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Constitution in Philadelphia, and their work was subsequently approved by the American people as a notable step forward in the direction of national peace and security. Representatives of 50 nations signed the Charter at San Francisco, and we believe that the American people today hail that document as a notable step forward in the direction of international peace and security.
In his address before the final plenary session of the San Francisco Conference, President Truman described the Charter as "dedicated to the achievement and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms” and warned that “Unless we can attain those objectives for all men and women everywhere—without regard to race, language, or religion-we cannot have permanent peace and security." The American Jewish Committee endorses these views of the President and joins him in urging the Senate to ratify the Charter. Prompt action of this sort by our country will set the example for the other nations of the world and will ensure that close and continuing collaboration of all peace-loving peoples which alone may prevent future aggression and remove the political, economic, and social causes of war.
STATEMENT BEFORE THE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE OF THE UNITED
STATES SENATE With RESPECT TO THE SAN FRANCISCO CHARTER, AT A PUBLIC HEARING ON THE 13TH DAY OF JULY 1945, BY MERWIN K. HART, PRESIDENT OF NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL, INC., NEW YORK, N. Y.
A prominent American newspaper headlined a recent speech on behalf of this Charter as a “Plea for Charter as the only hope of averting chaos in the world."
Many speakers have urged its adoption as the only possible course—that there is no alternative.
But to admit any of these assertions would be rash. The fact is, and few would dispute it, that this Charter proposal has received a propaganda build-up that, even in these days. of superpropaganda, is probably unequaled in history. It is my unhesitating assertion that in spite of this propaganda—indeed, because of it-the Members of the United States Senate will wish to scrutinize it with the utmost care. Nothing that has been done or said can lessen or vary its sacred obligation to do so.
Much that is contained in the Charter is good. But it must be read in conjunction with the various international agreements-Bretton Woods, UNRRA, the agricultural agreement, and all the rest. And if this Charter and those agreements are adopted by the United States, we will have set up a world state to which the United States will become, in many essential matters, completely subordinate.
We don't know what the postwar world will be like. If, as seems likely, nearly all Europe and Asia come under the domination of the Soviet Union-perhaps become merged in it, that would be one thing: the problem would be of one kind. If, on the other hand, the various countries remain reasonably free, it will be something else. How can America know what she wants to do while this question remains unsolved?
So, Mr. Chairman, I oppose the ratification of this San Francisco Charter, and for the following reasons: 1. The Charter is itself the creation of deceptive propaganda.
2. The Charter is based on an abandonment of realism and the adoption of "make-believe."
3. The Charter is held up as that which will mean for our people a gain in freedom. That statement is false. Adoption of this Charter, with the various international agreements that will presently be before this Senate, will involve a large loss of the independence and freedom of the United States.
4. The adoption of this Charter and of those other agreements that are scheduled, will be a complete lie to those 12,000,000 service men and women to whom, from every platform and pulpit and through the press of the Nation, we have promised a better life-a better world-after the war.
5. Because the Charter rings with insincerity—with the assumption as truths of what are untruths.
6. Because I believe the organization, like the organization set up by Bretton Woods, UNRRA, and others, will be dominated by those of un-American ideologies, who, by our insane following of the slogan of "unconditional surrender" in Europe, are morally certain to complete their conquest of the Continent down to the Pyrences, and who, assuming that we follow to the bitter end the equally insane policy of “unconditional surrender” toward Japan, will with equal certainty give communism complete control throughout Asia, including probably Japan.
First, then, I oppose this Charter because it is the creation of deceptive propaganda.
It has been heralded even more than the Bretton Woods proposals now before the Senate. The thing has been ballyhooed and touted from coast to coast.
Section 201 of the Criminal Code absolutely forbids the spending of the taxpayers' money to influence legislation. It reads as follows:
“No part of the money appropriated by any act shall, in the absence of express authorization by Congress, be used directly or indirectly to pay for any personal service, advertisement, telegram, telephone, letter, printed or written matter, or other devices intended or designed to influence in any manner a Member of Congress, to favor or oppose by vote or otherwise, any legislation or appropriation by Congress, either before or after the introduction of any bill or resolution proposing such legislation or appropriation.”
