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Mr. STIMSON. I do not think that it does.
Mr. JONKMAN. There was some controversy a year ago or so about the difference between weapons of offense and weapons of defense. I presume that condition has been obviated and all weapons would be considered the weapons of defense in this instance!
Mr. STIMSON. Well, I have heard that question which you mention for the last dozen years.
Mr. JONKMAN. It is largely academic? Mr. Stimson. I think it is very largely academic, but I will not say wholly so. I think that possibly a great step in making it academic was when the French entrusted themselves to the kind of weapons of defense which were situated in the Maginot Line.
Mr. JONKMAN. In other words, I think we would agree that under these circumstances all weapons that might have been considered weapons of offense would be considered weapons of defense!
Mr. STIMSON. I want to understand what your ultimate question is. If you are asking me whether I do not believe that the best defense usually is what military men speak of as an offensive defense, I think I would agree.
Mr. JONKMAN. This act gives a definition of a defense article. It says any weapon, munitions, aircraft, vessel, or boat. Can you say where there are any implements of war either on sea or on land that are not comprehended in that definition?
Mr. STIMSON. I was going to say it was an oversight if there are.
Mr. JONKMAN. Then, is it not true that when section 2 of article III provides that the President may, if he deems it in the interest of national defense, authorize the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy to sell, transfer, exchange, lease, lend, or otherwise dispose to any such government any defense article, is it not true that he could so dispose of everything that is being produced under the appropriations made by the Congress during the year 1940, to the amount of 1712 billion dollars without another nod from Congress or another dollar of authorization or appropriation ?
Mr. STIMSON. I think that the same reply that I made before to similar questions applies here. I think that conceivably that interpretation could be made on it and I have given you already the answer which has to be made. That is, that no President would ever exercise the power in that way.
Mr. JONKMAN. Of course, that is without question.
Mr. STIMson. Only if he thought it was in the interest of our defense.
Mr. JONKMAN. Absolutely. Of course, you understand, Mr. Secretary, we are trying to find out from those who either drew the bill or were consulted in the drawing of the bill what they intended by it, and that is why I am asking you these questions. In other words, those who have drawn the bill would be better able to interpret it than others by reading it.
Mr. STIMSON. Please do not make it appear–I do not think it would be a fair thing if you do so by virtue of the construction you have just
mentioned—that it was the intention of those who drew the bill that the President could transfer everything that the United States had.
Mr. JONKMAN. Very true. But is it not just as reasonable to assume that he would be assured of that power to that extent if he needed it!
Mr. STIMSON. If he thought that that would defend the United States, if he could possibly say so, he might do so. And I want to say—and I say it with the utmost emphasis—that the government or law which is so constructed that you cannot trust anybody will not survive the test of war.
Mr. JONKMAN. Under that construction, is it not also true that he could sell, transfer, exchange, lease, lend, or otherwise dispose of all of our munitions factories?
Mr. STIMson. He could dispose of "facilities,” whatever that includes.
Mr. JONKMAN. And is it not true that he could turn over our entire Navy?
Mr. STIMSON. I have answered that question a dozen times.
Mr. Fish. If a Member of the committee did not hear an answer, I think it is only fair that he be permitted to ask it so that he may hear the answer.
The CHAIRMAN. Certainly he has, Mr. Fish, and he has answered that several times already.
Mr. JONKMAN. I am willing to read the answer later in the record. Could he turn over the Panama Canal ?
Mr. STIMson. Would it bother you if I take the time to see whether that rather enormous proposition is comprised in this bill? I do not think that could, by any imagination, be put into the bill.
The CHAIRMAN. Dr. Eaton wanted to know if he could turn over the Washington Monument. Mr. JONKMAN. That, Mr. Chairman, I object to.
The CHAIRMAN. That is Dr. Eaton's question, please. That was not my question or my idea.
Mr. JONKMAN. Mr. Secretary, do you consider the so-called emergency or crisis at this time to be more acute than it was in September or October of 1940? What I mean by this is, at that time it was considered by military experts that Hitler had better than an even chance to cross the Channel. And it was also said if he did not do it before the winter stormy weather came, he would not have very much of a chance again. And as a further consideration, in those months Italy was considered a powerful ally of Germany. That is another point which has been largely exploded since that time. What is your answer to that?
Mr. STIMSON. Have you finished your question?
Mr. JONKMAN. Whether you considered the emergency or crisis as acute now as it was then.
Mr. STIMSON. I consider it much more imminent.
Mr. STIMson. In spite of those facts, although a good many of the things you recited were not facts but alleged opinions expressed by alleged experts.
Mr. JONKMAN. I thought I disqualified myself, Mr. Secretary. Does the authority to transfer or lease articles authorized in this bill carry the implied authority to deliver in our own ships?
Mr. STIMSON. I had not considered it so.
Mr. JONKMAN. Do you know why, for instance, subsection 5 of section 3 on page 3 about extending all these powers gives separate and independent power in the words "to release for export any defense article to any such government” if it is not impliedly authority to deliver in our own bottoms?
Mr. STIMSON. I am informed that that was put in to meet a single and rather exceptional article.
Mr. JONKMAN. In other words, would it not be modifying or qualifying it if it read “to release to export any of the defense articles of war mentioned”—would not that preclude shipping in our own bottoms?
Mr. STIMSON. I do not see that it would. I do not see that your phrase changes it. But maybe I am not as good an interpreter as you.
Mr. JONKMAN. Could you give us a definite answer to my question !
