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a landing of 50,000 troops here, could not our army now, at any time this year, take care of 50,000 foreign troops?
Secretary STIMSON. I think it probably could, if you mean by that that there was a land invasion. But I would like to ask my friend if he thinks that an invasion by infantry is the only possible invasion of America today.
Mr. Fish. If the Secretary is referring to propaganda
Secretary STIMSON (interposing), No; I am not referring to propaganda. I am referring to air attacks.
Mr. Fish. Does the Secretary believe that any airplanes that have yet been invented can fly over here, bomb our cities, and fly back to foreign bases abroad?
Secretary STIMSON. Probably not the full width of the Atlantic Ocean. But they are rapidly developing in that direction, and there are many places short of the full width of the Atlantic Ocean which could serve as bases for an air attack upon this country by a nation that commanded the Atlantic Ocean.
Mr. Fish. I assume the Secretary is referring to some possible base in some foreign country in Latin America?
Secretary STIMSON. Not necessarily. Newfoundland would be a base within range of all of our New England coast. North Canada would be in range of all of our New England coast—within easy bombing range.
Mr. Fish. That is assuming that we permitted a foreign nation to establish a base there, with our Navy, is that right?
Secretary STIMSON. Well
Mr. Fish. Does the Secretary seriously assume that our Navy would simply rest idly by, locked up in its own harbors?
Secretary STIMSON. I have not the least idea that it would voluntarily, but where is our Navy now?
Mr. Fish. As I say, our Navy today is six times stronger than the German Navy. Where is the French Navy; where is the Italian Navy now? Where are the British and the German ships going every day except to the bottom of the sea?
Secretary STIMSON. The French and the Italian Navies seem to be pretty well occupied with the British Navy at present.
Mr. Fish. Mr. Secretary, the reason I stress that is because, as I understand, reading the headlines in the press, it seemed that the reason for this measure in its present form, was the fear of an invasion from some foreign power; some foreign power invading America. It seems to me that to advocate the bill in its present form because there is fear of this invasion, which is the case according to the statements that are being issued on the subject-it seems to me that I should ask you if you think, if you believe, that we are in danger of any immediate invasion?
Secretary STIMSON. I think we are in very great danger of an invasion by air in the event that the British Navy should be destroyed or surrendered.
Mr. Fish. Mr. Secretary, do you believe that this country would permit any foreign country to establish a base within any striking distance of the United States?
Secretary Stimson. Not if it could help it.
Mr. Fish. Would you not go to war immediately to stop it?
Secretary STIMSON. May I ask a question there? Have you ever studied the Panama Canal?
Mr. Fish. I have been to the Panama Canal.
Mr. Fish. I believe in protecting it, and I would ask you if you are in favor of putting a clause in this bill to ask, as collateral or security for the loans we provide in the bill to Great Britain, that we take over the West Indian Islands, in order to protect the Panama Canal?
Secretary STIMSON. I am not suggesting such an amendment, although it is no doubt within the powers of the Congress. I think that it would create great delay in introducing the measures and the methods which I have tried to point out are very important to have immediately available for the quick establishment of our defense.
Mr. Fish. Of course, that is a matter for the committee, but I do not see why there would be any delay.
Secretary STIMSON. I should for that reason, if no other, seriously be opposed to any amendment which made that mandatory. I think that is one of the things that should be left to the discretion, as this bill would leave it, of the Executive. It is my experience that the more of those limitations you put in, the more ineffective are the attempts to take action under a bill. In wartime action must be effective and prompt; and if you have got to negotiate--I have had some experience with the time that is required for negotiations in international affairs—if you have to negotiate on such an ambitious program as you have just mentioned, you would not have this bill ready for this spring and summer, and that is the time when you are likely to meet this crisis.
Mr. Fish. There are other members of the committee that want to be heard, but I would like to proceed just a little further. As I take it, therefore, you do not fear any invasion of this country except through the air?
