National Affairs: Low Bid, No Bid

In Seattle last December, Army district engineers opened bids on contracts for generators and transformers for the Chief Joseph Dam on the Columbia River near Bridgeport, Wash. A $6,238,373 bid by Britain's English Electric Co. Ltd. undercut closest American competition by $931,788, or 13%. But the Buy American Act of 1933 requires federal purchase of U.S.-made goods unless the U.S. price is more than 25% higher than an import.

The Army engineers bucked the problem to outgoing Army Secretary Frank Pace, who bucked it to Eisenhower's new Army Secretary Robert Ten Broeck, who shuttled it upstairs to Secretary of Defense Charles Wilson,...

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