When Congress passed the Surplus Property Act of 1944, it declared “the objectives of this Act are to facilitate and regulate the orderly disposal of surplus property so as to assure the most effective use of such property tor war purposes and the common defense”; and added nineteen different objectives which were construed to aid in the reconversion period.
The objectives of this Act sound fair and reasonable enough, out obviously they are not being, carried out because practically the entire program has led to unlimited dissatisfaction and confusion.
At the present time a congressional subcommittee, headed by Congressman Ross Rizley, is conducting an investigation of the surplus disposal program and has voiced an extensive interest in the problem of industrial machinery. The thing that will make this investigation successful is the cooperation of business men who have had actual experience in buying or trying to buy surplus equipment.
We have heard hundreds of complaints about the surplus disposal program, both from potential buyers and from the people within the disposal organization, but most of the people on the outside are reluctant to do anything about it.
It is natural for the average executive, who has his own management problems, to sidetrack his duty as a citizen with respect to matters of legislation or government. Some seem to be afraid of becoming involved or that they might be requested to come to Washington for a hearing.
One encouraging note about making formal complaints is the results they have already produced. Willingness on the part of many of the top officials in War Assets Administration to try to make corrective measures is commendable. But too many times they are stymied by some technicality in the Surplus Property Act.
The only way the entire disposal program can be corrected is by Congressional action. The only way Congress can do anything about it is to get to the bottom of the whole mess. And the only way Congress can get to the bottom is for the industrial executive to take the time to write his complaints and opinions to Congressman Rizley so that his committee will be better fortified to act.