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A Public Service Message from the American Income Life Insurance CompanyExecutive offices, Waco, TexasBernard Rapoport, Pres. A Good Way To Control Inflation Testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee by Senator Alan Cranston, as published in the Congressional Mr. Chairman, and other members of the Committee, I am here today to follow up on my long-standing interest in overseas troop cuts and to pursue some Congressional initiatives that we talked about last year. I’m grateful once again for the courteous attention which I never fail to receive from you. As you know, I have long advocated substantial troop reductions in Europe. At present, the issue of European troop cuts is complicated not only by the European Security Conference and by the current round of talks between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, but also by President Nixon’s recent statements on the subject. I still favor significant cuts in Europe, and I will work closely with Senator Mansfield in support of his efforts to that end. Today I want to focus on Asia. I propose cutting our present force level in Asia roughly in half, by bringing home approximately 100,000 land-based U.S. troops from five Asian countries. If these men are deactivated, direct manpower savings alone would amount to roughly $1 billion annually in future years. Indirect savings in support, construction, maintenance, logistics, and the like could add up to several billion dollars more per year. The balance of payments savings associated with such a cutback would be roughly $800 million a year. All of this, of course, would help fight inflation, and hence hold down the cost of future defense spending. Before I discuss this proposal further, let me briefly review the background of my testimony today. As you may remember, Mr. Chairman, I testified before the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee last September 12 and urged a substantial cut in the number of land-based U.S. troops stationed in foreign countries. On September 26, the Senate passed a Byrd-Humphrey-Cranston amendment calling for a reduction of 110,000 U.S. troops from overseas by the end of calendar year 1975. That amendment was dropped in conference. On December 13, during debate on the defense appropriations bill, I was prepared to offer an identical amendment, but I withdrew it at the suggestion of the distinguished Chairman of the Committee, Senator McClellan. During that colloquy, the Chairman reported that he and the ranking minority member, Senator Young, had held a frank discussion with the Secretary of Defense in which they told him of the Committee’s intention to impose a reduction in the number of overseas troops and facilities. The Chairman then quoted to me a section of the Committee’s report, which I would like to quote also: “We have held this action in abeyance, however, upon receiving firm assurance from the Secretary of Defense that the matter is under active consideration and that recommendations will be submitted to the Committee in the very near future. The Committee intends to pursue this matter on its own and if such action is not forthcoming, it will undertake to impose overseas force reductions during fiscal year 1975.” If you remember, Mr. Chairman, you and I and the ranking minority member, Senator Young, were in substantial agreement on the desirability of cuts. You added that “The colloquy that we are having on the floor now in my judgment, will have some significant effect in the next few months.” Those “next few months” have passed by, Mr. Chairman, and very little has happened since we last talked. It’s time, I submit, for Congressional action. The Defense Department tells me that the factsheet listing U.S. troops by country as of December 31, 1973, will not be ready for another week. But I understand that few changes and none of substance have been made since September 30. The Pentagon apparently intends to keep U.S. forces in East Asia and the Pacific at or near their present high level approximately the level they were at when we discussed all this last year. Such was the thrust of the testimony presented to the House Appropriations Committee on March 1. A few minor cutbacks have been indicated, to be sure, but nothing more. In January 1973, the United States agreed to reduce its military personnel in mainland Japan, now numbering about 19,000, by about 10% over the next three years. But that amounts to only a little over 600 men a year. No reduction in U.S. personnel was announced for Okinawa, where some 38,000 U.S. troops are based. For fiscal year 1974, estimated annual operating costs of maintaining troops in Japan and the Ryukyus add up to $916 million. For Korea, where roughly 40,000 U.S. troops remain twenty years after the Korean war, Secretary Schlesinger said that the Pentagon was considering a “mobile reserve” based in Guam and Hawaii that would permit a slow withdrawal. That is a hopeful hint of change, but, with all due respect to the Secretary, I will believe it when I see it. I suspect it will occur any time soon only when and if Congress orders it to occur. At least for the time being, the annual operating costs of maintaining those troops in Korea will remain at about $619 million. Elsewhere in Asia, U.S. troop strength has not changed significantly either. In Taiwan, we still maintain about 7,000 men at a cost of $139 million in FY 1974. For the Philippines, the last count registered 16,000 U.S. troops. Operating costs for FY 1974 are estimated at $297 million. In Thailand, there are still roughly 40,000 U.S. troops. Our annual costs there now run to about $759 million. This huge U.S. presence, of course, consists largely of U.S. airmen who formerly flew bombing missions over Indochina. Now, with Congressional and public sentiment running so heavily against renewed bombing or any other form of direct U.S. involvement, I can’t see what good those men are doing there. Altogether, Mr. Chairman, as of September 30, 1973, there were 159,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan. Of those 159,000 land-based troops, I propose a cut of 100,000 over the next two years, or roughly 31% each year. Still remaining in the area would be the other 59,000 land-based troops, plus 33,000 on our fleet in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific, plus another 14,000 in Guam, totaling 106,000 men over half of our current force level. In my testimony last September, I named two main reasons why substantial troop cuts can be made in Asia. Neither reason is dependent on the relaxation of cold war tensions, which could conceivably be reversed. One is the dramatic economic growth of our allies, and the other is the history of the vast U.S. military and economic aid program that has funneled so many U.S. resources into the hands of friendly governments around the world. Ten years ago, for example, South Korea’s GNP was $2.7 billion. In 1972 it was just under $8 billion. U.S. aid in FY 1972 through 1974 has been averaging a half a billion dollars a year, three-fifths of it military. For the Philippines, the GNP figure ten years ago was just over $4 billion. In 1972 it was almost $8 billion. U.S. aid in FY 1972 through 1974 has been running between $101 million and $160 million, one-third to one-half of it military. Taiwan’s