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defense should be taken. The point I am making is that we have striven and striven for the friendship of all these nations, and we have tried every conceivable plan to bring that about. But we have reached the stage now where we think we know that the time is here when we should rely on self-defense. I think that makes it a little clearer, as I have had in mind and sought to practice in the State Department, that we have been during recent years with various countries observing the law, including neutrality.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Pfeifer.
Mr. JARMAN. Mr. Secretary, I wonder if you would be prepared to say that second to our national defense, this is the essence of this matter.
Secretary Hull. Unquestionably. That is always the case where the danger is universal, world-wide, and imminent. When I say danger, I mean danger to this hemisphere, and that includes danger to the United States.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Arnold.
Mr. BURGIN. Mr. Secretary, in view of the position of a great many observers that this is likely to involve us in war, is there any more danger, if we pass this legislation, of our getting into the war than if we do not pass it, in your opinion?
Secretary Hull. For some time I have agreed with the countries who rely primarily on neutrality as the basic means of keeping out of trouble. But when I saw the invader express his approval of neutrality laws until he could get ready to swallow up his intended victim as in the case of Holland, of Denmark, and Belgium, where he had nothing to do but take the step of crossing the border line and so handcuff all of these innocent people before they could even get their hands free or cock the gun, so to speak; when I saw how this situation developed, I reached the definite conclusion that the surest way to keep out of trouble, to prevent an invasion of this hemisphere--most likely in the south, where there is an unlimited amount of raw materials and foodstuffs beckoning to 400,000,000 industrial people in Europe-is not to sit still with our hands folded and say we would not resist until the invader crossed our borders. I think that would be disastrous.
Then the question became whether we should begin to resist and say so frankly, since all protection under the law had been scrapped. And that question seemed to resolve itself into the conclusion that if we did begin to resist freely under the law of self-defense, with nothing to ask from any other country except to be let alone and be allowed to live in peace, the invader would have more respect for us if we began to make it evident that we were making adequate defense plans than if we sat still as they did in so many other countries until they were swallowed up as a squirrel is swallowed by the boa constrictor.
I think that is the safest course. I want you to know that in my view there is danger in any direction. If some rulers have their own
way we may probably within a surprisingly short time find ourselves in a world of the vintage of ten centuries ago. It is a serious thing from any standpoint that it may be viewed. I want to be frank with you.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Courtney.
Mr. EBERHARTER. Mr. Secretary, are you prepared to say now whether or not the legislation as presented to us is, in your opinion, the best method, the best procedure for the defense of this country?
Secretary HULL. As I say, the Treasury and the Navy and the Army are to appear through their respective Secretaries and discuss the provisions of the bill as it relates to the production of supplies and the transactions that are involved.
I am trying to get before you primarily the high points in international developments during recent years and their culmination at this time in a grave state of danger with which the peaceful nations living in the world are confronted.
I can only repeat what I have said, that in my opinion, the most practical course in prosecuting as speedily and effectively as possible steps in our national defense is not merely to arm here at home and wait for the invader to cross our border, but if and when we see another country resisting this same movement which probably would be headed straight toward South America on account of the attractiveness for foodstuffs and raw materials there, we would not command certainly the disrespect of the invader if he sees that we are taking steps, as I say, to resist by aiding those who are now right in line between us and the invader and resisting to the utmost.
The policy and steps that are being proposed and are being undertaken constitute the most practical plan for doing this, unless
you can think of any better way than that in the light of the lessons we have learned from the nature of these movements of subjugation and conquest, taking the long list of other nations, as peaceful, charitable, and as patriotic as any people on the planet.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Gregory.
Mr. Fish. Mr. Secretary, I want to congratulate you on your very able presentation on perhaps the most important issue that has ever been presented to the Congress of the United States, an utterly nonpartisan question.
Mr. Secretary, would you have any objection if the committee could write this bill and bring it within the constitutional limitation?
Secretary HULL. Well, I would want to have something to say about what the Constitution provides.
Mr. Fish. I assume, Mr. Secretary, that you realize the bill as written today vests the control of power in the hands of one man and takes away the constitutional power from the Congress.
Secretary Hull. Mr. Fish, if you will remember my statement, I have tried to say two or three times that I did not want to go into a discussion of the mechanics of this business, the detailed provisions relating to production and distribution, because the Secretary of the Treasury, as the author of the bill, is here, or will be here, I am sure, later to talk to you, along with the Secretary of War.
Mr. Fish. That is precisely the purpose of my question, to find out whether you had any objection to a full consideration by this committee and the Congress to various amendments to make it comport to the Constitution.
Secretary Hull. I have always contended here and elsewhere for the fullest consideration of every important measure, and I am too old to change my position now.
Mr. Fish. Mr. Secretary, there is only one point in your very remarkable address that I disagree with, to some extent.
Secretary HULL. I am most gratified and encouraged.
Mr. Fish. I am a great admirer of yours, Mr. Secretary, as you have always known.
Secretary Hull. I can reciprocate.
Mr. Fish. You said that Germany could easily cross the Atlantic and attack us; more easily through South America and Latin America.
Mr. Secretary, is it not a fact that our Navy, that you failed to mention, is six times greater in strength than the German Navy, and what would that Navy be doing if the German Navy sought to come over here through Latin America?
Secretary Hull. I think, Mr. Fish, the way I have tried to put that general matter was that any country that might get control of the seas in a movement of world conquest, and representing three or four hundred million industrial population that perhaps lacked 40 percent of sufficient food and, further, 60 percent of sufficient raw materials for their people to work with, would have every human incentive, being in control of the seas, to head straight in the direction of the great undeveloped foodstuffs and raw materials, with none of those countries in a position to defend itself.
