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United Kingdom and the British Empire. These are the official figures published by the Department of Commerce.
Prophesy is not a very thankful activity to indulge in, but I am willing to go on the record with a little prophecy. If we don't make an all-out effort to prevent the subjugation of Britain, Britain will be defeated; and if Britain is defeated, the United States will shortly be completely encircled. In other words, we will have lost a war without fighting it.
And I can say this—that there has been no previous Congress in American history who would ever have let that happen.
I would like to point out that in this war the progress of Nazi victory is not arithmetical but geometrical. By this I mean that the Nazis are not knocking out one country after another, but are adding each country to the forces with which to intimidate the next one. Czechoslovakia subjected was not out of the war, but was an arsenal for the attack on Poland. Poland subjected was not out of the war, but furnished an enormous source of labor supply for German fields, thus releasing further men for the armament factories and armies. France defeated is not out of the war. Her factories are all running full blast, and her air and naval bases are being used for the German attack on England. And Great Britain subjected would not be out of the war but would be the base from which the Germans seek the domination of the Atlantic Ocean.
I can tell you, on German authority, reliable, though it cannot be quoted, what the peace aims of Germany at this moment would probably be. If Great Britain should negotiate a peace now, the Germans will put a puppet government in England, and will occupy the west coast of Ireland facing us, and will use the British fleet, the Netherlands, Norwegian, and French fleets, in alliance with the Japaneseand that means all the fleets of the world—to back their own sort of deal with us. And if fleets don't count any more, why are we building a two-ocean navy? We will go absolutely bankrupt competing with an alliance like that. We are a big country only relative to a great many independent States. We would no longer be a big country in that kind of a set-up. We would no longer be a big country at all. There are 130,000,000 Americans. There are 400,000,000 or at least 350,000,000 in western Europe, leaving Russia out of account.
To render a country impotent, an enemy does not have to make the whole of its people favorable to him, or, for that matter, any of its people. He only has to persuade a section of them that his triumph is a lesser evil than the things involved in resisting him. And if he can get that over, he renders a country impotent to resist him, because it becomes divided and afraid.
I am going to cut short what I had to say. I was invited by a member of your committee to come here. Had I had more time, I would have made it shorter.
But I would like to say that we must not forget the political and revolutionary tactics of Hitler. I was in France this spring. France was not defeated. France collapsed. She did not have enough guns and airplanes. That is perfectly true. But the reason she didn't have guns and airplanes was that France had never really made up her mind whether wholeheartedly to resist Hitler or to make a deal with him.
If we follow the same line, we will have dealt a very serious blow to democracy right here on this soil. I doubt whether we would survive it as a democracy, because people cannot live with divided minds. You cannot say that you believe in freedom and democracy and then help to destroy it somewhere else. You have got to justify what you do in your own mind. And the justification makes you an apologist for nazi-ism.
We are listening to an enormous amount of Nazi propaganda spread and swallowed by people many of whom don't know that they are making it, and most of whom don't know that they are swallowing it. The Nazis are not making any propaganda in this country for their way of life. They are concentrating entirely on attacking the British and preaching isolation. At the same time they are establishing contacts in the business world and holding out glowing promises of markets once the war is over. And they are talking about peace. If they are so sure they are going to win the war even if we go all out for support of Great Britain, why are they talking about peace?
Now, to go back to the military situation, which cannot be divorced from the political and revolutionary tactics of the Nazis: In case of a German victory the following things are going to happen:
First, there will be no frontal attack on the United States, and no attempt at invasion at this time. There will be, and immediately, a tremendous penetration of South America and of this country.
If Britain collapses, in all probability the South American countries will say to us, "Gentlemen, we prefer to go along with you; but will you please take our 2,000,000 bales of cotton, our cottonseed oil, our 200,000,000 bushels of corn, our 100,000,000 bushels of wheat, our thousands of tons of beef, our cotton, and our oil?”
What will the farmers and the producers of America say in this event? They will say, "No."
Then we have two choices. We can buy up the products of South America at an annual cost of hundreds of millions and dump them in the ocean. Or we can string our Navy around South America and refuse to let the South Americans trade with anybody.
