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If we are to survive as a sovereign nation—and with God's help we will—let us work on Western Hemisphere solidarity. There are competent leaders in various parts of the Eastern Hemisphere who can solve their problems. Our job is to do what is best for our Republic and to spend no blood and money unless it is necessary for our own national defense. Our present policy is going to prove ruinous to our own country if pursued much longer.
President Johnson, a native Texan, as we all know, and a church-brother of mine has inherited a very difficult situation as the Chief Executive of our country.
In world economic affairs, as we all know, there are cross-currents reaching around the globe. My interest as an American mother and grandmother encompasses not only the hope that my grand-daughters will find it possible to marry men with two arms and two legs, but also, possess some property which they and their families can call their own.
The Founding Fathers in fighting the American Revolution envisaged a country here in the Western Hemisphere where their descendents could enjoy “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness", and also, have their property rights safeguarded.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, I want to state that, as the daughter of a Primitive Baptist preacher, it is my conviction that this Republic is destined to survive and become an example to the world. Dedicated citizens who are not afraid to speak the truth and act upon it will make this possible.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator MORSE. Mr. Chairman, I want to say to Mrs. Broy and the other witnesses that the best evidence I can give you of the value of your statements is that I am taking them to the floor of the Senate with me now to insert in the Congressional Record.
Mrs. Broy. Thank you, Senator Morse.
The CHAIRMAN. I appreciate all of you coming here and giving the committee the benefit of your views.
. Senator MORSE. May I make one other statement? I am going to put in the record the impeachment procedures set forth in the Constitution because they have caused me to respectfully disagree with Mr. Montross as to the applicability of any impeachment in the present situation involving the conduct of the President of the United States.
(The material referred to follows:)
EXCERPT FROM THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES ARTICLE I SECTION 3. The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside : And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.
Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States : but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, a letter by Robert C. Hill will be inserted in the record at this point.
(The letter of Mr. Hill follows:)
LITTLETON, N.H., September 13, 1967. Hon. J. WILLIAM FULBRIGHT, Chairman, Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.
MY DEAR SENATOR FULBRIGHT: In your inquiry into the nature of "national commitments” you have rightly focused attention on the underlying question of the proper role of the Congress in the conduct of foreign relations. Your resolution has inspired considerable interest, thought and discussion of a fundamental
issue of great national importance. Congressional participation in the formulation of American policy can be viewed on three interrelated planes: one, constitutional; the second semi-constitutional and semi-political; and the third purely political
The constitutional questions involved have perhaps been more fully aired in other testimony, most notably that of Senator Sam J. Ervin, Jr., but I would like to add a few brief thoughts that may be informative.
At the time the Constitution was written, the framers had their direct and disturbing personal experiences with unlimited executive power, vested in royalty, to guide their deliberations. Not unnaturally they were disinclined to create another executive official to rule the newly-freed colonies. Not only did they evolve a system of checks and balances to prevent any branch of government from becoming overly dominant, but they specifically and intentionally gave the lion's share of power to the Congress.
It is neither accidental nor incidental that Article I of the Constitution deals with the legislative, rather than the executive, branch. The primacy of the legislature's role is further emphasized by the sweeping powers granted to the Congress by the Constitution. In the sphere of foreign affairs alone, the Congress, as you well know, is given six specific powers: namely to collect taxes or pay debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States, to regulate foreign commerce, to define and punish piracies and other offenses against the law of nations, to declare war, to raise and support armies and to provide and maintain a navy.
By contrast, Article II's description of the executive branch is couched in most guarded terms. It first discusses in some detail purely procedural points, such as the manner in which the President is to be elected, his term of office, his pay, etc., and only then goes on to discuss briefly what he is expected to do. Furthermore, most of the really important powers granted to the President, particularly in the foreign sphere, are qualified by the requirement that he obtain the approval of the Senate. This again places emphasis on the legislative branch and makes it clear that the framers of the Constitution viewed the President as an administrator, who would carry out the will of the people as expressed by their elected representatives in Congress. Th Congress was clearly expected to establish the basic guidelines of national policy and in effect tell the President what the people wanted done. This precept has been violated many times in recent years.
