Longines Chronoscope/08-01-1954

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Narrator
It's time for the Longines Chronoscope, a television journal of the important issues of the hour, brought to you every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, a presentation of the Longines-Wittnauer Watch Company, maker of Longines, the world's most honored watch, and Wittnauer, distinguished companion to the world honored Longines.

Frank Knight
Good evening, this is Frank Knight. May I introduce to you our co-editors for this edition of the Longines Chronoscope: from the CBS television news staff, Larry Lesueur and Walter Cronkite. Our distinguished guest for this evening is Albert M. Cole, federal administrator of the Housing and Home Finance Agency.

Larry Lesueur
Mr. Housing Administrator, in President Eisenhower's State of the Union message he said that the public housing program should be continued, must be continued, until further notice, or until more effective programs are ready. Now, can you tell us just what shape the public housing program is in right now?

Albert M. Cole
Well, the present public housing program now provides for the construction of twenty thousand units in the present fiscal year. However, the future of the public housing program is yet in the balance. That is to be determined by what the administration will recommend, and what Congress will pass this year or the following year of 1954 and 55. On the basis of the President's statement, it would appear, however, that the President believes that there is a continuing need for public housing, pending the demonstrated progress of other programs to meet the need of people in low incomes and their desire to obtain decent housing.

Walter Cronkite
Do you anticipate an increase in the twenty thousand figure in the President's new recommendations to come?

Cole
I think that's an interesting question. In my judgment it is quite possible that the administration will ask for some increase in the present program, yes.

Lesueur
Well, Mr. Housing Administrator, you've conducted a survey of the nation's housing problems. Now, has the administration formulated any new approach to the subject of public housing? I think the chairman of the Senate Banking Commission had a few words to say about that today.

Cole
Well, I was present when Senator Capehart made his statement in Washington today. May I go back a few months and say to you that President Eisenhower, when I was appointed administrator of the Housing and Home Finance Agency, said to me "I want to develop a sound, progressive, and aggressive attack upon the problem of obtaining decent housing for the people of America. I want you to study all of the ramifications of this complex and controversial problem, and I mean it is very complex and quite controversial." So we began to study it. We set up in Washington a committee called shirt-sleeve conferences. And to that committee, to those conferences, we called people of all walks of life: labor, lenders, home builders, manufacturers, bankers, architects, people of all different sorts of backgrounds, and we secured their advice. Then I went to the country and visited twelve representative cities, and there I asked the people to tell me what they thought about housing. Following that, the President appointed an advisory committee on housing and that committee was composed of top level people in lending, in home building, architects again, labor, public interests groups, public housing officials, and they then have recently presented to the President a report on the government housing policies and programs. It is my judgment that this report contains a sound and a progressive program which will provide the people of America good housing and fine neighborhoods and well planned communities.

Lesueur
Mr. Cole, (illegible text) speaker of tenants, and I'm sure there is a shortage of housing in many of our big cities—

Cole
Yes, there is.

Lesueur
—but I'm also told that neither the cities nor the private industries can afford to build projects. Now, how about that?

Cole
No, I don't agree with that. Do you mean that the cities cannot build low rent housing, public housing?

Lesueur
Without federal assistance—

Cole
Oh, oh yes.

Lesueur
—nor can the builders get the money.

Cole
Under the present tax structure, if you are speaking now of public housing projects, that is, subsidized public housing projects, for people in low incomes, I am of the opinion that federal assistance is necessary in those instances. It's quite possible that as a result of the so called Manion committee, a study on federal, state, and local taxation, that some change may possibly be determined, but at the present time it is my opinion that federal assistance is necessary in this field.

Cronkite
It's rather hefty volume—

Cole
Yes, yes it is.

Cronkite
—that you gave birth to after all that laborious business you mentioned over a year's work, but what is Congress going to do to that, Mr. Cole? You said the President will probably recommend more than twenty thousand units. Do you think Congress will go along with that?

