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The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Burke will read the statement which was to be read by Mr. Amos Pinchot for the record.
Mr. BURKE. Yes, sir.
STATEMENT OF AMOS PINCHOT REPRESENTING THE AMERICAN
DEFENSE SOCIETY, NEW YORK CITY The CHAIRMAN. Proceed, Mr. Burke.
Mr. BURKE. Mr. Pinchot came here to appear before you gentlemen of the committee. He left a sickbed to do so, and was taken with a chill. He has been most unwell for some time.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee so understands.
Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, may I preface my statement, which will be brief, by saying, as other witnesses before your committee have said, that the situation that confronts the country is too serious to admit of any partisanship. And I would like to add that it is also so serious that no witness before this committee, or American citizen speaking his mind anywhere, should refrain from expressing what he believes to be the truth, because of any fear or apprehension that he will be charged with partisanship. After all, on whichever side a man stands in this controversy, aroused by the bill you are considering, the best and most we can expect from him is that he shall say, without reservation, what he believes to be for the best good of the country.
Like a vast majority of Americans, I am deeply moved by the struggle the English people are waging against Adolf Hitler. Ånd I want to see all possible aid, consistent with maintaining peace and our own defense, given to Britain-and given fast.
My fundamental objection to this bill, and it would be the same whether it had been drawn at the instigation of Mr. Willkie instead of President Roosevelt, is that it is a measure to promote not so much all-out help to Britain, as all-out help to flip the American Republic, overnight, into war and dictatorship.
No one who has studied this bill, and heard the arguments up to date on both sides, should kid himself into the belief that Mr. Roosevelt, an overtaxed unpredictable man with an itch for power, or anyone else, for that matter, should be clothed with complete discretionary power to liquidate, give away, or permanently scatter to the ends of the earth America's defenses, to the last ship, gun, or plane, plus every resource needful in war. I cannot see how anyone can entertain such an idea unless he honestly believes that the President is literally an omniscient superman-a chief executive in whom are summed up and concentrated all the qualities and abilities, moral, mental, and physical, that made Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and General Grant or General Lee great in their own lines.
That any of you gentlemen in this committee, or in Congress, should entertain such a thought seems proof of how far American common sense and self-confidence can drift in a time of fear and hysteria, produced, and I think induced, during the last few months—but mainly since election day.
The President reassuringly says he would sooner stand on his head in public, that use some of the more arbitrary of these powers. However, my observation of Mr. Roosevelt's inclinations since 1936 leads me to suspect that he would rather stand on his head than not use them.
Mr. Chairman, what do you think would happen to Churchill, even now, with England so hard-pressed and battered night and day from Hitler's airports 20 miles distant were he to go before parliament and say: "Mr. Speaker, in view of the present emergency, which I can testify is on hand rather than on order, I'd like to have you give me power to present Britain's submarines to Stalin, her cruisers to Franco, her air fleets to Chiang Kai-shek, and her battleships, the pride of the British Navy, to President Franklin D. Roosevelt."
And Mr. Churchill might continue: "of course, Mr. Speaker, you understand that, when you give me these powers, which I must have at once, I am not going to use them. Indeed, I would rather walk through Dowing Street on my hands than employ any of them. But I want and ought to have them, if for no other reason, because leaders all over the world are making collections of powers. And, when the war is over, I shall put mine in a little museum I'm going to build on my country estate, just like President Roosevelt’s documentary museum on the Hudson."
