« PreviousContinue »
Mrs. ROGERS. Many of us did not have that confidence. A number of us believed several years ago that the United States should strengthen our Army, build a two-ocean fleet, and construct and develop a powerful Air Corps.
Mr. Knox. I do not suppose there was any development that ever shocked military people all over the world more than the collapse of the French Army which was almost universally regarded as a fine Army with a wonderful staff-one of the best, if not the best in the world. Its complete collapse frightfully shocked the military people of the world.
Mrs. ROGERS. Why did it collapse?
Mr. Knox. I think it was more likely due to a lack of morale, and division at home.
Mrs. ROGERS. Was it not also due largely to the fact that they did not have the motorized equipment and the heavy tanks and the heavy machines of war?
The CHAIRMAN. Mrs. Rogers, the Chair believes that that has nothing to do with this bill. The Chair is perfectly willing that you take all your time, but please confine yourself to the questions involved in the bill.
Mrs. Rogers. Will the Secretary state the exact power and the condition of the French Navy today as to their available ships? Is that a secret?
Mr. Knox. No; I have not the data here. I can give it to you, or rather I can get it for you, Mrs. Rogers. We have it in the Department.
Mrs. Rogers. I ask unanimous consent, Mr. Chairman, that that information be inserted in the record at this point.
The CHAIRMAN. I beg your pardon?
Mrs. ROGERS. I ask unanimous consent that the information that the Secretary of the Navy is willing to give us regarding the exact strength and power of the French Navy and the number of ships, and so on
Mr. Knox. In the French Navy, that is. Mrs. Rogers. In the French Navy, should be inserted in the record. The CHAIRMAN. Do you have any objection to that? Mr. Knox. I have no objection. NOTE.—France has as immediately effective units: 1 battleship, 1 aircraft carrier, 14 cruisers, 52 destroyers, 60 submarines. It is now reported that no new construction is contemplated.
Mrs. ROGERS. Mr. Secretary, in view of the fact that you have stated that France was weak in part because she did not have the motorized equipment, the tanks and so forth, do you not feel that we should write into this bill some provision that would protect this country from sending too many of her ships and our motorized equipment abroad!
Mr. Knox. Do you really want a frank answer to what is implied in your question ?
Mrs. ROGERS. Of course, Mr. Secretary.
Mr. Knox. I think France's defeat, if it can be attributed to one thing more than anything other than morale, was its disposition to build for a defensive war, or rather, plan a defensive war. Always, when your defenses fail and you have not planned for an offense to relieve the defense, defeat is utter and complete. That is what happened in France.
Mrs. ROGERS. That is because of a lack of offensive tanks? ?
Mrs. ROGERS. So would you have any objection, Mr. Secretary, if we wrote a provision in the bill which would protect the defense materials, the tanks, ships, ammunition of the United States so we could have it for our home defense?
Mr. Knox. I would object to it because I do not want to get into too great detail in the specifications of the bill. There must be a wide opportunity for the exercise of judgment in the matter.
Mrs. ROGERS. We might, however, work out something on that basis?
Mr. Knox. I like the bill as it stands. I would not amend it at all if I had my say,
Mrs. ROGERS. I should like very much to have a provision in the bill if the Secretary would have no objection.
Mr. Knox. I do object.
Mr. Knox. Yes. I think the bill was very carefully drafted to do the thing we want to do effectively. And that is to help Great Britain.
Mrs. ROGERS. But the Secretary stated that he had no objection to a time limit in the bill, say for 2 years or 1 year.
Mr. Knox. If it were left to me, I would not even put that in. But I have no objection to it.
Mrs. ROGERS. The Congress could be in continuous session and could act in 2 days or the next day if the emergency arose.
Mr. Knox. You do not properly appraise the conversational abilities of the Senate.
Mrs. ROGERS. I am very sure, Mr. Secretary, for I have great faith in their patriotism that if any immediate emergency arose they would act immediately and forget their partisanship.
