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in the British reviews, a great deal of very, very precise and very able thought about the reconstruction of Europe.
Mr. Vorys. But a peace offensive could be very effectively and openly carried on, could it not, without being an appeasement sort of thing?
Miss THOMPSON. Yes. What is Mr. Hitler's peace plan? We do not know. He is not telling the world what his new order is—as a matter of fact I am not sure that he knows. There are about three different designs for a new germanic order in Europe, and they are more or less in contradiction with each other, but they all imply the complete domination of the whole of the European continent by Germany and that means the domination of western Russia; it means the domination of Africa, because the whole of Africa is a European colony; and it means the domination of the Atlantic.
That is Hitler's program, it is a program of domination. Now, the only thing that can be opposed to it is a program of freedom and integration through some sort of federative system.
We ought never again to stand for the establishment of all of those tiny little sovereign states in Europe, with complete sovereignty, with customs barriers, their own money, and all of that sort of thing. It was a mistake then, and it is impossible now, because they, themselves, know it at long last. None of them even want 100 percent independence. They want federation, their particular form of a United States of Europe, which would certainly be very different from ours, because it would probably be not nearly as uniform and centralized, but would be united on things like defense, currency, an integrated banking system, and several interlocking political federations.
Those at least are the things being discussed, and they are in the minds of people like the Prime Minister of Hungary, a very able man in an awfully bad spot, and of the suppressed governments of the free Atlantic states like Holland and Belgium-very radical political thinking, and not so radical to us because we did a lot of that thinking 100 years ago, and it is too bad we did not do a little more preaching about it.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Stearns. Mr. STEARNS. Miss Thompson, I understand that you are in favor of this bill?
Miss Thompson. I am in favor of the bill. I would not be opposed to certain limitations on its duration.
Mr. STEARNS. Limitations? Are there any other amendments? Miss THOMPSON. No.
Mr. STEARNS. The question of the amount of money possibly involved, of course it is not an appropriation bill, but do you believe that there should be any ceiling named?
Miss THOMPSON. It seems to me we have appropriated more money now than we can possibly spend before it is too late to be used. No; that does not concern me particularly.
I am in favor of whatever makes it possible to move very quickly, and to take action in view of the whole political situation, and the military situation.
Mr. STEARNS. That is all.
Mr. EBERHARTER. Miss Thompson, we very often hear a demand that England specifically state her war aims. Now, do you believe that such a demand by even the most innocent people is encouraged by Hitler and is encouraging and helpful to him and his aims?
Miss THOMPSON. Well, I do not know that I think that; no.
Mr. EBERHARTER. Do you think it is perfectly all right that a demand be made of England that she state her war aims rather specifically?
Miss THOMPSON. No; because I do not think that England can make her war aims apart from us. I think that until our relations, vis a vis Europe and vis a vis the British Commonwealth are clear, the British Empire, or Great Britain cannot make any war aims that make sense. I believe the center of power of the English-speaking world is moving to the United States, and I do not think that Great Britain can make any aims without us, except in harmony with us, that will hold water for a second.
Mr. EBERHARTER. Thank you very much. That is all, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Mundt.
Mr. MUNDT. Did you say that if England fell you thought that this country might be in danger of a civil war, added to all of these hair raisings that you enumerated?
Miss THOMPSON. I said that the Nazis intend to foment a civil war in this country; that is part of their program. Their idea is that if this country is isolated, and it remains the last democracy that will be a wonderful success story to sell to our people. It is being sold today already to a great many people.
What they plan to do is first of all to bring great economic pressure on this country. They will control all of our markets outside of the United States even in this hemisphere, and they think, by economic pressure and military threat, that they can stir up the elements in this country who want to make trouble.
Mr. Mundt. I recognize that they have a great many delusions of grandeur over there, but do you think that they can succeed in stirring up a civil war in this country?
Miss THOMPSON. Well, I think that if they win an outright victory there will be a terrific economic situation in this country; there will be a terrible stock-market collapse; there will be problems of labor, employment, and so on. I do not want to say that I think there is going to be a civil war. Of course I am not going to say anything of the kind, but I think that we will have a difficult and serious internal situation in the United States.
