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Mr. EATON. I have no questions.
Mrs. ROGERS. I have one question. Does it not seem to you that this bill would embark the administration upon a policy of enormous expenditures? While it is an authorization bill, as Congressman Fish has said, if we authorize the President, or give him the authority to go ahead and make tremendous commitments to various munitions plants, shipbuilding plants, and so forth, all over the country, we will be under a moral obligation to pay those bills?
Mr. Smith. Yes, Mrs. Rogers; it is very necessary that whenever the President is granted any unusual or extraordinary powers that with the granting of those powers should go a yardstick with which to control those powers.
Mrs. Rogers. In addition to that, the President is authorized to give, or lend, or lease any amount of war commodities, not only to Great Britain but to Greece and China, or any of the so-called democracies that need help for our national defense, and that would mean that, naturally, if he gives our own supplies away, Congress would have to replace those ships and munitions?
Mr. Smith. Naturally, if a certain number of airplanes and soldiers and a certain amount of equipment are necessary to produce what is agreed to by the military experts as a real national-defense program, any dissipation of those supplies would impair our own national defense.
Mrs. Rogers. There must be a place where they are paid for, and there must be appropriations.
Mr. Smith. My impression is that if this bill passes unamended, the President could throw the whole Navy into the English Channel in April.
Mrs. ROGERS. Thank you very much.
Mr. CHIPERFIELD. How do the people that you represent feel toward England?
Mr. Smith. My mail is overwhelmingly in favor of constitutional or justifiable aid to England on the assumption that we love England second, but not first, and, therefore, that with such a law should go a yardstick. I have made up three or four memos of what that yardstick should be, if you want to hear them.
Mr. CHIPERFIELD. I would be glad to hear them.
Mr. Smith. First, we should place a limit on the funds the President may use to aid Britain-I am not going to set an arbitrary sum, but just $1,000,000,000 or $2,000,000,000, since it comes out of the pockets of American taxpayers.
Second, place a limit on the articles the President can turn over to Britain, by exempting those articles which Congress determines are of
vital necessity to our national defense, such as battleships, warships of all kinds, submarines and destroyers alike, and the new cargo ships now being constructed for our own merchant marine, and which are so vitally needed for the American Navy, whether Britain wins or loses.
Third, we should prohibit the use of American warships to convoy any merchant ships to Britain, and this would be in keeping with the President's own declaration that no such convoying is contemplated.
Fourth, prohibit the use of American armed forces in Europe, either aviators, soldiers, or sailors, and this, too, would be in keeping with the President's declaration to Congress.
Fifth, we should provide specifically that Britain need not pay in cash for such items we advance, but rather that she pay us in those raw materials which we so urgently need for our Army, Navy, and national defense-minerals of which she has either a world monopoly or would control; and I suggest such minerals as, say, chrome ore, of which we get 70 percent of our total supply from the British monopoly; or platinum, of which we get 41 percent of our total supply from Britain. I would add nickel, of which Britain has a monopoly, and cobalt, monazite sand, so vitally needed in our gas industry; phosphate, of which Britain has such a tremendous supply and which we must import; rubber, over which Britain has a world monopoly. If these items are not enough to pay for what we intend to give her in munitions, then Congress can include such minerals as asbestos, graphite, mica, shellac, tin, wood pulp, manganese, and vanadium.
Take wood pulp for instance. I am certain Canada would like to help pay for any items we send Britain, and Canada could help pay by giving our Government huge quantities of wood pulp. I am certain our friendly neighbors to the North would welcome such an opportunity to help the Mother Country, even though it meant some sacrifice on their part.
In all such transactions Britain could turn the minerals over to the United States Government-say to the R. F. C. or the Department of Commerce and I am certain every man in this room will agree that Jesse Jones would be able to sell these minerals or distribute them to American industry in a way that would extend the greatest benefits to our national defense.
Mr. CHIPERFIELD. Thank you very much.
Mr. Vorys. Mr. Smith, you said you were not an expert. Do you believe that in subjects like this, where experts differ and where the ultimate decision involves not only military questions but questions of economics, and the kind of government you like and cultural problems, that the ultimate decision must be made by those who are not experts, based on ordinary commonsense and judgment after considering what experts say?
Mr. SMITH. Definitely; inasmuch as these people that are not experts elect public officials.
Mr. Vorys. Well, public officials themselves are not experts either, not all of us Congressmen are experts on military affairs or foreign affairs, or economics, or finances, and so forth, but if it is not understandable to just a common, ordinary person, with good sense, if there is something that such a person cannot understand or cannot be told, then there is something wrong with the proposal; isn't that true?
Mr. Smith. Definitely.
Mr. STEARNS. Mr. Smith, do you not think that it is very important that Members of Congress who are not experts on military and other matters should obtain the best possible information before arriving at any decision, rather than depending on themselves?
Mr. Smith. Yes. I believe that expert opinion belongs both to the Congress and to the people, and should not be confined to executive sessions.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Courtney?
Mr. MUNDT. Mr. Smith, did I understand the chairman brought out in introducing you to us that you were president or chairman of a Committee of One Million?
Mr. SMITH. Yes. I am known as the national chairman.
Mr. Mundt. May I inquire what the purpose of the committee is, its platform and program? Is it a political organization or a nonpartisan organization?
Mr. Smith. It is a nonpartisan, nonsectarian, nonprofit, patriotic organization.
