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AMERICAN NEUTRALITY POLICY

(NOTE.—Hearings on February 16 and 17, 1937, were in executive session, but

committee has decided to include same with other hearings on the neutrality bill.]

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 1937

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS,

Washington, D. C. The committee met at 10 a. m., Hon. Sam D. McReynolds (chairman) presiding

The committee had under consideration House Joint Resolution 147, to maintain the neutrality of the United States in the event of war or threat of war between or among foreign nations.

There were present before the committee: Mr. Green H. Hackworth, legal adviser to the Department of State; and Mr. Joseph C. Green, Chief, Office of Arms and Munitions Control, Department of State.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order. I think we better have this in executive session.

Mr. Bloom. I move, Mr. Chairman, we go into executive session.

(Thereupon, upon motion duly made, seconded, and carried, the committee went into executive session.)

The CHAIRMAN. I am going to have the stenographer take down this evidence as we may want to use it and we will have it and scan it afterwards.

This is Mr. Hackworth over here, whom most of you know, legal adviser to the State Department, and he has been in on various conferences and, I expect, knows as much about our bills as anyone. He and Mr. Green are both as well informed as anyone in the State Department on this subject, and I am going to first ask Mr. Hackworth to give us the benefit of his study.

We will take up as a basis of consideration the resolution I offered. I do not confine you to the resolution. You can do anything you desire.

This is House Joint Resolution 147, as follows:

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[H. J. Res. 147, 75th Cong., 1st sess.)

JOINT RESOLUTION To maintain the neutrality of the United States in the event of war

or threat of war between or among foreign nations

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That this Act may be cited as the Neutrality Act of 1937.

1

DEFINITIONS

SEC. 2. For the purposes of this Act

(a) The term “Ünited States” when used in a geographical sense means the continental United States, the Territories and insular possessions of the United'. States (including the Philippine Islands), the Canal Zone, and the District of Columbia.

(b) The term "person” means a natural person, corporation, partnership, organization, or association.

(c) The term “vessel” means every description of watercraft (including aircraft) or other contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on or over water.

(d) The term "American vessel” means any vessel (including aircraft) documented mder the laws of the United States.

(e) The term "vehicle” means every description of carriage (including aircraft) or other contrivance used, or capabie of being used, as a means of transportation on or over land.

(f) No American republic shall be considered a belligerent or a belligerent country or nation within the meaning of this Act if such republic is engaged in war against any country not an American republic.

EXPORT

OF ARMS, AMMUNITION, AND IMPLEMENTS

OF

WAR

SEC. 3. (a) Whenever the President shall find that there exists a state of war between, or among, two or more foreigil states, the President shall proclaim such fact, and it shall thereafter be unlawful to export, or attempt to export, or cause to be exported, or sell for export, arms, ammunition, or implements of war from any place in the United States to any belligerent country named in the proclamation, or to any neutral country for transshipment to or for the use of any such belligerent country.

(b) Whenever the President finds that (1) there exists a state of war between or among two or more sections, parties, or factions of a foreign country, and (2) that, as a consequence of such state of war, the peace and neutrality of the United States or the commerce or lives of its nationals is or may be threatened, he shall proclaim such facts, and thereupon, for the purposes of this Act, each such section, party, or faction shall be considered as a separate belligerent country or nation.

(c) The President shall, by proclamation, definitely enumerate the arins, ammunition, and implements of war the export of which is prohibited by this Act.

(d) The President shall, from time to time, by proclamation, extend such embargo upon the export of arms, ammunition, and implements of war to other countries as and when they may become involved in such war.

(e) When in the judgment of the President the conditions which have caused him to issue a proclamation have ceased to exist, he shall revoke the same and the provisions of this section shall thereupon cease to apply.

