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hand that concerning possible appropriations therefor might not be interesting to this committee
Secretary STIMSON (interposing). No; I did not.
Mr. MuNDT (continuing). I am very vitally interested, because Secretary Morgenthau, in his appearance before the committee, indicated that after about a year and a half of the war England, a country which we have looked upon as one of the richest countries in the world, was almost at the bottom of her dollar exchange.
Secretary STIMSON. Yes.
Mr. MUNDr. And I am wondering, if that be true, how long this country could avoid bankruptcy if we assume the burdens of England and China and Greece, in addition to our own.
Secretary STIMSON. He was speaking of dollar exchange in this country.
Mr. MUNDT. Yes; and indicated that
Secretary STIMSON. It is inconceivable that we should become bankrupt in dollar exchange when at this very moment we have in our possession seven-tenths of the gold of the world.
Mr. Mundt. In addition to speaking of the dollar exchange he spoke of the possibility of becoming bankrupt, in taxpayers' ability to pay, and read into the record the tax figures.
Secretary STIMSON. I did not know that he did that.
Secretary STIMSON. But I would rather not answer a question based on that. I am surprised if he said that.
Mr. MUNDr. He did not use that phraseology.
Secretary STIMSON. Then I would rather know what phraseology he used and be very careful about it.
Mr. Mundt. You would not deny that there is a possibility of this country reaching the point where its taxpayers cannot carry the deficit or debt very much longer?
Secretary STIMON. No doubt that is conceivable.
Mr. Mundt. That is why this committee is interested in fixing a possible maximum on the costs of this bill.
Secretary STIMSON. I am not trying to defeat the effort.
Mr. Mundt. Thank you. Now you have said from your close observation of 6 months of the President--and I am sure you have observed him much longer than that-that you feel there is no danger of some of these possibilities mentioned by Mr. Tinkham and Mrs. Rogers, or some others, taking place. Now let us all grant that the President will act in the best good faith, but we must also grant that people can act in the best of good faith and make mistakes.
Secretary STIMSON. No doubt.
Mr. MUNDT. Is it not possible, Mr. Secretary, that instead of reposing in one person the possibility of making a serious mistake, involving the destinites of 130 million people, we might develop many of the beneficial and protective parts of, or that are alleged for this bill by reposing in a commission or a board this power to determine when transfers should be made?
Secretary STIMSON. My judgment would be against that. There would be more danger in that to the interest of the 130,000,000 people than there is in this bill.
Mr. Mundt. It seems to me there would be less danger if we were to empower a board to handle it.
Secretary STIMSON. At this stage of the situation anything that contributes to unnecessary delay—and a board necessarily does that
Mr. MUNDr. Is not the assumption-
Secretary STIMSON. I will remind you of the language of a certain President of this United States, by the name of George Washington, whom I quoted the other day in my press conference. He said roughly to this effect, that when you find one man who can perform a duty adequately and satisfactorily, the adequate performance of that duty is much impaired if it is delegated to two; and is still further impaired and sometimes rendered impossible if delegated to three or more.
Mr. MUNDT. I am a great admirer of the first President of the United States, to whom you refer.
Secretary Stimson. Of course, he will always consult his advisers.
Mr. Mundt. But that statement was not made in Washington's speech about our becoming involved in foreign entanglements, was it, Mr. Secretary?
Now, Mr. Secretary, do I understand your interpretation of this bill, therefore, is that we will get more protection by the language of the bill since it does not provide for a board ?
Secretary STIMSON. Yes.
Mr. MUNDT. And therefore the President will make the decisions without consulting the board on its functions !
Secretary STIMSON. No; I did not say that; just the reverse. Consultation is different from delegation, and my observation of the President is that he does always consult his military and naval advisers.
Mr. MUNDT. And if the power were placed in the hands of a board, designated by Congress, for instance, the board's responsibility being the same, say of seven men instead of one, would not that be a wise arrangement in your opinion?
