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committee back to the Congress; the placing of the act upon the calendar; debate in the Lower House of Congress; debate in another branch of the legislature where debate is unlimited. And you realize that necessarily there would be delays in effecting the very purpose that we are trying to effect by this bill.
Mr. CASTLE. No; I am sorry to say that I do not, because I think that any action which might be taken by the President which is beyond that which he already has the right to take ought to be debated with the utmost care. Now, any act which would be an act of war such as convoying ships for example, through the war zone should be debated very carefully by the Congress. I should not want to put that in the hands of anybody to decide offhand.
Mr. KEE. You do not mean to say, Mr. Castle, that you interpret this bill as empowering the President to order ships to be convoyed by our war vessels to Great Britain, do you?
Mr. CASTLE. I cannot read the bill in any other way except to give him that power if he wants to take it.
Mr. KEE. Will you kindly refer me to the section of the bill that you consider as giving him that power?
Mr. CASTLE. I have not the bill here. But where it says, for example, "in spite of all other laws"-I think that would give him that power. Mr. KEE. You now have a copy of the bill which has been handed
Will you just glance at the bill, Mr. Castle, and see? Mr. Castle. Of course, I am not saying the bill specifically says that. No; but I think section 3 throughout gives him a very clear permission to do almost anything.
Mr. KEE. Will you read the paragraph, please, that you refer to?
Mr. CASTLE. Well, it gives him the power to authorize the Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Navy, or the head of any other Department or agency of the Government:
(1) To manufacture in arsenals, factories, and shipyards under their jurisdiction, or otherwise procure, any defense article for the government of any country whose defense the President deems vital to the defense of the United States.
(2) To sell. transfer, exchange, lease, lend, or otherwise dispose of, to any such government any defense article.
(3) To test, inspect, prove, repair, outfit, recondition, or otherwise to place in good working order any defense article for any such government.
(4) To communicate to any such government any defense information, pertaining to any defense article furnished to such government under paragraph (2) of this subsection.
(5) To release for export any defense article to any such government.
That does not specifically say that he can do that. But you remember in his press conference the other day when the President was asked whether he might do that, he said, "No; but I think I have the authority to do it without the bill.”
Mr. KEE. That may be true. But this bill does not either indirectly or directly, specifically or otherwise, confer that authority upon him by any language that you can find there. You do not find any such language?
Mr. CASTLE. I do not find that language; certainly not.
Mr. KEE. Mr. Castle, you spoke about your objection to conferring upon the President authority, we will say, to give away the American Navy. Do you think any American citizen however much authority
he might have, much less the President, would give away the American Navy?
Mr. CASTLE. The whole Navy? No; not unless it was felt it was the best way to defend the United States. And the President could do that if he felt the best defense of the United States was to turn the Navy over to Great Britain.
Mr. KEE. You have not any idea in your mind at this time that the President would at any time give away the American Navy?
Mr. CASTLE. The entire Navy? Certainly not. But he gave away 50 destroyers.
Mr. KEE. I differ with you there. You do not quite mean that, do you, Mr. Castle?
Mr. CASTLE. Well, we got a quid pro quo. Mr. KEE. You thought we got pretty good consideration for the 50 destroyers?
Mr. CASTLE. We got some leases in return.
Mr. CASTLE I think it was at a time when, needing the bases and Great Britain needing our help, we might have made a very good bargain and taken over some of those British territories which would have saved them for all time.
Mr. KEE. You mean just to hold Britain up and take them?
Mr. Tinkham. I have two questions, Mr. Castle. Using the term or the terms “interventionist” and “noninterventionist” would you say Mr. Stimson has been known as an interventionist for a long time?
Mr. Castle. I suppose the country has considered him such, yes; for a long time.
Mr. TINKHAM. Would you not consider, using the term, that he is now an interventionist?
Mr. CASTLE. I would consider--well, it is a term, Mr. Tinkham, that is almost impossible to define. I think Mr. Stimson would go a great deal further than I would in trying to tell other nations what they ought to do. I call that intervening in their business.
Mr. TINKHAM. I think I am correct in stating that he said he would approve of convoys of vessels to England, and I think he went further than that and he said he would object to having a clause put in the bill which would forbid the President to transfer parts of the Navy that he thought might be desirable.
Mr. Castle. I was told that he said that in his testimony. I did not hear it.
Mr. TINKHAM. You would call him an interventionist without limit?
Mr. JOHNSON. I object to the witness being called upon to label or designate his former boss as an interventionist.
Mr. CASTLE. Thank you, Mr. Johnson.
Reference has been made to the breaches of international law by certain countries. During this war has England violated any international law that you know of or that has been brought to your attention?
Mr. CASTLE. Has England violated any?
Mr. CASTLE. I do not remember any. I do not remember any violations.
Mr. TINKHAM. You do not remember any violations?
Mr. RICHARDS. Mr. Castle, I had a few questions that have been already asked you. I would like to follow up a question asked you by Mr. Tinkham. He asked you whether or not England had violated any international law. I understood you to say you did not recall. At this time I would like to ask you the question: Do you not think Hitler himself has violated almost every international law?
Mr. CASTLE. Well, he has certainly violated a great many.
Mr. RICHARDS. Mr. Castle, I am glad to have you here. As I recall, you appeared before our committee on some two or three occasions; have you not?
Mr. CASTLE. I think so. Yes. Many years ago. Mr. RICHARDS. You do not presume to be an authority on naval affairs?