EXPORT OF ARTICLES

AND MATERIALS

USED FOR

WAR PURPOSES

Sxo. 4. (a) Whenever, during any war in which the United States is neutral, the President shall find that the placing of restrictions on the shipment from the United States to belligerent countries of certain articles or materials used in the manufacture of arms, ammunition, or implements of war, or in the conduct of war, will serve to promote the security and preserve the neutrality of the United States, or to protect the lives and commerce of nationals of the United States, and shall so proclaim, it shall thereafter be unlawful to export, or attempt to export, or cause to be exported, or sell for export, such articles or materials from any place in the United States to any belligerent country named in the proclamation, or to any neutral country for transshipment to or for the use of any such belligerent country in excess of a normal amount, in quantity and kind, of exports from the United States to the respective belligerent countries prior to the date of the proclamation, such normal amount to constitute the average of shipments during a previous period of years to be determined by the President: Provided, That no restriction or prohibition imposed under this section shall under any circumstances be applied to food, medical supplies, or clothing and processed or partly processed clothing materials of a distinctively nonmilitary character.

(b) The President shall, by proclamation, definitely enumerate the articles or materials the exportation of which is to be restricted, and he may, from time to time, modify or revoke in whole or in part any proclamation issued by him under this section when he shall find that the conditions which caused him to issue his proclamation have ceased to exist or have so changed as to justify in his opinion such modification or revocation.

(c) The President shall, from time to time, by proclamation, extend such restrictions as are imposed under this section to other countries as and when they may become involved in such war.

FINANCIAL

TRANSACTIONS

WITH

BELLIGERENT

GOVERNMENTS

SEC. 5. (a) Whenever the President shall have issued his proclamation as provided for in section 3 of this Act, it shall thereafter during the period of the war be unlawful for any person within the United States to purchase, sell, or exchange bonds, securities, or other obligations of the government of any belligerent country, or of any political subdivision thereof, or of any person acting for or on behalf of such government, issued after the date of such proclamation, or to make any loan or extend any credit to any such government or person, or to., solicit or receive any contribution to any such government, or political subdivision, or any person acting for or on behalf of such government or subdivision: Provided, That if the President shall find that such action will serve to protect the commercial or other interests of the United States or its nationals, he may, in his discretion, and to such extent and under such regulations as he may prescribe, except from the operation of this section ordinary commercial credits and short-time obligations in aid of legal transactions and of a character customarily used in normal peacetime commercial transactions.

(b) The provisions of this section shall not apply to a renewal or adjustment of such indebtedness as may exist on the date of the President's proclamation.

'(c) Whoever shall violate the provisions of this section or of any regulations issued' hereunder shall, upon conviction thereof, be fined not more than $50,000 or imprisoned for not more than five years, or both. Should the violation be by a corporation, organization or association, each officer or agent thereof participating in the violation may be liable to the penalty herein prescribed.

(d) When the President shall have revoked his proclamation as provided for in section 3 of this Act, the provisions of this section and of any regulations issued by the President hereunder shall thereupon cease to apply.

EQUAL APPLICATION OF EMBARGOES, AND SO FORTH

SEC. 6. Any embargo, prohibition, or restriction that may be imposed by or under the provisions of sections 3, 4, or 5 of this Act shall apply equally to all belligerents, unless the Congress, with the approval of the President, shall declare otherwise.

AMERICAN VESSELS PROHIBITED FROM CARRYING ARMS, AND SO FORTH

Sec. 7. (a) Whenever the President shall have issued a proclamation as provided for in section 3 of this Act it shall thereafter be unlawful for any American vessel to carry arms, ammunition, or implements of war to any belligerent country named therein, or to any neutral country for transshipment to, or for the use of, such belligerent country.

(b) If the President shall find that the maintenance of peace between the United States and foreign nations, or the protection of the commercial interests of the United States and its nationals, or the security or neutrality of the United States would be promoted by prohibiting American vessels from carrying any of the articles or materials enumerated in any proclamation issued by him under section 4 of this Act, and shall so proclaim, it shall thereafter be unlawful for any American vessel to carry any such articles or materials from any place in the United States to any belligerent country, or to any neutral country for transshipment to or for the use of any belligerent country.

(c) The President may, from time to time, modify or revoke in whole or in part any proclamation issued by him under paragraph (b) of this section.

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