Mr. Fish. You are not proposing, Mr. Secretary, or assuming that no one could come over here after the war; you are not proposing that Germany, if she should win, could not trade with South America and buy foods there which she wanted?
Secretary Hull. That is where we might differ to some extent again. This is not only a movement of a world nature for purposes of conquest and subjugation, but one which, according to the experiences of the people in all occupied and conquered countries, seeks to subject them to a code of government based on tyranny and despotism. If we assume that this means anything, it would be difficult to assume that the opposite would be true in their dealing with us or South America.
Mr. Fish. You are not assuming that Germany, if she should win the war, would not be permitted by us to buy meats and wheat from Argentina, are you?
Secretary HULL. I guess if she should control the seas we would have -very little more to say about it.
Mr. Fish. That is the difficulty. You say that if Germany had control of the seas, overlooking the fact that our Navy is six times as great, and we are now building a two-ocean Navy. Frankly, I do not look at that as the solution; and I cannot assume that Germany has control of the seas, because that is not correct.
Secretary Hull. Then suppose we do this, if you are willing. Suppose we agree that I think that there is a possibility of these invading nations getting control of the seas in the event that they should get the upper hand of Great Britain, and that we would be taking a desperate chance if we assume that they could not. You may assume just the opposite, and if you do, then of course we cannot but disagree.
Mr. Fish. You see, Mr. Secretary, I am a follower of yours in the Pan American program; I am also a follower of the Monroe Doctrine.
Secretary Hull. Yes.
Mr. Fish. Which you failed to mention here today. And if any nation attempted to take over a nation through conquest, or if an aggressor nation should start out to invade any part of Latin America, that would be a violation of the Monroe Doctrine, would it not?
Secretary Hull. That is about the only law that has not already been violated.
Mr. Fish. And we can assume that we will uphold it.
I assume that everyone would agree that if that is violated the assistance of our Navy would go out immediately.
Secretary Hull. Yes; if we have a two-ocean Navy.
Mr. Fish. Today, if anybody attacked us, violating the Monroe Doctrine?
Secretary Hull. Yes. But that is a different hypothesis from the one that I feel obliged to cling to just now.
Mr. Fish. But would it not be the fact, if any nation or any group of nations invaded or attacked South America that the Monroe Doctrine would be put into effect, and is it not worth while for us to announce that policy that we determine today?
Secretary Hull. I went to Habana for a conference with all of them on that point, primarily, and we had every kind of resolution agreed to and every kind of understanding of cooperative purpose and effort in the way of self-defense. But that does not take care entirely
the possibility that one of the powerful invading nations might get control of the seas. That is where you and I disagree.
Mr. Fish. That is where you say if Germany gets control of the seas. Secretary Hull. And you think it is not possible or probable.
Mr. Fish. Mr. Secretary, how can we say Germany would get control of the seas when our Navy is six times as great and we are building a two-ocean Navy? If you base a large part of your remarks on that assumption, that this Nation would have control, and if she did come over here therefore we will be in danger and therefore it is necessary for us to grant this kind of power to one man in order to immediately build up the defense?
Secretary Hull. I might say that if I were a conquering nation I would make gaining control of the sea my supreme objective, because I could not hold the lands of the world any more than Napoleon did; but if somebody gets control of the seas
Mr. Fish (interposing). Well, is it not the policy of the United States to get the greatest Navy in the world, a two-ocean Navy?
Secretary Hull. I hope that the policy is first of all to arm, arm, and arm just as expeditiously as possible and in the most effective way.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Eaton.
Mr. Eaton. I wish to thank the distinguished Secretary for his very illuminating statement, given in his usual simplicity, words and thoughts.
There is an overwhelming section-perhaps not an overwhelming, but a large section of the country-which even now takes it for granted that this is a war between Germany and England and not our war, and they base their attitude toward this and other legislation upon that assumption.
What I want to ask you and have you briefly discuss, if you will, is what is the basis of our great defense program? If England wins this war, we do not need the great defense program as against England, do we?
Secretary Hull. No.
Mr. EATON. If Germany and Japan and Russia and Italy united win this war, we will need this defense program and we will not have anyone to help us, if England is defeated?
Secretary Hull. If, as I say, we are to learn from their treatment of other nations thus far and from some of their public utterances and public documents as to the purpose they have in mind by pursuing this series of unlimited conquests, I think they have sufficiently put us on guard that they could not complain if we should mistrust and do some things that we would not do if we trusted too much.
Mr. EATON. In this course of aiding England the problem is primarily aid to the United States in its own development of a program of defense, is it not?
Secretary Hull. That is the sole theory of the matter; that if we see a movement of force moving in a straight direction to this hemisphere, according to the acts and utterances of those involved, we can either sit still and wait until it gets here and crosses our border, as was the case of other countries, or we can begin to resist before it reaches our actual borders by aiding-in a thoroughly justifiable way, a way that would command the respect of the invader-a country that is putting forth a superhuman effort to check and resist successfully that.world movement.
Mr. Eaton. My personal view is that we must do everything possible in our power to help England, and so far as we can, the other allies, save the world from totalitarian despots. But I am wondering if this particular legislation does not establish here in America a considerable set of principles that are not unlike the totalitarian system abroad; and is it necessary, in order to secure a proper defense, to thus affect the established principles of our government for 150 years?
Secretary HULL. As I said a while ago, in answer to another gentleman, if we concede the supreme importance of aiding England by facilities and supplies, military supplies, as speedily as we possibly can, under the doctrine of self-preservation and self-defense, the mechanics of the service should be susceptible of solution by the wisdom and statesmanship of this Government in all its branches.