(ust how long do you think Mr. Churchill would be Prime Minister of England, er he had made such a proposition to the democratic, liberty-loving people of t nation? You may say that Winston Churchill is entrusted with great powers and has d them with discretion and effect. And I will agree. But, in the first place, powers are as a whisper in a cyclone compared to what bill 1776 provides for President. And Mr. Churchill cannot stay in power a moment longer than English people want him. For remember the moment his policies become cceptable, or his ability fails to meet the test of the hour, he can be removed by lurality of a single vote in the House of Commons, and his whole administration s out with him. since Franklin D. Roosevelt came into the Presidency, England has had 4 erent Prime Ministers, Ramsay MacDonald, Standley Baldwin, Neville amberlain, and finally Mr. Churchill, the latter installed after the war began. d France, incidentally, has had 12. Also, the British system provides another tection for democracy and against dictatorship, in that the Prime Minister y at all times be hailed to the floor of Parliament, where he must submit to interrogation, both as to his past acts and intentions for the future. Iere in the United States, on the other hand, the President is a sacred, untouche personage, a sort of gilded demigod set high up on a pedestal, whom neither | people nor Congress can hold responsible for mistakes, incompetence, bad Igment, or abuse of power, except at the end of 4 years. The only remedy is peachment. And impeachment, never attempted except in the case of Presiit Johnson in 1868, is more than ever a dead letter. Because, with the enormous wth in his job and money patronage, a President's influence over Congress is rific. President Roosevelt promised solemnly and often during his campaign to keep s Nation out of war. This bill authorizes him to commit acts which would nost inevitably throw us into war. There is no question about that, acts Jating the letter and spirit of international law and treaties. Said President Roosevelt at Convention Hall in Philadelphia on October 23: t is for peace I have labored. It is for peace that I shall labor all the days of
life." Said President Roosevelt at Hartford, Conn., on October 30: “For years, nearly 8, the United States not only has remained at peace, not only s kept free from any entanglement, but the United States today is at peace and going to remain at peace.” Said the President at the great Madison Square Irden meeting 7 days before the election: "We shall continue to go forward in m faith. We shall continue to go forward in peace.” And yet, although the President and the Cabinet refuse to disclose, but occainally hint at, some unknown new danger to us, or to England, the situation road appears to be less rather than more critical than when the ballots were unted. And, though on January 10, a Gallup Poll was published in Secretary of the avy Frank Knox's Chicago paper, showing that throughout the United States ly 12 percent of the population approves entry into the war, and 88 percent e firmly against it, the Government seems to be eager, yes, strangely eager, to de this country into hostilities--without letting Congress have a chance to ake the decision pro or con. Otherwise this bill never would have been drawn. I think this is a terrible and tragic thing. It is wrong, if anything is wrong. is a thing against which patriotic Americans should express full, firm, and allit opposition. Some of the supporters of this bill, and especially of sections to 3, have speciously argued that a dictatorial form of government, amounting an abdication by Congress, is required in time of war. Let me say right here at the magnificent record of Great Britain in this war rudely shatters that idea. or there is no dictatorship in a country where Parliament can depose the Prime linister and fire the Cabinet, no matter how absolute may be the powers that ere given to the executive branch. Let me say also that, though dictatorship may be a good instrument for war in country like Germany, where the people have had little freedom, and where oth people and industry are used to regimentation and submission, dictatorship I this country, where cooperation and private initiative has been the rule, would all and confuse our defense program as well as shrink aid for England. It would e a major disaster. The fact is that every country must work, in war as in peace, in accordance with s own genius and history. To try to graft onto this nation, at this time, russian organization of society such as this bill, deceptively spoken of as
defense bill, and inappropriately labeled 1776, would set up, would be defeatin the purposes and betraying the soul of America.
Mr. Chairman, this bill, if passed, would, I believe, launch this country, whic we all love, whatever our differences of opinion on other matters may be, onto dark and tragic stream. As to bill 1776, in its present form or any form resemblin it, the motto of the American people should definitely read: “It shall not pass."
The CHAIRMAN. Capt. William J. Grace, representing the Citizen Keep America Out of War Committee, Chicago, Ill.
Mr. GRACE. Yes, sir.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM J. GRACE, CHAIRMAN, THE CITIZEN
KEEP AMERICA OUT OF WAR COMMITTEE, CHICAGO, ILL.
I am chairman of the Citizens Keep America Out of War Com mittee, which is a group of citizens called together as a result of council of the Cook County Council of Veterans of Foreign War last June, who held a patriotic "keep America out of war' demon stration, in order to give evidence of the fact that their sentimen was more in favor of keeping out of war instead of getting into wat as the demonstration Senator Pepper had attempted to indicate that time.
Following that first meeting of the committee we held a demonstre tion in Soldiers Field in Chicago, which was addressed by Colon Lindbergh and others, and attended by some 40,000 people. Afte that meeting we determined to make our organization permanen and go on with our work. Today we are circulating a petition throughout the country, and the provisions of this petition are follows: To the President and to the Congress of the United States of America:
The undersigned citizens of the United States of America petition you to(1) Keep America, the United States of America, out of war.
(2) Use our resources of men, materials, and machines in building our ow defenses so as to be able to meet the threat of any foreign invasion regardless the victor overseas.
(3) Maintain the Neutrality Act and the Johnson Act unmodified.
(4) Keep free from taking sides and inviting war through encouraging the con tinuance of fighting or through inflammatory denunciations of belligerents.
(5) Maintain the honor of our country and the integrity of the pledged word our Nation in dealing with neutrals and belligerents, by adherence to our trest obligations and to our laws and to international law. We cannot successful denounce any nation as an outlaw unless we ourselves respect the law in substane as well as in form.
(6) Plan and build against the insane delusion of war prosperity, to maintai which we will be dragged into war (as in 1917), and later suffer the ruin and starts tion of depression, when peace finally comes.
(7) Under all circumstances keep the door open for all possible discussions peace.
As chairman of the Citizens Keep America Out of War Committes I have been asked to come here to explain what the people who ar signing our petition to Congress and to the President by the thousands want regarding war threats and why they want it. The people of the United States were not given an opportunity to vote against war i the election last November. Both candidates declared they would not take the United States into a foreign war. But now we are on the road to war.