It will be noticed that the so-called liberal or radical element in the country is unanimously in favor of this Charter, as it is also of the Bretton Woods proposals and other agreements. As the Senators well know, on several occasions in the past when some conservative Congressman or Senator has used liberally his franking privilege, these "liberals” and radicals have cried out to high heaven that it was illegal and reprehensible. But in the case of these international agreements we have public officials, through the printed word and other disbursements of th taxpayers' money, absolutely violating a criminal statute in their zeal to put through the Senate that which they tell us is so vital.
What is there about this San Francisco Charter that either suspends the validity of this criminal statute, or requires that it be violated in order to secure its adoption? Can it not stand on its own merits?
It is my belief that the Charter is so lacking in merit that violation even of a criminal statute may actually be considered by the proponents to be necessary, and that without the widespread administration propaganda and other propaganda hardly less effective, it would not commend itself to the American people.
What is this other propaganda? I will speak of two kinds. In the first place we have business corporations, well up in the income-tax brackets, who are publishing advertisements urging the ratification of the Charter. And who pays for these advertisements? Eighty to ninety percent of the cost is borne by the taxpayers.
And then we have literally dozens of civic organizations of all kinds which are either leftist or are following the cue of the leftists, which are urging ratification, and which display on their letterheads the legend that financial contributions are deductible before income tax. So there, again, the taxpayers are putting up the money.
As it works out, the taxpayers are being obliged to pay most of the cost of propaganda to put through a charter in which many thoughtful citizens utterly disbelieve, and which some (of whom I am one) believe is filled with tragic possibilities of mischief.
Second, the Charter is based on an abandonment of realism and the adoption of "make-believe."
Those who support this Charter are pretending or "making believe” in the following respects:
They are pretending that the failure of the United States to enter the League of Nations was the sole cause of this present war; that after the last war the United States turned her back on Europe-abandoned European countries to their fate.
Such radical publications as the Nation and the New Republic, soundly backed up by the Daily Worker, the New Masses, PM, make the heavens ring with these assertions. They ignore the fact that the United States did more than any other nation in the world after the armistice to bring about the revival of Europe and the prevention of war. I need not enumerate all that she did: Our lending of $6,000,000,000, hardly any of which was ever repaid; our effective efforts at feeding the people in distressed areas; our efforts at disarmament, as the result of which we were practically the only nation that scrapped any of its ships; our repeated efforts, through conferences of one kind or another, terminating in the KelloggBriand Treaties which supposedly outlawed war.
Yet in spite of the record, Leftist speakers throughout the country constantly reiterate this old falsehood—that we abandoned Europe after the last war, and that on that account this next war came.
They utterly ignore the established fact that this war could have been utterly prevented if in 1936 Great Britain had had the will to enforce the terms of the Versailles Treaty which she took part in dictating. If Britain and France had then had the will to throw Hitler out of the Rhineland, and France wished to do 80, they could have held Hitler down. They could have prevented this Second World War. But the wills of both Britain and France had been weakened by the Leftist-pacifist propaganda, cunningly carried on over many years, and which led in England to the adoption by the Oxford Union, which for two centuries had been the training-ground of British statesmen, of the Oxford oath “never again to take up arms for King or country.'
The record clearly indicates that on Britain and France, and not on the United States, lies responsibility for the failure to stop Hitler when Hitler could have been stopped.
Another make-believe is that "collective activity" is the only road to peace.
In thus subscribing to collective action, we are merely falling for that unfortunate propensity of so many of us to build our ideas around slogans. Small collective movements have been tried throughout history and have nearly always failed. This idea of world collective activity is a new one in history. It springs without question from Marxist philosophy. It runs contrary to history; for I believe history shows that far more effective and more beneficial action has been obtained in the past through the agreement of two, or a few nations, than from any attempt to make all nations agree.
One great reason why this collective movement is doomed to failure is the different approach and philosophy of two countries so alike in many ways as the United States and Britain; and the utterly different philosophy of Soviet Russia. So great are these differences that there has been no meeting of the minds of these different nations. So different, indeed, is the approach that at the San Francisco Conference it was not deemed expedient to discuss anything that Soviet Russis did not want discussed.
While the United States did not enter the League of Nations of 1019, yet she was willing to cooperate with the nations that did enter. The failure of that League came far more because of an utter lack of confidence on the part of the larger nations (and probably the smaller, too) in the possibility of success. The hardheaded statesmen of Britain and France and other countries were willing enough to go along in the League of Nations picture-anxious as they were at the time to show their gratitude to the United States for past favors, and not unmindful of possible favors to come. But the wiser statesmen among those nations saw to it that separate agreements with nations with which they felt it important to agree, were made; and we can be sure that they relied more on those agreements than on the League of Nations.
