Never before in the history of this country has there been a more confused state of national thinking in regard to adequate methods of national defense. With the victorious end of the war we attained national security temporarily, but the issue now is how to maintain it permanently. For the moment, historically speaking, we are safe because of our new atomic weapons. But although we have peace now, envy, jealousy, and fear have not vanished from the world, nor has foreign inventive genius. It may be but the matter of a few years before some unknown aggressor develops superior offensive power and strikes at us and our great national wealth before we have time to mobilize our resources as fortunately we could in the last two wars. In this fateful interlude between either permanent world peace or the next war it is vital that we, as a nation, take all measures which will make us safe through our own strength and a bulwark of enforcement in any world state we support.
There are certain national policies and lines of action which are basic in an immediate, possibly temporary, post-war program to assure the greatest possible security to this nation in the uncertain period just ahead. All of these policies should be modified, improved, or even discarded as time goes on and as the next two to five years unfold new world situations—but they are essential now! In this critical interim it behooves the citizens of the United States to insist upon certain specific steps by the government to protect our national interests in the immediate future and to insure our position as a leading world power even while maintaining our role as chief advocate of a world organization with a world security council to insure peace and security for all nations.
The United States has become, through unity in war effort, the greatest military power in the world, while paradoxically enough, we are the most peace-loving nation on earth. It is still difficult for us to realize in this period of peculiar uncertainty in international affairs that it is our power, not our good will, which insures our peace. In the past our national security depended largely upon natural advantages and not upon our own planned efforts. Our isolated geographical position with broad ocean barriers, the relative weakness of our hemispheric neighbors, and the distribution and balance of power in Europe have all served to protect us and our interests. These factors, since the advent of the atomic bomb and jet-propelled weapons, no longer are serviceable or dependable as bases of protective national policy in a world still torn by conflicting political ideologies. From this time on, we must protect and preserve ourselves by our own positive initiative.
Total security today, like total war, calls for over-all planning—not a simple thing in an easy-going democracy. It involves integrated and co-ordinated foreign and military policies, and specific activities to maintain national strength enough to protect this country and its citizens in any contingency now foreseeable. It is submitted that this security may be maintained through directing and supporting a vigorous national program of scientific research, through the establishment of an effective world-wide intelligence system, through the development of adequate military, naval, and air forces strategically distributed on a ring of well-chosen bases, by the training of large reserve forces, through the support of a large, fast merchant marine, and through an honest policy of international good will. None of these policies alone will insure security and there are others which would supplement these; but by and large, these are the keys to the country, and we must guard them well until we are sure that locks are unnecessary for the protection of any nation.
SECURITY THROUGH RESEARCH
The end of the war marked a new era in the art of destructive weapons. The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, August 6,1945, gave a practical demonstration of our newly perfected power for dealing out death on a hitherto unimagined scale. The long run implications of harnessed atomic power are staggering for future war and peace developments. We can be devoutly grateful that the release of atomic energy was an achievement of Allied scientists rather than our enemies, and it is already clear that ownership of the technical secret of the atomic bomb carries a responsibility that is terrifyingly grave. As a consequence, ever since the two atomic missiles vaporized Japan’s will to fight on, our chief problems have been over what to do about the bomb and what to do with it. Unquestionably, our exclusive possession of the secret of production of the new weapon gives us a brief interval of complete military superiority over all other nations of the world. For this reason the decisions we must make concerning the ultimate disposition of this military secret may determine not only the future peace of the world but also the survival of the United States as an independent democratic nation.
Our secret of the atomic bomb is uncertain and temporary. The basic principles and elements employed in its composition were generally known to physicists in 1940, so that only the practical application of them into an effective weapon gives us our present advantage. Other nations possess clever scientists and engineers, and given a little time, they can duplicate our wartime feat. Thereafter there may be a new and more deadly armament race than ever before in all history, and the world will be a group of armed camps capable of warfare that could destroy all civilization. Our present power, our present superiority is thus limited to a few years’ time at most, and the decisions we, as a nation, make in this fateful interval concerning our defense are vital not only to our future security but also to our actual survival.
