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There were certain incidents that had occurred that we, in the War Department, thought had delayed and retarded the equipment of our troops in the field.
We thought it was up to me to leave no stone unturned whatsoever to try to get them thoroughly equipped as soon as possible, so, purely as a military measure and with that thought in mind, we asked for the introduction of the first draft, which had the broadest definitions that could be thought of, all property, real or personal, useful for national defense.
The introduction of the measure encountered a great deal of criticism. Newspapers seemed opposed to it. They were fearful of the great scope of those powers and of their possible abuse.
We had no such thing in mind as the instances that were conjured up, but there they were, and when I first appeared before the committee they were presented to me, and it was suggested by the committee that, perhaps, some more guarded language could be used that would achieve and meet the ends we had in mind, and particularly deal with the cases, of which I gave some instances to the committee, where we had been delayed in getting what we thought were essential items of equipment-machine tools and certain articles, like stores of aluminum and things of that sort.
Now, the second measure adopted some language that was far more guarded. It did meet, however, the cases that we thought we needed relief for. It was not as broad as the first. It would be conceivable that we might have to come back for a broader grasp of authority, although I think the words “munitions and supplies” cover a great many things.
Now, the third measure was not ours, although it was submitted to us, and I am content was that, too. That is broader language on this particular question raised by the Senator from Massachusetts, as to equipping the armed forces, on further reflection and the aspect of defense aid to Britain, and we would prefer to say, as it says here in the measure as it was, “to promote the national defense” rather than “for the equipping of the armed forces.”
I hadn't thought of that at all. I had in mind the very problems that confronted me when I said that the
Senator LEE. You favor this substitute, then?
Judge PATTERSON. Well, gentlemen, it is all alike to me. Either one will suit us.
Senator DOWNEY. Mr. Chairman, may I ask the Secretary if it wouldn't meet his idea, and likewise that of Senator Lodge, to just interpolate in this, "to produce for our armed forces" or for the armed forces of any other nation that the President has the power to furnish under the lend-lease bill ?
Judge PATTERSON. Well, I am not sure that would be as good, Senator. I am thinking now of the case of the Maritime Commission.
You have put me on my guard here against committing myself to some language where I don't see the effect of it, and you will remember that Admiral Land came here and testified in support of, I think it was, the second draft. In any event, I am not sure that the Maritime Commission would be covered by that and, of course, it is quite important, I think, that he get the machinery and materials he needs for the construction of, say, merchant ships.
Mr. Coy. Mr. Chairman, may I say just a word ? Senator REYNOLDS. Surely. Mr. Coy. There seems to be a little impression that the Secretary and I are at odds about this bill. We are not at all. We both want a requisition bill, and we want it badly, because the need is imminent. We need it now and we have needed it in past weeks.
At the time when this revised bill was drafted the reason for redrafting it was to meet some of the objections in terms of limitations which are written into section 1 of the bill now, so that we might appeal to this committee and get a bill reported out of the committee and before the Senate for consideration and get a requisition bill. .
That was the purpose of it. The revision was discussed with the Secretary and he had no objection to it, and I am sure he has no objection to it now.
I think this bill is an acceptable bill to the War Department, as well as to any other persons who are interested in a requisitioning bill, from the standpoint of promoting the defense. Is that a correct statement?
Judge PATTERSON. Yes, sir; entirely so. The bill was submitted to me, as you say, and I said, “That is all right with me."
If the committee wants some further limitations, this section 2 of the third draft, requiring return of the property—that is O. K.; that is all right.
Senator LEE. On the other hand, Mr. Coy, is the other bill satisfactory to you?
Mr. Coy. The second bill—I raised the question about the second bill from the standpoint of the limitations that are written into it, and on the question of whether or not you wanted to continue to enact legislation to meet specific needs as they arise, and are then crises, instead of anticipating now that there will be shortages which will have to be met and will need requisitioning power immediately.