Mr. Mundt. And if England should lose, do you think the fleet might go to the totalitarian powers?
Miss THOMPSON. Yes, I do. Look at the situation. You can draw a parallel with France to a certain extent, the French Fleet has not yet wholly gone to the totalitarian powers, but it stands off there because there is still some sort of chance with Britain fighting. Don't forget Britain is still fighting for France. There is still that sort of chance, so that even France, with the Vichy Government in Mr. Hitler's pocket as it is, has something that Mr. Hitler cannot get his hands on.
But if we let Britain down and aren't in the war, why should she send us her fleet?
Mr. MUNDT. Then you think there is a possibility?
Miss Thompson. There are two possibilities. I am just thinking in logic now. One is that England, facing defeat, makes a deal with Hitler, there are always some people in every country who will try to make a deal with Hitler, there are some in this country, there are some in every country, and they may say, “Well, now, the only thing that is worth thinking of”—which is exactly what Marshall Petain thought, and I myself cannot blame him wholly-_“is what can we get out of it for Britain."
There is a perfectly good possibility that with that kind of a government, the Germans will say, “Give us the fleet and we will let you keep this and this and this," and Germany always does those things. She tries to buy people off. Besides, she would have the British people as a hostage for the fleet.
Mr. Mundt. Following that philosophy, my point is this: Is not there an aptitude that it might be bad defense policy on the part of the United States to send part of our fleet to Great Britain unless we are determined to follow up on that to bring about our entrance into a complete war?
Miss Thompson. Unless we are determined to make a complete understanding with Britain, that even if the British Isles fall, we will defend the Commonwealth together, or the Commonwealth will defend us together, whichever you want to make it, certainly, I think that there should be a very clear understanding.
Mr. MUNDT. In other words, it would not be good policy for us to extend part of our fleet unless we gave England assurance that we were going to stick with her to the end; is that not correct?
Miss THOMPSON. Yes.
Miss THOMPSON. Yes. I mean we still remain equal partners in this, but if at any moment we both decide that the “jig is up,” in Europe, and that we had better do what Britain did at Dunkirk, retreat to our own soil and save both fleets, then we can do it and we ought to have some such arrangement.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Jonkman.
Mr. JONKMAN. Miss Thompson, do I understand from your reasoning that it is your opinion that we owe a duty, both to ourselves and Europe, to establish order out of chaos there?
Miss Thompson. To ourselves. We owe a duty to ourselves. We owe no duty to anybody except ourselves, in my estimation. We owe it to ourselves, to collaborate with those forces for order in Europe, with which a free order of the sort compatible with our freedom can be established.
Mr. JONKMAN. Do you not think that that is a pretty big order?
Mr. Sikes. Mr. Chairman, I would not take a chance in arguing with Miss Thompson, and she does not need my help. I have no questions.
Mr. Davis. I have no questions, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Miss Thompson, the committee feel very highly honored at you being bere today, and we want to thank you, and we appreciate the answers that you have given to the questions.
Miss THOMFSON. I want to thank the committee for listening to me. STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE MRS. J. BORDEN HARRIMAN,
UNITED STATES MINISTER TO NORWAY Mr. Johnson. Did you have a prepared statement you wish to read?
Mrs. HARRIMAN. Yes; I have.
Mr. Johnson. The witness is Mrs. J. Borden Harriman, Minister to Norway, from our Government.
Mrs. HARRIMAN. Mr. Chairman, I consider myself a complete anticlimax after Miss Thompson.
My recent experience in Europe has left me with the profound conviction that merely a desire for peace will not keep a nation out of war, and that the most scrupulous observance of neutrality in the original sense of the word is not, under existing world conditions, a protection against invasion by nations bent on conquest. In the presence of such nations something more is necessary for national security.
