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One might sum the matter up by saying that aviation decreases the security of nations within a continent against each other, but increases the security of the continent as a whole against foreign invasion.
That aviation will have a great effect on the future relationship of nations is beyond question. But we in America are possibly the most fortunate of all peoples in this respect. We have a country and climate well suited to the development of aircraft. We have natural resources, great industries, and a national psychology ideally adapted to the tempo of the air.
In conclusion, I would like to say that aviation is to us unquestionably an asset. It greatly strengthens our position and increases the security of this entire hemisphere from foreign attack.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Fish.
Mr. Fish. Colonel Lindbergh, that was the clearest and most interesting statement on aviation defense I have ever heard.
I would like to ask you, Colonel Lindbergh, is it not a fact that for the last 20 years you have been spending practically all of your time in a study of aviation?
Colonel LINDBERGH. Since 1922 I have spent a majority of my time in the study of aviation.
Mr. Fish. Colonel Lindbergh, will you state to the committee if you have held any offices in connection with aviation, with the Federal Government?
Colonel LINDBERGH. Yes. For some years I was a member of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. I am now a Reserve officer, not on active duty. Most of my activities in aviation have been in the commercial field.
Mr. Fish. Colonel Lindbergh, you made a study of aviation in Soviet Russia, did you not?
Colonel LINDBERGH. Yes; in 1933 and in 1938, and on the east coast, in 1931.
Mr. Fish. And you made a report as a result of that inspection, did you not?
Colonel LINDBERGH. Several reports, to various officers of the American Government.
Mr. Fish. And time has confirmed your observations, is that not a fact?
Colonel LINDBERGH. I believe now that they were almost inexcusably conservative.
Mr. Fish. Colonel Lindbergh, you also made a study and an inspection of the German air force, is that not a fact?
Colonel LINDBERGH. Yes; it is.
Mr. Fish. And as I remember, you stated at the time, the German air force was growing rapidly and was one of the best in the world; is that not a fact?
Colonel LINDBERGH. The best in the world at that time; yes, sir.
Mr. Fish. And time, again, has substantiated your statement in that respect?
Colonel LINDBERGH. I believe so.
Mr. Fish. And that knowledge that you gave to the rest of the world could have been acted upon freely, if they had accepted your statement at that time; is that not a fact?
Colonel LINDBERGH. Well, I believe it would have been advisable for other countries to have increased their air activity at that time. That was the substance of my statement.
Mr. Fish. After they had read your statement in regard to the strength of the German air force.
Colonel LINDBERGH. Right; and there were also other statements confirming that.
Mr. Fish. And it would have been helpful to some of the nations if they had done that?
Colonel LINDBERGH. I believe it would have been advisable at that time.
Mr. FISH. In fact, Colonel Lindbergh, you were affording indirectly a great opportunity and rendering a great service to those nations, and to our own, in the matter of preparation, is that not a fact?
Colonel LINDBERGH. Well, I would prefer to let someone else answer that, sir.
Mr. Fish. Colonel Lindbergh, the Secretary of State testified before this committee and said that Germany, if it won the war, could easily attack the United States; he said attack the United States. Do you believe that any country could easily attack the United States?
Colonel LINDBERGH. I personally do not see how it is possible as long as we maintain a reasonable strength in our Army, Navy, and air force, for any country successfully to invade the United States or South America.
Mr. Fish. And you base that also on the fact, do you not, that our air force as a defensive weapon could keep enemy ships and enemy transports away from our coasts?
Colonel LINDBERGH. Working with the Navy and with our coastdefense guns, I believe the air force would make it practically impossible for a foreign navy to do serious damage or to land an expeditionary force of any size on our coasts.
Mr. Fish. Your statement agrees, I believe, with the admissions of the Secretary of War, who said that we were not in fear of an invasion by a navy or by an army, but by an air force through South America.
Colonel Lindbergh, is it not a fact that more than a year ago—and you will probably know the exact date--you either made a statement or a radio address urging our Government to acquire air bases in South and Latin America?