Cole
May I say this, I do not believe, Mr. Cronkite, that housing for people in America is based solely upon public housing, or the housing provided through the program of subsidized housing through federal assistance. Many sound, well informed, well-intentioned people, who have an interest in the human needs of the people of America believe that the problem is getting good houses for people, good houses, and therefore we envision a plan, a program, legislation, which will do that. It can't be done through one program, through public housing, through slum clearance, through rehabilitation, through expansion of federal housing insurance programs, it must be done through all the tools available to the people. It must be done in a partnership by government with the people, with the communities, and no one of these tools will provide all the housing that all of the people need. Let me say it again, the piecemeal approach, the approach which says that you can solve the problem of housing using one tool, lets say FHA insurance for housing. That won't accomplish it, Mr. Cronkite. Some people say we can get housing through slum clearance, that won't accomplish it; some people say we can get housing through rehabilitation of old structures, that won't accomplish it, in my opinion. Some people say we can get better housing through public housing, that won't accomplish it, in my judgment. My opinion is that we need all of the tools, all of the implements, all of the activity, all of the productivity, all of the vigor, all of the enthusiasm of the people to get the job done, everything (illegible text).

Cronkite
Should those be directed through a central agency?

Cole
I think that the government can channel the activities, yes, I don't believe the government, however, should supplant the vigor, the enthusiasm, the initiative of the people in the local communities, because I'm quite sure the people in the local communites have a great deal of enthusiasm and a great deal of interest, if they're only stimulated. You see, the only difference between me and some other people is this: I believe that government has a responsibility, I believe the government can support, but I don't believe the government should control or supplant. We can help, we can stimulate, we can activate, but not take control of all the activities (illegible text).

Lesueur
Mr. Cole, as Mr. Cronkite said before, it's one thing to offer a program, but will Congress accept a package program? Now, Senator Capehart said today that he wanted a program providing a billion dollars, I think, for assistance in building small houses by low income groups. Now, that doesn't get around to slum clearing, but will Congress accept a package plan?

Cole
I think Congress will accept a package plan. I believe Congress will realize that housing is not just one piecemeal segment of either our economy or our desires on the part of our people or the needs of the people. When finally Congress has studied the problem, as was studied by the advisory committee, they will realize that the attack on this problem, the approach to the problem, is an over-all approach. You cannot do it with one implement—with one tool. It requires all of the tools, and I am quite sure that the Congress of the United States will be very interested in providing the people or assisting the people in obtaining the good homes which they need.

Lesueur
Well, the Truman administration was going to provide, I think, about seventy-five thousand low cost housing units, I think, in the next fiscal year, and your administration has cut it back now. Will this new program equal the former Democratic housing program?

Cole
I think the new program will far exceed the former program. May I say to you that it may not far exceed the program in number of units in one specific area, but, in my judgment, this program will far exceed the program of the Truman administration in providing low cost housing for people of in low incomes. Big (illegible text).

Lesueur
May I ask you a final question, Mr. Cole, what effect do you think your program is going to have on the nation's economy?

Cole
It's my judgment that as goes the housing, so goes the economy of our country. As we provide good housing, as we expand our housing for our people, thus we provide better living conditions for our people, more employment for our people, higher wages for our people, higher savings for our people, and, finally, better living for all of the people of America, and thus obtain for our people finer conditions to continue our democratic way of life.

Lesueur
Well, thank you very much, Mr. Cole, for being with us here tonight.

Knight
The opinions that you've heard our speakers express tonight have been entirely their own. The editorial board for this edition of Longines Chronoscope was Larry Leseuer and Walter Cronkite. Our distinguished guest was Albert M. Cole, federal administrator of the Housing and Home Financial Agency.

Knight
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Narrator
We invite you to join us every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evening at this same time for the Longines Chronoscope, a television journal of the important issues of the hour, broadcast on behalf of Longines, the world's most honored watch, and Wittnauer, distinguished companion to the world's honored Longines.

Knight
This is Frank Knight, reminding you that Longines and Wittnauer watches are sold and serviced from coast to coast by more than four thousand leading jewelers who proudly display this emblem: Agency for Longines Wittnauer Watches.

Produced

and Directed by

ALAN R. CARTOUN

Longines Chronoscope

is a

CBS Television

Network Production