That Britain and Russia will continue to do exactly what they please is indicated by the fact that already a leading British statesman has announced, before s single nation has adopted the Bretton Woods Proposals, that Britain will devalue her currency whenever she pleases, without regard to Bretton Woods.
Here in the present war, although Britain and Russia had known perfectly well of the determination on the part of the late President Roosevelt to try another League of Nations, Britain and Russia have been making their own arrangements with other nations with which they have felt it important to be on close terms. An example, of course, is the 20-year treaty concluded 3 years ago between Bri and Russia themselves. Other examples are the treaties executed by Russia with Czechoslovakia and other countries.
No; collective activity is not the only road to peace. It is just the mere assertion of the late President Roosevelt and some of his advisers-an assertion widely propagandized by the taxpayers' money, pushed by certain groups that have apparently seen special advantages in it, touted by the radical press and by the radical writers on even the conservative newspapers. And so the great mass of the American people, busily engaged in their highly specialized fields in the allimportant job of winning the war and preparing for peace, have taken it for granted that it is so. Hitler said that a lie, if it was big enough and was often enough repeated, was sure eventually to be accepted.
Third, the Charter is something that is held up as a means for our people to gain more freedom. That is certainly false. Adoption of this Charter and of the various international agreements that either are or will presently be before this Senate, far from meaning a gain in freedom, will bring a loss of freedom.
In the last 156 years since the adoption of our Constitution, we Americans have known only two sovereigns—the State in which we live and the Federal Government. Only 72 years after the Constitution was adopted, and in spite of the fact we were a homogeneous people, we had 4 years of bitter civil strife between those who felt that the State came first and those that thought the Federal Government, in certain respects at least, was supreme.
But here by this so-called Charter we turn over, largely to other nations, an utterly unknown and undetermined amount of our sovereignty. We Americans will then have three sovereign governments—the State, the National, and the International.
And let us not deceive ourselves into thinking that this is not true. One has only to read the provisions with respect to the Economic and Social Council to realize that we are setting up an international propaganda bureau-utterly beyond the power of any nation to control after it is set up-whose purpose clearly is to carry all of the experiments of the New Deal to all nations throughout the world. Just as this Charter is being put over on us by cunning propaganda, backed by limitless money, so it will be all the easier for the Economic and Social Council to put its schemes over on us. If we turn to the Bretton Woods proposals we see clearly that all of these social experiments are to be financed through the International Monetary Fund, and the International Monetary Fund will have practically no lendable money except that which is put up by the United States.
And if we go further into this Charter, we see by successive stages that the members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council (art. 25); and we see by articles 43 and several that follow, that the Security Council, the executive body under this pending Charter, wilí have at its disposal certain armed forces in order to enforce the decisions of the Security Council. We see further that the suggested constitution of the International Food and Agricultural Organization allows it to recommend and promote international and national approval and adoption of its policies. Thus it follows that if the International Food and Agricultural Organization, in conjunction with the Security and Economic Council decides that certain social-welfare schemes are to be carried out in any country of the world, they would be financed by the American taxpayers through the Bretton Woods proposals; and if we Americans were to get tired of it and want to quit, the International Military, Naval, and Air Forces could be used to compel us to comply.
I realize that in the Security Council we will have the power of veto against many of these evils. But since, down to date, we have been so little disposed to assert our vital American interests, will we not be even less likely to assert our veto power after these mighty international bureaus have been set up? For by adopting the Economic and Security Council we are literally legalizing international communist propaganda throughout the world. If we Americans are foolish enough at the present time, when there is no compulsion upon us, to fall for any such schemes as these, how far do you think we could make that veto effective?
In the light of these facts, if this Charter and its cousins—these various international agreements—do not constitute an abandonment of American sovereignty, I would like to know what they do mean.
As I read this Charter and the Bretton Woods Proposals and certain other of the agreements, they spell out in my mind nothing short of a collectivist scheme by aliens to take the United States and its one hundred and thirty-odd million citizens completely under their control. For if we adopt this Charter, Bretton Woods and the other international agreements, we are bound to give them a certain trial. If we are generous, not to say reckless, enough to go into them, we may be sure we will have sent to other nations so much more of our goods, our food, our money, our ships, and possibly even our war equipment, that we will have weakened ourselves to a point where it might be extremely difficult for us to get out even if we want to get out.
