79 Going On 80: Department of Veteran Affairs

Written by veterans  |  21. July 2009

As it was originally known, the Veterans administration turns 79 on the 21st of July. Now known as the Department of Veteran Affairs, here's what was said of it some 79 years ago. July 1930 Statement About the Establishment of the Veterans' Administration. July 8, 1930 THE PRESIDENT said: "One of the most important steps taken in reorganization of the Federal Government was the legislation carrying out my recommendation for a consolidation of all veterans' agencies--that is, the Veterans' Bureau, an independent establishment, the Pensions Bureau from the Department of Interior, and the Soldiers' Home from the War Department. "The bill places large authority in the hands of the President for the consolidation and reorganization of these bureaus under the title of the Veterans' Administration, with the appointment of a new head to be called Administrator of Veterans' Affairs. "I have prepared the necessary Executive order in compliance with the authority under the act. It is proposed to continue the Veterans' Bureau for the present, also the Soldiers' Home and the Pensions Bureau, as separate divisions tinder the Veterans' Administration, but to transfer certain functions from one to the other so as to bring about economies and avoid overlaps. The transfer of functions will take place gradually and without disturbance to the administration. "General [George H.] Wood will be continued as head of the Soldiers' Home. The Board of Managers will probably be constituted into an Advisory Board. The Pensions Bureau will be administered by an Acting Commissioner of Pensions for the present, the Veterans' Bureau by an Acting Director. "I propose to appoint General [Frank T.] Hines as Administrator of Veterans' Affairs. General Hines has been offered a very important commercial position, but has agreed to remain on temporarily to give me the advantage of his wide experience in reorganization of the new setup. "As I have said, we will be able to make important economies in administration of hospitalization and domiciliary questions and in the better handling of fiscal relations with veterans throughout the entire organization. The consolidated budget of these services for the present fiscal year amounts to approximately $800 million, so that the new establishment becomes one of the most important functions in the Government." NOTE.: The Veterans' Administration was established as an independent agency by Executive Order 5398, of July 21, 1930, pursuant to Public, No. 536 (46 Stat. 1016) of July 3, 1930. Executive Order No. 5398, July 21, 1930 (Establishing the Veterans' Administration): Consolidation and Coordination of Governmental Activities Affecting Veterans Whereas section 1 of the act of Congress entitled "An act to authorize the President to consolidate and coordinate governmental activities affecting war veterans", approved July 3, 1930, provides: (a) That the President is authorized, by Executive order, to consolidate and coordinate any hospitals and executive and administrative bureaus, agencies, or offices, especially created for or concerned in the administration of the laws relating to the relief and other benefits provided by law for former members of the Military and Naval Establishments of the United States, including the Bureau of Pensions, the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Solders, and the United States Veterans' Bureau, into an establishment to be knows as the Veterans' Administration and to transfer the duties, powers, and functions now vested by law in the hospitals, bureaus, agencies, or offices so consolidated and coordinated, including the personnel thereof, and the whole or any part of the records and public property belonging thereto the Veterans' Administration. (b) Under the direction of the President the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs shall have the power, by order or regulation, to consolidate, eliminate, or redistribute the functions of the bureaus, agencies, offices, or activities in the Veterans' Administration and to create new ones therein, and, by rules and regulations not inconsistent with law, shall fix the functions thereof and the duties and powers of their respective executive heads. Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by said law, the United States Veterans' Bureau, the Bureau of Pensions, and the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Solders are hereby consolidated and coordinated into an establishment to be knows as the Veterans' Administration, and the duties, powers, and functions vested by law in the United States Veterans' Bureau, the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Solders, and in the Bureau of Pensions, and the personnel of the United States Veterans' Bureau, the Bureau of Pensions, and the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, and the records and papers pertaining to the work thereof, and the public property belonging thereto, are hereby transferred to the Veterans' Administration. HERBERT HOOVER The White House, July 21, 1930. [No. 5398] Executive Order No. 5398, July 21, 1930 --- Regards, Walt Schmidt

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