Mr. JONKMAN. Mr. Secretary, has there been any contemplation of the line of demarcation between the present contractual relations for armaments for England and the lend-lease plan? When will that change from cash and carry to lend and lease take place, in view of the fact that $1,300,000,000 has already been ordered by England from this country for 1941!
Mr. STIMSON. I am unaware of anything in here that changes the present situation so far as that is concerned.
Mr. JONKMAN. In your opinion, those contractual obligations will have to be carried out first?
Mr. STIMSON. I think so.
We learn from the testimony that we have had that the Secretaries did not sit in on the original drafting of the bill. Am I right in that?
Mr. STIMSON. I did not. Mrs. BOLTON. Is that a customary thing that a defense measure should be written without the consultation of the Secretaries !
Mr. STIMSON. Very many defense measures have been framed up here on the hill.
Mrs. BOLTON. By the Military Affairs Committee?
Then, would you tell us whether the provisions of this bill are satisfactory to England ?
Mr. STIMSON. I have not the slightest idea. I do not think they have been submitted to any representative of England that I know of.
Mrs. BOLTON. It involves the abandoning of a number of rather essential things on the part of the English if we are to have the decision of the kind of armaments we will build as has been suggested.
Mr. STIMSON. As to the general purposes of the plan, you remember the President made the speech in which he outlined the plan which this bill is intended to carry out. And while I, myself, have not participated in any such discussion, I would not dare to say that something of that sort might not have been discussed by others.
Mrs. BOLTON. With England ?
Mrs. BOLTON. It would seem almost inconceivable that we should set up machinery which would involve England in changing such things as gauges and guns and so on in her equipment, because we wanted to unify or make uniform what was building in this country without her acquiescence.
Mr. STIMSON. This certainly took place, that I can say: The Purchasing Commission and the gentlemen who have come over here to carry on these purchases have represented, as I have heard, to our financial representatives that there would be very great difficulty in carrying out a full defense without some help from the United States. The help was described by one of the previous gentlemen to this committee as a relief in the question of American exchange.
Mrs. BOLTON. England has then not perhaps considered the full implications of her accepting our judgment in the matter of the sizes of guns and similar pieces, has she
Mr. STIMSON. She what?
Mr. STIMSON. Under this system she would. But there has been, of course, as you undoubtedly know from the press, there has been a great deal of discussion as to the standardization of the equipment. At one time there was great danger that our industrial manufacturers of weapons might be clogged up with the manufacture of weapons which would differ from each other. Conferences have taken place with a view to trying to straighten out and expedite that situation.
Mrs. BOLTON. Thank you.
Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. Secretary, your experience in Government service has covered three different administrations, as I recall. You were the Secretary of War under the administration of President Taft, I believe. were you not?
Mr. STIMSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. JOHNSON. And you were the Secretary of State in the administration of President Herbert Hoover?
Mr. STIMSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. JOHNSON. And you are now serving as Secretary of War in the present administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt?
Mr. STIMSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. JOHNSON. Your experience in these various positions has enabled you to acquire a knowledge of both international law and also of the military defenses of our country covering that period of time. And based upon that experience and the responsibility now resting upon you as the minister or Secretary of War, in your judgment, Mr. Secre
tary, is it necessary for the safety of the United States of America to enact this legislation?
Mr. STIMSON. I think it is. I think at least it is most expedient to do so.
Mr. JOHNSON. I was going to ask with reference to the necessity of speed in the enactment of legislation. What is your answer to that?
Mr. STIMSON. I think this would very greatly expedite the manufacture of munitions in the various ways which I pointed out in my initial statement yesterday, and possibly in many others it would simplify the entire transaction. It would eliminate a great many of the delays which I have personally seen occur under the present system, and I think it would very greatly help the expedition of our own defense.
Mr. Johnson. What about the necessity for speed, if we are to have this legislation, as to its enactment being speedily undertaken? Should the legislation be passed promptly or would a delay be dangerous !
Mr. STIMSON. Mr. Johnson, I cannot state too emphatically the apprehension that I feel as to the possibility of a crisis, which I think even my friends on the right would recognize as a crisis, within the next 60 or, at most, 90 days.
Mr. JOHNSON: Concerning the powers vested in the President of the United States, criticism of which has been made by some of the opponents of the bill, I will ask you if it has not been the traditional history of our country that in concentrating powers of defense to vest those powers in the President as Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States and to say now whether this is an unusual method of concentrating powers in one officer?
Mr. STIMson. It is familiar history, I think, to everyone familiar with the history of the United States, that whenever the United States has actually gotten into war, the President has exercised very greatly increased powers, and the only difference here is that we ourselves have not gotten into war. But we are so threatened with imminent danger that it seems to me in the highest degree wise that we should take all the steps possible in the shape of that same kind of emergency concentration of powers that it is possible to do. It is a much more difficult and slow process today to prepare for war than it was when the weapons of war consisted of muskets and a few smooth-bore cannon. It is an infinitely difficult task now compared with what it was in the days of our grandfathers. And unless we now take all of the steps both as to strengthening and expediting the methods of government and strengthening the methods of manufacture, we will be in a very much worse situation than we could have been in any preceding emergency through which we have ever passed. The times are different, and the only thing that surprises me is that so many of my dear friends and so many of my party associates cannot seem to see it in that light.
Mr. Johnson. In your judgment, the times are too critical now to play politics with the question of defense of this country?
Mr. STIMEON. I am sure I am not trying to play politics.
Mr. RICHARDS. Mr. Secretary, I just want to ask one or two clarifying questions for my own benefit.