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them direct; they have to send their complaints through the postmaster, and when a carrier can not get to his superior officer through direct methods and is prohibited by executive order from going to his Congressman, the official paper of his association is his last resort and only hope. We have, in a great many cases, attempted to get certain matters straightened out for them, and I am frank to say that there was a day when we did succeed in accomplishing something for them, getting little matters straightened out for them down at the department.
Mr. TOWNER. Well, I suppose that this feeling that seems to be natural has led to at least an apparent spirit of antagonism between yourself and the department.
Mr. Brown. It would seem so.
Mr. TOWNER. Yes. Is that a necessary situation, under the circumstances, do you think?
Mr. Brown. On the contrary, I think it is very deplorable; I do not think it is necessary at all. The department apparently has taken umbrage at the activity of the R. F. D. News in trying to promote the welfare of the carriers. They seem to think that everything pertaining to the carriers should rest with them; that every recommendation for an increase in salary or relief from any of the burdens under which they serve every day; that all these things should be initiated by the department, and that no one else should have anything to do with it.
Mr. Towner. Well, it would seem from that, if there is anything to blame in your relations, if you have any other matters that you desire to call to the attention of the committee in regard to the attitude of the Post Office Department or its action in any matter affecting the interests of the carriers that now is a good time for you to present them to the committee; but of course the committee would feel that it would be only fair and right that the department have ample opportunity of saying what they choose to from their standpoint. In the meantime I would like to make this personal suggestion, that if you can suggest to the committee any way in which any action might be taken that would aleviate the situation, the committee, I am quite sure, would be very glad to hear it.
Mr. Brown. I don't know of anything that I might suggest. We have tried to be consistent in our efforts to promote the interests of the carriers; we have done what we thought was the best thing to do. Perhaps we have made mistakes. But what we have done, I will state to the committee, has met with the unanimous approval of the carriers.
Mr. TOWNER. Well, now, what specific complaint have you to make against the department in its relation to this matter or in the general matter of its relations to the carriers ?
Mr. BROWN. Well, my complaint is that they are attempting to injure me financially by destroying the relationship existing between my paper
and the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association. I do not believe they are warranted in doing it. It is the carriers' association—the carriers pay all the cost of maintenance and operation of the association. While the department says specifically that organizations within the service are permitted only for fraternal and such purposes as that, it must be recognized that unless the carriers themselves expected to get some substantial and material benefits from the
organization they would not contribute to its support; they would not pay the salaries of its officers; they would not meet and go to all the expense of attending these conventions every year unless they thought that through the association they might accomplish something for their own welfare.
Mr. TOWNER. You are now discussing the attitude of the department toward the association, not toward yourself. Did you want to discuss that?
Mr. Brown. No; I may have digressed a little inadvertently.
Mr. TOWNER. I have no objections to your discussing that, too; but it was not adapted to my question.
The CHAIRMAN. It might be well to have Mr. Brown go back to this convention at Little Rock and take up his story, which I myself interrupted, when an attempt was made, he says, to compel the association to pass resolutions that didn't meet with their approval, and which they didn't pass. Now, if you would go back there and continue with your story I think it would be better.
Mr. Brown. The resolutions committee did report a resolution. This is the text of it:
Resolved, That the editorial utterances in the R. F. D. News, the official organ of the association, reflect only the views of the editor and do not commit the Rural Letter Carriers' Association to the opinions expressed, and that only signed articles by the proper officers shall be construed as the official utterances of this association,
That is the resolution that was reported. After it had been reported to the convention a man from Georgia, for reasons better known to himself and me, arose and proceeded to denounce the R.F.D. News and me very severely.
Mr. McCoy. You say a man from Georgia. Do you mean a delegate to the convention?
Mr. BROWN. The only color to right that he had to the floor of the convention was that he was a member of a committee that had been appointed at the previous convention, a continuing committee that was to make a report at the Little Rock convention.
Mr. McCoy. To make a report on what?
