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Washington, D. C.

The subcommittee met at 10.30 o'clock a. m. in the room of the committee in the Capitol, Senator Thomas S. Hardwick presiding. Present: Senators Hardwick (acting chairman), Beckham, Trammell, France, and Lenroot.

Senator HARDWICK. Yesterday we had just finished with these gentlemen from Hot Springs, as I understand. This morning I am going to ask Assistant Attorney General Porter, of the Department of Justice, to make a brief statement on a matter that is connected with this affair.


(The witness was not sworn.)

Senator HARDWICK. Please give your name and official position to the reporter.

Mr. PORTER. Claude R. Porter, Assistant Attorney General.

Senator HARDWICK. Mr. Porter, do you know anything about the charges made against Mr. Milton J. Trainer, of the real estate bureau of the War Department, in connection with this Chicago hospital matter?

Mr. PORTER. The only information that I have is obtained from a file of papers which was sent by the honorable Secretary of War to the honorable Attorney General during the latter part of December,


Senator HARDWICK. For investigation by the Department of Justice in connection with this matter?

Mr. PORTER. For investigation and such action, if any, as the Department of Justice might deem advisable.

Senator HARDWICK. Has the Department of Justice got this matter under consideration at the present time?

Mr. PORTER. The Department of Justice has the matter under consideration, both as to law and as to facts concerning it.

Senator HARDWICK. It has not yet come to a determination as to what proceedings, if any, are to be instituted?

Mr. PORTER. No, sir; no definite conclusion has as yet been reached in the matter.

Senator HARDWICK. With the papers that came to the Department of Justice was there anything that purported to be a letter from

the Secretary of War exonerating Mr. Trainer from these charges, éither signed or unsigned?

Mr. PORTER. There is in the file, as received at the Department of Justice, an unsigned letter to that effect.

Senator HARDWICK. Purporting to be dictated for or by the Secretary of War? Suppose you just let us have that, if it is not incompatible with the interests of the department in this matter.

Mr. PORTER. Yes, sir.

Senator HARDWICK. You have that, have you not?

Mr. PORTER. Yes, sir; I have, and will hand it to the chairman of the committee.

Senator HARDWICK. Let me see it first. I will read it into the record. I know you gentlemen are all interested in it. It is dated December 18, 1918, and is addressed to Mr. J. Milton Trainer, Munitions Building, Washington, D. C.:

DEAR SIR: I have read the article in the Chicago Tribune of Saturday. November 30, 1918, which you have drawn to my attention, in which the statement is made that you have been charged by Mr. Jacob Newman, attorney for Mr. Hines, and other lieutenants of Mr. Hines, as having solicited a bribe in connection with the Speedway Hospital proposition.

I have had a very thorough investigation made of this entire matter by the Inspector General, and am glad to assure you that there is not a vestige of truth in the newspaper article.

As an active member of the real estate section of the General Staff, you have given exceedingly valuable service to the War Department, and I take pleasure in stating that you record in every real estate transaction having to do with War Department matters has been above reproach.

Yours, very truly,

Unsigned, and under it: "Secretary of War."

Do you know why that letter was in the files?

Mr. PORTER. No, sir; except as there are references to it, I think, in a memorandum prepared by Mr. Trainer, I think; and then I also have a letter of date February 1 of the present year explaining the situation, signed by the Secretary of War himself.

Senator HARDWICK. Let me see that, unless there is some objection to doing so.

Mr. PORTER. No, sir; I think not, sir. I think that letter possibly ought to be considered in connection with the other.

Senator HARDWICK. I will read this for the record, then:

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, February 1, 1919,

MY DEAR MR. ATTORNEY GENERAL: On December 28 I sent to the Inspector General a memorandum, with certain attached papers, having to do with the alleged solicitation of a bribe by J. Milton Trainer. The papers which I supposed I was sending to the Inspector General were as follows: (1) My memorandum of December 28; (2) a letter from me to Mr. J. Milton Trainer, dated December 28, acknowleding the receipt of a communication from said Trainer dated December 23; (3) a letter from J. Milton Trainer to me as Secretary of War, dated December 23, with regard to an article published in the Chicago Tribune of November 30, and charges therein reported filed against him by Edward Hines, etc.

Gen. Chamberlain has to-day shown me copies of other papers transmitted to you at the same time: (1) a memorandum from J. Milton Trainer to the Mon. Benedict Crowell, First Assistant Secretary of War, dated December 20; 2) an undated letter, copy bearing pencil date December 18, to J. Milton Trainer, and bearing a place for signature by me. The second paragraph of this letter reads:

"I have had a very thorough investigation made of this entire matter by the Inspector General and am glad to assure you that there is no vestige of truth in the newspaper article."

Gen. Chamberlain has told me that he has informed your office that this letter was never signed by me. I am writing to make that fact a matter of record in your office. This undated and unsigned letter was presented to me by Mr. Crowell with the statement that Mr. Trainer had presented it to him and asked him to ask me to sign it. I read it and refused to sign it, and, as I recall it, handed it back to Mr. Crowell. It was never signed, of course never sent, and, except as Mr. Trainer himself had it prepared, I do not know how he came to be in possession of a copy of it; nor do I know how a copy came to be attached to the papers transmitted from my office to the Inspector General.

Cordially, yours,


Secretary of War.

Mr. Porter, you are the law officer of the Government having this matter in direct charge?

Mr. PORTER. Yes, sir. I have charge, generally speaking, of all criminal matters in the Department of Justice.

Senator HARDWICK. Would you or would you not think it proper to go into this matter now, with the matter undetermined by the department?

Mr. PORTER. Where a matter such as this, Mr. Chairman, is before the department and is receiving its serious consideration I do not believe that at this time I ought to express an opinion either as to a matter of law or as to a matter of fact on the case, because it is now being considered.

Senator HARDWICK. In view of that, gentlemen, I will not ask any further questions for the committee unless Senator Trammel wishes to submit any, and I will not permit the attorneys on either side to ask any questions about what is happening in the Department of Justice

Mr. BENNET. I do not think it would be proper to do so.

Senator HARDWICK. Except these matters that have been, with the consent of the department, submitted to the committee. If either attorney wants to ask Mr. Porter any questions with relation to these specific matters, I will permit that.

Mr. BENNET. I have no questions. I think the correspondence speaks for itself.

Senator HARDWICK. I think that is all, then.

Mr. PORTER. Would it be all right for me to volunteer a suggestion? Senator HARDWICK. We would be glad to have you say anything you think it is proper to say.

Mr. PORTER. As bearing on the letters that you have inquired about, I do find here, under date of December 23, a letter or memorandum addressed to the Secretary of War and purporting to be signed by Mr. Trainer, and then there is what apparently is a carbon copy of an answer of date December 28 addressed to Mr. Trainer by the Secretary of War bearing on this same subject.

Senator HARDWICK. Those are referred to in that last letter.

Mr. PORTER. I think these two letters are each referred to in the last letter.

Senator HARDWICK. I will ask you one question, and you can answer it or not, according to your own sense of what is proper in this matter. We will not take it amiss at all if you do not answer it; but do you know how this unsigned letter of the Secretary of War got in this file? Where did it come from to you?

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