Mr. Mundt. You believe in a program of strong national defense, do you?
Mr. Smith. Not only that, we presented through Senator Vandenberg a petition calling for national defense second to none, signed by over 1,000,000 people.
Mr. MuNDT. Would you say that your committee more or less reflects the position indicated by many polls taken that approximately 9 people out of 10 in America want to keep out of war first and, secondly, provided they can do so and keep out of war, they wish to aid England in her fight?
Mr. Smith. The petition which I have presented by proxy here today demonstrates the fact that more than 2,000,000 people have used our committee as an instrumentality through which to express their convictions against intervention, and in favor of national defense. They represent that section of the population which impresses us as being most positively against war and against intervention, and we believe that they represent by far more than a majority of the people.
Mr. Mundt. Did I understand you to say that those names came from over an area of 18 States?
Mr. Smith. Thirty-eight States?
Mr. Smith. Yes; but the concentrated strength of our committee is between St. Louis and Pittsburgh, and between Louisville and Detroit. As an illustration of the sentiment in the State carrying the greatest load involving national defense, our committee has over 320,000 enlistments in Michigan alone.
Mr. Mundt. That is all; thank you.
Mr. EBERHARTER. I have no questions, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. JONKMAN. Mr. Smith, in your statement which represents the views of your committee, you say you do not trust politicians, and you say that there is a universal feeling that we should continue to aid England. That we are agreed upon?
Mr. SMITH. Yes.
Mr. JONKMAN. Is that feeling based on any other purpose than that it will eventually be to our benefit to do so?
Mr. Smith. I think it is a humanitarian impulse.
Mr. JONKMAN. You think they are willing to take that position that England win, even though it might not involve what would eventually be a good defense for ourselves?
Mr. Smith. The people who write to me do not have the impression that England is our first line of defense, but they do have the impression England is in great pain, and should be helped just as a neighbor should be helped; and, just as a father rescues his own children first, they want America's defense guaranteed first. The people who write to me and support my position believe that this war is England's war.
Mr. JONKMAN. You understand, of course, that that is not the theory of this bill, of a charitable, neighborly act, but the theory underlying this bill is we are justified in aiding England and the other countries because it is for our own defense. In other words, we are destroying that which will eventually attack us.
Mr. Smith. The fact that the bill creates that impression justifies the appearance of the spokesman of our committee in this hearing. I do not agree with that conclusion.
Mr. JONKMAN. You do not agree with that?
Mr. JONKMAN. Do you feel that, as the testimony shows here, the trend in aerial warfare is of peculiar benefit to the United States because it is principally a defense item, and not so well adapted to a military victory in case of attack? In other words, that that is the basis upon which it is claimed that even England, assisted by the United States, in all probability, could not invade or conquer Germany except with an expeditionary force and after a long war?
Mr. SMITH. We believe that the President's position was wrong in his address to Congress when he suggested an Utopian world, through the use of only British, Greek, and Chinese soldiers. We do not believe that what the President desires can be accomplished without American manpower, perhaps not then.
Mr. JONKMAN. I do not believe that exactly answers my question. What I mean to say is that we see that Hitler, with all of his vaunted strength last fall, did not undertake to invade England with a military force. The theory is that it is because it is dufficult to make an invasion based upon aerial strength, and the contention is that inasmuch as that same thing is practically impossible in Germany, it is hardly probable in England. Therefore, our defense lies in that same thing, that a military invasion by aerial power is practically an impossibility, and therein lies the strength of the United States. If they had that confidence that we are not subject to invasion, would they be so much in favor of help to England?
Mr. Smith. Any hysteria that I have encountered in the war is based upon the belief among certain people that we are likely to be invaded by Germany next week or next month.
Mr. JONKMAN. And if that did not exist would they change their position?
Mr. Smith. Definitely.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Smith. We appreciate your coming here.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Fish and I have just decided to sit until 6 o'clock, and then we will recess until 8. So, be guided accordingly.
STATEMENT OF JOHN BURKE, REPRESENTING THE AMERICAN
DEFENSE SOCIETY, NEW YORK CITY
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. John Burke, representing the American Defense Society:
Mr. BURKE. Yes, sir.
Mr. BURKE. I am a member of the advisory committee and chairman of the ways and means committee.
The CHAIRMAN. Then you are right at home in the Ways and Means Committee room. Have you a prepared statement?
Mr. BURKE. Yes; I have, sir, and I gave a few copies to the press, and some more are coming down by plane and will be here later.
The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed with your statement.
Mr. BURKE. The American Defense Society opposes the passage of this bill because it gives to one man, the President of the United States, unlimited public money to spend for unspecified objectives.
In its present form the bill is not a bill to aid Britain, Greece, or China, but a blind grant of autocratic power, while the Nation is still at peace.
The American Defense Society, which was organized in 1915, has but a single objective. That objective is the defense of the Constitution and the American form of government. In 1915 Theodore Roosevelt, as President, called this society “The fighting wing of patriotic citizen effort."
The society's firm opposition to the present bill is based on its conviction that the bill violates the spirit of the Constitution and violently alters the American form of government.
Under the bill, as it stands, Congress is asked to abdicate its constitutional power to declare the policies and apportion the public money of the United States.
The society recognizes the dangers which our own Government faces under present world conditions and is wholeheartedly in accord with (a) the importance of providing for our own proper defense, (6)