Testimony Before the Committee on Military Affairs, House of Representatives, January 11, 1921



The CHAIRMAN. We will be glad to hear Mrs. Brown; and you may proceed without interruption, Mrs. Brown. If the members of the committee desire to ask questions when you are through they may do so.

Mrs. BROWN. Thank you. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, the public press has been complaining for some time of the extravagance in Government expenditures, but, as I see it, the press has not analyzed that great wastefulness correctly. Great emphasis has been laid on the desirability of establishing a national budget system. And about the time you passed the Army reorganization bill last spring you passed a budget bill. The impression has prevailed that budget bureau would reduce our taxes. I think it is interesting to look into that and see what there is in it.

Now, there are two reasons for the great waste in the conduct of our Government.

First, bad administration on the part of the executive branch of the Government, and, second, extravagance on the part of the legislative branch.

The departments have squandered money and Congress has thrown it away. The departments generally are mending their ways -- have been trying for some time to do so -- but Congress makes no effort to correct its main extravagance.

Let us consider first the extravagance of the departments. This is not due primarily to the inefficiency of administrators. It is due to the enormous and rapid growth of Government activities and Government personnel at a time when radical changes in commercial practice have been taking place in the business world generally.

There have been various efforts to purge the departments of extravagance. Some of these efforts were initiated by Congress, some by Chief Executives, the last by a private individual who went to Congress personally and asked for an appropriation to do efficiency work in the departments. In 1887 there was a Cockerell Commission, which was a select committee of the Senate; in 1893, [page 2] a Dockery Commission, which was a joint commission of Congress; in 1905, a Keep Commission, which was a committee of departmental executives appointed by President Roosevelt; in 1910, a Cleveland Commission, which was a commission of outside experts appointed by President Taft.

All of these commissions made valuable suggestions in regard to the conduct of the public offices, suggestions leading to economy and efficiency. But it is unfortunate that Congress has paid little attention to their recommendations. Not one of these commissions was permitted to continue more than four years. All expired through neglect or abuse at the hands of Congress. The Keep Commission lived four years, the Cleveland Commission only two and a half.

In fact, as I see it, Congress has treated those commissions very [badly]. It has permitted only one of them to live any length of time. The last efficiency organization to be started was the present Bureau of Efficiency, a little office that was started on the last day of President Taft's administration. It was authorized by a Republican Senate and a Democratic House. It is still alive.

Now, what is the great general problem that any commission of this kind has to solve? It is the same problem for the Government that it is for big business anywhere. There are four things that have to be done:

It has to establish a logical organization, putting the groups of allied activities in Government work together, and seeing that there is no duplication or overlapping; it has to provide a personnel that is efficient; it has to install a model accounting system; and it has to improve the office methods and practices of the Government departments.

The present organization of the Bureau of Efficiency has certainly not reformed the Government service, but it has made good progress in every field. It has shown that on the basis of such perfected reforms only could an effective budget system be established. For example, it would be impossible, at present, with the different haphazard noncomparable accounting methods in different offices to make a balanced statement of appropriations and expenditures, such as a budget calls for, that would be a true reflection of the purposes for which the money is spent. But like the topographic map of the United States which the Geological Survey is making and which will some day be completed, quadrangle by quadrangle, the accounting reforms can be made, bit by bit, and proper accounting system finally installed in every office. The day of budget reform will then be at hand. No budget system can be established by fiat.

But, from time to time, that work has been stalled by reactionary men in Congress. The Bureau of Efficiency is hamstrung at present, for instance, by a law which prevents it from hiring more than 15 people at salaries in excess of $3,000 a year. Persons who work for less than $3,000 a year are, of course, not capable of doing the kind of constructive work necessary in improving the Government service.

So much for departmental waste and how it is being handled.

How about the waste that Congress is responsible for? It may be described under two heads: First, the waste in expenditures for war. That amounts to 88 [percent] for this year, instead of 92 plus, or nearly 93 [percent], the figures which have been used here. There is no discrepancy in those figures. The 92 [percent] quoted is the figure given [page 3] by Dr. Rosa, of the Bureau of Standards, and is based on expenditures for the year 1920 -- that is, the year ending June 30 last -- while these figures that I quote are based upon the appropriations for the current year, which will end June 30, 1921. Owing to the fact that huge war contracts were settled in 1920, that year is not a normal year, but I think the case is bad enough, if we spend 88 [percent] of our appropriations in any one year on wars past and to come.

Congress does another thing that causes great wastefulness -- it authorizes duplications. It has always done more or less of that, but during the World War it ran riot in the matter of duplications. Congress complains constantly of duplications in the departments, and yet it itself authorizes them. It forgets that no duplication can exist except by authority of Congress.