One of the assets of the Constitution is that it is broadly enough conceived and sufficiently amenable to interpretation that it has lasted largely unscathed through one of the most dramatic periods of change in world history. No one would argue today that there is not now a real need for the President to act resourcefully and decisively to meet the challenges of our times. However, it is possible that the President has come closer to wielding the unlimited sort of executive power that the framers sought to prevent that either the founding fathers would have thought possible, or than we modern citizens should deem desirable. Although convincing argument can be made that the President requires freedom of action in handling day-to-day matters, a similarly convincing argument cannot be made for allowing the President to decide alone questions with broad policy implications. In establishing basic guidelines for our national policy, the system of checks and balances provided for in the Constitution should be brought into play. Yet, who is taking the responsibility of the checks and balances today?
In my opinion, Presidents in recent years have been responsible for usurping the rightful powers of Congress. Congressional briefings which are given after a course of action has been decided upon, and at times even implemented, have replaced the constitutional requirements for requesting advise from the duly elected representatives of the people. Executive agreements have, in many cases, replaced treaties, and yet they have the same potentially profound effects on our internal affairs which are normally only associated with treaties. In the question of treaty-making powers, the judicial branch has actually cooperated with the executive branch in usurping Congressional prerogatives. Certain commitments, most notably those in Southeast Asia, have never been submitted to the Congress for comment and approval. Instead of requesting the Congress to declare war, the President has sought to justify the commitment of nearly a balf-million men and billions of dollars in Vietnam on the basis of a Senate resolution which was clearly intended to have limited application. Whether or not one agrees with our objectives in Southeast Asia, one feels constrained to criticize the manner in which our large scale operations have developed there on constitutional grounds. It is perfectly obvious that if the executive branch were confident that the legislative branch would consent to its actions, it would seek such consent. If, on the other hand, the chief executive-particularly a politically astute President, who feared dissent from within his own party–had reason to doubt that such consent would be forthcoming, he would not ask Congress' opinion of his policies.
Although there is ample evidence that the President has not sought the advise and consent of the Senate, as often as he should have, it is also clear that on many occasions Congress has surrendered its prerogatives to the executive branch. If the President can be attacked for usurping legislative power, Congress can also be criticized for willfully and deliberately abdicating its constitutional responsibilities. Has Congress fully discharged its duty to review independently policies before they are embarked upon, or to carefully study later the actual results obtained by following various policies? How seriously does the Senate study the qualifications of men nominated by the President for ambassadorial, military and other appointive posts? Are all the gentlemen confirmed truly the best possible.choices for the positions they receive? There is nothing unique or magical about the conduct of military or foreign relations; why then are there so few Congressional initiatives in this field, and why does the executive branch tend to disregard those policy recommendations it does receive from Congress? At present, there appears to be an encrustation of negativism in Congress, particularly in the Senate. The constant nay-saying leaves the Administration free to act without providing positive thoughts, new ideas or direction.
The purpose of the separation of powers is to make the government as demo cratic and as representative as possible. If Congress continues to abdicate its rightful role in foreign affairs, we run the risk of following policies which do not represent the will of the people. If it were so inclined, Congress could reassert itself in many ways, perhaps most dramatically by exercising its power over appropriations. To take an extreme example, let us speculate what would happen if the President were of one party and the Congress of another, and they disagreed on whether or not to fight a war. If Congress voted to restrict military expenditures, can anyone doubt that the President would be unable to wage war? The Congress does indeed have the ability to reassert itself, and by less unpalatable means, if it so desires.
However, based upon pragmatic evidence available, the trend in Congress seems to be toward closer cooperation with the executive, rather than toward a reassertion of constructive legislative initiative. There seems to be a considerable tendency for people who aspire to Congress to identify strongly with the President's programs. They no longer see themselves as arbiters of policy guidelines, nor in the light of the intended checks and balances, but rather as the implementing arm of Presidential policies.
