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I want to get clearly your position in my mind and in the minds of the members of the committee if I can. Now, it has been suggested by my friend, Mr. Mundt, I think, that it would be better that if this legislation is to give extraordinary powers to anyone or any group, that a board should be appointed. I want to ask you if a board were vested with these powers that we are seeking to vest in the President himself, or that the bill proposes to vest in him, would not the constitutional rights and privileges of the President as Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy naturally clash with the powers which the board would have through this act?
Mr. STIMSON. They surely would, and I have thought of that proposition long before this bill was thought of or drawn, because I think that same question arises with respect to the clause or restriction which the Congress put upon certain actions in respect to our weapons and munitions in their legislation last summer, where they required a certificate of the Chief of Staff or a certificate of the Chief of Operations of the Navy before the President could do certain things. Now, frankly, I think that is a perfectly bald and simple violation of the constitutional power of the President of the United States. I know from my own observation and knowledge that it is a perfectly bald reversal of the relations which the Congress 30 years ago, or more than 30 years ago, when they created the post of Chief of Staff, intended to have that gentleman occupy. I am familiar with that, because I was very much interested in military legislation at that time. I dislike to refer to personal things, but the reason why I was especially interested in it was that my former law partner was Mr. Èlihu Root, who was the Secretary of War, and under whose administration the office of Chief of Staff was created. And I was familiar at that time with the purpose of the War Department and of the Congress when they created that. Historically, there had been a long series of delays arising out of differences of opinion under the old system that had grown up during the long period of peace since the Civil War. In this period we had no Chief of Staff, but we had an independent commander of the Army, a military officer, the President and the Secretary of War. The condition has resulted in such friction between the commander of the Army on the one side, and the President and the Secretary of War on the other, that a condition had arisen which was deemed to be intolerable so far as the efficiency of the organization of the Army was concerned. And it was under those circumstances that the position of Chief of Staff was created with the idea that the Chief of Staff should be what was literally true, a staff officer, and the personal staff officer of the President, always subject to the President's power of removal, as he is today, always subject to the President's own personal power of appointment, to act as the President's trusted military adviser. When Congress undertook last summer to make this trusted staff officer a superior to the President in that he had the power of veto over the President's action, at one stroke it overthrew or began the overthrow of that long-lived and most important reform, and created a situation which might well become impossible so long as an existing Chief of Staff sought to impose that veto power on the President. In addition to that, it was an ineffective condition, because a President who really wanted
to do wrong had only to remove the Chief of Staff and put in a "yes" man.
Mr. RICHARDS. Then, Mr. Secretary, it is your opinion that the vesting of any discretionary power in defense legislation for the successful operation or carrying out of that power, it is necessary to be vested in the President of the United States, no matter who he may be?
Mr. STIMSON. I believe so, completely. And I think that any interference with him is an unconstitutional action. I think that the way to insure careful action is to give the President good advisers and that is what he gets under the present system of the Chief of Staff. But to put such a check on the President or to create a distribution of power, or to take away the power from him, there you overstep the line both constitutionally and as to good, safe administration in the case of war.
Mr. RICHARDS. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I have just this one more question.
I believe you have been the Secretary of War this time for about 8 months ?
Mr. STIMSON. No; only 6 months, since last July.
Mr. RICHARDS. Now, from your experience with the President of the United States, the present President of the United States, and your knowledge of his thoughts along the lines of national defense, do you believe that he would take the responsibility of conveying to any foreign power any instrument of war under your supervision as Secretary of War without consulting you and your Chief of Staff!
Mr. STIMSON. I am certain he never has so far, and I have not any idea that he would.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Shanley?
Mr. Secretary, this matter was referred to several times yesterday, and you attempted to comment on it and you were not given an opportunity to complete your comments. Therefore, I would like to know whether any representative of the War Department ever made the statement that we would have an Army of 1,400,000 by this January.