Mr. Knox. I do not want to be understood as impugning the patriotism of the Senate. I have great respect for their ability for longwinded debate.
Mrs. Rogers. Do you not believe that the bill should be amended so as to make sure our Navy will continue to remain under the American flag and supervision ?
Mr. Knox. I think no amendment for that purpose is necessary.
Mrs. ROGERS. Well, again, allowing for the human equation, does the Secretary strenuously object to having that provision in the bill?
Mr. Knox. Yes; I do not want any provision in the bill that will hamper or hinder our meeting of a crisis when it arises. I have not the slightest idea that the Navy or any part of the Navy will be transferred.
Mrs. Rogers. We are considering this bill, of course, which is supposed to be a bill for the national defense?
Mr. Knox. I beg your pardon?
Mrs. ROGERS. We are considering a bill for the national defense? That is all agreed?
Mr. Knox. Yes.
Mrs. ROGERS. Will you state again, I think you did not answer this exact question: Do you believe that the United States is in danger of an immediate attack?
Mr. Knox. You mean an attack within the continental limits of the United States ?
Mrs. ROGERS. Yes.
Mr. Knox. No; that is speculative. I do not know. The only thing I am sure of is that if England is defeated and destroyed, we will be attacked.
Mrs. ROGERS. Will the gentleman say where and how he thinks that attack is likely to come?
Mr. Knox. No; that would be pure speculation.
Mrs. ROGERS. The gentleman thinks our own Navy is not strong enough to protect us although it is the greatest Navy in the world?
Mr. Knox. To fight a war on two oceans? No; not in its present strength.
Mrs. ROGERS. The Secretary will agree that the Congress is extremely alert, I will not say generous, because it is not generous to spend money for our own defense, in appropriating for the Navy?
Mr. Knox. I am very happy to agree. I think it is more than generous. In fact, my problem most of the time has been not how to get money, but how to spend it wisely and safely, and get the result desired.
Mrs. ROGERS. But the naval program has been under way only a short time?
Mr. Knox. Yes; but not so many years ago as I wish it were. We started pretty tardily.
Mrs. ROGERS. Does the gentleman not feel it would be in the interests of the national defense to immediately use idle factories and idle men instead of taking the time to build factories all over the United States?
Mr. Knox. If you choose to have me digress, I will be glad to tell you what has been done in that respect. It was done at least 2 months ago. We went to the larger people in the various industrial regions in the United States where they had sufficient floor space in their factories to become the assembling plant of a given article, induced them to take a contract for the manufacture of that article, although they did not have the equipment to make it completely. We then went out into the territory in which they were located—this is being done all throughout the United States, and it is being done more and more every day—and we found smaller manufacturers who could make those parts and undertake a subcontractor's work. In that waywhich is a rather slow process as it has to be because of the negotiations necessary-gradually all of those smaller plants, with every sort and type of machinery and with the type of skilled employees required, are now being employed.
Mrs. ROGERS. Will the Secretary agree with me that this is of the essence and that it has not been done?
Mr. Knox. What is that?
Mrs. RoGERS. Will the Secretary agree with me that is of the essence?
Mr. Knox. Oh, absolutely. In your territory, for instance, we are making use of machine shops and the textile mills.
Mrs. ROGERS. And in many instances that has not been done, and I could prove it.
Mr. Knox. It takes time to do it all,
Mrs. ROGERS. The Secretary has spoken of the infiltration from foreign countries, the political infiltration in the United States.
The CHAIRMAN. Mrs. Rogers, I do not think that has any reference to the bill.
Mrs. ROGERS. I think it does to the extent of our national preparedness.
The CHAIRMAN. If you wish to proceed in that order, it is all right, but we would like to get through with the Secretary, as he wants to finish this afternoon.
Mr. Knox. I think the question had better be propounded to the State Department rather than to the Department of the Navy.
The CHAIRMAN. I will state to the gentlewoman from Massachusetts that the Secretary has an engagement. He must go to New York tomorrow, and we are trying to finish this afternoon, so I will ask the gentlewoman kindly to confine herself to the issues of the bill. If you wish to continue that way, you may.