Mr. Brown. I forget now just what the committee was, but I believe it was the civil service retirement committee.
Mr. Austin. 'Who was this man you refer to?
Mr. Brown. He posed part of the time as a rural carrier and part of the time as an attorney. He did not give me one of his cards at Little Rock, but I saw one of his business cards that he was distributing there, claiming that he was an attorney, a practicing attorney in Atlanta. After Mr. Lindsay's speech denouncing the R, F. D. News and me, a vote was taken and it became necessary for the friends of the R. F. D. News to scurry around.the hall and get votes in order to have the resolution adopted. At first the friends of the News were going to defeat the resolution and we had to let it be known to them that the resolution was not objectionable to me. On the contrary, it seemed to solve a problem for us, not that we had desired previously to unduly criticize the department or any of its officials, but that, perhaps, we had been restrained from comment that we might have desired to make on account of the relations existing between the News and the association. And this resolution which was reported and adopted by the convention absolved the association from all responsibility for anything that might be said or done by the R. F. D. News, not over the signature of the officers of the association,
The CHAIRMAN. You say the friends of the News were about to defeat the resolution. Why?
Mr. BROWN. Because they thought it was an attack on the R. F. D. News. They were all satisfied with the relations then existing between the News and the Association and they didn't care to have them disturbed.
Mr. Austin. This man who made the speech, was he a delegate to the convention ?
Mr. Brown. Lindsay? No, sir.
Mr. Austin. Then why did they permit him to address the convention? If he wasn't å delegate why did they let him participate?
Mr. Brown. The then president of the association was apparently very friendly to Mr. Lindsay; in fact, I feel warranted in saying that Mr. Lindsay had him elected president of the association the year previous.
Mr. Austin. Was Lindsay an officer of the association?
Mr. Austin. And this “sitting president," if we may call him such, succeeded him?
Mr. Brown. Yes, sir. He knew little or nothing of parliamentary law or practice; I am not sure that the question had been raised then, but I know it was subsequently raised as to the rights of this man to the floor. I am not sure that it had been raised at that time, but anyway he got the floor and proceeded to abuse me and the paper. That, so far as I know, was all that occurred at the Little Rock convention, at that time.
The CHAIRMAN. It might be interesting to know whether these gentlemen connected with the Post Oflice Department, who you stated threatened to leave, remained or not?
Mr. Brown. They remained.
Mr. BROWN. Entirely so. It was submitted to me before it went to the resolutions committee.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you know whether or not this resolution that you have just now been discussing was a resolution prepared by anyone connected with the Post Office Department ?
Mr. BROWN. The one passed?
Mr. Austin. Do you know whether or not the Post Office Department officials there on the ground prepared any resolutions or submitted any to the committee?
Mr. Brown. I do not know of my own knowledge, only as a matter of hearsay.
Mr. McCoy. Your paper, Mr. Brown, from what I understood you to say a few minutes ago, does not confine itself exclusively to the publication of post-office news, but also contains items of general interest, things happening in Washington and elsewhere?
Mr. Brown. Yes, sir; and I am glad, Mr. McCoy, that you mentioned that, because I will take occasion here to answer the charge made in Mr. De Graw's letter to President McMahon, which you have heard read. It is true that we did send out the circular asking for the names of 25 people in the community, and I respectfully submit to the committee that, broadly speaking, at least, we were warranted in doing so.
I want to read you from the written address of the Fourth Assistant Postmaster General, delivered at Milwaukee at our national convention last September, in which he says (this relates to the question of good roads):
The department very much desires that postmasters, rural carriers, and substitute carriers shall not only constitute themselves apostles of good roads and spread the propaganda, but shall by their work arouse interest and emulation in others. Many postmasters and rural carriers have been instrumental in forming good-roads clubs and associations, the results of which have found improvement in the condition of the highways, and in several notable instances the appropriation of enormous sums of money for the rebuilding and improvement of entire county highway systems.
Mr. Austin. That is a mighty good platform, Mr. Brown.