As I said, with the World War Congress began to run riot in the matter of authorizing duplications. For instance, it authorized during the war three actuarial officers; and its special offense is standing back of the Army and the Navy in the duplications that they carry on. The Military and Naval Establishments create duplications constantly, encroaching upon the work of the civil branches of the Government. Congress stands behind them, lets them do it, and gives them the money to do it. It is to be congratulated, however, on having just voted down an appropriation of $75,000 to the Council of National Defense, which would overlap nearly every agency of government if permitted to continue.

The result of congressional extravagance is illustrated by this chart {exhibiting chart to the committee}. I call it the "appropriation pie." It shows how the appropriation pie is divided this current year. It is an enormous, swollen, disgusting pie, to begin with, fit only for a glutton, but ordered by Congress, nevertheless, at national expense, and costing over four thousand millions of dollars. Every man, woman, and child in the country has to pay on the average $40 each for that pie. It costs the average family $200, that national pie does, and gives everybody indigestion. And the average family gets only a tiny bite of the pie, too, much as it costs them. The biggest piece, represented by that 68 [percent] wedge, goes to soldiers and sailors of our past wars and their dependents. The next piece, represented by that 20 [percent] area, goes to soldiers and sailors of future wars -- that is, to the Army and Navy. That leaves only this little 12 [percent] piece for all the rest of us nonmilitary folk.

Mr. CALDWELL. You said, I believe, that 68 [percent] goes to soldiers and sailors of our past wars. That includes debts and interest and all of those things, does it not?

Mrs. BROWN. That is true. I will bring that out presently. Now, that circle {indicating chart} may be regarded, instead of a pie, as one of the dollars which you gentlemen appropriated last July for the expenses of the current year. Of the dollar, 68 cents are spent for the expenses of past wars, 20 cents for those of future wars, leaving only 12 cents for agriculture, commerce, public works, public health, science, research, education, and all the pursuits of peace.

Now, anyone who will look at that chart long enough, will see after a while that it is folly to except a budget system to save the Government any appreciable sum of money or to reduce taxation. A budget system is all right, of course, but as long as Congress insists that over three and a half billions of dollars has to be collected from us [page 4] each year to pay our war expenses, a budget bureau from heaven itself, composed of our most distinguished economists and most accomplished accountants, could not reduce [our] tax bill.

A budget is a balanced statement -- expenditures versus income. Let us look at our expenditures for the current year. What could a budget bureau do with that 68 [percent] for the past wars? It is composed of items like pensions, war-risk insurance, compensation for disability, the vocational education of mutilated soldiers, the restoration to health of diseased soldiers, the maintenance of soldiers' homes, the return to America of the soldier dead, the interest on the war debts, and so on.

Mr. CALDWELL. Have you those figures in detail which you are presenting? If you have them in detail, you need not read them, but I suggest that you hand them to the stenographer for the record.

Mrs. BROWN. Very well.

The CHAIRMAN. Would you advocate reducing any of those activities?

Mrs. BROWN. Indeed, I would not, as I am going to point out. These are debts of honor; they can not be repudiated; they must be paid. Our boys were gathered up from our farms and city homes, from our fields and factories, our shops, and mines, and offices. Some of them volunteers, but more of them were drafted -- driven like cattle into pens, where they were instructed in the art of slaughter, and shipped then overseas to their doom in the trenches. They had no choice in the matter. Over 115,000 of them perished; 50,000 died in battle; 65,000 died of wounds and disease; more have died since, and others die as the result of their experiences. The question of war was not referred to the people; there was no referendum to the people, as to whether their boys should be sent across. The declaration of war was forced through Congress without adequate debate, while we women agonized in the galleries. Most of you men had no chance to express yourselves more than four or five minutes each.

The CHAIRMAN. We have not very much time to express ourselves on any subject on the floor.

Mrs. BROWN. I commiserate you.

Now, the least we can do for those boys, to make it up to them in some faint way, is to pay their insurance to their families or descendants, nurse them and care for them in sickness, and set them on their feet if their mutilation will permit of it. No; there is very little of that 68 [percent] to be spent this year for our past wars that could be saved by even the most lynx-eyed director of a budget.

Go over to the War Risk Insurance Bureau and you may see there a machine that is issuing checks to the families of these boys -- pouring them out as steadily as you can count, all day long and every day in the year. Each turn of the machine means from $10 to $150 of real money. There is no way of saving that. We have to pay it.

What could a budget bureau do with that 20 [percent] for future wars? Well, Congress could abolish entirely that section, and that is what we women want. But a budget bureau could do nothing. You give the Army and Navy their appropriations in lump sums. If a budget bureau showed the War Department how it could reduce expenditures in some office, the taxpayers would never get the benefit of such reduction. The money saved would simply be expended by the War Department [page 5] in some new war work. A new batch of contractors might be made happy. Or a few more [prerequisites] might be granted officers -- additional automobiles or launches or [wagonettes] or heaven knows what to make life easier for them. I happen to know that the Bureau of Efficiency saved a quarter of a million dollars last year by simplifying routine jobs in a certain division of the War Department, but it is impossible to find that the estimates were correspondingly reduced. The only way to reduce expenditures in the War and Navy Departments is to reduce the size of the lumps you give them. That is what we want you to do until you give them nothing or practically nothing. At least, you can go back to the prewar basis and do it now.

Instead, the estimates call for increases in the size of those Army and Navy lumps. If Congress honors those estimates the proportion of our national pie given to the Army and Navy next year will be even greater than 20 [percent] of the whole. It will be 38 [percent].

Here is a table recently made by the Bureau of Efficiency which shows this and which I want to have made a part of this record. It is a comparison of the appropriations for this year with the estimates of expenditures for next year.

(The table referred to is as follows: )

Estimates of expenditures for the fiscal year 1922 compared with 1921 appropriations.

Purpose. 1922 estimates. 1921 appropriations. Increase or decrease 1922 estimates.
[Percent] of total exclusive of postal expenditures.
1921 appropriations.
[Percent] of total exclusive of postal expenditures.
[Percent] of increase or decrease.
[Percent] of total exclusive of postal expenditures. [Percent] of total exclusive of postal expenditures.
Care and maintenance of veterans of War of 1914, including compensation, rehabilitation, hospital treatment . . . . . 340,981,050 293,168,400 + 47,812,650 8.38 7.0 + 16.30
Pensions on account of military service prior to War of 1914 . . . . . 263,190,000 279,150,000 - 13,960,000 6.52 6.6 - 5.00
Interest on the public debt . . . . . 922,650,000 980,000,000 - 57,350,000 22.67 23.5 - 6.20
Contributions to sinking fund for amortization of public debt . . . . . 265,754,865 260,800,000 + 4,954,865 6.53 6.2 + 1.13
Expenses incident to Federal control of interstate transportation . . . . . . . . . . 1,025,000,000 - 1,025,000,000 . . . . . 24.5 - 100.00
Total appropriations incident to past wars 1,794,575,915 2,838,118,400 - 1,043,542,485 44.10 67.9 - 58.25
Military Establishment . . . . . 852,261,545 418,232,382 + 434,029,163 20.95 10.0 + 103.77
Naval Establishment . . . . . 695,763,767 437,724,580 + 258,039,187 17.10 10.5 + 58.95
Total appropriation for present national defense . . . . . 1,548,025,312 855,956,962 + 692,068,350 38.05 20.5 + 80.85
Total for past wars and present national defense . . . . . 3,342,601,227 3,694,675,362 - 351,474,135 82.15 88.4 - 10.51
Total appropriations for general purposes, except the Postal Service . . . . . 725,848,630 481,744,726 + 244,103,904 17.85 11.6 + 50.67
Total for all purposes except the Postal Service . . . . . 4,068,449,857 4,175,820,088 - 107,370,231 100.00 100.0 - 2.63
Total appropriations for the Postal Service . . . . . 585,406,902 427,575,190 + 87,831,712 . . . . . . . . . . + 17.65
Grand total . . . . . 4,653,856,759 4,673,395,278 - 19,538,519 . . . . . . . . . . - .4

[page 6]

Mrs. BROWN (continuing). It is plain that the only place where a bureau of the budget could save any money for the people would be in estimates for nonmilitary purposes of government -- in this little 12 [percent] area -- the very area where the Bureau of Efficiency has been at work for the past eight years. It is acknowledged that until the work of eliminating duplications and reorganizing departments, of classifying employees and standardizing salaries, of installing accounting systems and improving office methods is completed there must be some waste in the Government service. But it is not nearly as much as people think, and year by year that waste is being eliminated. If any agency can save from 1 to 2 [percent] of our total appropriations this year or any year -- that is, from forty to eighty million dollars out of the four thousand millions appropriated -- it will do exceedingly well. That saving is represented on this chart by this narrow shaded slice of the circle. It is too small to be reflected in the individual's tax bill, although it is 8 [percent] of the amount spent for civil activities. If a bureau of the budget eliminated the whole departmental service except the War, Navy, and Post Office Departments it could only save 12 [percent] of our whole appropriations.

I mention the Post Office Department, since the figures of the Post Office are excluded here, as it is self-supporting. If only three men sat with the President of the United States in the Cabinet we could only save 12 [percent] of the whole.

Don't you see that Congress acts with our money just about the way the father of a family would act if he went down town and blew in seven-eighths of his pay on a spree while his wife was studying up ways of economizing on the children's means? I should not feel so angry with him if only he didn't berate the poor women for not saving more of her little one-eighth.

The CHAIRMAN. Have you now concluded, Mrs. Brown?

Mrs. BROWN. I have quite a bit more to say.

Now, so much for the estimates of expenditure; the one side of your balanced Government budget. What of the other side, the estimates of income? The people are, of course, the source of the Government's income. They have to pour out their treasure in taxes, but alas how differently are they affected by that requirement! The taxes of all the people roll into the Treasury in a vast golden stream. But they roll out again soon in two other golden streams, one to enrich the manufacturer of goods bought by the Army and Navy, armor plate and guns, airplanes and automobiles, tents, shoes, clothing, canned goods; the other to enrich the families of our military caste. All at the expense of the civilian population.

But the chief iniquity of this military system is not its costliness nor the class discriminations it creates. It is its encroachment on the functions of civil government. Adherents of the Army will expatiate on the useful work it performs. Yes, it builds roads that the Bureau of Public Roads in the Department of Agriculture should build, makes maps that the Geological Survey should make, dredges rivers and harbors that a department of public works should dredge, carries on sanitary works that the Public Health Service should perform, educates men whom civilian bureaus could educate if Congress would only support those bureaus a fraction as well as it supports the Army and Navy. [page 7]

What is the harm? people sometimes ask. Well, the harm is two-fold: First, the cost is greater to the country, if the War Department does the work; second, even if it were less it is not becoming to a free people to live under military discipline in times of peace. We went to war with Germany to break up such a system of government in that country. We allowed 4,000,000 of our boys to be drafted and thirty-three and a half billion dollars of our money to be spent in the attempt. And now you legislators propose that we stultify ourselves by setting up a similar system here in this country.

Our course is worse than any we condemn in Germany. We have not the same excuse. She had enemies encircling her. She was for "preparedness." Behold her now! As she is, so may we be if we tread the same path.

When I was a girl I spent a year of study in Germany. The German military system and the German police system impressed me deeply. I fairly boiled with wrath over the Maulkorbgesetz -- the muzzle law -- which was before the Reichstag that winter, and was designed to throttle every one who condemned the military program. I wrote letters about it to the New York Sun, expressing my amazement and horror that an enlightened and spirited people like the Germans should pass such laws. But, alas, a quarter of a century has elapsed and in my own land muzzle laws are on the statute books -- as bad as any poor Germany ever had. And our taxes are piling up like hers, to pay for a standing army like hers, to get us into trouble like hers.

Now, what is the alleged justification for all this American madness? The reason given for this waste of public funds, for this proposed enslavement of our sons is that war threatens and we must prepare for it or expect defeat.

I would like to know with whom we are to fight? Is it with Japan? Or is it with Mexico? Or with England? Because if we know a little more about it, and can go over the ground with the people of those countries perhaps we can forestall it.

Mr. Chairman, you made a speech in Congress a few weeks ago in regard to our relations with Japan. I have read that speech through twice and I am puzzled to know what you were driving at. I can find no point in it unless you seek to alarm Americans as a necessary step toward securing endorsement of your military program. You rehearsed every source of irritation which has ever developed between this country and Japan.

The CHAIRMAN. Have you seen any recent cablegrams of denunciation of America and Americans in Japan since I made that speech?

Mrs. BROWN. I do not happen to have seen any.

The CHAIRMAN. But there has been no denunciation of America or Americans by the Japanese since I have made that speech.

Mrs. BROWN. I have seen cablegrams which say that the Japanese are eager to cooperate with us. Those sources of irritation which you described in your speech are closed incidents. Should they not, if we want the friendship of Japan, remain closed -- and we want the friendship of Japan, do we not?

The CHAIRMAN. Certainly we do.

Mrs. BROWN. You said you were for military preparedness; but in the very next sentence you said, "I have no fear that there will [page 8] be war between Japan and the United States in my lifetime, nor even in the lifetime of my sons." And that is just how we women of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom feel about it; we feel that there is no immediate nor even remote fear of war with Japan. For how is Japan going to attack us if we stay at home and mind our own business? Of course, if she sees us building great dreadnaughts, she grows alarmed and feverish and begins to build also.

The CHAIRMAN. Well, she is building eight greater than we are. She is building eight 44,000-ton dreadnaughts, and that is much more than we are building.

Mrs. BROWN. Mr. Chairman, I am not a pacifist to the extent of saying that I would not have us defend ourselves if Japan landed an army on our shores. But that is very different from going out on the ocean to fight her. I can not see, when you come to think out details, how Japan is going to land an army on our shores without the aid of Mexico or Canada. A few sharpshooters could keep Japan out of the Golden Gate. I think we would be in a very much stronger position than Switzerland was during the World War. You remember that the German general made a proposal to the Swiss President. He told the Swiss President that Germany had 2,000,000 men to fling across the border into Switzerland, and the Swiss President said: "Well, we have 200,000 men who are sharpshooters, who can stop you. Each man would need to fire only 10 shots." And that is what we can do.

The CHAIRMAN. That is what the Swiss President said. He mobilized the Swiss Army, and put them down there on the border.

Mrs. BROWN. That is what I mean. But we are in a much stronger position with regard to repelling an invader than Switzerland was -- there is no comparison between our position and that of Switzerland.

Mr. CALDWELL. Well, the Swiss soldiers were prepared for war, but you would have the American soldiers neither prepared nor armed.

Mrs. BROWN. You misunderstand me. I would have the boys prepared, I would have them know how to shoot, but I would not have a system of universal military training under the War Department. I have no objection to making every boy -- and girl, too -- a sharpshooter. What I say is that Japan can not land an army in this country without the aid of Canada or Mexico -- and that would be a two-edged sword for those countries, because Canada has a Japanese question just as we have and so has Mexico. I believe, Mr. Chairman, that you said you believed that Japan was trying to unite the yellow races against the western world and that it will take from 75 to 100 years to do it. And you ask what the whites are going to do about it? I'll tell you what we white women of the Women's International League are going to do about it. We are going to use that century of respite, you say we have, to educate Japanese and Chinese women to cooperate with us for the peace and freedom of all nations. We want the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom to take in all the women of the world.

The CHAIRMAN. Well, you have answered the question that I asked: What are the white people going to do about it? And you [page 9] say the women of these white races are going to cooperate with the women of the yellow races and try to get the Japanese people to disarm. That is very good, and that answers the question that I asked.

Mrs. BROWN. Well, we women of the white races now have the ballot.


Mrs. BROWN. We can elect men to our Congresses and parliaments who will disarm, who are going to reflect our views. We are going to spend the next two years in an effort to enlighten the women of the world, so that when Congress convenes two years from now it will be a Congress of people pledged to disarmament.

I will tell you another thing we are going to do, Mr. Chairman. We are going to listen to business men like Frank A. Vanderlip and Elbert H. Gary, who advise a friendlier course with Japan. Mr. Vanderlip told the chamber of commerce in your home city, after returning from the Orient last spring, that it is the part of good Americanism to get a "broader world attitude" and "to cease viewing foreign trade with one blind eye." We are going to persuade our business men to buy as well as to sell, to help other people -- those of Japan and Germany and England and Mexico -- in their industrial development, so that they can pay for the things we want to sell them. We are going to make friends with other nations and give them their share of the markets of the earth.

I think there are a good many men in this country who do not want to do that; but we feel that they should be made to do it.

As for Mexico, I have said for years that I knew what was the trouble with Mexico and how to settle it. I lived there for two years, in the days when Porfirio Diaz was giving away the wealth of his country to American concessionaires. I have been in touch with Mexico, more or less, for a quarter of a century. The trouble with Mexico is that it has been exploited under Spanish conquerors and under American investors. Our investors have never done anything to develop the Republic. They have never settled there. They have usually stripped the mines as they could and hurried off to enjoy New York and London on the wealth taken from Mexico. Well, the Mexican people resent it. The marvel to me has always been that Mexicans had any national feeling, any love of liberty, left, but they have.

The Mexican people say that America has never done anything to help Mexico; that is has always exploited it, either politically or economically.

The second thing that is the matter with Mexico is that it is hungry. Of course, that condition grows out of the exploitation. For generations Mexico has been hungry. When I hear women talk about the starving children of Europe, I think of the starving children of Mexico. When I was in Mexico I hardly saw any but starving children; seldom did I see a handsome baby asleep upon a woman's breast; it was always an emaciated, puny child. There are no words to describe the misery of the Mexican people in the mountains of Mexico. I do not think there is any worse condition, even in Armenia. I have seen the women of Washington listen with tears in their eyes to the descriptions of Miss Jane Addams of children in Armenia cracking the bones that they got from the cemeteries [page 10] to get something to eat. And yet I am perfectly sure that some of those women who were so moved by Miss Addams were touched with the military spirit and had not thought that if we went to war with Mexico it would mean turning our machine guns on women and children who were suffering just as are the women and children of Armenia. We do not seem to see clearly so close at home.

What Mexico needs is friendly help and food -- long trains of Kansas corn, instruction in agriculture, loans of money, and opportunities of trade.

I was glad to hear the Quakers who came here as a delegation last week to protest against an increase of our Army say that they were going to establish a Friends' service in Mexico. I am told that already 150 Mexican women have joined the society which Mrs. MacKaye represents here -- the Women's Peace Society. I think it is time for us to stretch out our hands in helpfulness toward Mexico.

They have oil down there, but it is their oil; it is not ours. And I will tell you something else: If we go to war to get their oil we shall need a big Army, it is true, for the Mexican can fight in his own peculiar way and keep it up a long time. But the women of America do not want their sons to play the part of oppressors at home after going overseas as crusaders. Besides, with disarmament, the question of oil supplies will be much less acute than it is now. For the chief reason that men want oil nowadays is to run their battleships and Army trucks. For peace purposes we can get along very nicely for some time to come without more oil wells. And when our wells go dry -- if they do -- we can make something else out of potatoes or corn or rye to run our automobiles until the British are willing to give us some in trade.

The CHAIRMAN. Are you through, Mrs. Brown?

Mrs. BROWN. I will submit the rest of my remarks, because I so want Mrs. Russell to have an opportunity to speak.

Is the war for which we are preparing to be a war with Great Britain? The Government of Great Britain wrongs us when it defaults in payment of the interest on its debt to us, although spending large sums for armament with which to terrorize us. It stoops to ingratitude, the vice of sordid souls. It repels us by its treatment of whole races and nations that it has conquered by the sword and holds in brutal subjection, despite their passionate protest. But how shall we help things by going to war or getting ready to go to war? War never settles anything, as the treaty of Versailles should make us realize. Time and patience, however, do settle many things. The pendulum is surely swinging toward the day when the present Government of England is forced out of the saddle and friendlier, fairer men will shape the foreign policies of Great Britain.

We can not see that you are justified in crippling us with these huge armies and navies. We are not going to let you do it any more.

We know that this Congress does not represent us. It was not elected by women's votes. But future Congresses will reflect our views, for we are not going to sit idle and let you get us into more wars. And we hope that you Members of this Congress will listen to that voice of reason.

The CHAIRMAN. I just want to call your attention to the fact that the estimates that came from the War Department for this committee last year were $995,000,000. [page 11]

Mrs. BROWN. Yes.

The CHAIRMAN. And Congress cut them down to $392,000,000, saving the taxpayers of this country $602,000,000 on that one item of the military affairs of this country. So that Congress has not been altogether remiss, as you would have us believe.

Mrs. BROWN. Well, Mr. Kahn, nobody is more glad than I am to give you full credit; and we shall give credit to you for that -- and please keep up the good work.

The CHAIRMAN. Let me answer another suggestion you made. You ask, whom are we going to fight? That is exactly the question that was asked of me on the floor of the House in 1916, in June of that year, when we were putting through our national [defense] bill; and I told the House, "I do not know, because wars come, like thunder, out of a clear sky;" and I told them it was impossible to tell whom we were going to fight. And yet seven months later we were in the war.

Mrs. BROWN. I would like to say just one thing about that. I had the pleasure of meeting two women members of our Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, who came to this country recently, to testify about the Irish situation. They were English women, but they had gone over to Ireland to investigate conditions there. And they said many interesting and impressive things, but nothing more worth while remembering than this: That the British Labor Party was intensely disappointed when the United States went into to war. Why? Because the end was in sight, and our going in prolonged the war two years and cost hundreds of thousands of lives. Our going in, they said, left the situation not so good as if the war had stopped while it was a drawn battle; and as those women said, it left England and France so "cocky," -- that is their word, not mine -- that the rest of the world finds it difficult to live with them now.

The CHAIRMAN. Did those British say that when we got into the war we got into it to defend the right of American ships to go across certain lines that Germany told us we had no right to cross? Did those English women contend that the war was a drawn matter when we got into it?

Mrs. BROWN. They said it would have been a drawn battle, "a balanced peace" was their expression, if we had kept out. They said the British Labor Party knew that the economic bottom had fallen out of Germany, and that Germany could not keep up any longer. That was extremely interesting to me. I believe that war settles nothing -- that it simply creates new difficulties.

Now, the four things that the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom is anxious for this committee to do are as follows: First, we want you to recommend that Army appropriations be cut to the bone.

The CHAIRMAN. We are doing that now. You might fare worse with the other committee.

Mrs. BROWN. Especially one thing we wish to cut out entirely, the Chemical Warfare Service. We do not want one cent given to that service. We women will not willingly endure for one minute a service which aims to perfect poison gases and poison germs destructive to innocent noncombatants, as well as fighting armies. [page 12]

The second thing is for you to use your influence to secure an international conference on disarmament here in Washington this spring.

The CHAIRMAN. That is what Mrs. MacKaye suggested. I think we are all in favor of that.

Mrs. BROWN. The third thing we want you to do is to abandon all efforts to secure appropriations for conscription of our boys, whether you call it military training, selective draft, or by any other euphemism. When you have gotten rid of your armaments, then we are willing to talk about physical education. There ought to be something of that kind, and controlled by the Federal Government, but not under the War Department. What we would welcome is a department of public welfare with bureaus of health and education.

The fourth thing we want is for you to use your influence in the reorganization of Government departments contemplated under the Smoot-Reavis resolution, to have the War and Navy Departments stripped of their civil functions and confined to military and naval activities. That is my special pet reform.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you favor, under that provision, that the civil engineers of the War Department, who are perfecting the waterways of the country, who are specially trained in higher mathematics, do that kind of work?

Mrs. BROWN. Let them go to work for the Coast and Geodetic Survey.

The CHAIRMAN. That does not do that kind of work.

[Mrs.] BROWN. What I really want is a department of public works, that would have all of those things under its jurisdiction.

The CHAIRMAN. I know; but would you want to take the Army engineers, who are recognized as a particularly competent class of men, and who really work along civil lines, away from that work?

Mrs. BROWN. I do not believe they are more competent than the men of the Coast and Geodetic Survey, or those of the Geological Survey. I would like to know why they should be more competent than graduates of Cornell or other great engineering schools.

The CHAIRMAN. I will tell you of one concrete instance. We built the Panama Canal; and we had civil engineers from private life, appointed to do that work. And they did not accomplish it. And Maj. Gen. Goethals, an Army engineer, took hold of the situation and carried it through to success.

Mrs. BROWN. Well, Mr. Chairman, I suppose the answer to that is a question of fact. I would not undertake to say that I am stating the facts. But I happened to hear last night a discussion of that very point, and it was contended that while Gen. Goethals had done a great work, which nobody would want to depreciate, still a very large part of the planning was acknowledged to have been the work of Mr. Stevens and Mr. Shonts.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Stevens and Mr. Shonts were on the job, and they quit the job. And Mr. Wallace, a third civil engineer, was on the job; and they all three quit the job; and we had to take an Army engineer, who was not even a colonel at that time, to carry on the work.

Mr. FIELDS. May I suggest that the superiority of Gen. Goethals as a business man is what made the work a success?

The CHAIRMAN. Well, he did the work; he was an Army officer, and he did not resign, but did the work. [page 13]

Mr. KEARNS. Your whole thought here is to bring about international disarmament, is it not?

Mrs. BROWN. Yes.

Mr. KEARNS. Have you any hope that that can be brought about in the near future?

Mrs. BROWN. Well, they say that where there is a will there is a way. And there is throughout all the countries of the world -- I will not say in the minds of the governing classes, but there certainly is in the minds of the mass of the people of all countries, a very strong will for peace. There is an editorial in the current issue of the New Republic, for January 12, which contains a statement of a practical program, entitled "How to disarm."

The first step of all, as Mrs. MacKaye has said, is getting together the people of the countries to talk it over; and I would suggest that the representatives at such a conference should not be members of the Army nor the Navy, but representatives of the common people, who have not been represented in these conferences up to this time.

Mr. KEARNS. I judged that your idea was to educate men and women of the world up to a point where they will hate war.

Mrs. BROWN. Yes; to organize the women of the world, too, especially the voting women.

Mr. KEARNS. Well, is that a part of your plan?

Mrs. BROWN. Yes.

Mr. KEARNS. Was that a part of your organization?

Mrs. BROWN. Yes. Miss Jane Addams is the president of that world organization, and Miss Emily Balch the secretary, both American women. The headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. Those women who came here recently from England, Mrs. Robinson and Miss Wilkinson, of Manchester, told me that they were active in the work of our league in England; they were active enough to send 10 women to Ireland to investigate conditions there. The point that they all emphasize most is that America, which is in the strongest position strategically to take the lead in the matter of disarmament, will not do so.

I think we are safe in following some of the suggestions that Gen. Bliss recently made, in which he said that America should take the lead.

Mr. KEARNS. So that in time you can educate the people of the world to a point where they refuse to fight; is that it?

Mrs. BROWN. Yes; I think you can educate the people to a point where they will refuse to fight, just as they refuse to go to work when they strike.

Mr. KEARNS. Yes. That reminds me that when I was a boy and used to study grammar, the book had in it a quotation something like this:

War is a game at which kings would not play were not their subjects fools.

Mrs. BROWN. Yes.

Mr. KEARNS. I think that is true, too.

Mr. HULL. One of your resolutions is that we abolish the Chemical Warfare Service. I am quite interested in learning from you if you understand just what that is. Of course, the Chemical Warfare Service is simply an organization studying chemistry, and [page 14] if they are studying chemistry, that would be very useful work; would you abolish that service under those conditions?

Mrs. BROWN. No; if it is doing useful work, I would put it in the civil part of the Government; under the Bureau of Mines, for instance, or the Bureau of Chemistry, but I would not put it in the hands of a military despot.

Mr. HULL. We have no military despot in this country.

Mrs. BROWN. The Chief of the General Staff came pretty near it during the war.

Mr. HULL. Another thing is this: Is there not a wise way to use gas in warfare?

Mrs. BROWN. No.

Mr. HULL. You spoke of poison gas. Do you not know that they are trying to find a way to use gas that will make war more humane; that will simply put a man out of action for 24 hours and not hurt him? Would you do away with that?

Mrs. BROWN. Yes; I would do away with all of that.

Mr. HULL. You are anxious to have a man killed, are you?

Mrs. BROWN. You asked me a question a few moments ago. There are certain things that some people do that never on earth would they make me do.

The CHAIRMAN. Well, this is what happened in the World War -- the other nations were not using poison gas -- but Canadian and Belgian troops were at Vimy Ridge, and for the first time in many years this new method of killing people was brought into the battle by the Germans.

Mrs. BROWN. Well, the dastardly thing about that is that you affect people who are not of the fighting forces.

The CHAIRMAN. Well, you will have no argument with me on that. I only want to ask you a question about it.

Mrs. BROWN. Yes.

The CHAIRMAN. The English and the French and the Belgians and the Italians were not using that at all. But here is this other country that was using it, or commencing to use it. Now, did you think it was a mistake for England and France and Belgium and Italy to give it back to them?

Mrs. BROWN. I certainly did.

The CHAIRMAN. Then, you believe that the English should allow their soldiers to be killed, and the French should allow theirs to be killed, and make no effort to save their armies?

Mrs. MACKAYE. Mr. Kahn, do you not think we are degenerating into the technique of killing; and after all, we women certainly do not want to discuss that.

The CHAIRMAN. Well, I, of course, do not want to discuss anything that you do not desire to take up. But I was trying to pursue the thing to the ultimate conclusion, and I just wanted to see what the lady had in mind. She would allow the English and the French and the Belgians and Italians, as I now understand, to make no gas attacks in defense at all, but would have allowed the Germans to continue.

Mrs. BROWN. I do not think that ever, practically, two wrongs make a right. Even if I heard that you were preparing a dose of poison for me -- [page 15]

The CHAIRMAN (interposing). That is the last thing in the world I would think of. {Laughter.}

Mrs. BROWN. I certainly would not prepare one for you.

Mrs. MACKAYE. Mr. Chairman, Mrs. Russell abrogates her opportunity to speak to the committee. You see, it is past your lunch time. I think we have told you enough to give some idea of what we want.

The CHAIRMAN. May I make this suggestion: If Mrs. Russell will submit a statement, it can be incorporated in the recording of the hearing.

Mrs. MACKAYE. She has a written statement. I will leave this hearing perfectly well satisfied that the committee has some understanding and appreciation of what we are feeling about this subject. And I am sorry that we have not presented our case better.

The CHAIRMAN. Not at all -- you have done very well.

Mrs. MACKAYE. I remember that when Mr. Baker was testifying in regard to recruiting activities, Mr. Baker said that he was always up against the prejudice of the American people against a large standing army; and, I think, he said that "the public mind will accommodate itself rather rapidly, so long as we are not extravagant and faithful to the cause of a modern army." I think that Mr. Baker needs to be told that America is not accommodating itself, and does not intend to accommodate itself to any such un-American institution as a large standing army. And he will find that we are going to spread this gospel of universal disarmament.

The CHAIRMAN. Yes. And I tell you that all of the strictures about the extravagance of Congress are not predicated on facts. While I will agree, and will say openly that the manner of appropriating money by Congress is not the best thing that could possibly be devised; and while the budget system will not help it materially, nevertheless this single committee alone -- this one committee -- in the last fiscal year saved the taxpayers of this country $602,000,000 in the cuts that it made from the estimates submitted by the department.

Mrs. MACKAYE. I know that, and we are grateful for that. I have all of the estimates of the various departments, and I know that what you say is true, Mr. Chairman.

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