Our first decision must be to direct our national energies to what has been called “the security of achievement” as opposed to “security by concealment.” This means that we must constantly lead the way in scientific advances in naval and military weapons rather than depend upon indefinite or exclusive possession of our technical secret for the controlled release of atomic energy. Furthermore, we must recognize that a national policy for research is as necessary now to our survival as a foreign policy or an economic policy, and that it is fundamental in our defense policy. Scientific research and discovery of new weapons must be encouraged in every way possible. This may be done through nationally supported laboratories and bureaus or under the diverse auspices and objectives of universities, colleges, and technical schools, of business and industry, and of private foundations. A considered program would include the best researchers in the country in both theoretical and applied fields, with sufficient and continuous financial support wherever necessary.
It may become advantageous to establish national research as a co-ordinate function of government, equivalent in rank with the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. This would mean recognition of the fact that scientific research is more and more becoming the basis of government’s decisions and policies, and is as necessary now as any other phase of national defense. It has been publicly stated that the best way to be prepared for any possible enemies in any possible future war is to be ahead of them in every field. And the way to be ahead of them is to have more, cleverer, and better-informed men working harder, on the basis of more and thoroughly diffused scientific information. The inventive genius and scientific imagination of America must be stimulated and its findings co-ordinated so that we, as a nation, may maintain our present technical lead over any potential aggressor.
Separate departments of the government, such as the Army and Navy, at present conduct intensive research in their own particular fields. For example, in the Navy Department the Office of Research and Inventions has been set up which merges, for purposes of speed and efficiency, the Naval Research Laboratory, the Special Devices Division, the Office of Research and Development, and the Office of Patents and Inventions. A step further would be to merge and consolidate all research agencies in the various government departments and to obtain effective cooperation from research departments of private business and industry. Such a policy would parallel the example of our allies, Great Britain and Russia, who have already established a single research department of government. Such a Department of National Research would be a valuable aid to our recently formed National Security Council. Moreover, such an innovation possibly would tend to develop a more scientific statesmanship whereby statesmen would appreciate the problems of science, especially in the field of national defense, and scientists might develop more insight into and responsibility for policies their discoveries support.
Superior offensive weapons alone do not make a nation secure. We must also support research in the defensive fields. This work is practically in virgin soil and has been publicly disparaged by reports that “any defense methods against the atomic bomb are a figment of the imagination.” So also was the bomb itself five years ago, and was featured only in “fantastic stories!” Even though scientists can offer no specific defense against this atomic weapon at present, already military leaders such as General Arnold are talking of interceptive methods with robot planes and secret rays to prevent any large air-borne attack.
The fact is that no potential enemy wants a completely devastated or destroyed country as a spoil of war. Some advantage, basically economic, is still the impelling motive to arms, and conquerors are spurred on only when there is something valuable left to conquer. Hence, after the initial devastating attack, or repulse, the more conventional means of defense will continue to play an important role in future wars. And so in the present peaceful interim of indecision, the same American ingenuity and perseverance which produced the bomb must develop or plan successful countermeasures to it. The race between offense and defense in weapons has always paralleled the race between safe-makers and safe-breakers! No scientific discovery has ever remained static. In this present situation we have a head start in research on atomic energy and facilities which utilize the fission principle, so that it seems eminently sound to continue this established work and organization to investigate defensive measures as well as new offensive ones.
Defense research in this country should not occasion serious concern among other nations of the world, particularly our present allies. We are not a poor nation coveting possessions or territories of our neighbors, and we prefer to live in peace with them. Our intentions are honorable, even in the matter of search for new weapons. We know that we shall hold our knowledge only as a reserve factor to insure national safety. We do not know what others may do with a superior knowledge. And so national research must be our “new duty” taught by a “new occasion” until such time as the world realizes the universal ideal of universal peace.
SECURITY THROUGH INTELLIGENCE
It is not enough, however, to conduct research by ourselves and for ourselves. We must know what research goes on in all other countries. Even if we internationalized all secret information on atomic research, we have no guarantee that such knowledge might not be abused. It is highly unlikely that, even with all atomic weapons under the control of a world organization, powerful nations will consent to effective foreign inspections within their borders of those mines or plants which might secretly produce such weapons—all sacred treaties and international good will notwithstanding. We must know what goes on in all other countries largely through our own efforts. The advent of the atomic bomb has made it imperative that the United States at once set up a superintelligence system which has eyes and ears in all corners of the earth.
