Page images
PDF
EPUB

Mr. Munur. Should not a decision of that magnitude include the voice of Congress who represent the people in matters of peace and war?

Mr. Knox. That is up to the determination of the Congress. This bill gives the President broad powers to meet this crisis.

Mr. Munur. I have the same temptation, of course, that Mr. Tinkham has, having traveled with the Secretary, and I have spoken with him on the same platform from time to time, to quote back some of his words of earlier years. But I think I shall desist from that, because he has ably exhibited his artfulness in dodging the interpretations of the gentleman from Massachusetts.

The CHAIRMAN. I understand you are through?
Mr. MUNDr. I am through.

Mr. JONKMAN. Mr. Secretary, I think he stated a minute ago that regardless of what the bill provides, you would oppose turning over our Navy or any substantial part of it under this bill

Mr. Knox. That is correct.

Mr. JONKMAN. Would you oppose in the same way the lend-leasing of any modern airplanes ?

Mr. Knox. Doing what?
Mr. JONKMAN. The lend-leasing of any modern airplanes ?

Mr. Knox. We are doing that now in the form. Very frequently both the Army and the Navy, in order to provide Great Britain, which is fighting for her life, with the planes that she needs, have deferred delivery on planes coming to us, in order that she might have them. I would advocate the continuing of that.

Mr. JONKMAN. There are three substantial requisites of the modern airplane. The first is self-sealing gas tanks. The next is armor plating. The next is to have far-reaching guns.

Mr. Knox. I would add range. You have to have gasoline-carrying capacity as well. You have a very different situation to confront when you are building a fleet of planes for America than those that are now being built for use over Great Britain. Great Britain finds her enemy right over her head. They do not have to have long range. We do not expect that that will be true in our situation. We have to have range, and when you increase the range you have to decrease your gun power. You cannot carry both. So there is a distinction in the type of fighters that both are building.

Mr. JONKMAN. Would it invade the field of secret military information to tell us how many modern planes we have?

Mr. Knox. Those figures have all been published. You will get nothing new out of it. The Chief of the Aeronautical Division of the Navy Department gave some figures the other day. He stated that on January 1, 1940, the Navy had on hand only 2,145 planes of all categories; that is last January.

On hand January 1, 1941, we had 2,590 planes. That is an increase during the year 1940 of 445 planes.

Mr. JONKMAN. I mean modern planes.

Mr. Knox. Those are all new planes; 445 of them. They are all usable. Mr. JONKMAN. They are all of use to the Navy? Mr. Knox. Absolutely.

Mr. JONKMAN. Did I understand you to say that a crisis was expected in England within the next 60 or 90 days?

Mr. Knox. Now, that is pure speculation. I do not know when a crisis will come.

Mr. JONKMAN. Are you prepared to state what kind of crisis?

Mr. Knox. The crisis of the defeat of Great Britain might be imminent.

Mr. JONKMAN. You mean through the collapse of morale?
Mr. Knox. The collapse of what?
Mr. JONKMAN. Morale.

Mr. Knox. No. I think the British morale is admirable beyond comparison. I think it might come about, and again I am indulging in pure speculation, it might come about through the greater success of the submarine campaign, which is now a combined submarine and air campaign. And it might come about through persistence in these concentrated bombardments. Both of these campaigns affect the supplies available for fighting.

Mr. JONKMAN. Do you think that a military invasion by Germany into England is probable?

Mr. Knox. I do not know that my judgment is worth any more than yours about that. We all have our own idea.

Mr. JONKMAN. That would not be, then, the expected crisis! Mr. Knox. It might be.

Mr. JONKMAN. Do you think that the same danger exists in that respect as existed in the months of September and October 1940? In other words, is it not true that England has become an armed camp?

Mr. Knox. Oh, yes, indeed. I think the difficulties in the way of invading England are now much greater than they were when France fell, for instance.

Mr. JONKMAN. Do I understand you to say that the principal effect of this bill within the next 6 months would be to bolster up the morale of the British?

Mr. Knox. That is one of the effects, and it is very important. Mr. JONKMAN. Are there any other substantial effects?

Mr. Knox. Yes. I think we would probably, as we are constantly doing, increase production and give them the benefit of the increased flow of munitions and supplies.

