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Mr. Vorys. There is no possibility of an attack by Japan upon the continental United States?
Mr. CASTLE. No, sir; none whatever. They might attack the Philippines; that is the worst they could do. I was talking with a naval man the other day who said we probably will have to fight with Japan. He had just been telling me that the Philippines are a dead loss to us. I said, "Why should we fight with Japan?” And he said, "To protect the Philippines.” Of course, if the only danger to the Philippines is the war with Japan, the whole thing goes around in a circle.
Mr. Vorys. So that, when you spoke of an attack by Japan upon us, that is what you meant?
Mr. CASTLE. I meant an attack in the Far East. Mr. VORys. Yes. Mr. Castle. An attack on our ships in the Far East or on the Philippines.
Mr. Vorys. Now, Mr. Castle, you spoke of the tripartite or the Axis agreement. We have been warned here in the past few days repeatedly that we must not place any reliance at all even upon the solemn agreements of the Axis Powers. Now, will you tell me why we must pick out certain of their solemn agreements which happen to be hostile to us and make a total foreign policy in reliance upon their keeping those agreements?
Mr. CASTLE. No; I do not think that is fair to have any trust in them keeping their agreements, but I think they are just as likely to break their agreements with each other as they are likely to break them with other people
Mr. VORYS. And is not that true of others also?
Mr. CASTLE. Yes. I am afraid that outside of the Axis Powers there has been a tremendous amount of the same thing.
Mr. Vores. Now, the United States has, in the past, made efforts to bring about peace, has it not? For instance, we settled the Russo-Japanese War. We made efforts during the World War, and when there was a critical situation in 1921 the United States was very effective in having a little peace conference right here in Washington; is that not true?
Mr. CASTLE. Yes.
Mr. Vorys. Do you know of other examples where the United States has made some sort of peaceful gestures while wars were going on?
Mr. CASTLE. I think that we have often done it very quietly. You have mentioned cases that were published. I think we have often been helpful. It has always seemed to me that at the beginning of this war if we had been properly prepared ourselves, we might have made suggestions as to peace which would have been effective. As it was, they all knew it was just words, words, words.
Mr. Vores. Now, as to a time limit on this act, we cannot repeal a war if we get into it, can we, or if this limitless authorization results in bankruptcy, we cannot repeal the bankruptcy, can we?
Mr. CASTLE. No.
Mr. VoRys. If we get into a state of dictatorship, that is something that we can't just repeal, is not that true?
Mr. CASTLE. That is true.
Mr. VORYS. So that a time limitation is a rather thin reed to lean on as a protection against the misuse of extraordinary powers?
Mr. CASTLE. Well, it is at least something; I do not think it is sufficient. Of course, I do not think, as probably you do not, that such extraordinary powers should be given.
Mr. Vores. I certainly do not. You are familiar, I presume, with the Declaration of Panama and the agreement which we have made recently with our neighboring republics?
Mr. CASTLE. Yes.
Mr. VoRys. And, I note in the Declaration of Panama that there is an agreement among all of us that we will not outfit belligerent ships in our ports.
Mr. CASTLE. Yes.
Mr. Vores. Now, in your opinion, is section 3 of this bill, which permits this Government to outfit ships, belligerent ships, in our ports, à violation of our agreement with our 20 neighboring American republics?
Mr. Castle. It is wholly in conflict with that agreement. If we did such a thing without either getting them to abrogate the agreement, or getting them to amend the agreement, we should probably get into very serious trouble with a good many of those nations.
Mr. Vorys. I do not know whether you know it, but the Secretary of State says that they have not been consulted on that matter as yet.
Now, you were asked about the powers in this bill. Let me read to you, omitting certain words in between, just these words in section 3:
Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, the President may procure any defense article for the government of any country whose defense the President deems vital.
Then, let me read these words:
Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, the President may dispose of, to any such government, any defense article.