The first real integrated national intelligence service in this country was in the Office of Strategic Services set up at the beginning of the war and dissolved promptly at its end. Its function was to collect, evaluate, and judiciously distribute confidential and secret information to the various government officials and departments concerned. These departments, in return, contributed to the general fund of knowledge of the Office of Strategic Services. This co-operative effort gave us for the first time in our history a single source of intelligence without which no Department of State or military organization can function safely, soundly, or effectively. Advance knowledge of the plans and activities of foreign nations is the key to any successful national defense system, and contributes as much toward security as any single factor. The rise and survival of democratic Great Britain has been built on what is probably the best intelligence system in the world, and one which has always kept itself free of personal or political partisanship. We need just such an organization—only better!
In September, 1945, the work of the Office of Strategic Services was dissolved despite its good war record. In addition to its coordinating functions, it had carried on an active secret war behind all enemy lines with virtually a small army of spies, since the nature of the work required its members to be out of uniform. All agents were volunteers, and the personnel, comprising American soldiers, sailors, marines, and civilians, as well as a group of trusted foreign nationals, worked in small units of from two to thirty men. The record of its achievements in intelligence, demolition, training, and equipping of resistance forces, rescue of downed Allied airmen, and delivery of supplies to underground armies reads like fantastic adventure fiction. And it was with regret that many saw the disappearance of something which could have been built up into a strong clearinghouse of intelligence. A co-ordinated intelligence system is in process of organization to synthesize and provide information to the departments concerned with national security. A principal responsibility of this agency will be to see that all pertinent information reaches those who must act on it. This new appreciation of the value of foreign intelligence is a hopeful sign for increased security.
SECURITY THROUGH MAINTENANCE OF STRONG ARMED FORCES
Naval and military authorities do not believe atomic weapons alone will guarantee military success or outmode all other present methods of warfare. In whatever way these weapons may be used by an aggressor, they alone cannot be counted upon to win a war. If atomic bombs are dropped from planes, it will require first the elimination of effective opposition as at Hiroshima, and ultimately the consolidation of gains by an invading force. From whatever angle one approaches the picture of a possible future war, armies and navies will continue to be essential to slug it out on the surface and to clinch the victory. This is particularly true since no war has as its object total destruction of valuable material resources, and in consequence atomic power must be used strategically with full support by armed human might. For this reason continued maintenance of a strong army, an equally strong amphibious force, and a strong supporting navy along with a super air force is essential to our security. Then, if any power breaks the peace in this interval before there is a world organization strong enough to take over all security duties, we can defend ourselves. However long or short this interval is, this country must realize the cold fact that power alone can carry us through it peacefully. Hope in the good intentions of other nations must never again supplant the realities of adequacy. Our rapid post-war demobilization of the services in the face of an international situation which is far from stable should give rise to grave concern. Harassed military and naval leaders have warned that reduction in the size of the armed forces has gone beyond a safe limit, and that a qualitative as well as quantitative decline will be the inevitable result in the long run.
Each service has its own estimate of its minimum size compatible with its part in securing safety for the country. For example, the Secretary of the Navy asked Congress for an “active” peacetime fleet of 400 combatant ships, a force no larger than the one we had before Pearl Harbor, but with fire power and air power far superior. In addition he asked for an “inactive” but “battle- ready” reserve of nearly 700 vessels fit for active duty on short notice. Such a plan the Navy believes would supply the necessary power to maintain its part in keeping the nation secure. Other plans have been developed by the other services so that Congress and the people are well advised of our estimated needs.
Efficiency and alertness are even more essential than size in a military organization. Any reorganization which logically offers to increase these factors will doubtless be approved by the lawmakers. Careful investigation will precede any drastic innovation, and our concept of a future war and the needs of our fighting machine to win it will probably be the determining factor in any decision concerning more efficient operation of the armed forces.
