< Back to H.R. 5639 (106th Congress, 1999–2000)

Text of To authorize the payment of a gratuity to certain members of the Armed Forces who served at Bataan and Corregidor ...

...Bataan and Corregidor during World War II, or the surviving spouses of such members, and for other purposes.

This bill was introduced on December 4, 2000, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Dec 4, 2000 (Introduced).

Download PDF

Source: GPO

HR 5639 IH

106th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5639

To authorize the payment of a gratuity to certain members of the Armed Forces who served at Bataan and Corregidor during World War II, or the surviving spouses of such members, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

December 4, 2000

Mr. MINGE introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs


A BILL

To authorize the payment of a gratuity to certain members of the Armed Forces who served at Bataan and Corregidor during World War II, or the surviving spouses of such members, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. AUTHORITY TO PAY GRATUITY TO CERTAIN VETERANS OF BATAAN AND CORREGIDOR.

    (a) FINDINGS- Congress makes the following findings:

      (1) From December 1941 to April 1942, members of the Armed Forces fought valiantly against overwhelming Japanese military forces on the Bataan peninsula in the Philippines, thereby preventing Japan from accomplishing strategic objectives necessary for early military victory in the Pacific during World War II.

      (2) After receiving orders to surrender on April 9, 1942, many such members were taken prisoner of war by Japan and forced to march 85 miles from the Bataan peninsula to a prisoner of war camp at former Camp O’Donnell. That march resulted in more than 10,000 deaths by reason of starvation, disease, and executions.

      (3) In June 1942, the United States personnel at former Camp O’Donnell were joined with members of the Armed Forces who had been captured at Corregidor in the Philippines and transferred to the Cabanatuan prisoner of war camp where many were held through the remainder of World War II.

      (4) In autumn 1944, Japanese authorities ordered more than 1,600 United States personnel who were prisoners of war at the Cabanatuan camp to provide slave labor in support of the war effort in Japan.

      (5) Many of the United States personnel who were prisoners of war were transferred to Japan on unmarked vessels, some of which were attacked and sunk by United States military aircraft.

      (6) Units of the Armed Forces which served at Bataan have received numerous citations, including 3 Presidential Unit Citations and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for heroism, but reparations to individual members of the Armed Forces who were taken prisoner of war at Bataan were limited by a treaty governing the postwar reparations for which the Government of Japan was liable.

      (7) The amount of reparations paid to members of the Armed Forces held as prisoner of war by Japan during World War II were based on time served as prisoner of war, but did not take into account slave labor performed while prisoner of war.

      (8) The Government of Japan has concluded through judicial proceedings that liability for compensation payments expired in 1952.

      (9) The Government of Canada authorized the payment of compensation to veterans of the armed forces of Canada who performed slave labor during World War II but were not paid compensation for the performance of such labor after the war.

    (b) PURPOSE- The purpose of this section is to recognize the heroic contributions of the members of the Armed Forces who served in the Philippines at Bataan and Corregidor during World War II, were required to perform slave labor by the Government of Japan to support the war effort of Japan during that war, and have not been fully compensated for their contributions to and sacrifices for United States victory in that war.

    (c) PAYMENT OF GRATUITY AUTHORIZED- The Secretary of Veterans Affairs may pay a gratuity to a covered veteran, or to the surviving spouse of a covered veteran, in the amount of $20,000.

    (d) COVERED VETERAN DEFINED- For purposes of this section, the term ‘covered veteran’ means any veteran of the Armed Forces who--

      (1) served at Bataan or Corregidor in the Philippines during World War II;

      (2) was captured and held as a prisoner of war by Japan as a result of such service; and

      (3) was required by Japan to perform slave labor in Japan during World War II.

    (e) RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER PAYMENTS- Any amount paid a person under this section for activity described in subsection (d) is in addition to any other amount paid such person for such activity under any other provision of law.