Mr. JONKMAN. You think that would be so material as to be effective within the next 6 months ?

Mr. Knox. I do. I hope so.

Mr. JONKMAN. Do you not think it would be more effective if we continue our present policy, that is, to concentrate entirely upon protection and preparation for our own defense and continue to furnish them as we are doing at present?

Mr. Knox. We cannot continue to do that. The law provides against it and provides that they must pay for the things they get. They do not have enough dollars left to pay for what they have now ordered. You would have to repeal the Johnson Act before you could do that.

Mr. JONKMAN. Is it your understanding that, immediately under the passage of this bill, England would no longer have to pay cash for what she gets?

Mr. Knox. That is my understanding. She has no longer any dollars with which to pay.

Mr. JONKMAN. Well, are you aware of the fact that their possessions still have millions ?

Mr. Knox. We can get a lot of things. We can get pounds, but the law provides purchases shall be paid for here in dollars. That is the situation. England is not bankrupt. No one pretends she is. But she has used up all the dollar exchange she can get anywhere. There is not any available anywhere in the world except here. We would have to exchange our dollars for pounds. It is up to Congress to determine if we want a lot of British paper money.

Mr. JONKMAN. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. That is all I have.
The CHAIRMAN. Mrs. Bolton.

Mrs. BOLTON. You have said it is important to us that Britain do not fall?

Mr. Knox. I did.
Mrs. BOLTON. That it is very important to us?
Mr. Knox. Critically important.
Mrs. BOLTON. Critically important?
Mr. Knox. Yes.

Mrs. BOLTON. And, therefore, we need to help Britain in every conceivable way somewhat according to her rights, as well as according to our own; must we not?

Mr. Knox. In accordance with her necessity, I would rather put it, Mrs. Bolton.

Mrs. BOLTON. Has there been conference between your Department and the Admiralty in the matter of what those are?

Mr. Knox. Constantly.

Mrs. BOLTON. And you are satisfied that we are going to the lengths England would want

Mr. Knox. In this bill, you mean?
Mrs. BOLTON. Yes.
Mr. Knox. Yes; I think so.
Mrs. BOLTON. And in what we can do under it?
Mr. Knox. Yes.

Mrs. BOLTON. And have we taken into consideration British opinioni in the matter?

Mr. Knox. Well, I have had no opportunity, Mrs. Bolton, to do that myself, but I am reasonably sure British opinion is violently in favor of this bill.

Mrs. Bouton. May I ask one step further than that, Mr. Secretary? In the Economist in London, on November 16, there was an expression of British opinion in regard to our help. Would you be willing to let me read this?

Mr. Knox. I would love to have you do so. The CHAIRMAN. Proceed, Mrs. Bolton. Mrs. Bolton. By way of a question! The CHAIRMAN. Proceed. Mrs. BOLTON (reading): We must hope for the United States' eventual participation in the struggle with all the strength of an armed combatant. If the answer is to be given from the somewhat narrower viewpoint of our own material needs (British needs) it must be we should prefer America to be nonbelligerent in 1941 and belligerent in 1942. We must hope for her eventual participation in the struggle with all the strength of a whole continent. The whole problem would be immeasurably simpler if American opinion were rescued by a declaration of war from the present delusion of outlook in which America's safety is seen to be involved, but her wealth not committed. Further than that it would be undoubtedly in accordance with this bope of active participation before long, also difficult but not impossible that she could provide escort vessels and still stay neutral.

Do you have any comment on that point?
Mr. JOHNSON. I would like to inquire what you are reading from.
The CHAIRMAN. What paper are you reading from?

Mrs. BOLTON. I am reading from the quotation of the Economist in London which is an outstanding financial opinion in London.

Mr. JOHNSON. It is not a Government publication.

Mr. Knox. I am perfectly willing to answer, Mr. Chairman. If I were a Britisher I would okay every word in that paragraph you have read. But the decision of whether we shall go in or not is not going to be made in London. It will be made here. Mrs. BOLTON. And that is entirely up to the President.

Mr. Knox. Up to the Congress. Nobody can declare war but the Congress.