Colonel LINDBERGH. Well, I have been urging the acquisition of air bases in South America and elsewhere in this hemisphere for a long time. I think that is vital to our national defense. I believe we must have air bases from, roughly, the Hawaiian Islands to Bermuda; from Alaska to Labrador, or, to be more specific, Newfoundland; and from Canada to South America.
Mr. Fish. Did you not specifically state about a year or more ago that you thought-and did you not urge specifically that this Government acquire, as soon as possible, air bases in South America?
Colonel LINDBERGH. Yes; that is right.
Mr. Fish. And you still believe that that would be vital to the protection of the Panama Canal and to our own national defense.
Colonel LINDBERGH. Very vital; yes.
Mr. Fish. Testimony before the committee, Colonel Lindbergh, was to the effect that if there is an invasion, which seemed to be in the minds of the witnesses probable, the invasion would be through South America, by air. Now, Colonel, you have already stated that we should acquire these bases which up to now we have failed to do. What would be our position if foreign nations sought to acquire military or naval air bases in South America?
Čolonel LINDBERGH. Well, I believe without question we should go to war with all of our resources, if there is any attempt to establish a foreign base in North or South America.
Mr. Fish. In other words, Colonel Lindbergh, you are an upholder and defender of the Monroe Doctrine?
Colonel LINDBERGH. To that extent at least.
Mr. Fish. Against invasion by any armed force, or the establishment of military or naval air bases on this continent?
Colonel LINDBERGH. Right.
Mr. Fish. Colonel Lindbergh, Admiral Woodward, commandant of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the other day stated that he thought we should acquire naval bases along the coast of South America and said that if we did, we would be invincible or impregnable from attack either through the Atlantic or the Pacific. Would you care to state your views on that?
Colonel LINDBERGH. As to the acquisition of naval bases and their positions, I feel that I would prefer to leave that to an experienced naval officer.
Mr. Fish. Colonel Lindbergh, you believe-or do you believethat we have the greatest navy in the world today?
Colonel LINDBERGH. I believe that is probable today; yes, sir.
Mr. Fish. And backed by a powerful air force, you think that no aggressor nation could successfully attack the United States or this continent, if we had those bases?
Colonel LINDBERGH. I think that is correct; yes, sir.
Mr. Fish. And therefore you still advise the Congress and the Government to acquire bases immediately in South America?
Colonel LINDBERGH. Very strongly, particularly in the northern portion of South America.
Mr. Fish. And as I understand, if any foreign nation sought to acquire aviation or military or naval bases in South America, you believe we ought to send our Navy there immediately, and our marines, and stop it; and if necessary go to war?
Colonel LINDBERGH. Go to war with all that is necessary to stop such an invasion.
Mr. Fish. I thank you.
Mr. Johnson. Colonel Lindbergh, the American people recognize you as one of the world's foremost aviators and they are still thrilled by a certain achievement of yours of some years ago. We are glad to have any information pertaining to aviation based upon your knowledge, experience, and study.
However, your opinions with reference to military defense and naval operations have been acquired only onsofar as your knowledge of defense pertains to aviation; is not that true, largely?
Colonel LINDBERGH. I have made no claim, sir, in regard to other knowledge.
Mr. JOHNSON. The gentleman from New York, Mr. Fish, asked you if we did not have the greatest navy in the world. I think that is recognized as being the fact. But is it not also true that we have the longest coast line of any nation on earth to defend?
Colonel LINDBERG. Of any nation?
Mr. Johnson. Of any government, any single government, I would say.
Colonel LINDBERGH. Well, sir, I should say that that depended upon what coast lines the various governments desired to defend.
Mr. Johnson. I am speaking of our own country and our own continent. The United States has the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. Can you at the moment think of any other country that has that long, that expansive a length of coast line on three sides?
Colonel LINDBERGH. I should say the British Empire, sir, had considerably more.
Mr. Johnson. If you take all of the various countries that make up the Empire. I was speaking of continental coastlines of a single country.
Colonel LINDBERGH. Yes, sir. But the British Navy is built for the Empire defense, which includes the coast lines of the Empire.
