Bitter charges made by witnesses during the hearings provided ample evidence of the serious labor-management conflict in the maritime industry, an industry that experienced 589 strikes from 1934 through 1938. The hearings raised concerns that the shipping industry was being victimized through racketeering by labor, exploitation by owners, and disruption by radical and criminal elements.
18.74 In light of these charges, the Special Committee to Investigate Conditions in the American Merchant Marine (76A-F25) was created by S. Res. 231 on February 25, 1938. The committee was given broad authority to "make a full and complete investigation of all matters relating to existing conditions in the American merchant marine." In practice, the committee limited its inquiry to matters affecting the labor-management relationship. The chairman of the Committee on Commerce served as chair of the special committee. Accordingly, Royal S. Copeland of New York served as chairman until his death when he was succeeded by Josiah W. Bailey of North Carolina.
18.75 The records of the committee (7 ft.) include unpublished transcripts of hearings before the Committee on Commerce regarding maritime labor unions and communist activities among seamen, replies to questionnaires from maritime employers and unions, statistical charts, printed materials, and news clippings, as well as correspondence with Federal agencies, steamship owners, maritime unions, and other interested parties. There are various staff memorandums and reports, such as the 1941-42 reports of James T. Broughton, the special committee's confidential representative, regarding labor conditions in the maritime industry in various ports around the country. Many of the records relate to the controversy over the possible deportation of Alfred Renton (Harry) Bridges, leader of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, as an alien engaged in subversive activities.
18.76 At the beginning of fiscal year 1938, 532,000 of the 841,000 Federal employees in the executive branch came under the merit system of the classified civil service. Congress was under considerable pressure to extend the system to include virtually all Federal Government positions except those involved in policy formation. At the same time, however, Members of Congress were besieged daily by civil service employees charging superiors with favoritism and other violations of the purpose and intent of the civil service law.
18.77 Allen J. Ellender of Louisiana became keenly interested in learning the truth of the situation. In a letter to members of the Senate Committee on Civil Service, he analyzed the complaints that he had received from civil servants, citing problems regarding the methods used for rating job performance, awarding promotions, and administering reprimands. Ellender also introduced a resolution to establish a special committee to investigate the charges. The Committee on Civil Service agreed with Ellender's call for a special committee, referring in its report on the resolution to "a clique of 'bureaucratic czars' who . . . have worked out a system of 'personal politics'" (Sen. Rept. 1311, 75th Cong., 3d sess.).
18.78 The Senate established the Special Committee to Investigate the Administration and Operation of the Civil-Service Laws and the Classification Act of 1923 (77A-F30) on April 1, 1938. Ellender served as chairman. The committee was authorized to determine "(1) the extent to which discrimination is practiced by appointing and supervisory officials with respect to appointments, promotions, [and] transfers, . . . and (2) the adequacy of the opportunity for impartial hearing given to employees who are discriminated against" (S. Res. 198, 75th Cong.). The committee sent out thousands of questionnaires, held hearings, and even held unofficial mediation conferences to settle certain ongoing disputes. It also succeeded in shaping some sections of Public Law 76-880, an act extending the classified executive civil service of the United States. The committee continued until 1945.
18.79 The records of the committee (10 ft.) consist largely of correspondence and replies to questionnaires from civil servants or civil service applicants, as well as correspondence with Government agencies (most notably the Civil Service Commission) and other interested parties. There are also memorandums, materials relating to committee hearings, newspaper clippings, press releases, copies of relevant executive orders, cards detailing the Federal employment history of certain individuals, and publications of the Civil Service Commission and other printed materials.
18.80 Between June 1 and December 1, 1940, as the nation viewed the war in Europe with growing alarm, the Federal Government awarded nearly $10.5 billion in defense-related contracts. Noting concerns that had developed regarding the awarding of these defense contracts and alleging that he had "never yet found a contractor who, if not watched, would not leave the Government holding the bag," 3 Harry S. Truman of Missouri introduced a resolution in early 1941 to establish a new special committee to monitor defense procurement and production so that corruption and waste could be averted and problems could be identified and resolved.
18.81 The Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program (79A-F30) was created on March 1, 1941, to study and investigate procurement and manufacture or construction of articles and facilities needed for national defense. The committee was specifically directed to investigate the terms of defense-related contracts, the methods of awarding them, the utilization of small business concerns, the geographic distribution of contracts and facilities, and the effect on labor, as well as other matters. Truman served as the first chairman of the committee, which is commonly known as the Truman Committee.
