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In the light of General Eisenhower's statement and in the light of the action of the joint congressional committee and in the light of the action of the Finletter Commission, members of the House Armed Services Committee passed a unanimous resolution asking you to come forth and tell them what your views were on this exact question. That committee had before it General Eisenhower's statement, it had before it the statement before the Finletter Commission.
At that point, you went to the Secretary and said: Here are two statements that we made. They are demanding we come there and testify. What course do we pursue? If I go, I can't be guilty of perjury, I have to take the position I have taken before, Eisenhower will take the position he took before.
The Secretary told you to go before that committee and give them your honest convictions?
Secretary SYMINGTON. That is right.
Senator JOHNSON. You went before that committee and supported the legislation of the President, but when you got through with the prepared statement and individual members asked you if you did not say this before the Finletter Commission, and you said, “Yes”; they asked you if you didn't
this before the joint congressional committee, and you said "Yes"; and they asked you if you had changed your view, and you said "No."
Immediately the headlines started saying you were coming up to Congress as an advocate.
Secretary SYMINGTON. It was particularly embarrassing because some of the members of the House Armed Services Committee like Mr. Kilday had been members of the Joint Congressional Policy Board, so it would have been a matter of reversing my position before the same people.
Senator JOHNSON. What is there in this bill that was not in the other legislation that would keep you from repeating the performance?
Secretary SYMINGTON. I do not think there is anything.
The CHAIRMAN. I would like to ask that same question differently, with your permission.
Is there anything in this bill that makes it more difficult for the same thing to be reenacted than is the case under existing law?
Secretary SYMINGTON. No, sir.
Senator HUNT. Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask this: Do you think there is any situation of any nature at any time when any person hasn't the right to come to Congress!
Secretary SYMINGTON. You say, “has the right to come to Congress.” Of course, much of my right, sir, as civilian head of the Air Force, would depend upon the character and personality of the Secretary of Defense, but I would rather answer by phrasing your question differently.
I see nothing whatever to make it difficult or impossible for me to come up here and give you that information you wanted. Even though the previous bill gave you the right to go before the President-I may be wrong in this—I do not think it gave you the right to voluntarily go before Congress. I think it gave you the avenue to the President; not to the Congress.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Secretary, isn't it a fact that we all know here that whenever any officer in the Government feels a policy is about
to be adopted that may be adverse to the Government interest, he frequently says to some man he knows in the Senate or House, “I don't want to be in a position of inviting myself to be called, but I do think this is an important matter and you gentlemen ought to investigate it thoroughly”? Usually, the following happens: That when the committee meets, the member asks that certain people be called, and you get the thing on the record just as if the man had directly come before Congress but without creating disruption in the organization.
Senator BYRD. I want to ask this: Here is what you strike out of the law.
Secretary SYMINGTON. Could I answer, just for a second, the chairman on that question?
Senator BYRD. Certainly. I thought you were through.
Secretary SYMINGTON. It is true, but based on my experience, I was thinking
The CHAIRMAN. That happened to me, 50 or 60 times over the years.
Secretary SYMINGTON. The times when the Congressman or Sena.. tor has asked me are 20 to 1 as against the times when you would want to express something yourself. They want to know the facts.
The CHAIRMAN. He senses it.
Senator BYRD. I want to say, Mr. Symington-again, let me say I am not critical and I think you performed a public service, and I want to emphasize that again—that Mr. Symington was an advocate of the 70-group Air Force before this committee, and the testimony will show that he was. I do not want to labor that point.
I want to ask this—here is what you strike out of the law: Provided, that nothing herein contained shall prevent the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of the Navy, or the Secretary of the Air Force from presenting to the President or to the Director of the Budget, after first so informing the Secretary of Defense, any report or recommendation relating to his department which he may deem necessary : And provided further, That the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Air Force shall be administered as individual executive departments by their respective Secretaries and all powers and duties relating to such departments not specifically conferred upon the Secretary of Defense by this Act shall be retained by each of their respective Secretaries.
This is put in:
Provided, That, subject to the direction, authority, and control of the Secretary of Defense, and subject to the terms of this Act, the Departments of Army, Navy, and Air Force shall be administered by their respective Secretaries.
It is certainly a vast difference in the authority you have under this present bill and the authority you have under the proposed bill.
Secretary SYMINGTON. That is correct.
Senator BYRD. You are simply now Under Secretary or Assistant Secretary to the Secretary of Defense. I am asking this for information.
Secretary SYMINGTON. That is correct.
Senator BYRD. As I understand it, you are now going to report to the Under Secretary, aren't you, instead of directly to the Secretary?
Secretary SYMINGTON. That is what I understand, sir. Of course, that would depend on how the Secretary of Defense set up the Office of the Under Secretary.
Senator Byrd. You would be Assistant Secretary to the Under Secretary?
Secretary SYMINGTON. That is correct, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. All right, Mr. Symington. We are ever so much obliged to you for coming up. We would appreciate it if you would give us that letter about the economies.
Secretary SYMINGTON. I would like to make a further statement on that, if I may.
The CHAIRMAN. Go right ahead.
Secretary SYMINGTON. It is difficult to assess savings. You start out with a principle. For instance, in the merger of three industrials, the principle would be that it would be better to operate one plant at 90 percent capacity than to operate three at 30 percent.
On the other hand, if you do not go ahead and do it, believing that, based on experience, you will get the savings, it is extremely difficult to project in theory what those savings will be.
The CHAIRMAN. We understand that. As I understand that question, it means things you think might be done which would result in savings and could probably be done.
