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opportunity for the would-be conquerors to gather strength for an attack against us.
The protagonists of the forces against which we are today forging the instrumentalities of self-defense have repudiated in every essential respect the long-accepted principles of peaceful and orderly international relations. They have disregarded every right of neutral nations, even of those to which they themselves had given solemn pledges of inviolability. Their constantly employed weapons for the Government of their unfortunate victims are unrestricted terrorization; firing squads; deceit; forced labor; confiscation of property; concentration camps; and deprivations of every sort.
The most scrupulous observance by peaceful countries of legal concepts provides today no security whatever. Many nations which trusted to the integrity of their intentions and the care with which they observed their legal obligations have been destroyed.
I am certain that the day will come again when no nation will have the effrontery and the cynicism to demand that, while it itself scoffs at and disregards every principle of law and order, its intended victims must adhere rigidly to all such principles-until the very moment when its armed forces have crossed their frontiers. But so long as such nations exist, we cannot and must not be diverted-either by their threats or by their hypocritical protests-from our firm determination to create means and conditions of self-defense wherever and in whatever form we find essential to our own security.
The present bill sets up machinery which will enable us to make the most effective use of our resources for our own needs and for the needs of those whom, in our own self-defense, we are determined thus to aid. The great problem of democracy is to organize and to use its strength with sufficient speed and completeness. The proposed legislation is an essential measure for that purpose. This bill will make it possible for us to allocate our resources in ways best calculated to provide for the security of this Nation and of this continent in the complex and many-sided conditions of danger with which we are and are likely to be confronted. Above all, it will enable us to do all these things in the speediest possible manner. And, overwhelmingly, speed is our greatest need today.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Secretary, we thank you very much for that very enlightening statement, and we thank you, too, for your appearance before the committee.
Some of the members of the committee would like very much to ask you some questions, and if you have no objection, we shall proceed at this time. The Chair recognizes Mr. Johnson.
Secretary Hull. I may say, Mr. Chairman, in order that we may all thoroughly understand each other, that I have always said that any Member of Congress, whether in the House or in the Senate, could know anything that I know about our foreign affairs, if he desired. Of course, that implies some degree of cooperative effort along certain lines to the extent that there should be no undesirable publicity in regard to those fairly numerous phases of our foreign affairs which, for manifest reasons, should not be made public. I should be glad to carry out that policy.
Of course, I can probably be of much more help to the committee on many of the questions to be asked, if I could do so without my
statements becoming known to foreign capitals within an hour after I speak here. I leave that to the good judgment of members of the committee as to how they may desire to proceed in those matters.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Secretary, all the members of the committee fully understand the position you have just described. The Chair may state, if there are any questions asked that you feel should not be answered except in executive session, or personally, I know the committee will take your judgment of that as the final word. Mr. Johnson, you may proceed.
Mr. Johnson. Mr. Secretary, with your knowledge of world conditions during the past 8 years, during which time you have served as Secretary of State and have had contact with and information about all of the countries of the world, I understand from your very able and logical statement, it is your conclusion that legislation such as that embraced in this bill is absolutely necessary for the defense of the United States and that speed is required in its enactment; is that correct, Mr. Secretary?
Secretary Hull. † have been very unwilling to be driven to the conclusion about the matter to which you first referred. I may say, in the second place, that the vital point in connection with this pending bill relates to the supply of aid to such countries as Great Britain, in the fullest and most effective manner, and as speedily as is possible.
The Treasury prepared the bill that you have under consideration, and the Secretary of the Treasury will discuss the many detailed provisions in the bill, so far as they relate to the purchasing situation, the commodity production situation, and other related phases.
If you have any questions to ask me on the legal phases, as they may relate to international law or domestic law, or other rules, I shall be glad to try to comment on them.
Mr. Johnson. Mr. Secretary, in view of the attack that has been made from some sources with reference to a provision of the bill relating to the use of our harbors for the repair of ships belonging to belligerent nations, it being charged that that would be in violation of international law, and also in violation of the Hague Treaty, would you care to express an opinion upon that question?