No people had a greater desire for peace than the Norwegian people. No government tried harder to maintain neutrality than the Norwegian Government. Yet in spite of assurances from the German Government that under no circumstances would Germany interfere with Norway's inviolability and integrity and that Germany would respect Norwegian territory, German armed forces, without previous notice, attacked Norway on April 9, 1940. After a short time they overran that country. The first overt act in the violation of Norway's neutrality was unannounced and brutal attack.
This attack by force was preceded by the “fifth column" in Norway and other countries. It worked by insidious propaganda which undermined the confidence of some of the people in the Government. In my opinion, perfectly innocent people became infected by this, and began to lose faith in their leaders, and quite unconsciously spread the poison. Is anyone credulous enough to believe that these subversive forces are not now active in our own country?
Having seen this tragedy take place in one country because of its confidence that it would not be attacked, when I find here among those who oppose this bill the same arguments being used, I fear for the ultimate safety of this Nation, notwithstanding the geographical dissimilarity between the United States and Norway, for modern invention is eliminating space, and an ocean is no longer a barrier, especially an ocean if controlled by a hostile power. And now in addition to their conquests on land the aggressor nations are endeavoring to dominate seas. Should they succeed, it is obvious that our danger, which is now great, would be increased mangfold.
No man is prophet enough to say just how disastrous the consequences would be if the British were defeated and Germany succeeded to England's power on the seas. But if we have the same uneasy relations with Germany as Europe has, the peace and comfort that we have enjoyed on the Atlanitc and Pacific for more than a century will be no longer maintained.
Just recently the majority of the American people have expressed their confidence in the President, and in addition to that 23,000,000 people voted for Mr. Willkie knowing that he stood for all-out help to England. This would seem like a mandate from the people to enact a bill of the kind now being considered by this committee.
The purpose of this bill, as I understand it, is to enable our Government, as a part of our defense effort, most effectively and most speedily to carry out the will of the American people to aid the nations which are endeavoring to stop the march of the aggressors.
It has been asked, "Why give so much power to the President?” As this is purely an American defense bill, the time and place where the material is to be used is determined by him as Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy. Freedom of action and mobility are crucial in the matter.
Never in the history of this country has there been assembled here more able men, regardless of party, as advisers to a President. The judgments of these men are united in the belief that this bill is the best way of preparing our defense. The movement of aggression is spreading rapidly, and time is the essence. As the President has said, the people of Europe who are defending themselves do not ask us to do their fighting; they ask us for the implements of war which will enable them to fight for their liberty and our security. The President emphasized that we must get these weapons to them in sufficient volume and quickly enough so that we and our children will be saved the agony and suffering of war which others have had to endure. I believe that this bill should be acted upon at the earliest possible moment. To delay it by protracted debate would not be giving full support to our American leadership.
There is no longer any use in theorizing about this matter of defense. It has come down to a practical question of our own best interests. It has nothing to do with any other country. It is purely a question of our own national defense.
Mr. Fish. Are you in favor of going to war?
Mrs. HARRIMAN. I used to be called a pacifist and I was very much of a pacifist. I am never in favor of war if it is possible to stay out of
Mr. Fish. Mrs. Harriman, do you know how large the Norwegian Navy was?
Mrs. HARRIMAN. The Norwegian Navy was infinitesimal. It was made up of old fishing boats, renovated boats of any kind, that never amounted to anything. But Norway was taken from the air, and not froin the sea.
Mr. Fish. Supported by a Navy. You do not want to compare the Norwegian Navy with the Navy of the United States?
Mrs. HARRIMAN. Certainly not, but as I said, Norway was not taken from the seas.
Mr. Fish. You do not want to give the inference because Germany was able to conquer Norway without a Navy, that Germany might also conquer the United States?
Mrs. HARRIMAN. Well, I was thinking of conquering it by air, and not from the sea.
Mr. Johnson. You were in Norway at the time of the invasion by Hitler's forces, were you not?
Mrs. HARRIMAN. I was.
Mr. JOHNSON. Was there much propaganda, I mean, "fifth column" activities, on the part of Germany, before the invasion?
Mrs. HARRIMAN. A great deal. Norway-do you want me to go on?
Mr. Johnson. I wish that you would.