Mr. JOHNSON. You are speaking about the British Empire, and I am speaking about a country.
Colonel LINDBERGH. Yes, sir.
Mr. Johnson. If you confine it to a country, you will agree that my statement is correct?
Colonel LINDBERGH. I do not believe you can make that comparison, sir.
Mr. Johnson. Well, I am making the comparison and I would like to know if you challenge the accuracy of my statement, that there is no single country that has a great a coast line as the United States of America to defend.
Colonel LINDBERGH. No. I should say there is not, as a single country.
Mr. Johnson. Now, we have two oceans to defend, do we not, and at this time it looks as though there is a possibility of a threat from both the Atlantic and the Pacific. Do you think the Congress of the United States did the right thing in authorizing-and they are now preparing to build it--a Navy almost twice as large as we now have; in other words, what we commonly call a two-ocean Navy? Do you think that was the right policy?
Colonel LINDBERGH. As to the size of the Navy, I do not believe I am qualified to answer. As to a two-ocean Navy, yes; I believe we
I should have a two-ocean Navy.
Mr. Johnson. Mr. Fish asked you concerning some radio speeches that you made. You made two of them, or more?
Colonel LINDBERGH. Several.
Mr. JOHNSON. In those radio speeches which you made, you did not confine your information or advice to the American people, to aviation. But you undertook to deal also with the question of our international policy or relations.
Colonel LINDBERGH. I believe they are inseparable, sir.
Mr. Johnson. In the radio speeches which you made-I believe you made one on September 25, 1939, and another on October 13, 1939; that was shortly after the outbreak of the present European War in September-and at that time Congress was concerned with the question of whether or not the arms embargo provision of the neutrality
law should be repealed-you expressed opposition to the proposal so to do, did you not?
Colonel LINDBERGH. Yes, I think that was a mistake.
Mr. JOHNSON. You are not like Norman Thomas who testified yesterday, that he was opposed to it but in view of what happened subsequently, he did not know whether he was right on that or not. You still think you were right about that?
Colonel LINDBERGH. I believe that was a mistake; yes, sir.
Mr. JOHNSON. You also said in those speeches that the war that has broken out in Europe was a war over the balance of power in Europe. You used that expression?
Colonel LINDBERGH. I believe it is primarily; yes.
Mr. Johnson. And you also used the language that it was just a quarrel within the family of nations?
Colonel LINDBERGH. Not just, sir. I said it was a quarrel.
Mr. Johnson. You did not in any of those speeches express any opinion as to being with one belligerent or the other, or one set of belligerents or the other?
Colonel LINDBERGH. No.
Colonel LINDBERGH. No, sir; I have not. I believe the fault of the war is about evenly divided in Europe, and the causes of it.
Mr. Johnson. Which side do you want to win?
Colonel LINDBERGH. I prefer to see neither side win. I would like to see a negotiated peace. I believe a complete victory on either side would result in prostration in Europe such as we have never seen.
Mr. Johnson. You have no desire one way or the other. Naturally, in every contest, we have a feeling for one side or the other, but you have none; you are absolutely neutral?
Colonel LINDBERGH. I feel it would be better for us, and for every nation in Europe, to have this war end without a conclusive victory.
Mr. Johnson. I was not asking you about that.
Colonel LINDBERGH. I am sorry, sir, I must have missed your question.
Mr. Johnson. Your feelings about this war are on which side? Which side are you on?
Colonel LINDBERGH. On neither side, except our own.
Mr. Johnson. Do you think it would be to the best interests of the United States for Hitler to be defeated ? Colonel LINDBERGH. No. I think a negotiated peace would be to
Mr. Johnson. What kind of a negotiated peace?
Mr. Johnson. That would depend upon Mr. Hitler at this time, his will, would it not?
Colonel LINDBERGH. Partially.
Colonel LINDBERGH. No; I do not believe so, sir. Negotiation implies discussion form two standpoints.
Mr. JOHNSON. What two standpoints?
Mr. Johnson. One side does not have much voice in the terms of peace when they are on the bottom, do they?