Senator BRIDGES. If you happen to have before you the copy of the second bill, could you point out to us what power you will need beyond the specific description there on page 4 ?
. Mr. Cor. I don't have it; and, Senator, I am sure, without reading it, I can't point out to you that.
It is just a question of what you are able to anticipate in the way of needs. The power in the bill, in the second draft, with respect to the limitations, is as broad as the power in the third 'draft, and the limitations are as to what is set out here.
Senator CHANDLER. Mr. Chairman, let me read to him just a moment.
Right directly on that point, from the President's letter:
Some of the other foreseeable needs, at the present time, include machine tools, stocks of aluminum, and other raw materials, and German-controlled patents, but they would obviously not cover the complete needs of the Government even for a very short period; and the Government, if its powers were limited to them, would be unable to obtain other types of equipment and property promptly if the owners demand exorbitant prices or refuse to sell altogether.
I know you don't want to limit, because, when you do that, you speculate on the War Department's and the President's defense of the United States, and you are going to limit it if you are not careful, with these specific limits of power, I mean for time, and so forth.
You don't want to limit it, because then you are going to speculate, and you fix it so when you need something for the defense of the United States you can't get it, and you are doing great harm to the country.
Senator LEE. What are you reading from?
Senator SCHWARTZ. Concerning this subject. He wasn't talking about this bill.
Senator CHANDLER. He wasn't talking about this bill.
Senator BRIDGES. I agree with the theory which you have propounded here, but we want as near national unity as we can get in this country.
This country is divided as far apart as the poles, and I think that the majority of the country are with the general policy on national defense and the foreign policy, but let's not start in dividing we people who are thinking alike on this thing now, and if we can get some definite protection, let's do it.
Senator CHANDLER. You have been Governor of your State, and suppose you needed property, as Governor of your State, for the defense of people in that emergency, and you had exhausted yourself trying to get it by fair means; and you couldn't find anything else as good to use, and then you want to get it, and you couldn't get it, you are going to fix it so you can get it, within reasonable limits and within a reasonable time; especially if you need it immediately and you are going to give it back to the fellow if he wants it back. You are not going to keep it.
If they take a newspaper or radio, which they are not going to do, they have got to give it back to him.
Senator BRIDGES. Let's make it specific to relieve any worry on these parts. I am willing to make it specific enough and general enough to do what you want to do.
Senator CHANDLER. The people of the country don't want you to do it, either. They don't want you to limit this. They don't want you to limit the President's authority to defend the people of this country by narrowly saying “for the armed or naval forces, and they don't want you to do that.
Senator GURNEY. Mr. Chandler, in this modified proposal, committee print No. 2, where is the power to requisition limited to the armed forces? Where is the wording in that bill which limits it to the armed forces? I can't find it.
Senator CHANDLER. I don't know that it is in there.
Senator GURNEY. We can change the title, but the wording in the body of the bill-I am not a lawyer-gives them the right to requisition material for the armed forces or in the Lend Lease Act, or anything in the national defense. It is only in the title, and we can certainly change that.
Mr. Coy. Senator Lodge asked me a moment ago what is not covered in the language in the second draft of the bill. I don't have before me the hearing, but I only have a recollection that Admiral Robinson of the Navy and Admiral Land of the Maritime Commission indicated that the scope of the bill, the second draft that was offered
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by the War Department was too narrow in its application, and then pointed out to me that it would not cover privately owned dock facilities, if they happened to be needed, or loading cranes or ships refueling.
It might even cover the Lockheed plant, which was referred to in correspondence from the President to Senator Reynolds, the chairman of this committee.
That is specifically covered in the limiting language that you have marked on page 4 of the draft.
Senator LODGE. The question I was directing your attention to was using the phrase, "equipping the armed forces of the United States and and the lease-lend countries." You ought to put that in, too.
Senator REYNOLDS. What was that?
