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Mr. CASTLE. Surely.
Mr. CHIPERFIELD. Does that have any distinction so far as international law is concerned?
Mr. Castle. Yes. International law does not permit during the course of a war for a government to make sales to belligerents. Unlimited private sales are permissible.
Mr. CHIPERFIELD. We have been told while this_bill gives the President vast powers to transfer our entire Navy to England, yet it would be ridiculous and preposterous to think he would do so. I believe you said in your statement that the President referred to the giving away of our Navy as "cow-jumping-over-the-moon stuff”?
Mr. CASTLE. I was quoting his words, of course.
Mr. CHIPERFIELD. Yes. Would it not be just as ridiculous and preposterous for us to vote vast powers for any one man if those powers permit him to act in a ridiculous and preposterous manner?
Mr. CASTLE. I suppose it would.
Mr. CHIPERFIELD. Why should not the power we put into this bill be confined to those powers that are expected and intended to be used?
Mr. Castle. I think they should be clearly so defined. I think they should not be beyond the powers normally held by the President, with the exception of the fact that under certain emergencies you have to give specific powers.
Mr. CHIPERFIELD. In other words, we should include powers intended to be used and give only such powers as a reasonable and prudent person would desire?
Mr. CASTLE. Yes.
Mr. ARNOLD. Mr. Castle, I have one short question: I wonder if you would care to say for how long a period of time you would be willing to grant this power under this bill. You said for a short period.
Mr. CASTLE. I do not think that powers of this sort, of course, really should be granted at all unless they are more clearly specified, but I certainly do not think that powers of this kind if they are granted should be for one minute over a period of a year, and I think always it should be clearly stated that in case the war ended the powers ended with the war.
Mr. ARNOLD. That is all, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. VORYS. Mr. Castle, a statement of yours was quoted on the Neutrality Act of 1939. Is there not a great distinction between neutrality legislation which can only limit the acts of American citizens and this sort of war legislation which enlarges the powers of the President?
Mr. CASTLE. Well, of course, to me there is an enormous difference, and in this case enlarging the powers of the President, to make him, through his control of British purchases, almost the arbitrator of the fate of Britain, considering that, it seems to me the difference is incalculable.
Mr. Vores. In any neutrality, or so-called neutrality, act, all we can do is do things which somewhat further limit the freedom of action of our own people?
Mr. CASTLE. Of our own people. Mr. Vorys. Whereas, here we are taking away freedom of action of our own people.
Mr. CASTLE. That is true.
Mr. Vorys. Now, could we not authorize private loans to Britain as a modification of the Johnson and the Neutrality Acts and then let these private interests seek out their own security or collateral for such loans?
Mr. Castle. That is perfectly possible, and, of course, entirely in accord with international law.
Mr. Vorys. That would be entirely in accord with international law?
Mr. Castle. Yes.
Mr. VORYS. What is your opinion, however, as to whether it would be of practical aid at this time, or do you have an opinion on that?
Mr. CASTLE. I have no opinion; no, sir; because I have not talked with any of the financial people on the subject.
Mr. Vorys. Well, a lot would depend upon the amount of dollars involved, would it not?
Mr. CASTLE. Yes.
Mr. Vorys. That is, if Britain ran out of money at some time during 1942, or if Britain ran out during the course of this year, as far as placing additional orders is concerned, if it were a few million dollars worth that was needed that could be financed privately; is not that true?
Mr. CASTLE. Very easily. Of course, the amount of private financing that would be done would depend almost entirely on the chances of Britain winning the war. Private financiers are necessarily selfish. They have got to be.
Mr. Vorys. Well, now, some question was asked you about our securing collateral, and the testimony of the various Cabinet officials was that it was intended to secure some sort of quid pro quo and we should let the President make the best bargain he could. Well, do you see any objection, if we are to embark upon a policy of underwriting the war, to taking over everything, let us say, that Britain has in the Western Hemisphere in advance as collateral, so that the accounts can be balanced up somewhat, and we, of course, would be fair, and they should no doubt be willing to trust us.
