WASHINGTON -- Government operation of the country's railroads probably under the direction of William G. McAdoo, now Secretary of the Treasury, will begin early in January.
A few legal and financial problems, not yet finally disposed of, are holding up President Wilson's announcement of this new war step -- the most revolutionary yet taken by the Government. The President is confident that his plan including the compensation to be fixed for the railroads will meet with the approval of the railroad heads. Wage questions pending with employees -- one of the biggest problems before the Government -- will be taken up at a conference with railroad chiefs and their legal advisers at the White House tomorrow.
The President is sufficiently empowered by the Act of Congress of August 29, 1916, to assume control immediately, although there will be legislative adjustments necessary later it is said. The act under which he will move provides:
"The President in time of war is empowered through the Secretary of War to take possession and assume control of any system or systems of transportation for the transportation of troops, war materials and equipment or for other purposes."