18.82 The committee earned a high reputation for thoroughness and efficiency. From its creation in 1941 until its expiration in 1948, the committee held 432 public hearings and 300 executive sessions, went on hundreds of field trips, and issued 51 reports. Throughout World War II, the committee was principally concerned with monitoring and improving production programs, contract procedures, and, eventually, reconversion plans. Much of the committee's work involved the discovery and exposure of corruption and mismanagement in the wartime production program. After the end of the war, the committee turned its attention to an analysis of wartime experiences in order to make recommendations that would improve postwar and future national defense programs.
18.83 The media showered the committee with favorable publicity. Especially notable was the national attention brought to its first chairman, resulting in his selection as the running mate of President Roosevelt in 1944 and his subsequent succession to the Presidency.
18.84 The extensive records (775 ft.) are arranged in five major series: Administrative records, operational records, records of hearings, records relating to the preparation of committee reports, and public relations records. A subject-numerical filing scheme is used.
18.85 Among the administrative records are correspondence, directives, memorandums, reports, ledgers, time sheets, vouchers, sample copies of forms, and other records. They deal with such topics as personnel matters, office procedures, staff assignments, and committee finances.
18.86 The operational records form the core of the archival holdings from the committee, comprising 95 percent of the total volume. Correspondence, memorandums, replies to questionnaires, financial materials, contracts, reports, notes, charts, tables, exhibits, agency press releases, photographs, drawings, and news clippings are among the many types of documents included. The subjects represented in these records reflect the magnitude of the committee's investigation. There are records regarding manpower issues, such as training programs, military personnel, labor organizations, and the so-called "dollar-a-year men" who left important positions in the private sector to work for the Government for an annual salary of one dollar or no compensation at all. Other records deal with ships and shipbuilding, military establishments and facilities, shortages of material, reserve supplies of strategic and other materials, transportation, contracts and procurement, conversion and reconversion. Records dealing with such topics as food, housing, racial discrimination, war films, disposal of surplus property, war profiteering, lobbying of Government agencies by private enterprise, and specific charges of fraud and corruption indicate the breadth of the committee's interest. Some records concern committee trips around the globe or committee consideration of such issues as the treatment of prisoners of war and the military government in Germany. The records relate to many Federal agencies, most notably the War Department, Navy, U.S. Maritime Commission, and War Production Board.
18.87 The remaining committee records consist of separate files regarding specific committee activities.Records of hearings contain transcripts of both the 432 public and the approximately 300 executive sessions, as well as some digests of hearings and weekly indexes of proceedings. Records relating to the preparation of committee reports include original drafts, galley proofs, correspondence, memorandums, reports, completed questionnaires from former committee investigators, and other working papers used in preparing committee reports. Lastly, the public relations records consist of press releases, texts of speeches by committee members and staff, and pertinent speeches and statements by other Government officials.
18.89 Fear of impending gasoline scarcity along the Atlantic seaboard gripped the American public during the summer of 1941. Members of Congress were deluged with letters and telegrams from concerned constituents. In August, the Administrator of the Office of Price Administration and Civilian Supply ordered 10 percent cuts in supplier deliveries of gasoline to eastern States and the District of Columbia. Authorities cited the diversion of 50 petroleum tankers to the besieged British as the cause. They sought to quiet public concern with statements that the problem was only one of transportation and that the country had adequate oil and gasoline. These statements failed to stop the hoarding of gasoline and the deterioration of public confidence.
18.90 In response to the confusing situation, the Senate established the Special Committee to Investigate Gasoline and Fuel-Oil Shortages (78A-F31) on August 28, 1941. The committee, chaired by Francis T. Maloney of Connecticut, was to investigate the shortage of fuel in the various States, the methods of delivery, and the means to ensure an adequate supply for national defense without undue hardship to the private sector.
18.91 Information was drawn from many sources. The committee, which continued through 1944, held hearings at which various Government officials and representatives of business and industry offered their views. The committee also requested and received written information or comments from the governor and other appropriate officials of each State, Members of Congress, oil companies, railroads, and others.
18.92 The records of the committee (18 ft.) include correspondence with State and Federal officials or agencies, members of business and industry, and private citizens. There are also memorandums, staff reports, replies to questionnaires, tabulations of questionnaire returns, transcripts of hearings, press releases, newspaper clippings, and printed materials.
18.93 Among the subjects mentioned in the records are fuel oil, gasoline, coal, the rationing program and its problems, the shortage of rubber, and cooperation between military and civilian authorities. A major focus of the committee was the petroleum distribution system. Accordingly, many of the records relate to that topic.