Secretary Stimson. No; I did not say that. I have been not above learning a great deal about warfare during the past 8 or 9 months. Things have happened in Europe that I did not think possible in the way of speedy conquest and effective aggression, quick aggression. I do not propose to take any chances on my own country's safety at this stage of the world, at this stage of warfare. I think that our first and paramount duty is to put ourselves in a position where we can develop ourselves as quickly as possible, and to put ourselves in a position where we can save the time necessary for our own defense by helping those nations which are keeping the Atlantic Ocean a barrier at present while we do arm.
Mr. Fish. Has the Military Affairs Committee refused the War Department any appropriations that you have asked for national defense?
Secretary STIMSON. My dear Mr. Fish, they have been most generous. But I have found among gentlemen of the House of Congress, unfortunately, a very inaccurate idea that an appropriation can be made on Monday and on Tuesday the weapons for which it was intended will be ready. Now, that is not the case.
Mr. Fish. There has been some lag in production, has there not?
Secretary STIMSON. There has been a lag in production, and there always will be a lag in production when you try to transform a great, peaceful, industrial democracy into a war machine. The experts who have spoken about it have usually spoken about it as a 2- or 3-year job. And that is what we have got to do this minute.
Mr. Fish. Well, it is not the fault of Congress, is it? Secretary Stimson. No; it is not the fault of anybody except our whole people, ourselves, who have preferred to live as a peaceful democracy rather than as an armed camp. But the fact is that we have lived as a peaceful democracy and we are today in the condition which results from that. The making of appropriations in June last, which were very generous, and in September, which were very generous, was only the very first start on a long program of transformation of American business. That cannot be done overnight. It cannot be done even in 1 year.
Mr. Fish. How many men have we under arms at the present time?
Secretary STIMSON. I have to speak from memory, Mr. Fish, but we have something between six and eight hundred thousand. But I am speaking from memory, and that number has been increasing.
Mr. Fish. Just a final question, because it was raised both by the Secretary of State and yourself, and emphasized by both of you. Both of you seem to compare the situation of the small countries of Europe, such as Denmark, Norway, Belgium, and Holland, bordering on Germany, with ourselves, as far as national defense is concerned. These little countries were right on the border line of Germany, with no ocean at all between them, and they seemed to me to be in an entirely different category so far as defense was concerned, from the United States of America. But as I interpret the remarks of the Secretary of State and yourself, you put them in practically the same, the identical category.
Secretary STIMSON. I wish I could so far as the sizes of the armies are concerned. The Army of the United States today is nowhere near as large as the Army of Holland was last May. The Army of the United States today is not as large as the Army of Belgium was in May, nowhere near as large and nowhere near as well trained.
Mr. Fish. Whose fault is it?
Secretary Stimson. Ours, the United States of America. We are planning an expansion of our Army of 8 times what it has been in time of peace, and that will only bring it up to 1,400,000 men. I may be mistaken about the figures, speaking from memory, but the Army of Belgium was almost as large as our proposed Army.
Nr. Fish. As I understand, we are expected to have an Army of 1,400,000 men by the 1st of January.
Secretary STIMson. No, we were not, never.
Mr. FISH. Those were the statements made by the War Department to the Congress last August. That has not materialized?
Secretary STIMSON. Excuse me, but
Mr. Fish. When is it expected you will have such an army? Within a few months' time, is it not?
Secretary STIMSON. No, sir.
Secretary STIMSON. We will have that number of men quite soon but it will not be an army. Mr. Fish, you have been a soldier, I have been a soldier. You know the difference between a crowd of men and an army. You have been a football man and you know the difference between 11 men and a football team. And you know that an army is a team. You know that an army has to be, in modern times, equipped with modern weapons, weapons the necessity of which we have only just learned since last May, and yet weapons which in many cases take a year to make. And you speak as if we could
pass a conscription law and in 2 weeks have an army. I say you have not thought it out, sir.
Mr. Fish. I did not say that. I was only quoting the War Department, what they said when they would have the men conscripted, and they are not conscripted yet. I am in favor of your Army of 1,400,000 men and I am in favor of the greatest possible national defense and modern equipment. And I believe 1,400,000 is a sufficient number for defense in America against any possible force that can be brought over here.
Secretary STIMSON. I do not agree with you on that.
Secretary STIMSON. No; not any possible force that can be brought over; no.