To me this matter of the veto itself exposes the sham of the whole business. The preamble talks of the “equal rights of men and women of nations large and small." And then we proceed to set up a Charter under which any one of the five so-called great powers may veto any proposition, whether it has to do with the nation exercising the veto or with any other nation. It is true we are considerably protected by ourselves having that veto. But so long as we stay in the organization the possession of the same veto by four other powers will put us in their hands. For the possession by the other nations of the same veto power will render us unable to do those things for ourselves or for the other peoples of the world that we have always been accustomed to do, unless we do them on their terms.
And there are other make-believes. We are making believe that Soviet Russia is a "democracy. If that is true, then we are not a democracy. Or if it be asserted that both countries are democracies, that but shows how utterly different is the thinking of the American people and of the few who dominate Soviet Russia, As a matter of fact, I have always believed from my reading about our Constitutional Convention that the idea of a democracy was there weighed and abandoned on the ground that a democracy had always failed; and hence we were set up as a republic.
In a "democracy” such as Russia today, minorities have no rights; indeed, the vast majority of the Russian people appear to have no rights. But it is the essence of the American Republic to see that minority rights in important respects are protected. That is what our Bill of Rights is for.
We are making believe that China and France are great powers, when they almost certainly are not. Poor China is great only in her population, which in many ways is a disadvantage. And France, in spite of a great past, would have been permanently down and out if the United States had not gone to her assistance.
I have wondered, Mr. Chairman, whose idea it is to consider China and France great powers, and to put them on a par with the great United States? Was it Soviet Russia? What earthly interest of the United States does such idea serve?
Fourth, the adoption of this Charter and these other agreements that are scheduled to follow, and which must be kept in mind in connection with the adoption of this Charter, will be a complete lie to our 12,000,000 service men and women.
It will be as much a lie as was the assurance again and again and again" that we would not be permitted to get into war.
Mr. John T. Flynn, in his book As We Go Marching, has carefully traced the developments in Italy that led to the Fascist state and to war. The underlying trouble there was, as he points out, deficit financing. In the same book he like wise traced the step-by-step development in Germany under Hitler-a development whose cornerstone was likewise deficit financing, and whose goal was war. And he has traced with equal clarity the steps followed by the administration in Washington between 1933 and 1941. These, too, were based on deficit financing. Mr. Flynn said in this book published a year ago, that we had already gone fourfifths of the way previously trod by Hitler and Mussolini in their developments of the totalitarian state. The goal then was believed by many people to be wara war, if for no other reason than to justify a continuance of deficit financing. We were lied to. And now we have lied to our 12,000,000 men overseas as well as to our American public as a whole, in talking about the better, richer life that lies beyond military victory:
We have all wanted this victory. We rejoice that we have won it in one of our two wars. We hope for an early and successful termination of our Asiatic
But to tell our people that a better, richer life is assured is a cruel falsehood. And in the soothing, dripping phrases that are passed out through the current propaganda, to tell them that "a world state," and all the various international agreements are necessary to make secure that "better, richer life," is merely to sing a siren song. For the setting up of this world organization and the adoption and carrying out of the various international agreements will make sure that in the lifetime of any of these 12,000,000 men there will be no better, richer life. There will be poverty and hardship, because we will have so tied ourselves to other nations and their interests that we will sink or swim with them; and though we may not completely sink, we will certainly fall to a level far below that which Americans have had for generations.
Because of our freedom and our way of life we led the world for 50 years. All nations envied us, looked up to us, tried to imitate us. For 20 years roughly half the world's trade was the internal trade of the United States. For all our shortcomings, within our borders was a richer, nobler life, greater good will, more charity in the best sense. We set an example to the whole world. We tried to raise other peoples to our level. But adoption of this Charter and these agree. ments will mean we have lowered ourselves to the level of other nations. No nation will be left in the world that will offer the example of freedom we have set, and the whole world will be the loser.
As a matter of fact, if this Senate and this Congress approve this Charter and these agreements, then the members of our armed forces will have had their fighting and their dying, and as a result they will have won the loss of a substantial part of their liberties. They will have borne the burden of the battle--they and the country back of them will have contributed the best they have had in themand that means the best in the world--and they (except for Germany and Japan) will have been the chief losers afterward. They will have fought a war in order to lose American independence and the American way of life, and in order that they and their posterity--until they can shake off the consequences of these documents—will have sunk to a level that Americans have never known.