18.94 In February 1944, the Petroleum Administrator for War, Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes, announced that the Arabian-American Oil Co. would construct a refinery to produce petroleum war products for the Allied Nations, and that the U.S. Government would construct a petroleum pipeline from the Persian Gulf area to the eastern shore of the Mediterranean and would obtain a crude oil petroleum reserve of one billion barrels in the Gulf area.
18.95 Concerned that this announcement constituted a major reorientation of foreign policy without congressional consideration or consultation, the Senate created the Select Committee Investigating Petroleum Resources (79A-F31) on March 13, 1944. The committee was instructed to "make a full and complete study and investigation with respect to petroleum resources, and the production and consumption of petroleum and its products, both within and outside the United States, in their relation to our national welfare and security, . . . [and to report] its recommendations for the formulation of a nation petroleum policy" (S. Res. 253, 78th Cong.).
18.96 Francis T. Maloney served as chairman until his death on January 16, 1945, when he was succeeded by Joseph C. O'Mahoney of Wyoming. The 11 committee members included 2 each from the Committees on Foreign Relations, Interstate Commerce, Commerce, and Public Lands and Surveys.
18.97 The committee dealt with the pipeline proposal, certain questions regarding the Anglo-American Oil Agreement, the disposal of Government-owned pipelines and refineries as surplus properties, tidelands oil, and other issues related to petroleum supplies. It held hearings on such subjects as national petroleum requirements, new sources of petroleum in the United States, American petroleum interests in foreign countries, review of wartime petroleum policy, the Oil and Gas Division of the Interior Department, and international petroleum cartels.
18.98 The records of the committee (20 ft.) include transcripts of executive and public hearings, minutes of executive meetings of the committee, correspondence, witness statements, press releases, charts, tables, and photographs, as well as notes, memorandums, outlines, drafts, bill files, and other committee work papers. There is a variety of informational materials from agencies or private sources, such as agency publications, the minutes of the Anglo-American Conversations on Petroleum held by the two Governments in the summer of 1944 to discuss the future of the international oil trade, and part of a report on "American Petroleum Interests in Foreign Countries." The collection of news clippings covers such topics as Middle East oil, antitrust matters, the Canol Project to develop the Norman Wells oil field in northwest Canada, cartels, pipelines, tidelands oil, and international accords.
18.100 In 1940 Congress authorized the reconstruction of the roofs over the Senate and House wings of the Capitol Building. Engineering surveys had disclosed that the 1850's cast iron and wrought iron roof trusses above the ceilings fell far short of modern safety requirements. Because of the war and the necessity for Congress to remain in continuous session, however, the permanent reconstruction work was not completed and unsightly temporary steel supports remained in the two chambers for 5 years.
18.101 In July 1945, Congress enacted additional legislation (Public Law 79-155) authorizing the replacement of the skylight portions of the roof areas with reinforced concrete roof slab and the cast iron and glass ceilings with acoustically treated plaster ceilings, and the installation of new indirect lighting systems. The 1945 act vested approval of the plans for remodeling the Senate and House Chambers in five Senators and five Representatives, who were specially appointed for the purpose. Charles O. Andrews of Florida served as chairman of the Senate committee until his death in September 1946 at which time William Chapman Revercomb of West Virginia assumed the position.
18.102 The records (3 in.) contain detailed minutes of committee meetings from July 28, 1945, to March 25, 1948, some of which were joint meetings with the committee from the House of Representatives, as well as minutes of certain meetings of the House committee only. Included are attachments to the minutes, such as reports from Architect of the Capitol David Lynn and various copies of correspondence. Other correspondence and lists regarding items removed during the reconstruction and remodeling in the Senate are also among the records.
18.103 On October 3, 1945, President Truman sent a message to Congress urging the enactment of legislation formulating a national policy for the development and control of atomic energy. The Senate approved S. Res. 179 on October 22 establishing the Special Committee on Atomic Energy (79A-F29) to study problems relating to the development, use, and control of atomic energy and to consider all bills and resolutions coming before the Senate proposing legislation relating to atomic energy. The resolution also specified that the committee would terminate at the end of that Congress.
18.105 From November 27, 1945, through April 8, 1946, the committee heard nearly one million words of testimony from scientists, engineers, military officials, Cabinet members, and other witnesses in public and executive hearings. In executive session, the committee used S. 1717 as its working basis to develop proposals for legislation. S. 1717 incorporated many features discussed in the hearings, and the committee's version of the bill became, with relatively minor changes, the Atomic Energy Act of 1946. The act created both the Atomic Energy Commission and the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy.
