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SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE
Printed for the use of the Committee on Military Affairs
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
COMMITTEE ON MILITARY AFFAIRS.
GEORGE E. CHAMBERLAIN, of Oregon, Chairman.
JOHN W. WEEKS, of Massachusetts.
JAMES W. WADSWORTH, JR., of New York.
JOSEPH S. FRELINGHUYSEN, of New Jersey.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 1918.
UNITED STATES SENATE,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON MILITARY AFFAIRS,
Washington, D. C.
The subcommittee met at 2 o'clock p. m., Senator Kenneth D. McKellar presiding.
Present: Senators McKellar (chairman), Sutherland, and Johnson of California.
There appeared before the committee Gen. R. E. Wood, Acting Quartermaster General, United States Army, and Mr. J. W. Thorne, assistant to the Quartermaster General.
STATEMENT OF GEN. R. E. WOOD, ACTING QUARTERMASTER GENERAL, UNITED STATES ARMY-Resumed.
Senator MCKELLAR. Gen. Wood, our subcommittee has been taking some testimony recently about the cotton goods section of your department, Mr. Donald, chief of the clothing and equipage division, having testified, and Mr. Bailey, chief of the cotton goods section of that division, having testified.
That testimony disclosed the fact that Mr. Bailey was a member of the firm of Wellington, Sears & Co., and also interested directly or indirectly in some of the cotton mills with which he was doing business as the agent of the Government. I have suggested that the time has now come when it seems to me that the Quartermaster's Department, in the most of its cotton goods purchases, could go back to the system of sealed bids; of course except in emergency orders, and holding the right to reject any and all bids for good and valid reasons. What do you think about this?
Gen. WOOD. For the first two months after April 28, 1918, when I assumed the office of Acting Quartermaster General, the principal problem, on account of the very large increase in the Army, was to get supplies, particularly of clothing. The shortage in the early part of May of the various classes of cotton goods, particularly of duck, khaki uniforms, and summer underwear, seemed acute, and instructions were given to buy to the limit.
As soon as I saw that our stocks were being built up, as soon as I received the approved military program up to June 30, 1919, I felt convinced that the time had come for a change in policy. I consulted with Mr. Thorne, who was of the same opinion. A meeting was held with the heads of divisions in the latter part of July, and the very point which has been informally discussed with Senator McKellar, to wit, the danger of a policy of negotiation, of arbitrary selection of price, and the selection of mills, was all brought out,