Now, in your opinion as a lawyer, is there anything short of the bold provisions of the Constitution that would prevent the President from seizing anything in this country, so long as he said he was getting it for some other country?
Mr. CASTLE. No; nothing.
Mr. Vorys. That is, this would in terms repeal the laws against theft, or any other laws that we have, to permit the President simply to take anything in this country, so long as it was for some other country, is that not true?
Mr. Castle. So far as I can see it; yes; absolutely true.
Mr. Vorys. You know of no legal limitations upon these terms, so that "disposal” means to give it any way he pleases to the other countries?
Mr. CASTLE. No; it seems to me perfectly clear. The only thing, Mr. Vorys, is that you are too polite to me, because you say that I am a lawyer, and I am not. I am looking at it from the view, the common-sense view, of a layman, and I do not see anything else.
Mr. STEARNS. May I ask whether the witness considers that a compliment as a layman?
Mr. CASTLE. Oh, yes; I do.
Mrs. ROGERS. May I say that I think there are probably few people in the country who have made as much of a study of international law and foreign relations as the witness.
Mr. Vores. Section 4 says that
All contracts made for the disposition of any defense article or defense information shall contain a clause by which the foreign government undertakes that it will not, without the consent of the President, transfer title to or possession of such defense article or defense information by gift, sale, or otherwise, or permit its use by anyone not an officer, employee, or agent of such foreign government.
Well, suppose we delivered some howitzers out of our arsenals, can you tell us what sort of contract we could require that would prevent those guns in a British battery that was, we will say, destroyed in action, from getting into the enemy's hands?
Mr. CASTLE. Of course, nothing can be done. I mean, that is the danger of that particular article, in my mind, that if we, for example, turn over a very secret bomb sight to the British and the Germans happen to seize it, that is the end of it, so far as we are concerned. I do not think the British would be held legally to have violated the contract, but we would be the ones who would be out.
Mr. VORYS. Can you think of any contract or agreement we could require that would prevent an American-delivered plane from being disposed of to Germany by crashing when its motors go out?
Mr. CASTLE. No, sir.
Mr. CASTLE. They could not sell to Germany; probably they would
Mr. VoRys. But there is no writing that can be prepared which would prevent their disposing of it, or having it taken from them by force?
Mr. CASTLE. Nothing in the world.
Mr. Vorys. Along that line, Mr. Castle, it has been testified by all of our Cabinet officers here that really the sole reason for our going into this sort of aid to Britain is that the British Fleet is vital to our defense, but that we would have no control with reference to the disposition of the British Fleet?
Mr. CASTLE. Yes.
Mr. VORYS. Those officers have said that no agreement we could make with reference to the fleet would be binding or effective under all circumstances.
Mr. CASTLE. Yes.
Mr. VoRys. Well, if we cannot make an agreement with reference to the British Fleet, can you think of any agreement we could make with reference to anything else that would be effective?
Mr. CASTLE. I cannot. I think the British Fleet, however, is unlikely, as a whole, to be captured. I think the talk about the fleet has been what is going to happen to us if they give it over to the Germans, if Germany should win and the British should surrender their fleet. Now, as I understand it, they have said that they would not surrender their fleet, but if they are the kind of people who would surrender it, I do not think we want to help as much as we are trying to.
Mr. VoRys. Is not the best insurance as to the disposition of the British Fleet the British people themselves, and their own dominance?
Mr. CASTLE. Exactly, and I agree that I have great trust in them. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Burgin.
Mr. BURGIN. Mr. Castle, you say you are in favor of aid to Britain. In what way?
Mr. CASTLE. In what way am I in favor of it?
Mr. CASTLE. I am in favor of letting them have all the war materials that they can get in this country through private manufacturers. If Congress decides to repeal the Johnson Act, or if Congress decides on some other method by which we could lend money to the British, I have no particular objection to that.
Mr. Burgin. Would you be in favor of it if it is necessary to repeal the Johnson Act?