Mr. Fish. Does the Secretary believe that any nation could land more than 50,000 men, have the transports to do it?
Secretary Stimson. In time I do, but that is not the question.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Fish, please allow the Secretary to finish his answer to your question.
Secretary Stimson. Nations do not act that way. Japan is not acting that way today in her movement down toward the Netherlands East Indies. They go little by little. They get bases. They get nearer and they get a preponderating power in the air and in the sea and they finally get themselves in a position where they can strike. But they do not commit the folly of trying to strike before they are good and ready.
Mr. Fish. Then I say to you, Mr. Secretary, that if the Secretary of War or the Secretary of the Navy, or this administration permits any foreign nation to get those bases, then they are not defending our country properly.
Secretary Stinson. I think I would fully agree in that, and I would call your attention to the steps which we have been taking to get bases, sometimes I think under your criticism.
Mr. FISH. No, sir.
Secretary Stimson. Then we are agreed on one thing, anyhow, and I am very glad, sir.
Mr. Fish. Let me say, so that the record will be very clear, Mr. Secretary, that a long time ago, being a pan-American, I made perhaps the first speech insisting on getting bases in South America, and I agree with Mr. Lindbergh who made the same statement a long time ago.
Secretary STIMSON. I am very glad, sir, to hear it, and I am very glad to know there is one thing you and I can be hand in hand on.
I am always glad of that. But I regard this bill which is now before you gentlemen, and the prompt enactment of it, another step in that same direction of promoting our outer defense. The problem to me is not only the problem of keeping America out of war but perhaps more accurately the problem of keeping war out of America.
Mr. Fish. The only difference between us, as I see it, is that I believe strongly in maintaining the Monroe Doctrine, and you want to extend the Monroe Doctrine all over the world.
Secretary STIMSON. The Monroe Doctrine at the time it was made, sir, was made in the days of sailing ships and not in the days of steam and electricity. You can understand that. You are a New Yorker. I am a New Yorker. Just let me give you an illustration of what I mean in regard to this national defense. At the time of the Revolution, where were the defenses of New York City? They were on Governors Island and the Battery. A little bit later, when guns got stronger and more powerful, they moved down to Fort Wadsworth and Fort Hamilton, halfway down the Narrows. A little bit later they went out to Sandy Hook and Fort Hamilton. They were following the development of modern war. Now the line of our defense runs out into the middle of the Atlantic. Everybody who knows anything about modern warfare knows that.
Î fully endorse and believe in the Monroe Doctrine, and I say that it was established at a time when the defenses of New York Harbor were at Governors Island. If our military experts have found it necessary to put the defense further out, I am inclined to say that they are dead right.
Mr. Fish. Mr. Secretary, you have just said you endorse the Monroe Doctrine. You say you believe in it, that it is a sound doctrine. So do I.
Secretary Stimson. I believe in the principle that stands behind it.
Mr. Fish. Is not our outer defense our Navy? Has not the Congress appropriated for a two-ocean Navy?
Secretary STIMson. No, sir; only in one sense. Our first line of defense is our diplomacy, if you will permit me to say it, by which we try to keep as many enemies away from us, and to get as many friends on our side as we can throughout the whole world. Then the Navy is another line, and the line of bases is another line. The Army is the last line to be used, the continental Army, in a situation which will never occur, I hope; namely, when an enemy has got its foot on our soil and is ready to do to us what the Germans did to the countries of Europe last spring.
Mr. Fish. Mr. Secretary, if our Navy is not our first line of defense, then some foreign nation must be our first line of defense. And if Great Britain is our first line of defense, then it is our war, and it would be craven not to be in it. But I believe the American Navy is our first line of defense, and always will be, and we do not have to depend on anyone else.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you wish to reply to that, Mr. Secretary?
Secretary STIMSON. I do not see any question there. I heard a statement of Mr. Fish's opinion.
Mr. Fish. I will ask you point blank if Great Britain is our first line of defense, are you in favor therefore of going to war?
Secretary STIMSON. I am in favor of assisting Great Britain to maintain her fleet. I am in favor of that. At present she, being at