Investigation of Stockpiling Policies
Concern Over Mounting Surplus of Materials
Reappearance before the Senate Armed Services stockpiling subcommittee, at a time still to be fixed, of George M. Humphrey, honorary chairman of the M. A. Hanna Co., and of Arthur S. Flemming, president of the University of Oregon, is expected to climax the investigation of government stockpiling policy that started five months ago. The hearings were broken off abruptly, Aug. 17, in the midst of a sharp flare-up between Humphrey and the subcommittee chairman, Sen, Stuart Symington (DMo.).
When the hearings reopen, Humphrey presumably will be asked to clear up certain points at issue between government accountants and Hanna representatives which Symington had planned to bring up when the probe into nickel stockpiling contracts was suddenly recessed. Flemming, who as director of the Office of Defense Mobilization administered the government stockpile of strategic and critical materials from 1953 to 1957, testified last April. He is being called back for additional questioning about policies that allegedly enabled suppliers of stockpile materials to reap windfall profits at government expense.
Because Humphrey, who was Treasury Secretary from 1953 to 1957, and Flemming were both prominent in the Eisenhower administration, some Republicans have charged that the stockpiling investigation is being used to obscure Democratic embarrassment over the Billie Sol Estes case. Many businessmen, still smarting from last spring's steel-price controversy, assert that the subcommittee probe gives further evidence that the Kennedy administration is anti-business. Nevertheless, there is widespread agreement in both parties that the policies which led to the present glut of stockpiled materials are seriously in need of overhauling.