Secretary STIMSON. I think that the advice of George Washington would be eminently applicable to such an arrangement as that. Mr. Mundt. That is the speech you quoted; not the one I referred
All right, Mr. Secretary, in the matter of securing national defense, is it not better practice for the United States to own its airplane bases rather than lease them, if that is possible ?
Mr. JOHNSON. I object to the question.
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). It has nothing to do with bases; I do not believe it has, and if it has I would like to know it.
Mr. Munur. Mr. Chairman, in his opening prepared statement the Secretary spent considerable time talking about airplane bases.
The CHAIRMAN. Please confine your questions to the bill and what is pertinent to the bill.
Mr. Mundt. I have asked such a question, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. The Chair has ruled on that question.
Mr. MUNDT. I was just trying to interpret his phrase this morning about "fifth column".
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). The Chair must insist upon the reg. ular order, on demand of the committee, and the gentleman will kindly proceed in regular order.
Mr. MUNDr. All right. Mr. Secretary, Congress as you know, of course, is prohibited by the Constitution from making any appropriations for national defense which will cover a period of longer than 2 years.
Secretary STIMSON. I am well aware of it.
Mr. MUNDT. Consequently you would have no objection to a limitation of that kind.
Secretary STIMSON. I would have no objection.
Mr. MuNDT. I want to ask you one or two general questions about your interpretation of the Pact of Paris, because I have spent considerable time—not nearly as much as you, I know-in considering that pact; and I want to ask you, first of all, if it is correct that the interpretation which you quoted yesterday in response to interrogatories of the gentleman from New Jersey, that that does not have the weight of international law. The Secretary stated that it was their opinion, but I want to make the record clear on that point.,
Mr. STIMson. It was an interpretation adopted at a meeting of the international association and does not purport to be the act of another legislative body. But I ask you, Mr. Mundt, to remember that international law has grown up out of just such resolutions and just such expressions of opinions of expert jurists as that was. And it was a very important statement.
Mr. Mundt. I am not denying it is important. I simply wanted to have it clearly in the record as to the Secretary's evaluation of whether or not he felt that it carried the dignity of international law, because as he knows and as we know, the delegates were not authorized delegates of any nation.
Mr. STIMSON. They were not public officers of any nation, but they were authorized members of that body coming from different countries.
Mr. MUNDT. At that conference Mr. Fred H. Aldrich, of Detroit, Mich., was one of those representing the United States. That is on page 42; you have the volume there which I have. It is the fourth edition reporting the 1934 Conference of Budapest. At page 42, Mr. Aldrich's statement is there, in which he says
Mr. JOHNSON. I object.
The CHAIRMAN. Objection sustained, Mr. Mundt. Now, let us go ahead and let us proceed. You can ask any question, but this idea of reading from books, and so forth, is out of order. You can ask him any question you want to pertaining to it, but do not let us go out of order.
Mr. MUNDT. It is a section 12 words long.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Secretary, what is your pleasure !
Mr. STIMSON. My pleasure is to, if possible, get back to my desk as soon as possible. I had hoped I would be able to. I did not think it was possible we would take 3 hours when I came back here this morning:
The CHAIRMAN. We are in sympathy with that, Mr. Secretary, but certain charges have been made and certain things have been said. We have tried to allow the members, the ladies and gentlemen on this side, to have all of the time that possibly can be given to them, and if the members of the committee will proceed in order and not try to read statements, we will proceed.
Mr. STIMSON. Frankly, I would rather sit through, if you can.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, I think it is asking a little too much of you, Mr. Secretary. You have been here now since 10 o'clock and you see we have not even finished all of the Republican side and the Democratic side has not asked a single question. But if a lot of statements and various reports are read, we will never get through. So the Chair rules the question out of order.
How much more time do you think you will be, Mr. Mundt!
Mr. MUNDT. So far as I am concerned, I have concluded for the present.