Mrs. BOLTON. But we can perhaps convoy ships while we are neutral!

Mr. Knox. No, no. In my judgment that would be an act of war.

Mrs. Bolton. Your judgment is that the power is not granted ununder this bill, the power to convoy is not then granted ?

Mr. Knox. That is my understanding. Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. Secretary, I simply desire to express in contradistinction to the gentleman on the other side who said you were an artful dodger, that you have been candid and frank and have shot straight from the shoulder and I think you have been a great witness and I am glad to know of your wholehearted endorsement of the bill.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Fish.

Mr. FISH. I should like to add to that that the witness has been most cooperative and helpful and most convincing and honest.

Mr. Knox. Thank you.
Mr. TINKHAM. May I be allowed to share that attitude.
The CHAIRMAN. On behalf of the committee we all share that.

Mr. SHANLEY. I have only one purpose, and that is, that out of these hearings will come a bill so that the world and the country will know exactly what we intend to do. Now, you have contributed to that because you have said it was to help England win this war. I think also you have said that it is the attack that wins modern war and that is the greatest lesson we have learned.

Mr. Knox. Yes.

Mr. SHANLEY. Those countries which are at all successful today must have the jump on the others!

Mr. Knox. Yes; most emphatically.

Mr. SHANLEY. I have a substantial number of questions which I would like to ask but which I would ask in executive session, as any questions which I might ask might be embarrassing. I want to thank you for your contribution and confine myself to generalities.

Mr. Knox. Thank you. Mr. SHANLEY. As you understand this bill, in helping England to win the war the only way it can win the war is to give the Executive power, whether he be a Democratic or Republican person and whether he be surrounded by Republicans or another party. You have got to give him power.

Mr. Knox. Yes.

Mr. SHANLEY. Then this thought alone I will leave with you. The legislature cannot put powers of limitation around the Executive especially in the Army and Navy.

Mr. Knox. And especially in a business-like war where you never can tell what is going to transpire. The most surprising situation might arise. If you tie his hands in advance, you cripple the Executive in the functions you want him to perform.

Mr. SHANLEY. Further, if those things are to be obtained quickly and immediately, it has got to be done this way!

Mr. Knox. That is right.

Mr. SHANLEY. May I also say that the protection of the Western Hemisphere is not dependent on the Monroe Doctrine, but is dependent on self-defense, and by this very act we wipe out all prior beliefs and ideologies on neutrality. I think the American people and the public ought to understand that.

Mr. Knox. I am afraid I do not go along with you to that broad extent, Mr. Congressman.

Mr. SHANLEY. Whenever the Executive exercises the power here, he will by that very act annihilate or just abrogate some law we have had on the statute books since 1935.

Mr. Knox. I think this act modifies very definitely our present posture, but I would not say, as I understood you to say, in the immediate present, don't you see?

Mr. SHANLEY. Step by step. We would be giving him the executory power to do this.

Mr. Knox. To help England.
Mr. SHANLEY. To help England.
Mr. Knox. Yes.

Mr. SHANLEY. That is it, exactly. Further, I am glad you brought out the fact that foreign exchange had been practically eliminated. We can get land from England, but the United States cannot go into the real-estate business. In your opinion, is there enough quid pro quo scattered throughout the Empire to satisfy the Chief Executive, in his opinion—and he is a pretty good Yankee David Harum—to be able to get us something for what we may be able to give ?

Mr. Knox. The British Empire is not bankrupt. It has no dollar exchange. But the British Empire is the greatest producer of gold in the world. It has control of great supplies of rubber and tin and of various other commodities which we do not have. There is an abundant field in which to procure quid pro quo for all the help we can give.

Mr. SHANLEY. In your opinion there is enough.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Jarman?
Mr. JARMAN. I have no questions.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Arnold?
Mr. ARNOLD. No questions.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Burgin.

Mr. Burgin. There are not questions that I have checked which the
Secretary has not answered.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Courtney.
Mr. COURTNEY. I have no questions.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Eberharter!
Mr. EBERHARTER. No questions.
Mr. GREGORY. No questions.
Mr. WASIELEWSKI. I feel that the field has been amply covered.
The CHAIRMAN, Mr. Sikes?

« PreviousContinue »