FEBRUARY 7, 1962

PAGE 1967


Mr. MUSKIE. Mr. President, on Monday I placed in the RECORD certain statements made by Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller, of New York, relating to the proposal to create a Department of Urban Affairs and Housing. I did not undertake to elaborate upon the inconsistency which they reveal. I did suggest that the Governor might want to clarify the motivation behind the inconsistency.

Later in the day, the junior Senator from Iowa [Mr. MILLER] made the following statement with reference to my remarks:

I hope the Senator from Maine will at the appropriate time see fit to insert in the RECORD a comparison between what the Governor of New York previously approved of, as proposed by the Eisenhower administration, and the reorganization proposal that has come from the White House now under the reorganization plan. I would hazard a guess that there would be a substantial difference between the two, and that one could well be for the first and be against the second.

I am happy to offer a comparison, based upon such information as is available to me, between what Governor Rockefeller previously approved of on July 2, 1957 and August 28, 1961, and the reorganization plan of the President which the Governor criticized last week.

I think it should first be noted, however, that Governor Rockefeller's opposition of last week, according to the New York Times report of his remarks, appeared to be unqualified. I repeat the following:

States can meet their own problems on urban affairs.

The States should give leadership in this matter. I don't think a Department should be set up in Washington to bypass the States.

If his opposition of last week was based upon a difference between the President's plan and the proposals which the Governor had in mind in 1957 and 1961, he did not indicate it, and did not disclose the difference.

If the Governor intended to convey the idea that he would support the creation of such a Department, if the proposal were to be modified in some respect, he effectively concealed such intention and the modifications which he had in mind.

Consequently, the printed reports which I have seen of the Governor's comments of last week are devoid of information which would be useful in making the comparison requested by the junior Senator from Iowa. The Senator has said he heard the speech. If it contained any qualifications which would suggest that the Governor would still support a proposal to create such a Department, if it were in different form, I am sure he will make them a part of the RECORD.

Let us turn to the Governor's statement of August 28, 1961. I quoted that statement at length on Monday. On the subject of the proposed Department, he said:

As a matter of better organization in Washington, it would make sense to coordinate scattered functions of the Federal Government related to urban problems. The Governor did not make reference to any specific plan or bill. S. 1633, which, at that point, had been reported by the Committee on Government Operations, met the only test which the Governor's statement suggested. It would not add a single new function to those now performed by the Federal Government in the fields of housing and urban affairs. It undertakes simply to coordinate scattered functions of the Federal Government related to urban problems. The President's Reorganization Plan No. 1 is based upon S. 1633.

S. 1633 had the support of President Kennedy. That fact did not seem to trouble Governor Rockefeller last August.

Last August it was also widely rumored that Mr. Weaver would be the first Secretary of the new Department. As a matter of fact, there was considerable speculation to that effect, in the press.

If the Governor was aware of the rumors and speculation, he was not concerned about them last August.

Still seeking information upon which to base a reply to the junior Senator from Iowa, let me turn to the memorandum, dated July 2, 1957, addressed to President Eisenhower and signed by Nelson A. Rockefeller, which I placed in the RECORD on Monday.

This is the longest and most detailed statement on the subject by Mr. Rockefeller which I have seen. However, it is not of much help in connection with the request of the Senator from Iowa [Mr. MILLER].

It is quite eloquent in describing urban problems and the need for the proposed new Department. It does not, however, spell out a plan. It refers to pending bills on the subject without endorsing any one.

Mr. Rockefeller's suggestion seemed more concerned with achieving the objective of creating a new Department than it was with a detailed plan. It does, however, make two suggestions which are worthy of note:

First. That the new Department be created by elevating the Housing and Home Finance Agency to department status. This is what S. 1633 would do. This is what the President's Reorganization Plan No. 1 would do.

Second. That civil defense functions be placed within such a department. This recommendation was clearly not made a condition to the creation of the new Department. As a matter of fact the memorandum conceded that, to include civil defense functions in the new Department could impede future progress in this area by appearing to have the effect of demoting it to bureau status.

Governor Rockefeller's reasons in 1957 for supporting a Cabinet Department of Urban Affairs are remarkably parallel to those of President Kennedy in 1961.


The Rockefeller report said:

In recent years the problems of planning, building, and conserving our cities and metropolitan areas have become increasingly acute, and demands have multiplied, in and out of Congress, for the establishment of a new executive department to take the lead in those aspects of urban affairs.

President Kennedy said:

In a few short decades we have passed from a rural to an urban way of life; in a few short decades more, we shall be a Nation of vastly expanded population, living in expanded urban areas in housing that do not now exist, served by community facilities that do not now exist, moving about by means of systems of urban transportation that do not now exist. * * * The need for such a department has been increasingly recognized in recent years. * * * The time is here to take the next needed step.


Governor Rockefeller said:

Consequently, the Housing and Home Finance Agency has become a serious contender for departmental status. The new obligation authority for the Agency for the current fiscal year exceeds $1 billion. New commitments to insure mortgages and home improvement loans are running at a rate of $5 billion per year, and the total amount of mortgages and loan insurance outstanding is now in excess of $24 billion.

President Kennedy said:

The various programs with which the new department would be charged involve Federal investments of billions of dollars, and contingent liabilities of billions more.


Governor Rockefeller said:

There is more justification for a new Department than merely the present size of the Housing and Home Finance Agency and the cost of the programs which it administers. Departmental status would carry with it representation in the Cabinet.

President Kennedy said:

Our cities and the people who live in and near them need and deserve an adequate voice in the highest councils of government.

Governor Rockefeller said:

At present, agriculture, health, education, natural resources development, and other fields of Federal concern have spokesmen in the cabinet and have the prestige of inclusion in an executive department. Such representation and status are now denied to the Agency most directly concerned with conserving and developing our cities and communities, which now include approximately two-thirds of the population of the United States.

Having reviewed the record, which is available to me, as carefully as possible, I am left without any suggestion of the kind of difference which the Senator from Iowa had in mind when he addressed his request to me. I do not know whether there exists the kind of documentation which would support his suggestion.

I am left with the conclusion that Governor Rockefeller gave unequivocal approval to the basic proposal contained in Reorganization Plan No. 1 in 1957 and 1961, and that he withdrew his approval to the same basic proposal last week for reasons which he has not stated and which we can only guess.

Mr. McCARTHY. Mr. President, will the Senator Yield?

Mr. MUSKIE. I am happy to yield to the Senator from Minnesota.

Mr. McCARTHY. I do not know whether my statement would be any encouragement to the Senator from Maine, but there seems to be a stretch out in the attitude of the action of Mr. Rockefeller in terms of changing his position. In this case, he waited from August until the next February to reverse himself, whereas last fall, when we were considering the question of long-term financing of foreign aid, I think he changed his position within a period of 2 weeks.

Mr. MUSKIE. I agree with the Senator from Minnesota that even on the question of timing and using that as a standard for evaluating his position, we are left without a reliable guide.

I yield the floor.

Mr. MORTON. Mr. President, I am not here to speak for the Governor of New York. I will let him take care of the question on his own time and in his own forum. He might have changed his position on the question of how to finance the debt of the United Nations after reading my very intelligent suggestion in that field.