Mr. Austin. Before you proceed in introducing that, you have just read an extract from the speech of the Fourth Assistant Postmaster General. What was the connection that had ?
Mr. McCoy. Your reading that led up to something about the circular.
Mr. Brown. Yes, sir; this little circular we sent out to which the department takes such strenuous objection.
Ever since I have had the R. F. D. News we have carried in it a good-roads department, which we have flattered ourselves was of a very high class. It has cost me more money than anything else I carried in the paper; it is really about the only thing that does cost me anything except for monthly salaries.
The first of January we started a weekly issue of our paper-
Mr. BROWN. Yes, sir. The third issue each month we make a special good-roads issue, making the paper in every essential a goodroads magazine. We are doing what we can to promote interest in good-roads work, and taking Mr. De Graw's injunction to the rural carriers as my text and as authority for my action, I felt that I was warranted in asking the carriers to send me the names of these people in order that I might send them a copy of the paper.
proposed to put it up not only to the farmers of the country but to all others who were interested in the movement and get them to subscribe, just for our good-roads issue.
Mr. TOWNER. That would constitute a kind of monthly magazine devoted almost exclusively to good roads?
Mr. Brown. Almost exclusively to good roads; that was my idea, and I would say, gentlemen, that that constitutes the sum total of my willful, deliberate efforts to do anything that was not strictly in conformity with the regulations of the Post Office Department.
Mr. McCoy. How does that depart from the regulations?
Mr. Brown. There is a regulation, I believe, prohibiting the carriers from sending the names of people on their routes to outside parties.
Mr. McCoy. Does that also apply to postmasters ?
Mr. Brown. I will have to refer you to the department for an answer to that, Mr. McCoy.
Mr. AUSTIN. Isn't it based on some law? I know I have been trying to have it repealed so that postmasters would be compelled to furnish Members of Congress with lists of their patrons.
Mr. DE GRAW. It is based on one of the fundamental principles of the postal service, Mr. Chairman, which requires the sanctitude of the mails. When you place mail in the hands of the Post Office Department, under the construction of the law, it is absolutely a private matter, and the rules of the Rural Delivery Service are based upon those which were made for the government of the city service. In other words, no employee is permitted to give anybody any information about people doing business with the Post Office Department. I could not give you the names of the people along the routes in your own district. It would be a violation of the regulations if I did.
Mr. McCoy. Is that a statute ?
Mr. DE GRAw. It is based upon the statute upon which the City Delivery Service was organized, I think.
Mr. Austin. That is the construction that has been put on it. It has been presented or submitted to the law officer of the Post Office Department and to the Attorney General of the United States, and that is the way they interpret it. Mr. McCoy. Well
, I have no rural routes in my district, and of course I am a straight novice in this business, but I am glad to get some information on the subject. I would like to know, Mr. De Graw, if, in the case of a rural carrier, that would be interpreted so as to prevent him from giving the names of people on other routes, regardless of how he got the information, whether they got it through the fact that they were delivering mail to certain people or not?
Mr. DE GRAW. It prohibits absolutely any employee of the Government, rural carrier, postmaster, inspector, or anybody else connected with the service from divulging the names of any persons on their own or any other route.
The CHAIRMAN. For any purpose ?
Mr. McCoy. Well, it is conceivable, and, I should think, would be the case in the country where the rural delivery is in operation, that a carrier might be precluded by that regulation, or that interpretation of the regulation, from telling anybody anything about anybody on his route, although he might know everybody on the route by heart, and his knowledge about them might not have come from his official position as a rural carrier. Isn't that so?
Mr. DE GRAw. Yes, sir, that is true.
Mr. McCoy. And would that be a violation of the rules as interpreted?
Mr. DE GRAw. Yes, sir.
Mr. Austin. The law ought to be amended, because we have thousands of documents issued by the Agricultural Department and other bureaus of the Government that we could supply to the people if we could get these lists of names. We could supply the people with these public documents, and some with garden seed, and some