The purpose of the armed services is to uphold and enforce the policies of this nation. To fulfill their mission they must be maintained in strength and readiness. If they are kept strong enough in peacetime to continue to command the respect they won in the war, an important step in national security has been made.
SECURITY THROUGH MAINTENANCE OF ADEQUATE MILITARY RESERVES
Beyond the immediate need of a strong force of professional soldiers, sailors, and aviators is the need of trained reserves in all branches of the services. For years to come the United States will be engaged in enforcing and consolidating the peace and in supporting the newly created United Nations organization. Although sufficient volunteers may arise to meet immediate needs for these duties, in case of any unexpected demands upon our armed forces, a “callable” reserve must be ready to answer whenever Congress gives the word. Atomic instruments of destruction have made time the most potent of all weapons of war, and if World War III ever descends upon us, we shall have no time to draft, train, and season civilian armies and navies as we have had in the past. We must have our reserves trained and ready, and with the recent experience of “total war” fresh in our minds, we must place all of our fit citizenry in the pool from which the services may draw as necessary. And the most fair and direct way to obtain such a pool is through universal military training.
Universal military training of the youth of this country will not solve all of our postwar defense problems, but it is one of the keys to be kept on the inside of the lock. It is the process whereby men are transformed from members of a mob to effective units of a fighting team. It is a training that takes time, money, and equipment; but a rigorous adherence to the program advanced by our military leaders should give the youths of our country enough basic education in the arts and skills of war to make them efficient, as well as willing defenders of this country if the need arises. Valuable by-products of this compulsory military training are bound to be felt in general physical improvement and raising of health standards, as well as in self-reliance, discipline, and courtesy, while movement of trainees over the country in maneuvers or other educational effort is bound to intensify real democratic feelings through reduction of sectional and other local prejudices.
Universal military training does not claim to train youth to use weapons of warfare not yet invented. It does expect to indoctrinate young men into the military manner of doing things; in the fundamentals of “order and execution,” improvising and self-preservation, and the basic skills of warfare. Once a young man has received the stamp of the fundamentals of military life, he is not likely to forget them to such an extent that he could not fit into military organization readily when needed.
A reserve of trained citizenry is as essential to national security as a reserve of fighting ships or research scientists. With no clear-cut picture of a permanently peaceful future, our nation must never again be caught weak or unprepared, and to compromise on this issue might mean our disappearance as an independent nation. General Donovan, testifying before Congress, remarked, “If you want to fight, you have got to be strong; but if you want peace, you have got to be stronger still.” An adequate military reserve is one vital link in the chain of peace with security.
SECURITY THROUGH MAINTENANCE OF ADEQUATE BASES
American military forces must be strategically distributed throughout the world. This fact does not imply an American empire or that this country has empire aspirations. It is simply sound common sense to keep a stabilizing show of military might where it will do the most good internationally until such time as there is an organization of united nations strong enough to police the world effectively. This means that we must openly possess and occupy military establishments and naval bases in far-flung lines throughout the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans in order to support far-ranging fleets of ships or aircraft whose purpose is to keep aggression far from the shores of the United States. Stretching from the Aleutians to the Admiralties, from the West Coast to Truk, from Newfoundland to the West Indies, from the Canal Zone to the Galapagos, our national schemes of defense or offense call for a series of sea and air outposts to be used as primary or as secondary bases. Already the Navy has submitted a recommendation to the Naval Affairs Committee for the retention of nine major island bases in the Pacific and six permanent bases in the Atlantic. With these “stepping stones” in great oceans it is felt that we will have an advantage in that most precious wartime weapon, time, even against any possible atomic bomb measures. Some of these bases may be held merely in a caretaker status until permanent plans for our national security based on a long-time view of all possible developments have been adopted.
At the United Nations Conference in April, 1945, an American proposal for international trusteeship of most of these island bases was proposed by our delegation in spite of grave disapproval by both Army and Navy consultants. Since agreement has not been reached on territories to be “internationalized,” it would be advisable if the citizens of this country as a whole were informed as to what is entailed so that they can support the services in their effort to obtain permanent ownership of the areas we need for bases.