The consequence, therefore, would be that South America would have to trade with Hitler, who would control her entire markets apart from us; that is, Great Britain and America. And, inasmuch as it is Hitler's system when he becomes a buyer also to become the dominant partner in the concern, it follows that no navy in the world could prevent him from becoming the master of South America without firing a single shot. Every single wholesale commercial penetration of the Nazis has ended in the long run by their controlling the countries politically as well.
It would be very easy in South America. There are millions of Germans, Italians, and Spaniards in South America already. All the influential commercial and plantation interests would have to be on the side of a Nazi-dominated Europe or starve. They would rapidly come to control the governments of the republics, and they would be supported and armed by German technical commercial and military advisers, who would shortly have control there as they have in Spain at this moment.
And I don't know what we could do about this. If we tried to prevent it, we would be branded as aggressors, as the Colossus of the North picking on little states; and Germany would become their defender. That is what she intends to do.
I read a very informative and very able article on the ancient road systems in Latin America built by the Aztecs. I learned that Dr. Todt, the man who built the German autostrassen, the new road systems that have been so effective an aid to Hitler's war plans, has had a commission in South America studying the problem of building a really integrated road system there. This in the middle of the conquest of Europe.
Germany has Spain in a stranglehold by the process of what she quaintly called “nonintervention, supporting one Spanish government at the cost of another, and, incidentally, supporting both sides in the Spanish war. And that is what she will do in South America, taking as payment the right to control pivotal commercial airlines, ports, and airdromes. Why not? With all of South America's European outlets for goods in her hands, she will be able to do pretty much as she pleases.
I may say, gentlemen, I am also for a peace offensive. I think that we show singularly little political imagination in letting Hitler capture the peace offensive. I think we ought to come out for a federation of European states and an interlocking federation with a federated English-speaking world. That would mean peace between all the parts of western civilization, it would satisfy any normal German demand, and it would mean world peace for centuries. You will never be able to reestablish the status quo ante of 1939; and if that status quo had been all right, this war would never have occurred.
Furthermore, great and constructive thinking along these lines, very precise thinking, is going on in all the European countries, even the subjected ones, and in Britain. But you can't get that peace, or anything like it, or any peace at all—you will get nothing but chaos, break-down, conquest, and war—until the forces are strong enough so that Hitler can be intimidated, instead of his doing all the intimidating. And that is not a matter of years; it's a matter of months.
Furthermore, you must not think that there are no forces in Germany itself that are greatly worried about the outcome of things. I would give a good deal for a frank conversation with several men in high places in Germany. There are great political factors on the side of a just peace, providing, and only providing, that the distribution of power can be shifted. Don't forget that there is immense passive resistance in every single conquered European country, which is being held upright now wholly by the American attitude. Every strengthening here strengthens them, and every weakening weakens them. The political and revolutionary factors are so great in this war that they must be kept sight of every minute.
I should like to say finally that one of the greatest things in the American Constitution is the power that it gives the President in an emergency vis-a-vis other nations. These powers were given him after long discussion and the most earnest consideration, and are one of the reasons that this country has survived for 150 years without radical reconstruction, unlike any other republic. We are the only republic in which the elected head of the state is Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, and at the same time fulfills the functions of a prime minister. The founding fathers designed it so because they foresaw the intense necessity of unity of command in case of foreign threats.
I read three articles in the Federalist papers which deal with that at length and very convincingly. As I see it, in this bill the President
is asking for additional powers to back him up in his constitutional position; not additional powers so much as a definition of how he wishes to use the powers that he has as Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy.
There are times when unified authority and command are absolutely essential to swiftness and efficiency of political and military action. Something that is effective tomorrow may not be at all effective next week. And there never was a moment in our history more acute than this one. If Britain falls, this amount of centralized authority will not do for the situation we shall have on our hands in this country. We shall then be right up against the life or death of the American Republic, in my opinion.
That is all I have to say, The CHAIRMAN. The Chair wishes to say that it is against the rules of the committee to show any demonstration or approval on one side or the other. Of course I know it is very nice. I have felt like applauding myself.
