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into the Treasury and Congress should have to reappropriate them. Congress unquestionably will be in almost continual session. It can act very quickly if need arises, and will act, and it seems to me it would be losing sight of those funds, if those funds went into a revolving fund and could again be used by the Executive.
Lastly, I believe that this bill in whatever form you pass it—if you pass it in any form–I believe that every emergency measure that grants extraordinary power to the Executive ought to have a provision that that power shall terminate whenever the Senate, by resolution, shall declare that the emergency is passed. The Senate can be entirely depended upon not to embarrass the Executive by taking such stand as is unnecessary thereto but is warranted. But the reason for that is that such action might prove to be the one last step that would lead us into war, and I think that for the Senate to have the say on that point, checking what the Executive might have decided to do, would be decidedly in the interest of the country.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any further questions? If not, we thank you very much, Mr. Hart.
Mr. Hart. Thank you.
Senate bill No. 1579, as amended June 24, is an improvement over the draft of June 2.
Nevertheless, too much authority is delegated by this bill.
I object to the granting of this power by a blanket bill. It is important to grant the administration necessary powers. But it is equally important to safeguard the rights of the people. There are clauses in the amended bill under which a vague but vast amount of authority might be spelled out by overeager officials. Such are the clauses “or in its interest” in line 10, and “or component parts thereof,” in line 11, and “or materials necessary for manufacture of such equipment or munitions,” in lines 12 and 13 of page 4. The President, in a recent letter to the chairman of this committee, said that 17 different statutes were required during the World War to give the Executive needed powers of requisition. I think that precisely this piecemeal method of granting authority should be followed here. That, I take it, is one of the purposes for which Congress is in continual session.
The voting of this bill, even in the amended form, would be by just so much an abdication by the Congress. The abdication is in effect for an indefinite period, for it is to be “during any period of national emergency proclaimed by the President." There is no time limit that is in the slightest degree under the control of this Congress. The emergency, and hence the powers given the President, will terminate only when he says they may. That would place certain of the property and the savings of the supposedly free American people, and hence to a large extent the people themselves, completely in his hands. There is nothing democratic about that. And so long as the Executive controls one vote more than one-third of either House of Congress, the people's representatives could not recall the powers granted by this bill.
The great purpose of this war, to the brink of which we have now been brought by forces not widely understood, is said to be to crush totalitarianism. If, as I believe, totalitarianism is simply another word for the excessive concentration of power in the Executive, then for 8 years we have been building up totalitarianism right here in the United States. And this bill, with its reckless sweep of authority, showing utter lack of consideration for the individual citizen, would go a long way toward complete totalitarianism here at home.
There has been a tendency the past 8 years, not only in the Federal, but in many of the State governments, to take too lightly those rights of the people that are known as property rights. I submit that these inalienable rights to be the enjoyment of property, built up over a thousand years, ought not to be thrown away, or even placed in jeopardy, by a stroke of the pen. I assert that the Congress, out of regard for its own high prerogative, and as the steward of the sacred rights of the people, ought not to throw these rights away.
Mr. Patterson made the familiar observation to this committee that, since the Nation is drafting its young men for defense, it should have the same right to draft property for the same purpose whenever it becomes necessary. But, of course, government has always drafted property, through taxes, and none dispute the right. Much property is being drafted by taxes this year, and two or three times as much will be drafted next year. But that is an orderly process, definitely known and understood in advance; whereas the "drafting" that could take place under this bill would be of unknown extent. By thus placing all property in jeopardy, we would tend to demoralize a large part of private enterprise which is now producing both for civilian and defense use.
I submit that, even now, in this moment of threatened war, we should remember the important part that property plays in the fundamentals of our own form of government. The Constitution of every 1 of our 48 States has, in one form or another, a provision defining the three great inalienable rights of the people, as life, liberty, and property. These rights are further protected by the ninth amendment of the Federal Constitution.
Section I of the Bill of Rights of North Carolina contains these words:
"We hold it to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor, and the pursuit of happiness.
Section 4 of article II of the Constitution of Missouri has this version :
"Natural rights: That all constitutional government is intended to promote the general welfare of the people, that all persons have a natural right to life, liberty, and the enjoyment of the gains of their own industry; that to give security to these things is the principal office of government, and that when government does not confer this security, it fails of its chief design.”
In recent years we have often heard the remark that human rights are greater than property rights. But property rights are in fact among the greatest of human rights. And if the people's Government fails to give security to “the enjoyment of the gains of their own industry," then it fails of one of its chief designs.