Secretary SYMINGTON. Thank you, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, members of the committee, we have before us this morning the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Commandant of the Marine Corps to give us their thoughts on S. 1269. We are particularly interested in getting their thoughts on the whole bill, but especially on that part of the bill which deals with section 211, which deals with the creation of a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; section 211 (a) and (d) where we say:
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shall act as the principal military adviser to the President and the Secretary of Defense and shall perform such other duties as the President and the Secretary of Defense may direct or as may be prescribed by law.
Now, for the information of the committee, I have just received this morning the recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for possible changes in this legislation. They made five, and three of the five were approved by Mr. Forrestal, as I recall. So, I will not put these in, in order to save time, until after you gentlemen have finished your comments, but I did want the committee to know that
have already made recommendations dealing with proposed changes in this act.
Now, which of you gentlemen would prefer to speak first?
Who is senior? It would probably be a good idea to follow that order.
STATEMENTS OF ADMIRAL LOUIS E. DENFELD, CHIEF OF NAVAL
OPERATIONS; GEN. HOYT S. VANDENBERG, CHIEF OF STAFF FOR AIR; GEN. OMAR N. BRADLEY, CHIEF OF STAFF FOR ARMY; AND GEN. CLIFTON B. CATES, COMMANDANT, UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
The CHAIRMAN. Admiral Denfeld, are you senior here!
Admiral DENFELD. As you said, the Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously recommended five changes to the bill as we have it here. The Secretary of Defense approved three of them and sent them to the budget, and it is my understanding that the budget approved one of them. I think it would be well if I told you what these five changes were that the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend.
The CHAIRMAN. Go ahead.
Provided that the chairman shall not by virtue of his office exercise military command over the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or the services.
That was the first recommendation we made.
Admiral DENFELD. That was approved by the Secretary of Defense and also by the budget.
The CHAIRMAX. So that we have complete clearance on that recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, nobody has opposed it?
Admiral DENFELD. That is correct.
Senator Byrd. What do you mean by "military command” over the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ?
Admiral DENFELD. That really is to prevent having a single Chief of Staff. By that, the services would have command over their own forces.
Senator BYRD. That reduces the authority of the chairman to that extent. What authority, then, would the chairman have, acting independently of the Joint Chiefs of Staff?
Admiral DENFELD. He is really the coordinator for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is the one who keeps track of the business that we have to perform and sees that the Joint Staff expedites it.
In a later provision in (d), it reads:
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shall act as the principal military adviser to the President and the Secretary of Defense and shall perform such other duties as the President and the Secretary of Defense may direct or as may be prescribed by law.
That is different from the present legislation, which makes the Jo nt Chiefs of Staff the body of the principal military advisers to the President. In our proposed change we added, after the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff”-after that, we added: “as such” shall act the principal military adviser.
Our objective in that was to indicate that he should present the views of all the Chiefs of Staff to the President and to the Secretary of Defense, as well as his own.
Senator BYRD. That strips the chairman of this arbitrary power he would have had under the bill as introduced, does it not?
Admiral DENFELD. Yes, sir.
Senator BYRD. In other words, he can present to the President the views of all the Chiefs of Staff or any one of them that may be in contradiction to his views; is that correct?
Admiral DENFELD. He can express his own views and those of the other Chiefs of Staff.
Senator BYRD. Would this require him to do that, though?
Admiral DENFELD. I do not think it is hide-bound, but we just put that saving clause in, to indicate that we considered that that
"as such" added enough to the legislation which would indicate that he should do that.
Senator BYRD. I am concerned about the bill as now written, that the chief adviser to the President, the chairman, could present his own views to the President and not present the views of the members of the Chiefs of Staff. Couldn't he do that, as the bill is written now?
Admiral DENFELD. He could do that.
Senator BYRD. Do you think this amendment will clarify that to the extent that of course, he would not be compelled to.
Admiral DENFELD. He would not be compelled to.
Senator BYRD. But, at least, it clears the fact that he shall not exercise military command over the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or the services. I am not clear in my mind yet what is the military command he could exercise.
Admiral DENFELD. In any military command
Senator BYRD. Let me get this clear: You mean the law as written, in your judgment, means that he can command the Chiefs of Staff, direct them, to do what he pleases? I mean, in military operations, The law does not provide for that, does it?
Admiral DENFELD. No. The provision we put in was to prevent his taking military command.
Senator SALTONSTALL. Couldn't you cover that point by taking away from him the increased rank? This bill as now drawn, carrying out what Senator Byrd says, gives him while holding such office precedence over all other officers of the armed services.
The CHAIRMAN. Would you want the presiding officer to have lower rank than those over whom he presides?
Senator SALTONSTALL. I would not say lower rank; the same rank. Admiral DENFELD. I think he should be the senior officer. Otherwise, you would get in difficulties, like in any other military organization.
Senator BYRD. You add the words "as such" after "the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff” ?
Admiral DENFELD. Yes, sir. We put that in merely as a reminder to the chairman that he should present the views of the rest of them.
Senator CHAPMAN. Do you think that is sufficient language to make clear what the intention is?
Admiral DENFELD. I do not know. I think if you could make it stronger
Senator JOHNSON. Pursuing Senator Byrd's question further, I would like to get clear on that. As the bill is written, I assume it gives the chairman authority to exercise military command, or you would not want to amend it.
Now, you suggest an amendment that restricts his authority and says he shall not exercise military command. I wonder if one of you would give us an illustration of where the chairman could, under the bill as written, exercise military command and why you think it would be bad for him to have that authority. Give us an illustration.
Admiral DENFELD. I think the purpose of this bill is to have a chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and I do not think it is the purpose of the bill to have a single Chief of Staff. I think with a single Chief of Staff, that the officer in that position could exercise any powers of command that can be exercised in the Military Establishment.