Mr. CASTLE. I do not want to see the Johnson Act repealed, but I can envisage circumstances where, in time of crisis, that might be the thing to do.
Mr. BURGIN. Would you be in favor of that if it were necessary to save Britain from danger?
Mr. Castle. If it were necessary to save Britain, but it would take a lot of argument to make me believe that such a thing would be necessary. I mean, it seems to me in Britain at the present time we have got little time. This thing is likely to be more or less decided one way or the other fairly soon, and I do not think the repeal of the Johnson Act would affect the situation at the present day:
Mr. Burgin. Would that, in your opinion, be an infringement of international law?
Mr. Castle. The repeal of the act?
Mr. Burgin. No; aid to Britain, repealing the act, letting them have money?
Mr. Castle. No; that would not be an infringement of the international law, if changing the law as to the shipment of munitions has not been taken as an infringement of international law. If that has not been the other would not be.
Mr. Burgin. I understood you to say that you would set up a private corporation and let the Government loan money to a private corporation, and they could loan it to Britain. That would be the same thing, would it not?
Mr. CASTLE. No; I did not say that.
Mr. Burgin. You are of the opinion that the President should have declared an embargo in the Japanese-Chinese War, I believe. I think I heard you say that over the radio one night in a speech on the Neutrality Act.
Mr. CASTLE. I do not think he should have declared an embargo. Is that the question?
Mr. BURGIN. Yes.
Mr. Castle. No; because I felt that that might well lead to war if he did it, and I did not feel it ought to be done. I think what you heard me say is this: That if, at the very beginning of the trouble in the Far East we had taken a very definite position and stuck to it, it would have been much better. We have a tremendous amount of pin-pricking that has been done. I think that we have now gotten Japan into a very nervous and excitable frame of mind, where the situation is dangerous.
Mr. BURGIN. What about China?
Mr. BURGIN. Our present policy not to place an embargo has assisted China, has it not?
Mr. Castle. I do not think it has at all. If I thought it had, that might change my opinion, but I do not think it has in any way.
Mr. BURGIN. You rather lean to the opinion that Japan should dominate in the Pacific, do you not?
Mr. CASTLE. No; I do not to that opinion, but I think that Japan, being the most progressive and forward-looking, is likely to dominate, whatever we say about it, and I think if we were in pretty good relations with Japan we might be able to quiet them in a way that we cannot possibly do if they are looking upon us as their enemy. I may be quite wrong in that, but this has nothing to do with the point at issue.
Mr. BURGIN. You feel that the people as a whole have not been aroused to this situation?
Mr. Castle. You mean the situation in Europe?
Mr. CASTLE. Oh, yes; I think the people as a whole are very, very keenly alive to the situation. So far as this particular bill is concerned, I think the people as a whole are not awake to quite the implications of the bill.
Mr. BURGIN. You mentioned in your opening statement that measures here have failed to aid England.
Mr. CASTLE. Yes.
Mr. BURGIN. And both candidates of the major parties made an issue of it in the campaign.
Mr. CASTLE. That is true, and then I spoke of the fact that in the polls there was an overwhelming desire to aid England, and an equally overwhelming desire to keep out of war.
Mr. BURGin. Do you have any opinion that you could express to this committee as to what is aid short of war, aid to Britain short of
Mr. CASTLE. Well, we have been discussing various angles of that. Certainly anything that we can sell privately to Britain is the greatest help to them possible. That has nothing to do with war.
Mr. BURGIN. I know, but when they run out of anything to pay for it with.
Mr. CASTLE. They have not run out yet.
Mr. BURGIN. They make the statement here that they will real soon.
Mr. CASTLE. In about a year. Well, let us face the issue then.
Mr. Burgin. You do not feel that the people are thoroughly aroused enough to go any further now?
Mr. CASTLE. No; I do not.
Mr. STEARNS. You referred to the fact that the British Parliament was continuing to function, even though Great Britain is actually at war.
Mr. CASTLE. Yes.