Most of the territories earmarked as trusteeships were fought for and won at heavy cost by our marines, sailors, and soldiers. During hostilities we had to convert them from sand-spits and coral-heads into bases for air and ground forces, for training areas and casualty centers. They proved to be strategic positions for special purposes, all bearing on the point of keeping hostilities away from our continental limits.
The text of the proposal for international trusteeships over these territories states that the system is set up to replace one-nation control of former enemy territories by a Trusteeship Council and thus “to further international peace and security.” Future security in the Pacific will most assuredly rest upon the armed forces of the United States. If it is the contention of our military leaders that outright ownership of certain islands is essential for security, it is difficult to see what better authority could be offered to prove our necessities!
The text further states that the plan was designed “to promote political, economic, and social advancement of the trust territories and their inhabitants and their progressive development toward self-government.” To begin with, the “inhabitants” are chiefly Japanese or Micronesian peoples, and there are few of them on any island we want. Since we, in our pre-war treatment of the Chamorros of Guam, and other native peoples, have been far more progressive and philanthropic than other nations in their dealings with backward native peoples, it is difficult to see how any “international” administration of them would work to their advantage. The third reason given for trusteeships, namely “to provide non-dis- criminatory treatment ... in respect to the economic and other appropriate civil activities of the nationals of all member states,” is again a joker. There are no “civil activities,” and possibly a trading ship a month to take out a little copra, sugar, and phosphates is the extent of “economic activities.” And finally, trustee arrangements and their alteration would be exercised by not only the Big Five Nations but also the six smaller ones on the Council. This would give the United States but one vote in eleven on the control of areas which are a matter of primary concern to us alone. By means of this arrangement we could actually lose control of strategic areas we need and which we now possess.
To give up this advantage smacks not of altruism, but of national folly. When Russia requests international trusteeships for areas in the Balkans and Baltic countries or for Sakhalin or the Kuriles, or Great Britain for Hongkong, Singapore, or the East Indies, or France for Martinique or Hainan, then will it be sensible to consider how far we dare go in jeopardizing our security in the Pacific. If we go ahead now with our near-sighted altruistic plans, we may find at the end of this postwar interlude we have given away an essential part of our future protective armor. The international chess game calls for farsighted consideration of every move, and to make a poor move now might cost us dearly later.
SECURITY THROUGH MAINTENANCE OF A STRONG MERCHANT MARINE
Our national policy concerning a United States Merchant Marine has been one of compromise and vacillation since the end of the first World War. The fair Merchant Marine Act of 1928 was faultily administered and the establishment of a new Maritime Commission in 1936 with a long-range building program was too little and too late to aid us materially in 1941. Had we possessed a large and modern Merchant Marine in 1939, the course of history might have been different, for, according to definite Axis statements, our enemies relied heavily for a victory upon our supposed inability to transport sufficient aid to Britain or armies and supplies of our own abroad. They nearly proved their point, for during the first two years of this war our Lease-Lend supplies and our overseas shipments of personnel and material were carried in slow ships which were easily sunk by submarines. If, however, we had possessed modern, fast merchant vessels, we would have greatly reduced the loss of life, ships, and cargoes, and avoided slipping to the very edge of national defeat as our own military and naval leaders have admitted.
Marine transportation is as essential an element in waging a successful war as in maintaining a prosperous peace. Only American ships and American shipbuilding services are to be depended upon completely in time of war. Merchant ships are the keys in overseas operations or any but coastal defense warfare, and it is essential that in this immediate post-war period we do not forget our dependence in a national emergency upon a large, fast, efficient Merchant Marine. In 1943 and 1944 merchant ships moved 96 per cent of men and supplies overseas, and it is impossible to contemplate a future war without assurance that we have this transportation resource upon which to rely.