This brings us to the third, purely political point. If Congress as a whole is not going to exert its prerogatives in the foreign affairs field, is it not incumbent upon the representatives of the party out of power to revert to their traditional opposition role? Why should the loyal opposition not as scrupulously inspect and question the activities of our government abroad as they do its actions at home? Foreign policy lends itself as easily to thorough and logical examination as does domestic policy. The whole bipartisan concept, which is particular and unique in its extensive application to foreign affairs, is in need of reappraisal. Why should investigation, review and the origination of alternative proposals stop at the water's edge when so much of the taxpayer's money, and ofttimes our citizens' lives, are expended in the international arena? While the concept that irresponsible opposition to established policies in time of national emergency is helpful to the enemy may have some validity, the magnitude of the threat to the United States would need to be most extreme for this concern to take precedence over the essential requirement for discussion and the airing of divergent views as an integral part of the democratic process.
In order to exert its influence, Congress should be more adequately staffed by technicians capable of conducting independent reviews of executive branch policies, both in the foreign affairs and defense fields. The Administration will quite naturally weight its testimony in favor of its predetermined policies, and information which might prove embarrassing or contradictory to established policies is normally classified and will not be produced unless specifically asked for. While Congress as a whole should independently review and investigate governmental operations, the opposition in particular has a responsibility to the
public to be active in this work. Yet the so-called bipartisan staffing pattern of both the Senate Foreign Relations and the House Foreign Affairs Committees greatly reduces the opposition's ability to function effectively. At present I believe there are some 29 people working on foreign affairs for the Senate, none of which is listed as minority staff members. On the House side there are 19 staff poistions, only two of which are designated as minority employees. As a result, members must rely almost exclusively on their own staffs to do the type of research which the opposition has a special obligation to do.
I do not mean to imply by all of this that I do not recognize the requirements for good security in highly sensitive matters; however, the representatives of the people, if not the entire public, have a right to know what is going on and a responsibility to keep themselves well informed. With this in mind, a change in the staffing patterns and a reexamination of the value to the nation of the entire concept of bipartisan foreign policy would seem to be in order.
In closing, I should like to note that we live in a time of recurrent crisis and we will, I am afraid, need to learn to live with unsettled conditions unless our Communist opponents care to redefine their objectives in the world. Actually, most of these crises do not constitute immediate or direct threats to the vital interests of the United States. In plotting moves on the atomic chess board, both sides are restrained from moving too quickly or dynamically for fear of panicking the other side into a massive retaliation posture. Thus, although it is true that tensions are often high, we find that, as was most recently the case in the Middle East, the superpowers are seeking to avoid direct confrontation with each other. The actual world situation, then, belies the often repeated claim that the world is so much smaller now than when the Constitution was written that there is no longer time to deliberate before acting. Yet, the President normally consults directly with scores of people and indirectly through the chain of command in the executive departments with hundreds of others, before he acts on any international problem. The world is much too complex today for one man to have sufficient knowledge about its many problems for decision-making purposes. In fact, the same modern technology which has shrunk the world, and thus made it necessary for more rapid responses than in the past, has also made it much simpler for the President to consult with advisors before taking action. At the time the Constitution was written, people needed to be called together by messengers on horseback, and to write everything out in longhand, were obliged to wait weeks for replies to communications, and so forth.
Today it is easier to consult with advisors. There is the opinion that time exists to do so unless the United States is in imminent danger of military attack. Thus, the President can, and does, seek advise before acting, but often he does not turn to the Congress for that advise as the Constitution requires.
Mr. Chairman, one hopes that public hearings such as those being held on Senate Resolution 151 will alert not only the President, but also Senators and Congressmen to concentrate on their respective responsibilities for the establishment and conduct of policies so vital in the international field.
I request that this letter be made a part of the hearings on Senate Resolution 151. Respectfully submitted.
ROBERT C. HILL,
former Assistant Secretary of State. The CHAIRMAN. The committee is adjourned. (Whereupon, at 12:20 the hearing was adjourned.)