Presidents of the National Association of REALTORS® - 1951
During Alexander Summer’s* term as NAREB president, the International Confederation of Real Estate Boards (FIABCI) was organized, and Mr. Summer was elected its first vice-president. As a FIABCI official, he protested the United Nations’ proposed “Covenant of Human Rights” which provided for free education, medical care, social security, guaranteed employment, fair wages, and a “score of other things” but omitted the right to own property. Final approval by the U.S. Senate would have made this covenant superior to American’s Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Mr. Summer carried his protest to Senator John Bricker of Ohio, who introduced the famous “Bricker Amendment” stating that no treaty is superior to the United States’ own Constitution and Bill of Rights. A concurrent resolution was signed by 75 senators representing both parties."
Mr. Summer led NAREB in opposition to the so-called “Defense Housing Bill” which would have established more control over housing and property than had ever been attempted in the nation’s history. According to Mr. Summer, the bill gave the President power to take immediate possession and utilize any property “notwithstanding and other law.”
In opposing this proposed legislation, Mr. Summer pointed out that during the preceding 18 months, private enterprise had completed 1.8 million housing and apartment units while the Pubic Housing Authority spent $15 million and had not added a single housing unit. Mr. Summer testified, “A free economy can outproduce and like a regimented economy any time. Private industry is ready and able to do the job better, quicker and at less cost than government building.”
Mr. Summer traveled throughout the country speaking against the bill, pointing out that while the proposed housing bill claimed a $3 billion price tag, there were automatic built-in authorizations that would have exceeded $12 billion. He offered several practical alternatives to the bill that would not have cost the taxpayer a cent. The bill was sent back to committee for drastic revisions, marking the first time in 13 years that a major Administration housing bill had been sidetracked.
Shortly after the house killed the “defense” bill, the Senate extended federal rent control. Mr. Summer said in protest, “Control hysteria has so overpowered Administration leaders that they are attempting to ramrod legislation through Congress without giving citizens an opportunity to state their case.”
Mr. Summer opposed unbridled waste and spending by government and the growing national debt. He stressed that “the U.S. has $280 billion less that nothing in the federal treasury and this debt is a first mortgage on everything we own.” He feared that “we are leaving our grandchildren with a heritage of debt and despair.”
While Mr. Summer was president of NAREB, President Truman signed a tax bill exempting homeowners from capital gains tax on the profit of their home sale, if the income were reinvested in another home within 18 months. NAREB was the influencing factor in its passage.
Appointed to the REALTORS® Washington Committee during its first year, Mr. Summer became chairman in 1947. The only REALTOR® to serve on President Eisenhower’s Advisory Committee on Government Housing Policies and Programs, Mr. Summer was also a member of the Apartment House Advisory Committee of the War Production Board during World War II. During the Depression he acted as the exclusive managing and sales agent for 14 major institutions across the nation.
In 1968, Mr. Summer created the “Make America Better” program. Its main objective was the involvement of REALTOR® boards in meaningful public service programs to upgrade the quality of life as tangible witness to the fact that REALTORS® care about the well-being of the communities from which they earn their livelihood.”
Source: Presidents of the National Association of REALTORS®, (Chicago: NAR, 1980).