Mr. STIMSON. This January! I never heard it. And I am certain that no responsible officer made that statement. At least, I have never heard so. That is the safest thing for me to say.
Mr. JARMAN. Thank you.
Mr. STIMSON. And it is so out of line with what they have stated to me and what I have heard stated that I do not believe it was stated.
Mr. JARMAN. I know what you were trying to say yesterday and I just was trying to get that in the record. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Arnold ?
Mr. ARNOLD. Mr. Secretary, I take it that you consider this bill necessary in order to keep out of war; to keep war out of America, and you feel that this aid is necessary to prevent Great Britain from falling. Ī would further like to ask you if it is not your opinion that sooner or later if Great Britain should fall, we will not only be in this war, without materials, but alone and with our manpower?
Mr. STIMSON. That is my view.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Burgin?
Mr. EBERHARTER. Mr. Secretary, you are a lawyer by profession, and have been a partner of the distinguished Elihu Root?
Mr. STIMSON. Yes, sir; that was long ago.
Mr. EBERHARTER. Have you given any thought to the question of the constitutionality of this particular proposed measure ?
Mr. Stimson. Yes; it has been slight. I have not made it a legal study. But I have discussed it, and I have been of the opinion that it was so clearly constitutional that it was unnecessary to discuss it further.
Mr. EBERHARTER. And is it your considered opinion as a lawyer that it is constitutional, and the matter was discussed with persons who are qualified as to constitutional questions?
Mr. STIMSON. Let us make it clear. I have not personally discussed it with the authorized representatives of law in the administration like the Attorney General. But in my own department I have discussed it with gentlemen who I thought were good lawyers, and we all thought it was constitutional.
Mr. EBERHARTER. You think this measure, if passed, would tend to lean toward a dictatorship?
Mr. STIMSON. I have not the least idea it would. It would lead to uniform power. But if you mean by leading to dictatorship that it would put this country into a situation where it eventually adopted what we think of as a dictatorship as a natural form of government, I think it is preposterous to think so.
Mr. EBERHARTER. In other words, you do not think it is a step toward adopting the philosophies of the dictatorships? You do not believe it is a step toward adopting the philosophies of governments of the dictatorships?
Mr. STIMson. On the contrary, I think it is a step to prevent that from becoming a danger to our people here.
Mr. EBERHARTER. That is all, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GREGORY. Mr. Chairman, I think the Secretary has very ably and completely and fully discussed every angle of this bill, and I, therefore, have no questions.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Wasielewski?
Mr. WASIELEWSKI. Mr. Chairman, I have just one question that I should like to ask.
Mr. Secretary, there has been much said both yesterday and today with regard to this bill being a step toward war. Do you share the belief that we can more effectively and more efficiently carry out the provisions of this bill by staying out of war than by getting into it!
Mr. STIMSON. Do I think we can keep out of the war by the aid of this bill, do you mean?
Mr. WASIELEWSKI. That, and also that we can better fulfill the terms of this bill of giving aid to the remaining democracies of Europe by staying out of the war than by getting into it?
Mr. STIMSON. Why, yes. I think that if we can stay out of war and help the democracies from being overwhelmed by the dictatorships, it
would be much better than if we finally found we could not do that, but had to go in and help them militarily. I am not anxious to have us do that.
Mr. WASIELEWSKI. What I have in mind primarily is, if we stay out of war we do not have to devote as much time and attention to equipping our own forces, we therefore can probably allow a larger percentage of the output that we have to the defenses of democracies who are carrying on the defense of our country?
Mr. STIMSON. So long as that seems to be a successful policy, I believe in carrying it on.
Mr. WASIELEWSKI. Thank you.
Mr. Sikes. From your field of experience, are you able to suggest any step or any measure other than H. R. 1776 of quickly and economically assuring our hemispheric defense and minimizing danger from abroad to this country?
Mr. STIMSON. This is the latest step intended to achieve that end. And I have not thought of any further one.