Secretary HULL. I have here a brief manuscript on the general question of the effect of the measure now proposed on phases of international treaties or Hague agreements, or international law generally, or domestic law, and, if it is agreeable, I will read it.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee would be very glad to have you read it, Mr. Secretary.
Secretary Hull. Having in mind the provisions of section 3 (a) that all these things may be done "notwithstanding the provisions of any other law," it follows that any other law to the contrary would be superseded.
That is so far as action by the Government under this bill is concerned.
(1) The Johnson Act: This act would not appear to be involved for the reason that it does not apply to this Government, or to a public corporation created by or in pursuance of special authorization of Congress, or to a corporation in which the Government has or exercises a controlling interest, as, for example, the Import-Export Bank.
(2) The Neutrality Act of 1939: Section 7 of this act, which prohibits the extension of loans or credits to a belligerent government, is not by its terms made applicable to this Government but it does apply to a corporation such as the Import-Export Bank. In any event the prohibition would be superseded by the new act insofar as transactions by this Government are concerned.
(3) United States Code, title 18: Section 23 makes it unlawful to fit out or arm in the United States a vessel with intent that it shall be employed in the service of a foreign belligerent against a power or people with which the United States are at peace.
Section 24 makes it unlawful to increase or augment in our ports the force of a ship of war or other armed vessel belonging to a belligerent power.
Section 33 makes it unlawful during a war in which the United States is neutral to send out of our jurisdiction any vessel built, armed or equipped as a vessel of war for delivery to a belligerent nation.
These provisions would be suspended by the new act insofar as action by this Government might be concerned.
(4) The Hague Convention of 1907: Hague Convention XIII of 1907 states in article VI that the supply, in any manner, directly or indirectly, by a neutral power to a belligerent power, of warships, ammunition, or war material of any kind whatever, is forbidden.
Article XVII states that in neutral ports belligerent warships may only carry out such repairs as are absolutely necessary to render them seaworthy, and may not add in any manner whatsoever to their fighting force.
Article XVIII states that belligerent warships may not make use of neutral ports for “replenishing or increasing their supplies of war material or their armament.”
The convention is not applicable to the present European war for the reason that it provides in article XXVIII that it shall not apply unless "all the belligerents are parties to the convention." Great Britain and Italy are not parties to the convention.
It may be urged that the provisions of the United States Code and the quoted provisions of the Hague Convention are declaratory of international law on the subjects mentioned and that to do the things contemplated by the proposed act would render us unneutral. This would be largely true under ordinary circumstances but we are not here dealing with an ordinary war situation. Rather, we are confronted with a situation that is extraordinary in character.
The rules relating to the rights and duties of neutrals and those relating to the rights and duties of belligerents complement each other, that is to say, belligerents are forbidden to do certain things which infringe the rights of neutrals and neutrals are forbidden to do certain things which prejudice the rights of belligerents. For example, the Hague Convention just referred to states in article I that belligerents are bound to respect "the sovereign rights of neutral powers and to abstain, in neutral territory or neutral waters, from any act which would, if knowingly permitted by any power, constitute a violation of neutrality.” Belligerents are forbidden to use neutral ports and waters as a base of naval operations against their adversaries (art: V).
Germany and Italy have paid no attention to such provisions, which are representative of international law on the subject, but have at will and without notice occupied by force the territory of neutral countries, and, having subjugated those countries, are using those territories in operations against their adversaries. One of these countries, namely, Denmark, had a formal treaty, signed May 31, 1939, with Germany by which it was agreed that in no case would force be resorted to; another, namely, Norway, had a formal assurance, on September 4, 1939, from the German Government that under no circumstances would Germany interfere with Norway's inviolability and integrity and that Norwegian territory would be respected. Neither agreement nor the law of neutrality served as any protection to these and other countries when it suited the convenience of the belligerents to occupy their territories. Nothing but force has prevented these belligerents from carrying out their preconceived determination to conquer and subjugate other peaceful countries and peoples. Their purpose of world-wide conquest has been boldly proclaimed. They readily admit that their philosophy is inconsistent with and directly opposed to that of the democracies and insist that the latter is outmoded and must give way to their own notions regarding the conduct of international relations. Having in mind what has taken place and is taking place under our very eyes, it is idle for us to rely on the rules of neutrality or to feel that they afford us the slightest degree of security or protection. Nothing but a realistic view of current developments can be regarded as a sane view. Mr. Chairman, if I may illustrate what I have read here?
