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PROVIDING FOR THE REIMBURSEMENT OF CERTAIN CIVILIAN PERSONNEL FOR PERSONAL PROPERTY LOST AS A RESULT OF THE JAPANESE OCCUPATION OF HONG KONG AND MANILA
FEBRUARY 20, 1945.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House and
ordered to be printed
Mr. Jennings, from the Committee on Claims, submitted the following
(To accompany H. R. 990]
The Committee on Claims, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 990) to provide for the reimbursement of certain civilian personnel for personal property lost as a result of the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong and Manila, having considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.
The purpose of the proposed legislation is to authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to pay such sum or sums, amounting in the aggregate not to exceed $5,079, as may be required to reimburse under such regulations as he may prescribe, Arthur J. Campbell, James J. Saxon, and Kenneth Q. N. Wong, each employed or formerly employed by the Treasury Department, and William Henry Taylor, formerly alternate American member of the Stabilization Board of China, for the value of personal property lost or destroyed at their posts of duty as a result of the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong and Manila.
The Treasury Department transmitted a request to the Speaker of the House of Representatives for this legislation.
Therefore, your committee recommend favorable consideration of the bill.
Appended hereto is a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury.
Washington, June 24, 1944. The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
SIR: There is transmitted herewith a draft of a proposed bill, "to provide for the reimbursement of certain civilian personnel for personal property lost as a result of the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong and Manila."
The proposed bill would authorize the Secretary of the Treasury, after a determination of the validity and the amount of loss claimed under such regulations as he may prescribe, to pay sums totaling not to exceed $5,079 to three persons
employed by the Treasury Department and to one person who served as the alternate American member of the Stabilization Board of China for losses sustained by them at their posts of duty as a result of the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong and Manila.
The Treasury Department has no authority to settle these claims and the submission of the matter to the consideration of the Congress is, therefore, deemed proper.
Attached hereto are sepårate schedules itemizing the claims submitted by each of the persons mentioned in the proposed bill: Arthur J. Campbell, gross amount.
$3, 316 James J. Saxon, gross amount-
500 Kenneth Q. N. Wong, gross amount
550 William Henry Taylor, gross amount.
5, 079 Mr. Campbell was stationed in Hong Kong on December 8, 1941, as United States Treasury representative in charge (Customs Agency Service), a position he had held since 1932. By reason of the outbreak of hostilities and the subsequent capture of Hong Kong by the Japanese he was unable to dispose of his effects for safekeeping. On December 12, 1941, bomb fragments partly destroyed his apartment, in which he had furniture and the other personalty necessary for permanent residence. He was forced hurriedly to move to another house and was able to take with him only few of his clothes, and but little else. After surrender of the colony to the Japanese he was interned for a period of several months with other American officials. During that period he was allowed on one occasion to go to his former residence. He found it completely stripped.
Mr. Campbell is one of the interned Americans who was exchanged and returned to this country. At present he is serving as a lieutenant in the United States Navy.
The personal property which was lost by Mr. Campbell included furniture, clothing, silverware, some luggage and a pair of binoculars. The purchase price of the items, which had been in use from 1 to 6 years up to December 1941 (two pieces of luggage were older), was $3,316.
Mr. Saxon, who had been employed by the Treasury Department in Washington for several years, was in December 1941 in Manila in the performance of_official : duties for the Treasury Department as head commercial specialist, Foreign Funds Control. He had with him only the clothing and personal effects suitable for use in traveling. He left that city the latter part of that month when its fall was imminent and proceeded to Corregidor in the company of the United States High Commissioner to the Philippine Islands. Thereafter Mr. Saxon was stationed in Corregidor for several weeks until he departed in March 1942, to return to the United States with the High Commissioner. In these movements it was impossible for Mr. Saxon to carry with him his personal property and he was required to abandon it to the enemy. His movements and actions above mentioned were in all particulars strictly in accordance with the official orders directed to him.
Mr. Saxon is now employed by the Treasury Department in Africa.
The lost property, consisting primarily of clothing and luggage, is estimated by Mr. Saxon to amount to $500.
Mr. Wong was an employee of the Treasury Department, serving in the office of the United States Treasury representative in charge (Customs Agency Service) in the capacity of interpreter-translator, at the time of the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong. When interned he was forced to leave his personal household effects in the house where he and his wife made their home. Ás a result all of the property was lost to looters and the enemy.
Mr. Wong and his wife were among the interned Americans who were exchanged and returned to this country. Mr. Wong, an American citizen born in Hawaii, was subsequently employed in the New York office of the Customs Agency Service, Treasury Department, as a Chinese interpreter. At present, he is serving in the United Staets Navy and is stationed in Hawaii.
The purchase price in 1940 of his effects, which included furniture, china, and cutlery,
was $550. Mr. Taylor had been employed as a principal economist in the Division of Monetary Research of the Treasury Department in Washington, D. C., when, in 1941, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of the Treasury, he was appointed by the Chinese Government, alternate American member of the Stabili
zation Board of China and was stationed in China and Hong Kong. This Department believes, however, that the nature of his employment was such that the loss sustained by him is properly to be regarded as in the same category as the losses sustained by the other Treasury employees mentioned in the proposed bill. The creation of the Stabilization Board of China was required by the terms of the Stabilization Agreement of April 1, 1941, entered into between the Governments of the United States and China. The Board administered the agreement, which was designed to stabilize the United States dollar-Chinese yuan rate of exchange, and it also administered a similar agreement entered into by the Governments of the United Kingdom and China. In addition, the Board served as the agency charged with the administration in China of the cooperative freezing control inaugurated on July 26, 1941, by the Treasury Department and the Chinese Government. As alternate member, Mr. Taylor was a recognized official representative of the Treasury Department, although for the purpose of serving on the Stabilization Board, he was, technically, employed by the Chinese Government. Upon his return from that mission he resumed employment in the Division of Monetary Research.
Shortly after the occupation of Hong Kong by the Japanese, Mr. Taylor and other residents of the hotel where he was then living were forced to vacate on a few hours' notice. He first found temporary quarters in a vacant office and later joined friends in a house several miles from the center of the city, where he was able to carry with him only one case of his most essential belongings. Returning to the city to endeavor to collect the remainder of his things, he arrived only & few minutes before the internment of all American civilians. He could neither go back to the house for the personal effects he had carried there, nor gather up what he had left in the city, before he was placed in the internment camp. As a result all of his personal property was lost to looters and the enemy, except the few personal effects which he was permitted to carry with him in internment. And even some of these were taken away from him by Japanese soldiers during internment.
Mr. Taylor is one of the interned Americans who was exchanged and returned to this country. He is now Assistant Director of the Division of Monetary Research of the Treasury Department.
The lost property, consisting primarily of clothing and personal effects, together with some cash, is estimated by Mr. Taylor to amount to $713.
It is believed that these claims have merit and it is recommended that the proposed legislation be enacted.
Should the proposed bill become law this Department will adopt as a basis for the allowance of each claim the value of each article at the time of the loss, and will require such evidence and proofs as to facts and values as may be deemed equitable and proper in the particular circumstances.
It is respectfully requested that you lay the proposed bill before the House of Representatives. A similar bill has been transmitted to the Presic'ent of the Senate.
The Department has been advised by the Bureau of the Budget that there is no objection to the submission of this proposed legislation to the Congress. Very truly yours,
D. W. BELL, Acting Secretary of the Treasury.