Mr. SIKES. Thank you. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Davis ? Mr. Davis. Mr. Chairman, I have no questions. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Secretary, I have sat here now for a long time with quite a few questions, and I have been checking them off one by one. I have only got one left that I would like to have clarified.
Mr. STIMSON. You have been very forbearing.
The CHAIRMAN. Does this bill provide for the purchase of munitions or articles in other countries with the use of American funds!
Mr. Stimson. I think it does. In section A, I think, it does permit that. Of course, only when money is appropriated for that purpose.
The CHAIRMAN. After the money is appropriated, Mr. Secretary, we can use that money to purchase munitions or ammunition in other countries; is that right! Mr. STIMsOn. Provided it is necessary for the defense of this country. The CHAIRMAN. What is the last part of your answer?
Mr. STIMSON. That is expressly in the bill. That condition must be fulfilled.
The CHAIRMAN. That is about all, Mr. Secretary. The committee thanks you very, very much. You have been very patient and we appreciate your being here for so long a time.
Mr. STIMSON. Thank you very much, gentlemen. I hope I have not, lost my temper. I had not intended to.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there anything further that you wish to state, Mr. Secretary?
Mr. STIMson. No, sir; I think that is all. Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF HON. FRANK W. KNOX, SECRETARY OF THE NAVY
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Secretary, the committee is very glad to have you here today with reference to H. R. 1776. Have you a statement that you wish to read!
Mr. Knox. I have a brief statement.
The CHAIRMAN. A brief statement? Are you distributing that to: the members and the press ?
Mr. Knox. I have already done so. I think it has been done.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. You may proceed, Mr. Secretary. You may be seated or stand, as you wish.
Mr. Knox, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I presume I am called before you because I am charged with the responsibility, as Secretary of the Navy, of preparing our first line of defense—the Navy-against whatever dangers the future may hold. XIt is almost impossible to exaggerate the importance of sea power to our country and to our entire western world. It has been be. cause of the existence of sea power, exercised by two nations, Great Britain and ourselves, that both the Atlantic and the Pacific have served as barriers against the acquisitive designs of aggressive powers.
If you will glance at the map, you will readily observe that there are but three exits into the Atlantic in Europe. The channels of the North Sea (north of the British Isles), the English Channel itself, and the Straits of Gibraltar. Our entire western world has been safe from attack from Europe because the British Fleet has alw stood sentinel at these three exits into the ocean, and British policy, for many years, has accepted, and assisted us in the maintenance of the Monroe Doctrine. That has sufficed to make the Atlantic barrier secure.
The war in Europe must be looked upon as the latest of a long succession of attempts by dictators to establish rule over all Europe, and eventually, to establish dominion over a large portion of the world. Like all its predecessors, the Nazi regime has found that the power of its armies alone cannot establish that rule, because Europe is not self-supporting in raw materials, and the Nazi armies are powerless to obtain these materials unless they have control of the sea.
Great Britain has never been powerful enough to support an army strong enough to conquer Europe and to hold it under control. That nation has been enabled to survive against conquest through control of the seas between those islands and the Continent of Europe, and also to stifle the expanding military powers on the continent by denying them access to the sources of raw materials.
The struggle now going on is, fundamentally, an attempt by Germany to seize control of the sea from Great Britain. That is the reason why, from a military viewpoint, the war has so vital an interest to the United States. Our Nation has evolved without particular hindrance from Britain's control of a large part of the sea. But I believe it would be very different were control to pass to Germany, and were she able to send her armies into other parts of the world, and there lay tribute of raw materials for further building up her powers of oppression.
If Germany becomes free to move across the ocean for the conquest of new territories, she most probably will move first into South America, to get hold of that great storehouse of continental wealth. If the United States does not wish to face the consequences of the establishment in South America of aggressive military power, we should now prevent Germany from overturning the British sea power which holds the Nazis in Europe.
For 118 years the Monroe Doctrine has been the one national policy firmly and continuously maintained by the American people. This