The CHAIRMAN. We will recess until 2:30 p. m.
The CHAIRMAN. I wish to announce that the committee has scheduled to hear Secretary of the Navy Knox at 3:30 p. m., so will the members try to proceed with their questions so that we can hear the Secretary of the Navy at that time?
Mr. JONKMAN. Mr. Secretary, in your opening statement on page 3, in the last half of the last paragraph, you state as follows:
The munitions of defense can and will be distributed in accordance with strategic conditions which obtain at the time of the distribution. Those who are interested primarily in the defense of this country and this hemisphere will be the ones who will make the plans for distribution--namely, members of the American Government. Naturally, our conduct at such times will be governed by the interests of the defense of this country. Far from being a surrender of our rights to other interests, however worthy, the provisions of this bill make it possible to place in American hands this important power and responsibility.
I think you said before the recess to Mr. Mundt that this power and this responsibility of the management of the strategy of disposing of articles of defense in this bill will lodge in the President of the United States; is that correct?
Mr. STIMSON. That ultimate power, I think, will lodge in him. Somewhere this bill speaks of the President-I am reading now from the paragraph of the bill marked section 3, “The President may, from time to time, when he deems it in the interest of national defense, authorize the Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Navy, or the head of any other department or agency of the Government," and so on, to do so-and-so. That is the provision I had in mind when I used the words you just read from my statement. The President has the ultimate final authority and ultimate decision.
Mr. JONKMAN. That is, to determine that strategy?
Mr. STIMson. To determine, I would say, the general strategy. But evidently the bill contemplates what is necessarily the fact, that is, that he has to leave the details, after having laid down the broad principles, to the heads of the two respective departments who are concerned with defense.
Mr. JONKMAN. That is readily understood, but he will exercise the ultimate power of that strategy
Mr. STIMSON. Undoubtedly.
Mr. JONKMAN. Now, will you say, Mr. Secretary, that the sale, loan, or transfer of these articles of defense means that the sale, loan, or transfer of these articles of defense contemplated by this bill are necessary to prevent the defeat of Great Britain? In short, is this bill necessary to prevent the defeat of Great Britain ?
Mr. STIMSON. In my opinion, I think that it probably is.
Mr. JONKMAN. Then, would it not follow that the President of the United States would have the power and responsibility to determine officially and decide on the strategy of defeating the Axis Powers!
Mr. STIMSON. I think that follows to some extent.
Mr. JONKMAN. In other words, he would be the chief strategist and commander-in-chief of the allied armies?
Mr. STIMson. No, no, no. That is going further so far as our defense of this country is concerned. He is seeking to preserve the British Government from such a defeat as would deprive it and us of the part which the British Fleet is now playing in the North Atlantic. Now, he is not trying at all, and it does not follow from this at all, that he is trying to carry on the strategy of the defense of Great Britain.
Mr. JONKMAN. Does not that necessarily follow from the premise!
Mr. STIMSON. No; it does not at all. It does follow that he is trying to prevent such a defeat, such a disastrous defeat as would result in the change of the control of the Atlantic Ocean, but it does not mean that he is trying to shape the form which the strategy of the war would otherwise follow. And I do not intend from my first answer, as to what you said in your first question, to indicate that at all, and it must have been evident from what I had said before that that was so.
Mr. JONKMAN. Mr. Secretary, if the President has the power and responsibility to determine the strategy of distributing these munitions of war, after all does he not then control the final authority and decisive strategy of the war for the defense of Great Britain?
Mr. STIMSON. I think not.
Mr. JONKMAN. If the President occupied that position, would not the American people have inherited the war?
Mr. STIMSON. If he did what to the war? Inherited?
Mr. STIMSON. They would have inherited the conduct of the war so far as it affected the defense of this country.
Mr. JONKMAN. In other words, you understand what I mean-does not this bill inevitably lead us into war!