18.106 The records (15 ft.) consist mainly of letters, telegrams, petitions, and resolutions from private citizens and organizations. There is also correspondence with members of the committee, Cabinet officers, and staff personnel. There are committee personnel records, transcripts of public hearings, the committee report, copies of the committee monograph Essential Information on Atomic Energy, the committee workbook, staff reports, charts, and various summaries and digests concerning the work of the committee. Speeches, press releases, articles, newspaper clippings, and other publications regarding atomic energy also are included.
18.107 Among the subjects discussed are the testing of atomic weapons at Bikini Atoll, civilian versus military control of atomic energy on the national level, international control of atomic energy to further the cause of world peace, outlawing the use of atomic bombs, peaceful uses of atomic energy, and proposed legislation.
18.108 A feature of many election years during this period was a Senate special committee to investigate campaign expenditures. Such committees monitored senatorial campaigns and, when appropriate, Presidential and Vice-Presidential campaigns. Records of such committees exist, in widely varying quantities, relating to the elections of 1924, 1930, and every election year from 1936 to 1946 (68A-F21, 71A-F28, 74A-F26, 75A-F25, 76A-F26, 77A-F31, 78A-F30, 79A-F32). The largest collections concern the elections of 1938, 1940, and 1944.
18.109 The campaign expenditures committees generally received broad authority to investigate contributions and expenditures, as well as any other means used to influence campaigns. The committees systematically collected information and monitored campaign activities, often through the use of questionnaires directed to specific groups active in the election process. By this means, officials of State governments submitted lists of the candidates for election, candidates and political parties provided information on campaign receipts and expenditures, contributors responded to questions regarding Federal employment, the media answered queries about each candidate's expenditures on campaign advertising, and independent political and educational groups submitted answers to questions about their purposes and activities. The committees also compiled information on State election laws and Federal departmental regulations regarding political activity.
18.110 The work of the committees was not limited to the systematic collection of information. They also responded to numerous individual complaints or information brought to their attention by interested parties. If warranted, the committees held hearings and conducted investigations both in Washington and in the field.
18.111 The committees investigated a wide assortment of complaints, including charges of registration irregularities, fraudulent voting, denial of voting rights, electioneering by Government officials, and political pressure on Federal employees or Government relief program workers. Among other issues addressed were the Senate franking privilege, use of congressional employees for campaign work, controversies over attempts to place candidates of the Communist Party on ballots, and the Hatch Act.
18.112 The records (93 ft.) include reports or completed questionnaires from the various targeted groups, as well as complaints received, memorandums, investigators' working papers and reports, printed summaries of investigators' reports, minutes of committee meetings, published and unpublished hearings transcripts, and committee reports. General correspondence, news clippings, campaign literature, ballots, poll books and various administrative records, including many related to committee finances, are also among the records.
18.115 The Select Committee on Investigation of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (69A-F26) was established in March 1924 to investigate and report on conditions in the Internal Revenue Bureau in preparation for Senate consideration of a tax revision and reduction bill. The records (4 in.) include correspondence between citizens and the Internal Revenue Bureau regarding claims for refund or abatement of taxes, as well as related charts prepared by the committee. There are also typescript transcripts of hearings.
18.116 The Select Committee on Post Office Leases (71A-F27.1) was established in response to charges of fraud, misrepresentation, and corruption in connection with post office leases. The records (1 in.) consist of one bound volume of printed transcripts of hearings dating from November 1930 to December 1931.
18.117 The Special Committee to Study Reorganization of the Courts of the United States, and Reform Judicial Procedure (76A-F27) was established in August 1937 and drew its members from the Committee on the Judiciary. The records (2 in.) relate to the need for appointing additional judges in certain districts. Included are transcripts of meetings held in Los Angeles by Patrick A. McCarran of Nevada with Federal judges and with the trustees of the Los Angeles Bar Association regarding appointment of an eighth judge of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of California, as well as hearings transcripts, minutes of committee meetings, charts regarding the workload in various U. S. district and circuit courts, correspondence, and various printed materials.
18.118 In April 1938, President Roosevelt proposed elimination of both the reciprocal exemption from income taxation granted to public officials of national, State, and local governments and the exemption granted to holders of public securities. To consider this proposal, the Senate established the Special Committee on the Taxation of Governmental Securities and Salaries (76A-F28) with Prentiss M. Brown of Michigan as chairman. The records (2 in.) include correspondence from agencies and interested groups or individuals, notes, statements of witnesses, partial transcripts of public hearings, vouchers, and assorted printed documents.
18.119 There are a few petitions (1/4 in.) from 1940 referred to the Select Committee on Government Organization (76A-J25). For the most part, they sought to have the Farm Credit Administration restored to its former status as an independent Bureau.
Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to the Records of the United States Senate at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-42). By Robert W. Coren, Mary Rephlo, David Kepley, and Charles South. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989.