Mr. Fish. Miss Thompson, I listened with much interest to your very able statement. I would like to know if you are in favor of our participation in the war?
Miss THOMPSON, Mr. Fish, I am in favor of preserving the freedom and independence of the United States of America, without war if possible, with war if necessary.
May 1 answer a question that you asked the gentleman, which he did not answer?
Mr. Fish. I would rather have you answer my questions.
Miss THOMPSON. If you wish me to go into it further I think we still have a chance of winning this war without fighting with actual belligerence in Europe, and I am counting on that chance, but not 100 percent; that is personal opinion. It is not the opinion of others.
Mr. Fish. Would you be in favor of our going to war to prevent the invasion of Ireland?
Miss THOMPSON. Mr. Fish, you ask rhetorical questions which are difficult to answer. I would be in favor of our going to war under certain circumstances. I am not in favor of our going to war tomorrow morning. I think that if we mobilized our industrial, economic, and political resources, that we can win this war without going to war. I think we have gone to war, in one sense of the word, already. I don't think that we are neutral, if you call that going to war. This is a very weird world. There is not any war in China, you know, as far as that is concerned. I would like to answer the question that you asked of the gentleman, because I think it is
Mr. Fish. I am perfectly willing if the committee is.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, Miss Thompson will be permitted to answer the question.
Miss THOMPSON. The question that Mr. Fish asked was whether any act of agression has been committed against this country by Germany. I think it is a very interesting question. I answer the question.
If you think in terms of the modern revolutionary tactics of warfare; yes, "sir. The Germans have organized in this country uniformed military groups for the purpose of changing the Government of the United States. I call that an act of aggression.
We haven't got anything in our law against it-
Miss THOMPSON. No; I am not in favor of going to war, Mr. Fish, if we can save our freedom and independence by not going to war.
Mr. FISH. Do you make any difference between acts of aggression between Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany?
Miss THOMPSON. I am not afraid of Soviet Russia and I am of Nazi Germany, that is the difference.
Mr. Fish. The reason I asked you, Miss Thompson, the question about Ireland, was because you referred to Ireland.
Miss THOMPSON. I think the occupation, the German occupation, and the use of the British Fleet from the west coast of Ireland would be very serious for us, that is why I referred to it. They will bottle up the Channel ports, and they will occupy the west coast of Ireland and take bases there. That happens to be the nearest place facing us. That is why I think it is important, not because I have any particular love or hate toward the Irish.
Mr. Fish. My question was, therefore, if they did this thing, which you referred to, would you be in favor of going to war?
Miss THOMPSON. That would depend upon the political-you cannot answer a question like that. It would depend upon-no, Mr. Fish, you can let me give you an illustration. I sat in the office of the Prime Minister of Hungary, 6 months ago, and I said, “What are you going to do, Mr. Teleki, if the Germans send you an ultimatum tomorrow morning?” And he said, "I will answer you honestly. I do not know. It will depend upon the exact military and strategical and political position of the moment."
Now, that is the only way one can answer that question.
Mr. Fish. Do you believe in underwriting the war policy of Great Britain without knowing what it is?
Miss THOMPSON. I don't believe in underwriting anybody's policy. I believe in our making a policy of our own, which Great Britain, 1 am quite sure, will be willing to underwrite, since she is just as dependent on us as we are upon her.
Mr. Fish. Just one more question, Miss Thompson. You were quoted in the Washington Post, of the 20th of last month, as saying this:
I would not lift a finger to save the British Empire as presently constituted, nor restore a Balkanized Europe in order to destroy Germany.
Miss THOMPSON. Correct. I do not believe the British Empire as at present constituted can survive the next 20 years. I don't believe that that Balkanized Europe ever was desirable, although we helped to make it.
What was the other thing that I said?
I think we have got to make a new order in this world, and I do not want to see Germany divided and destroyed.
Mr. JOHNSON. Are you in favor of this bill?
Mr. JOHNSON. You think it is necessary that it should be passed speedily?
Miss THOMPSON. Very.
Mr. Johnson. You think that aid to England is necessary for our own self-defense?
Miss THOMPSON. Absolutely.