Mr. Castle. If they would be willing to trust us, certainly that is the best way to do it. On the other hand, we cannot go down to South America and seize British holdings.
Mr. VORYS. Well, if the title has been turned over to us?
Mr. Vorys. And the only objection to such a proposal, or to such a plan, that everything be turned over to us--that would be that Britian would be unwilling to trust us, is that not true?
Mr. CASTLE. I had never thought of that—you mean Britian would be unwilling to trust us in what way?
Mr. Vorys. Well, they might be afraid that we would ask too much for a battleship or a fleet or airplanes, or they might be afraid that we would not be fair in the balancing of accounts, is not that it?
Mr. Castle. That is presumable, yes; but I do not think they would be. I think they would probably if they felt that was the only way they could get what they wanted, that they would agree to it without any thought of our fairness. I think probably many of them always hope that they are going to get it some other way.
Mr. VORYS. For instance, we have heard some rather convincing suggestions that the British offered us the bases without any strings tied to them, or destroyers or anything else. Have you ever received such information?
Mr. Castle. Well, I would not say "information.” I have heard it said from many different sources, and it sounds to me perfectly reasonable, because our having those bases is the very best insurance that the British could have for their colonies. It was all to their good to do it.
Mr. Vorys. The approved deal which they insisted upon, and which was carried out, was that we get some of the most vital bases for nothing, is not that true?
Mr. Castle. So I have heard.
Mr. VORYS. It is in the correspondence that Newfoundland and Bermuda have no quid pro quo at all.
Mr. CASTLE. No; because it is going to cost us numerous millions of dollars to put them in shape.
Mr. Vorys. Yes; we get some liabilities, and they got some liabilities by taking over the old ships; that is true, is it not?
Mr. CASTLE. Certainly.
Mr. Vorys. But if we just had everything then there could be no question, if the fortunes of war did not turn out as many of us hope, about what would happen to the British possessions, is that not true?
Mr. CASTLE. Yes.
Mr. Vorys. So that we would have not only financial security, but diplomatic security?
Mr. CASTLE. Correct.
Mr. Vorys. Now, we heard in our President's message about the democracies that we were to aid. Is the Government of Greece at the present time a democracy?
Mr. CASTLE. No; not particularly. "Democracy” is a very difficult term to define.' The Government of Greece is not totalitatian at the moment, but it certainly would not be called a democracy from the western point of view. Any nation, as I see it, which happens to be in conflict with Germany and Italy is called a democracy.
Mr. Vores. Now, you have had vast experience in the Orient, Mr. Castle. In your opinion, are we in any danger of war with Japan?
Mr. CASTLE. That is a very difficult question, Mr. Vorys. I do not think that Japan wants to fight us at all. I think Japan knows that its prosperity very largely depends on its good relations with this country. On the other hand, we have done a tremendous number of things to Japan which have made the feeling against this country very strong, and they have signed that miserable pact with Germany and Italy, and it is perfectly conceivable, as I see it, that if we should get into war with Germany, Japan would attack us. Of course, there, too, by Germany; but insofar as wanting to get into war with the United States, I am perfectly certain that Japan does not.
Mr. Vores. Now, you spoke of Japan attacking us. Japan might attack us in the Orient?
Mr. CASTLE. That is all. They could not attack anywhere else.
Mr. Vorys. There is no possibility of an attack by Japan upon the continental United States?
Mr. Castle. No, sir; none whatever. They might attack the Philippines; that is the worst they could do. I was talking with a naval man the other day who said we probably will have to fight with Japan. He had just been telling me that the Philippines are a dead loss to us.
I said, “Why should we fight with Japan?” And he said, "To protect the Philippines.” Of course, if the only danger to the Philippines is the war with Japan, the whole thing goes around in a circle.
Mr. VORYS. So that, when you spoke of an attack by Japan upon us, that is what you meant?
Mr. CASTLE. I meant an attack in the Far East. Mr. VORYS. Yes. Mr. CASTLE. An attack on our ships in the Far East or on the Philippines.