The danger is that the sweeping grant of power in this bill would make the seizing of property so easy that greater amounts of property might be taken than would be actually necessary. All property of the kinds described would be in a state of uncertainty. By placing property in such jeopardy, and by any considerable taking over of private property, the amount of property remaining in private hands would be reduced, and this reduced volume of property l'emaining in private hands would be forced to bear the greatly increased taxation of the future. For the country's private property constitutes the tools from the use of which all taxes must come. The inability of property remaining in private hands to yield such taxation would lead to the necessity of a still higher rate of taxation; thus starting a vicious upward spiral.
This bill threatens to disrupt the private enterprise system on which we must depend for the building up of our greatly needed defense. This system, whatever its faults, has brought the highest standard of living to the American people. It has brought the worker high wages, the investor a moderate returnon the average a very moderate return. It has brought a vast volume of production of goods at prices within reach of most of the people. The causes of these blessings have included moderate taxation, freedom from unreasonable political interference, freedom that has allowed anybody to start a new venture if he had the means or the credit, freedom of the worker to work or not to work. The chief cause, partly the result of the others, has been the existence of a hugh number of individuals who constituted the leadership of private enterprise, who competed with one another, all motivated by a desire to earn and save. Individual initiative and self-reliance have had full play. Out of the strivings of these people came that wealth which made us the most powerful Nation in the world.
I have read in the newspapers that this bill was drawn in the War Department. But the sweeping nature of the bill strongly suggests to me, the political and social philosophy of that group of Presidential advisers from whom other sweeping measures have come in the past. It is my conviction that this group
disbelieves in private enterprise and seeks to substitute some fanciful, untried scheme for it. They would like to scrap the social system that has, far more successfully than that of any other nation, harnessed the talents of the strong and able for the benefit of the people as a whole.
Men talk more plainly in Britain, sometimes, than they do here. The British counterpart of this American group is headed by Harold Laski, an avowed Marxist, who in his recently published book, Where Do We Go From Here?, makes clear that he seeks social revolution in England after the war. It is well known that Laski has great influence with American collectivists, who do not like private enterprise, probably because they do not understand it, and who seek to force this country into some Utopian scheme, the attempt to impose which will lead our people to disaster.
The amended bill gives the President the right "to requisition and take over for the use of the United States or its interest,” certain property or rights in property, and to use this property "on such terms as he shall deem satisfactory." This would probably permit the taking over of property to be used in support of Communist Russia. This Congress, through its House Committee on Un-American Activities, has learned much in recent years of the scheming by this same Soviet. Russia looking to the destruction of the Government of the United States. These schemes are in full operation today. At a very recent moment the Transport Workers Union, led by one closely connected with communism, if he is not himself a Communist, has been defying the government of the city of New York with its threat of a subway strike. The country is flooded by newspapers and magazines that support the Communist cause, in some cases being subsidized by it. The House committee found, on page 4 of its report of January 3, 1940, that “the Communist Party's activities constitute a violation of the Treaty of Recognition entered into by the Government of the United States and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1933." That report states, on page 4, that the Communist Party of the United States, a branch of the Soviet Government, is “a conspiracy masked as a political party that it "is actually functioning as a 'border patrol on American shores for a foreign power."
As this committee doubtless knows, Communist propaganda, aided and encouraged by the Treaty of Recognition of 1933, has infiltrated many fields of activity in the United States. Its aim is to overthrow the American system and substitute communism. One of its most recent activities has been disclosed by the Rapp-Coudert Committee in the New York Legislature, in recent months it being shown that members of the Communist Party are on the pay roll of the taxpayers in New York City free colleges and schools. Many of its members are in public office.
Therefore, for the United States to take the property of its citizens and turn it over to Soviet Russia, while Russia itself, in violation of a solemn treaty, is engaged in the plan to destroy the Government of the United States, by force, would be something so novel, so craven, that at the very least it ought not to be done unless this Congress specifically authorizes it. Congress, it seems to me, should pass no bill that by indirection would authorize it.
I suggest, therefore, that there be inserted, at the end of section 1, the words:
"And further provided, That nothing in this act or in any existing Federal law shall authorize the requisitioning and taking over of any property of any nature for, or for the benefit of, the Soviet Russian Government."
I object to the revolving fund set up by section 4 of the amended bill. Moneys received by the United States as the proceeds of any disposition of property sold or disposed of pursuant to the proposed bill should go back into the Treasury and require a new act of Congress before being made again available. The people have the right to feel that their representatives in Congress are to that further extent watching the spending of money even for defense when the furnishing of such money by the taxpayers is to be at such sacrifice as we taxpayers shall experience during the coming years.
Lastly, I submit that this bill, and every emergency measure that grants extraordinary power to the Executive, should have a provision that that power be terminated whenever the Senate shall, by resolution, declare the emergency has passed. The Senate can be depended upon not to embarrass the Executive by taking such a stand unless there should be ample warrant for such action. And in no other way can legislative power be safeguarded.
