I have today approved H.R. 4337, which will reorganize the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission and abolish the Annual Assay Commission, the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial Commission, and the Low-Emission Vehicle Certification Board. These reorganizations are the result of a review of small agencies carried out by the President's Reorganization Project in the Office of Management and Budget. I commend the Congress, and particularly Representative Jack Brooks and Senator Abraham Ribicoff, for the passage of this legislation.
The Foreign Claims Settlement Commission is a three-member Commission that decides claims of U.S. citizens whose properties in foreign countries have been destroyed by military action or expropriated by foreign governments. The reorganization contained in this legislation transfers the Commission to the Department of Justice and changes the appointment status of two of the three Commissioners from full-time to part-time. This step will save about $100,000 annually. In addition, placement within a larger department will make it easier for the Commission to maintain claims expertise and to carry out secondary activities.
Three other small agencies are abolished by this legislation:
(1) The Annual Assay Commission is abolished. The Commission was created in 1792 to ensure that coins produced by the Bureau of the Mint contained the required equivalent value of gold and silver. As a result of the Gold Reserve Act of 1934 and the Coinage Act of 1965, the United States no longer produces gold or silver coins of equivalent value, and the need for a separate Commission has diminished. Another function of the Commission, the testing of weights and sizes of coins, is routinely carried out by personnel of the Bureau of the Mint and the National Bureau of Standards.
(2) The U.S. Marine Corps Memorial Commission is abolished. The Commission has accomplished its legislative mandate to formulate plans for an appropriate memorial to members of the U.S. Marine Corps who gave their lives in the service of their country. An armory was constructed in Grand Park, Chicago, Ill, as a result of the Commission's activities.
(3) The Low-Emission Vehicle Certification Board is abolished. The Board was created to encourage the use of low-emission vehicles which it certified as suitable substitutes for other classes of vehicles being procured by the Federal Government. The Board has been inactive for more than 3 years, and legislative developments in the energy area have eliminated the need for the Board. The Electric and Hybrid R&D Demonstration Act of 1976 (P.L. 94-413) encourages development of low-emission vehicles and requires the General Services Administration and the Postal Service to introduce low-emission vehicles into their fleets as soon as possible.