Mr. Vorys. Now, Mr. Castle, you spoke of the tripartite or the Axis agreement. We have been warned here in the past few days repeatedly that we must not place any reliance at all even upon the solemn agreements of the Axis Powers. Now, will you tell me why we must pick out certain of their solemn agreements which happen to be hostile to us and make a total foreign policy in reliance upon their keeping those agreements?
Mr. CASTLE. No; I do not think that is fair to have any trust in them keeping their agreements, but I think they are just as likely to break their agreements with each other as they are likely to break them with other people
Mr. Vorys. And is not that true of others also ?
Mr. Castle. Yes, I am afraid that outside of the Axis Powers there has been a tremendous amount of the same thing.
Mr. Vores. Now, the United States has, in the past, made efforts to bring about peace, has it not? For instance, we settled the Russo-Japanese War. We made efforts during the World War, and when there was a critical situation in 1921 the United States was very effective in having a little peace conference right here in Washington; is that not true? Mr. CASTLE. Yes.
Mr. Vorys. Do you know of other examples where the United States has made some sort of peaceful gestures while wars were going on?
Mr. CASTLE. I think that we have often done it very quietly. You have mentioned cases that were published. I think we have often been helpful. It has always seemed to me that at the beginning of this war if we had been properly prepared ourselves, we might have made suggestions as to peace which would have been effective. As it was, they all knew it was just words, words, words.
Mr. VORYS. Now, as to a time limit on this act, we cannot repeal a war if we get into it, can we, or if this limitless authorization results in bankruptcy, we cannot repeal the bankruptcy, can we?
Mr. CASTLE. No.
Mr. Vorys. If we get into a state of dictatorship, that is something that we can't just repeal, is not that true?
Mr. Castle. That is true.
Mr. VORYS. So that a time limitation is a rather thin reed to lean on as a protection against the misuse of extraordinary powers?
Mr. CASTLE. Well, it is at least something; I do not think it is sufficient. Of course, I do not think, as probably you do not, that such extraordinary powers should be given.
Mr. Vores. I certainly do not. You are familiar, I presume, with the Declaration of Panama and the agreement which we have made recently with our neighboring republics?
Mr. CASTLE. Yes.
Mr. Vorys. And, I note in the Declaration of Panama that there is an agreement among all of us that we will not outfit belligerent ships in our ports.
Mr. CASTLE. Yes.
Mr. Vorys. Now, in your opinion, is section 3 of this bill, which permits this Government to outfit ships, belligerent ships, in our ports, à violation of our agreement with our 20 neighboring American republics?
Mr. CASTLE. It is wholly in conflict with that agreement. If we did such a thing without either getting them to abrogate the agreement, or getting them to amend the agreement, we should probably get into very serious trouble with a good many of those nations.
Mr. Vores. I do not know whether you know it, but the Secretary of State says that they have not been consulted on that matter as yet.
Now, you were asked about the powers in this bill. Let me read to you, omitting certain words in between, just these words in section 3:
Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, the President may procure any defense article for the government of any country whose defense the President deems vital.
Then, let me read these words:
Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, the President may dispose of, to any such government, any defense article.
Now, in your opinion as a lawyer, is there anything short of the bold provisions of the Constitution that would prevent the President from seizing anything in this country, so long as he said he was getting it for some other country?
Mr. Castle. No; nothing.
Mr. Vorys. That is, this would in terms repeal the laws against theft, or any other laws that we have, to permit the President simply to take anything in this country, so long as it was for some other country, is that not true?
Mr. Castle. So far as I can see it; yes; absolutely true.
Mr. Vorys. You know of no legal limitations upon these terms, so that “disposal” means to give it any way he pleases to the other countries?
Mr. Castle. No; it seems to me perfectly clear. The only thing, Mr. Vorys, is that you are too polite to me, because you say that I am a lawyer, and I am not. I am looking at it from the view, the common-sense view, of a layman, and I do not see anything else.
Mr. STEARNS. May I ask whether the witness considers that a compliment as a layman?
Mr. Castle. Oh, yes; I do.