I earnestly beg the committee to amend this bill in line with the above suggestions.
STATEMENT OF ARTHUR DICKEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE LEGISLA
TIVE COMMITTEE OF THE MICHIGAN PATENT LAW ASSOCIATION, DETROIT, MICH.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Arthur Dickey is the next witness. Mr. Dickey, I believe you represent the Michigan Patent Law Association.
Mr. DICKEY. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. What is your official connection with that organization?
Mr. DICKEY. I am chairman of the legislative committee of the organization.
The CHAIRMAN. We will be very glad to hear you, Mr. Dickey. Do you have a prepared statement ?
Mr. DICKEY. I do not have a prepared statement.
Mr. DICKEY. Arthur W. Dickey, Detroit, Mich., a member of the Michigan Bar.
In the beginning, I wish to state, concerning the patent provisions of the bill, S. 1579, which have been considered by the Michigan Patent Law Association, it is our opinion that patents—that it is not necessary to include patents in the bill; in the present law and
The CHAIRMAN. Pardon my interruption, but Mr. Dickey, there was a gentleman here the other day from New York who represented some patent association and he at that time suggested an amendment for our consideration. Have you seen that amendment?
Mr. DICKEY. I just saw the modified form of the bill this morning here.
The CHAIRMAN. But you have not seen the suggested amendment by the gentleman who was here from New York? Mr. DICKEY. I just glanced through the provisions of the bill. The CHAIRMAN. In line 18, page 4 ? Mr. DICKEY. Yes. The CHAIRMAN. It reads: Provided, however, That if, within ten days after the requisitioning under this Act of any property other than tangible personal property, the owner of the property shall file with the President a written declaration and consent that the property may be used by or for the Government for national defense or other governmental purposes on the basis of compensation to be determined in accordance with section 2 of this Act, the title to the property shall not be taken over or disposed of under the provisions of this Act unless the owner refuses to execute such leases, licenses, or other grants to the United States as may be necessary to give effect to the declaration and consent which he has filed.
Mr. DICKEY. That, I think, is entirely unnecessary, in view of the laws that are in existence at the present time, and have been.
As you well know, the ownership of the patents cannot do the Government any good. It can only do the owner, that is, the individual owner good, because all the Government needs or wants is the use of the invention that is described in a patent and that is always available. The patents are public documents, published for all to read who wish, and the inventions are all described in those patents, both foreign and United States patents, so far as that goes, and if the Government desires to use any of those inventions, all it has to do is to read the patents and go ahead and use it. It can negotiate with the patent owner for a license if it desires. If it cannot reach an agreement with the patent owner, then it can use it in any event, and the patent owner can do nothing other than present his claim to the Court of Claims. The patent owner cannot hinder the Government in the use of the invention at all. He is relegated entirely and solely to his remedy before the Court of Claims.
Senator Downey. Does that power mean that the United States Government could authorize some private corporation to use the invention for the purposes of national defense and in manufacturing for the Government?
Mr. DICKEY. Oh, yes, yes. I do not think there is any doubt about that. The Government can make a contract with any person it wishes to use any patented invention it wishes, and under such cases under the present law, the only recovery that the patent owner has is by his suit in the Court of Claims.
Senator DowNEY. Mr. Chairman, from my own information, I must admit that I have not myself understood why it is necessary to give the Government power to seize patents, because I have understood that the Government virtually has the power now.
Mr. DICKEY. It has; even in peacetime it has the power.
Senator DowNEY. Would the effect of this bill be merely to give the Government the power to seize patents and sell them to some private individual?
Mr. DICKEY. Well, yes, sir; the ownership of the patent gives also the right to grant licenses. That is, the fee ownership of it, you see, and to dispose of it.
Now, if the Government takes the patent away from the individual owner, the patent owner, under this bill, it can keep it, for instance grant licenses wherever it desires, or sell the patent. It deprives the owner of his entire beneficial interest in that patent, except what he could get from the Government under the compensation clause here, which may or may not be adequate.
Now, if the patent owner is left with the patent, when this war or this emergency, and so forth, is over, then he is able to go ahead as he does in peacetime and to get his remuneration from the patent by granting licenses to others. He has the title still and he can do that.
If the Government takes the title, then it is forever gone, unless he can get it back from the Government, and that is quite a difficult undertaking
Senator Downey. Do you not think that paragraph or sentence that the chairman read will cure that difficulty?
Mr. DICKEY. No; I do not think so, because it still leaves the Government in position to take the title to the patents, which, as I say, it does not need, unless the owner refuses to execute such a license and there are comparatively few now or who have ever refused to do that, and you are going to find a very small minority who will ever do such a thing as that in any case, and the Government can take the title to that property.