Mr. CASTLE. I do not.
Mr. RICHARDS. You do claim, you do assume to know something about international law and the Constitution of the country?
Mr. CASTLE. I have studied a great deal; certainly.
Mr. RICHARDS. For the last few days we have not heard much said about international law before this committee, because everybody assumed it had gone out of the window entirely. I want to ask you in view of the fact that the Pact of Paris, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, a good many nations signed that pact; did not that pact itself become a part of international law so far as the signatories of that pact were concerned?
Mr. CASTLE. Yes; it did.
Mr. RICHARDS. Now, Mr. Fish asked you, I believe, was there anything in that pact that made it obligatory upon the signatories of that pact to take affirmative action in case any one of those signers violated the terms of the pact. I believe you said you did not know of anything compelling them to take affirmative action?
Mr. CASTLE. May I state just this?
Mr. CASTLE. What Mr. Fish asked was whether there was anything in the pact that made it necessary for us to take affirmative action.
Mr. RICHARDS. Yes.
Mr. CASTLE. He did not say any nation, because there has always been a certain school which felt that because that pact originated in this country we ought to try to enforce it.
Mr. RICHARDS. The United States of America was one of the signatories? Mr. CASTLE. Surely.
Mr. RICHARDS. And therefore we would be obligated in the same way that the other signers of the pact were?
Mr. CASTLE. To observe the pact; yes.
Now, if that pact did not make it mandatory on the signatories to take affirmative action in the case of a violation by any one of the signers, it certainly left each signatory free to take such action as it saw fit to offset that violation, did it not?
Mr. CASTLE. Surely. In other words, it did not change international law when the pact itself had gone out of the window.
Mr. RICHARDS. Then was not the principle established at that time so far as international law is concerned, that when a nation or a group of nations violated international law, that that released the other nations of the pact from being obligated in case that violation occurred?
Mr. Castle. There was, of course, nothing in the pact to define that. There was nothing whatever. The pact was supposed to be more than anything else a moral signpost to the different nations which signed it.
Mr. RICHARDS. But there was something in the pact releasing them or tending to do what the signatories could do in case one of the nations, that is, one of the signers, became an aggressor nation against another nation?
Mr. CASTLE. No. Mr. RICHARDS. Or if it invaded another nation? Mr. CASTLE. No; there was nothing to that effect, as I remember. The only thing that it was supposed to do, that is, the only thing that they were supposed to do was to consult if one nation did attack another nation.
Mr. RICHARDS. That is right. If one nation did attack another nation. What was the provision in case a nation did attack another nation?
Mr. CASTLE. I cannot tell you offhand. I wish I had the pact right here. It was two short paragraphs. There were no affirmative actions demanded in any case.
Mr. RICHARDS. But if left the nations, the signatories of the pact, free to take affirmative action if they considered it was to their best interests to do so?
Mr. CASTLE. The moment the pact was voided we returned straight to the general rules of international law; certainly.
Mr. RICHARDS. Well, now, do you mean to say you interpret international law to be, when the whole world is flaunting international law into the face of anybody saying, "We do not care anything about it"—that with our high ideals we are to observe it even though it endangers our national security?
Mr. CASTLE. No, sir; I do not.
Mr. CASTLE. I do not mean that at all. I mean it has nothing to do, as I see it, with the Kellogg-Briand Pact.
Mr. RICHARDS. As a matter of fact, it has been the history of war that belligerents violate international law whenever it is to their best interests to do so, is it not?
Mr. CASTLE. There has been too much of that.
Mr. RICHARDS. Now, did you testify before this committee when the neutrality bill came up? I think it was in 1935.
The CHAIRMAN. 1937.
The CHAIRMAN. You certainly did. Your statement is in the record. I think you appeared in 1935 and also at the later one.
Mr. SHANLEY. That is 1939?
Mr. RICHARDS. Were you in favor of the so-called old Neutrality Act?
Mr. CASTLE. I was in favor of parts of it, part of it. For example, in 1935, I was never in favor of the prohibition on the export of arms.
Mr. RICHARDS. That act worked pretty well, did it not? And in that act it was necessary to vest large discretionary powers in the President to secure reasonably successful operation of the act, was it not?
Mr. CASTLE. Yes; large discretionary powers were vested in the President, in that he was to have the say, as I remember, whether a state of war existed. And I have always felt that he made a bad mistake in not saying a state of war existed between Japan and China.
Mr. RICHARDS. And that he should declare certain things when he determined in his judgment that a state of war exists?
Mr. CASTLE. Yes.
Mr. RICHARDS. Now, can you conceive of any larger discretionary power than to determine when a state of war exists, to leave it to the President to say when a state of war exists. When, as a matter of fact, the President could nullify the whole thing by betraying the confidence which the American people placed in him.
Mr. CASTLE. I said, to begin with, in all my writing and talking on the bill, I thought that discretion given to the President was most unwise.
Mr. RICHARDS. Well, the discretion that he exercised under that did not endanger the security of this country so far as you are able to say, did it?
Mr. CASTLE. The only thing it endangered the security of the country, as I see it, was to give him the right to say a war exists or does not exist. After he decided that it did exist he was ordered under the bill to do certain things. He had very little discretion, sir.
Mr. RICHARDS. That does not vary the fact that this Congress has found it was necessary in all their discussion on this subject during the last few years to vest discretionary powers in the President, does it? That is, whether it was wise or unwise, they have done that.