The CHAIRMAN. Please do, Mr. Secretary.
Secretary Hull Countries like Holland, Belgium, Norway and Denmark, and others, assuming that this was an ordinary war in which the belligerents as well as the neutrals observed the laws of civilized warfare, announced their policy and their adherence strictly and technically to the laws of neutrality and felt assured that they would not be molested. They were permitted to remain in that state of innocent security or blissful ignorance until the troops of Germany were ready to step across their borders. Then the question of selfdefense did not arise, because there was no time for self-defense. They had relied solely on international law and its observance by belligerents and neutrals as a guarantee of safety and failed to prepare for self-defense.
The question presented is, therefore, whether in view of a universally recognized world movement of force based on determination to invade and to conquer and to subjugate, peaceful nations shall wait until the invaders cross their boundary line, still clinging to the forms and shadows of neutrality laws, or whether they shall recognize that this is a world movement of conquest without limit as to extent of territory and invoke the law of self-defense before it is too late to assert it successfully, as was the case with so many of those magnificent little countries in Europe. That is the question. We can take our choice. And in these circumstances, where we have a situation of an outlaw country moving straight at another country, there is no occasion to invoke neutrality: Only the law of self-defense can be invoked, from any practical viewpoint.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Johnson.
Mr. JOHNSON. A nation has the same right to use self-defense, that an individual has. As I understand, Mr. Secretary, from your statement, based upon conditions as they exist now, it is not a theory but a condition that confronts our people and other democracies, and we must employ practical means of self-defense if our country is to be preserved.
Secretary Hull. If we have learned any lesson whatever from the disastrous experience of those many little countries that have been swallowed up and are now under the heel of the invader;yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Richards.
Mr. RICHARDS. Mr. Secretary, do you care to say anything now on the matter of the discretionary power granted the President in the bill? I think that question will arise, and that is the reason I am asking the question.
Secretary Hull. I have held the view from the beginning of this crisis that the essence of the problem is aid to those countries which are strenuously resisting this tidal wave of world conquest; and to do so as fully and as speedily as possible. I have not stopped really to go too much into the mechanics. If a house is afire, there is not so much to be gained by discussing with somebody the question as to what particular well water should be drawn out of, whether this one or that one, in order to quench the fire. So I have assumed that the Congress and the Treasury, and others, would find no serious difficulty in working out a plan that would not be hampering, would not be handicapping, the carrying out of this all-supreme and allimportant urgent purpose.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Shanley.
Mr. SHANLEY. Mr. Secretary, I certainly want to congratulate you on a very clear and straightforward statement. When you place this whole question on the basis of defense you strike at the very heart of the preservation of America and cut through legal verbiage to show America that from your point of view the very foundations of our democracy are imperiled.
Secretary Xull. I could not in good conscience advise my fellow citizens to follow the suicidal course of Holland and Belgium and all those unfortunate peoples who relied primarily upon the rules of neutrality and on the belligerents' observing that neutrality, to their everlasting destruction. In other words, there is a time for neutrality and there is a time for self-defense. I do not propose to advise any person to follow the example of those countries which have first come in contact with this world movement of force.
Mr. SHANLEY. Therefore, as I understand it, our rules of neutrality have become a Frankenstein, in your estimation. You object to others employing their rules of neutrality as a weapon against us when we have been compelled to rely upon them as a shield. However, I know that you will admit that this is a complete departure from our precedents and places us in the roll of a supporting state.
Secretary Hull. There is a point always, when there is an attack by a force engaged in military conquest, where a victim nation decides that neutrality is of no avail and where every possible step in national