Senator LODGE. I would put in the words, "for the lease-lend countries." Countries which are to receive aid under the lease-lend bill. Get that properly drafted. I don't want to raise the question of whether you are going to do one thing for the United States and another thing for the lease-lend countries.
Judge PATTERSON. I think the expression “national defense” is better. I have in mind, as I said, the Maritime Commission. They would have a pretty hard job, I think, getting any machinery or materials, if it was for equipping the armed forces of this country, or any other country.
Senator LEE. Senator Lodge, wouldn't that, in your opinion, “national defense,” give enough protection there to the property as you are seeking to protect it?
Senator LODGE. I have no desire to hamper any effort for the protection of the United States of America. I do think that it is desirable for Congress to think out what it means and to say what it means, and to mean what it.says, and that it is a dereliction of duty for us to draw any more blank checks than we possibly have to, that is all.
Now, since we first started hearings on this bill a whole lot of things have come to light that nobody had any thought of at all at the beginning.
This whole point about requisitioning property for foreign countries, that never came up until today. That is a brand-new point, and the question of seizing dock facilities or ships, that has just come up now, and it seems to me that we want to be as definite as we can. We don't want to be restrictive, but we want to be accurate and we want to be definite. That is my thought.
Judge PATTERSON. What Senator Bridges said about the national unity has some influence with me. I noticed that when our original draft went in, a great many newspapers were caustic of it.
When the revised one went in, quite a number of them supported that, who had originally been critical. I think that is a factor in favor of the revised draft.
Senator GURNEY. Could we not, on page 4, line 8, after the word “President”, add the words, “but not later than June 30, 1943," and could we not add as a new section to the modified print section 2 of the one proposed by Senator Chandler this morning, and then amend the title so as to read :
A bill to authorize the President of the United States to requisition certain property for the purpose of promoting the national defense and to overcome shortages.
That is the suggestion I have, and otherwise to take the bill as submitted by Secretary Patterson, because it includes
Senator CHANDLER. Let me ask if he wouldn't prefer to-
Senator GURNEY (continuing). Because it does include specific language and includes inventions, and it includes the payment of 75 percent of the value of the property instead of 50 percent as proposed in Senator Chandler's revised print.
Senator CHANDLER. No; that isn't my print.
Senator GURNEY. For those reasons the bill would be more to my liking if we add section 2 of Senator Chandler's proposal which retains to the owner the right to get his property back.
Senator LEE. Mr. Chairman, I would like to hear Senator Austin. He tried to say something a time or two.
Senator REYNOLDS. We would like to hear Senator Austin. He has given a great deal of time and study to the subject.
Senator AUSTIN. There is one suggestion about this limitation of property that I would like to make, that also affects the basis of the exercise of these extraordinary powers, which have been held not to be exercisable except in time of war, and that is this:
Using the third draft, the one that was brought in this morning, on the end of the parenthetical clause 1, which reads: "The use of any property is required for the defense of the United States."
I would suggest to add, after the comma, and inside of that clause, the following words: and such need is immediate and impending, and such as will not admit of delay or a resort to any other source of supply.
Now, that, if accepted, would be a limitation both upon the property and upon the circumstances under which the power is to be exercised.
Senator LEE. What word would that follow? Senator AUSTIN. The comma after the words, “United States." Now, by way of commentSenator CHANDLER. Read that again. I want to get that. Senator HILL. Yes; read that slowly, will you, Senator?
Senator AUSTIN. All right. I am going to start with the phrase as it appears in the draft. In parentheses:
(1) The use of any property that is required for the defense of the United States, and such need is immediate and impending, and such as will not admit of delay or a resort to any other source of supply.
I have put together what is in the bill and what I suggest, in making that statement.
Senator CHANDLER. Do you mean “impending” or “imperative"?
Senator AUSTIN. Yes. and such need is immediate and impending and such as will not admit of delay or a resort to any other source of supply.