Mrs. ROGERS. Mr. Chairman, I think the Secretary has been very anxious to answer all questions and answer them completely. And, again, Mr. Chairman, I must remind you that we must be worthy of our hire.
Will the Secretary answer this question? What countries or country do you think would attack us?
Mr. Knox. What?
Mrs. Rogers. What country or countries do you think would attack us?
Mr. Knox. I do not ever think about it. I know we have been told in very plain language.
Mrs. ROGERS. Do you feel like telling us?
Mr. Knox. Certainly. Have you ever heard of the Tripartite Pact, and what it was designed for, as interpreted by the Japanese member of it in language anyone could understand?
Mrs ROGERS. Are there any other countries that we are in danger from? Are there any other countries? That does not completely answer my question.
Mr. Knox. Other than Japan do you mean? Germany and Italy, of course, the other members of the Axis Powers.
Mrs. ROGERS. Are there any other countries besides those three! Mr. Knox. That would be indulging in speculation. I do not know.
Mrs. Rogers. I would like to ask you, Mr. Secretary, what you think this bill would cost?
Mr. Knox. That I will have to take time for. There are certain proportions of the needs of the British which fall within the purview of the War Department, and some which fall within the cognizance of the Navy Department. In order to answer that question in anything like approximate correctness, we shall have to analyze things, divide between the two Departments, and have each Department make an estimate. If you want an estimate, I shall be very glad to give you one.
Mrs. ROGERS. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that the estimate be given to us, as this is extremely valuable to us in passing this legislation. The CHAIRMAN. If the Secretary has no objection. Mr. Knox. I have none.
Mrs. Rogers. Do you believe the United States should receive a quid pro quo from the British for help which must otherwise be paid for by the American taxpayer? I think the Secretary already stated, if I understood him correctly, that he wished the West Indian islands could have been given to us in part payment of the British debt.
Mr. Knox. Well, the language of this bill, if I understand it, provides that the President is to exercise judgment as to the quid pro quo, and I am content to leave it that way.
Mrs. Rogers. I suppose no amount of questioning would change the Secretary's opinion on that.
Mr. Secretary, I should like to ask this question: I suppose you would make the same answer on those supplies of tin, aluminum, antimony, and rubber possessed by England ?
Mr. Knox. I should guess, I should hope so, that they would be included in the quid pro quo.
Mrs. ROGERS. Would'the Secretary send a letter to the committee saying that he hoped they would be considered as a quid pro quo?
Mr. Kxox. That would be getting a little out of my province.
Mrs. Rogers. Does not the Secretary feel that the British might transfer title of stocks to the United States, that is stocks in railways, for example, in other American republics?
Mr. Knox. I suppose you ought to go to the Treasury for the answer to that. I happen to have traveled fairly recently in Argentina where they have the railroad. I would hate to assume the responsibility for its management. It involves an annual deficit. It is practically falling apart as it is. I do not think there is a very great value there. And you must not forget this: Great Britain is under the necessity for exchange in Argentina as well as in the United States, because she is buying beef and wheat down there and she has to have pesos as well as dollars. I presume, I do not know, but I assume she is using her resources down there to the limit as she is using her resources here.
Mrs. ROGERS. Of course, if by chance Great Britain should be defeated surely she would much rather we had title to those railways, and it would be much to her advantage for us to have title rather than Germany.
Mr. Knox. I raise a question as to whether it is an advantage to have title to that particular railroad.
Mrs. Rogers. England has other possessions which she could exchange as collateral.
That is all, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, very much, Mr. Secretary. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Chiperfield?
Mr. CHIPERFIELD. Mr. Secretary, due to the lateness of the hour, I am only going to ask one or two questions. I do want to say this: I am delighted you are going to furnish our committee with an estimate of the expenses which may be involved in this bill. I know of the difficulty of that. But I would like to know this: Would that cover only the expenses involved in your Department or would it cover the whole defense program?