The lend-lease bill has activated our petition movement almost to ever heat. The people feel that they are being deceived—that this bill will make it possible for the President alone to force them into political, economic, and military ambush.
According to the belief of 95 percent of those whom we interview, his bill does set the decrees of the President above all the rights of the people, if in his mind alone these rights must be sacrificed to his deas of defense-no matter what these ideas may be.
It may be necessary to have one man to give the orders when we are in war. But does this signify that our American Nation must have one man to do its thinking for it when we are at peace? Are we so puny and brainless and unpatriotic that our destiny is tied up in the brain of a fallible individual? People believe that this bill gives “Yes” as the answer.
There will be terrific resentment on the part of our citizenry if this bill is not killed. Passing it will not make for help in getting this country ready for war. It will not help in getting this country ready to defend itself against a foreign invader. People fear the loss of their civil rights. They fear these rights will be taken away from them under this bill. They fear they are being swindled out of these rights. They will be resentful against Congress for giving up their rights. But they will be most resentful against the author of this bill, under whom, if we get into a war, they will have to fight, as their Commander in Chief.
Resentment against the Commander in Chief on the part of a great majority of the people will not aid defense. The people of this country will be more resentful than any people in the world have been able to be. They have not been trained to regard their public officials as masters. Mr. Wilson had the people behind him almost as a unit. But he did not ask them for such powers as are conferred upon the President by this bill.
If the President wants unanimity of public opinion behind him in his defense measures, he must not have this bill. The public will be resentful toward those Congressmen who vote for it. The portion of the public who can do most toward furthering defense measures will not work with a will. They will be so surly for being dragooned and shanghaied that the work must suffer. The minds of people will be more on the loss of their rights at home than on any possible foreign danger.
The greatest danger faced by the nation is not now from abroad. It is here at home. This country is in more danger internally as regards the future than it was in 1861 when Lincoln took office. The dangerous question, gentlemen, is whether the people will supinely allow a legal dictatorship-let alone obey it.
This bill has provoked many question. Here are some that people are asking:
Would this measure give the President the right to disregard any law in the land that would in his opinion interfere with what he alone may decide to be necessary for the defense of the United States?
Would this bill deprive Congress of the power to impeach the President?
Would not this bill make the President accountable to himself alone?
Would it not deprive Congress of the right to protest against any acts of the President?
Under the powers asked in this bill could a Senator or Congressman be thrown into jail for expressing disapproval of any act of the President?
Would not the President be empowered to declare war anywhere or at any time without either the advice or consent of Congress?
Would the President need the approval of the Senate in any appointments he might wish to make?
Would not the President absolutely control the money, credit, and the taxing power of the United States Government if this bill is passed?
Would not Congress be reduced to the status of a group of private citizens if the President is given the powers outlined in this bill?
Does not this bill give the President exactly the power that is in the hands of Hitler, Mussolini, or Stalin?
Does it not give him the right even to nominate his successor?
A proposed law that raises doubts and questions like these is indeed a serious matter.
The petition to keep America out of war which was started only a short time ago has been signed by over a hundred thousand people. More than 95 percent of those in all walks of life who were asked have signed. The petition is spreading throughout the Union and we are getting more requests for petitions than our small office force can keep up with. We expect to have millions of signatures in 2 months time at the rate they are coming in now.
All those we have talked to about the present lend-lease bill are of the opinion that it definitely destroys the rights of the people and Congress. We believe that under its present wording it will turn this country into a despotism under the absolute control of President Roosevelt.
There is great fear spreading over the country that we are about to lose our protection under the Constitution and that the citizen of this Nation will be as thoroughly under the control of the head of the State as is the resident of Germany, Italy, or Russia.
The people of this country are not afraid to fight. They will fight to the death against any invader or attacker. Nor will they be afraid to fight for their freedom and liberty even if it be attacked from within. They are afraid of deception only. People are afraid they are being deceived by this bill that is now being discussed.
We ask questions about this bill and at the same time we have definite opinions on it. For one thing, most of our people believe this is not a defense bill. Its title says that it is to promote defense, but actually it promotes war instead—it is a war-making bill
. It is an aid-to-Britain bill based on the theory that Britain is a line, if not the first line, of our defense. But this is no new theory and it is just as bad as it is old. This morning while driving by the Archives Building I saw two legends: "Study the Past”; “What is Past is Prologue. Back in 1806 John Rutledge wrote: I have long considered England as but the advanced guard of our country
If they fall we do.
Great Britain is fighting our battles and the battles of mankind, and France is combating for the power to enslave and plunder us and all the world.
But there were Americans then who believed as we do today and they proved to be right. Jefferson said.: