The Great Plains During World War II

Mr. FRAZIER. Mr. President, the discussion on the pending question has been going on for some days, and the Members of the Senate are rather tired of hearing so much debate and talk upon the same subject. I wish, however, to make a statement. I feel that I have some arguments that have not been presented, or, at least, I have not heard them presented; and I desire to express my opinion regarding the proposed neutrality legislation.

I suppose this extraordinary session of Congress will go down in history as the arms-embargo session. The real question before the Senate is whether or not the United States should repeal the arms-embargo provision of the present neutrality law. The answer to that question should be based on one all-important proposition, and that is whether the repeal of the arms embargo or the continuation of it will help to keep America out of war.

We should by all means be neutral and not attempt to favor one power or to smash another power.

In the debate of the last few days it seems to me that many Senators have wandered from this point, and I have been impressed with the fact that the arguments for the repeal of the embargo have been more negative than positive. As I see it, we are asked to life the embargo, not because it would do any positive good toward keeping us out of war, but because it would help Great Britain and France and it might not do any harm. No one seems to pretend that lifting the embargo would make us any safer, but merely that we can help the Allies and permit some profits without any great danger–that is, danger of being drawn into the present war.

Everybody says we want to keep out of war–yes; we must keep out of war–but they invariably add that it is going to be mighty hard to do it, and it may be just impossible to stay out of it. I suppose that statement is based on the facts of the history of the World War which began 25 years ago.

Most of us have a vivid recollection of the situation when the World War began. We were amazed and shocked that any civilized nations would go to war over what seemed to be such trivial differences. Then we remember how the propaganda started; first to justify each side for declaring war, and then a little later propaganda to get the United States into the war.

If the arms embargo is lifted, it must be conceded that it will favor one side in the conflict against the other; and favoring one side means a step toward war.

Perhaps we could take sides in the European mix-up without actually sending troops across the Atlantic; but once we yield to pro-British and pro-French pressure, are we gong to have any moral reason for stopping short of war? If we let up on our neutrality and sell arms to the Allies, can we refuse also to relax our credit laws when the Allies run short of money? Can we refuse private loans, then public loans, and then the Army to protect the loans?

If we lift the embargo, it will be considered by France and Britain that we are on their side. They will come here and buy munitions and spend all their cash, and when their cash is gone they will still want to carry. Then we shall be asked to repeal the laws denying them credit. Will we refuse? The repeal of the embargo provision will definitely put us on the side of Great Britain and France; and when they want credit they will get it, just as the Senator from Idaho [Mr. BORAH] told us the first day of this debate.

Some say that the present neutrality provision favors Germany. I cannot for the life of me see the logic of that statement. If an embargo is in effect, it seems to me it applies equally to both sides.

If a war boom gets started, there will be plenty of propaganda to keep it going, even at the expense of the American taxpayer. Labor in the great industries will clamor for a continuation of the boom. Steel companies will be shouting for more prosperity. Chambers of commerce and newspapers will be imploring us not to end the boom, not to plunge the country into a depression blacker than that after the World War. Propaganda will be so strong that those who voted to lift the embargo will feel in duty bound to vote to extend credit, and then one step more will lead us actually into the war.

If our country gets started in this false war-boom prosperity we shall undoubtedly be in for the duration of the war. If we really mean what we say, and want to stay out of war, why lift the embargo? Why change from our neutrality course if we do not intend to go all the way?

The only safe way to stay out of European wars is not to take the first step but to stay out. Surely the hope of war profits would not induce us to take this action. Surely we are not deluding ourselves on that point. We know, from experience in the last war, that a war boom is followed by war depression–a depression so severe that it more than wipes out the gains previously made.

It seems to me everyone must admit that money from war profits is, to say the least, tainted. Are we as a nation so hardened that we are willing to fill our banks with gold coined from the blood of human beings like ourselves, who have been forced into war by jealous rulers crazy for power? It does no good to say that someone else will sell them arms and that we might as well get the profit. That is a threadbare argument that cannot justify our change of the neutrality law after European countries have started a war.

We are asked to lift the embargo on arms, ammunition, and implements of war to the belligerent countries. Let us consider for a moment just what that means. Do we want to furnish the nations which are in this mass-murder game the instruments of death and destruction? Do we want to take part in their selfish, greedy quarrels, even to the extent of furnishing them with war material?