Today the United States has a strong Merchant Marine with a total tonnage equal to all ships owned by the Allied powers prior to the outbreak of the war in 1939. We also possess a pool of skilled officers and trained men to man these ships. Normally, in peacetime we operate these ships at costs nearly 50 per cent higher than our foreign competitors. Consequently, today the country faces a real pseudo-dilemma concerning them. We are faced with the prospect of paying government subsidies to keep the ships and crews operating in competition with low cost foreign merchant ships, and to keep a ship replacement program in progress, or with the prospect of seeing a major factor in our national security program scrapped. Security considerations must take precedence over financial disadvantages at the present time due to the uncertainty of the interlude in which we now find ourselves. The average annual pre-war subsidy payments amounted to $10,000,000, or about the dollar and cents cost of an hour of war. By subsidizing these essential ships we can rebuild our foreign trade and even increase our own carrying operations by taking over some of the cargo formerly carried by Germany and Japan. Our Maritime Commission would like to see 50 per cent of our foreign commerce carried in our own bottoms rather than our pre-war 25 per cent, with a safe percentage of our best cargo vessels in a ready reserve, while only the least efficient are sold as surplus-vessel property.
In all fairness to the government, both ship operators and maritime labor must cooperate in making the subsidies as light as possible. The operators must work out constructive programs on shipbuilding which include specialized shipping services and retire aging, inefficient, or sub-standard vessels; while labor must be willing to give up “make work” practices both ashore and at sea and be reasonable in its organized demands. Both groups are trustees of a vital weapon in the scheme of national defense and should appreciate their position. Better and increased communications are vital to a peaceful world, and our present strong Merchant Marine can now be a bridge to increased international understanding as surely as it was a bridge to victory in the war.
SECURITY THROUGH INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION
Honest promotion of international good will is one of the most effective long-range means of maintaining future national security. Our long history of peace with Canada, for example, is not due to any specific act, pact, or treaty, but to years of mutually advantageous intercourse. Ultimately, Americans hope that the same friendly and fearless relationship may exist between all nations of the world, and we have initiated specific measures to bring this about, sometimes to our own disadvantage. We have been instrumental in furthering peace pacts, disarmament conferences, international treaties, and world organization for the last thirty years and more. In August, 1945, we took the lead in sponsoring the United Nations Organization which now has a membership of over fifty. Although the United Nations Organization was devised in the pre-atomic era, it is the only tangible international means to world peace and security that we now possess, and hence it must be developed to the very utmost. It is still in the organizational stage, and so, until it becomes a body capable of enforcing its decisions, we can look only to our own efforts and resources for security.
As matters now stand, unity in administering the peace so recently won is still to be attained by the three great Allied powers. These key nations possess widely divergent ideologies and philosophies and have yet to learn to work together smoothly on practical and technical problems in governing enemy territory. This specific enforced co-operation in administering Germany and Japan may lead to a similar habit on the diplomatic level.
It is possible that the new General Assembly of the United Nations Organization may one day become a directly elected world legislature—a “Parliament of Man.” To it may then be entrusted the technical secrets of atomic weapons since it will then be strong enough to outlaw effectively their use. Until that era arrives we dare not lower our guard.
This year and the next will constitute a fateful interlude in the history of this country. The decisions made now may be fatal or fortunate. The United States must take every measure to keep itself strong even while it is a leader in working out an effective international organization which eventually will “wage” universal peace even in a world possessing knowledge of devastating atomic weapons. This may be our main chance to insure our physical survival, as well as to display our moral leadership. International considerations at this time must not result in disregard of our safety as it did after World War I.
Before the world can be effectively nationalized on the basis of our “four freedoms” ideal, there is much hard and discouraging spade-work to be done all over the globe. Some authorities have suggested that we use our possession of atomic weapons to enforce world organization with drastic international law actually enforced by internationalized military units. Such a “do it or else” system minimizes to a dangerous degree the spirit of nationalism still rampant throughout the world. Before national organizations can be subordinated to a world organization in major political matters, the peoples of the world must become imbued with a far broader idea of human relationships than the nationalistic ones now held in every civilized —and uncivilized—country.
While we work for that era of international understanding and good will we must recognize the fact that our safety and security rests upon our own power, and that we must be ready to take immediate offensive action with overwhelming force should an aggressor arise. If war comes to us again, it will indicate that our security measures have failed, for some hostile power will have judged us weak or inadequate. Conviction that a war with us would mean inevitable defeat will cause a would-be aggressor to keep the peace, for we ourselves have no ulterior designs or territorial ambitions that would induce a resort to force. Peace without power is simply wishful thinking, and until we have enforceable international laws, we must maintain our own power if we would enjoy peace.