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THE HOME GUARD
THURSDAY, AUGUST 15, 1940
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C. The committee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 10 o'clock, a. m., in the committee room of the Committee on Military Affairs, Hon. Morris Sheppard (chairman), presiding.
Present: Senators Sheppard (chairman), Schwartz, and Gurney.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. The committee is very highly honored to have with us Governor Lehman of New York and Brig. Gen. Edgar C. Erickson, adjutant general of Massachusetts.
Governor, will you enlarge upon your suggestions regarding a substitute National Guard or an additional National Guard to take the place of the guard that might be ordered into Federal service.
STATEMENT OF HON. HERBERT H. LEHMAN, GOVERNOR OF THE
STATE OF NEW YORK
Governor LEHMAN. Mr. Chairman, before enlarging on the proposal, I want to make it clear that I am not asking for an additional National Guard. I am asking that a home guard be provided, adequately armed and equipped, to meet any contingencies that might arise and to maintain law and order.
The CHAIRMAN. Under State authority?
, National Guard is going to be called out, in whole or in part. can depend upon the newspapers, at least a part of the National Guard will be called into the Federal service very shortly after the Congress gives authority to the President.
Under those circumstances, I feel it very important that the States promptly set up home guard forces to take the place of the National Guard which will be called out by the President.
We have made plans in the State of New York to organize a State guard using the armories which are now available as the units are called into the service. We have even gone so far as to select many of the commanding officers of the regiments that are to be created under a home guard and some of the other officers.
I found, however, sometime ago, that the creation of a home guard in the State of New York was in conflict with section 61 of the National Defense Act. I had the adjutant general of our State, General Brown, and the solicitor general of the State come to Washington
about a month ago and discuss the matter with some of the military authorities here. They conferred with the Judge Advocate General Gullion; Col. Fred W. Llewellyn, of the office of the Judge Advocate General; Major West, of the Adjutant General's Office; Colonel Churchill, division G-3; Colonel Stewart; Colonel White; and a number of others, and it was learned that the creation of the home guard in peacetime was directly in conflict, in their opinion at least, with section 61 of the National Defense Act.
We, on the other hand, in the State, have a statute which in article 2 (a), section 40, of the New York Military Code provides that the Governor should organize a New York State guard if the National Guard is called into service.
Obviously, in view of the provisions of section 61 of the National Defense Act, that would be impossible, without coming in conflict with the Federal Government.
I am not certain that you are familiar with that section.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. We have a bill on this subject that has been reported upon by the War Department and I will have that read to you if you would like to hear it.
Governor LEHMAN. Yes. I have seen that bill.
Then, of course, it is absolutely essential if we create a home guard that the guard be adequately armed and equipped. Obviously a guard without adequate arms would be quite useless.
Senator GURNEY. Governor, may I interrupt there? Governor LEHMAN. Yes, sir. Senator GURNEY. Do you feel that you need more than Army rifles? I am not talking about clothing, but leaving clothing out of the ricture, because they will need uniforms and so forth; but do you think that they will need more arms than just rifles?
Governor LEHMAN. Very little more. It is our intention under the organization which we have tentatively set up to confine this home guard exclusively to infantry regiments. We expect to set up 20 infantry regiments-not a full personnel; not a full peacetime strength at the start; but we want these 20 regiments so as to have troops in every large center which is now protected by the National Guard.
We would, therefore, only need rifles, pistols, and some machine guns. We will not require any howitzers or artillery.
Senator GURNEY. Thank you.
Governor LEHMAN. We find that it is not possible for us to obtain the ammunition, except through the Federal Government, either in the form of a gift, a loan, or a sale. It would take months to obtain the necessary arms and equipment, unless we do it through the Federal Government, and, therefore, you will recall, Senator Sheppard, that I suggested that two things be done in order to make it possible to provide this home guard with equipment, well armed. One was a repeal of that existing section 61 in the manner in which it is handled in this bill, H. R. 4175, if I am not mistaken.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Governor LEHMAN. And of course that authority would be entirely within the discretion of the Congress, as to the Federal Government furnishing the States with the necessary arms and equipment.
Now, as to the exact method, I have no particular feeling with regard to the exact method in which this home guard should be organized. That, of course, I recognize is entirely within the discretion of Congress, but I feel it of great importance that in the State of New York—and undoubtedly other States are in the same position—that a home guard, well armed, and well equipped, be provided without loss of time, so that we may have that protection as soon as the National Guard is called into the Federal service.
We have got 13,000,000 people in the State of New York. Of course, we have got some of the largest industries anywhere in the country situated in the State of New York. I think it would be a serious thing not only for the people of the State but for the people of the Nation if the National Guard were called out and no provision were made for the creation of the home guard, well equipped and well armed, and I emphasize the latter consideration almost as much as the former.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Governor. Are there any questions?
Senator Schwartz, do you wish to ask the Governor any questions?
Senator SCHWARTZ. No; but I just had a thought that in the Home Guard there might be provision made to transfer from the National Guard individuals who for one reason or another it is not desirable to send out of the State and send out of the country, and permit them to be turned into the home guard during the absence of the National Guard and thereby preserve their status as to membership in the National Guard, you know, because there are a great many men who have been in the National Guard a long time and who think a great deal of their membership. It would invoke a great hardship on some of them, and on local industry too, to take them away and send them out, and the only alternative now is that they must resign from the National Guard, apparently; but if we had another place where we could transfer them temporarily during the emergency, why, it might be of great benefit.
Governor LEHMAN. May I say a word about that? That is our intention. We intend as members of the National Guard are mustered out of service for reasons of minor disability, possibly, or even be getting very close to the age limit, or reaching the age limit; we intend to enlist them in the home guard.
Furthermore, I want to say that while it is not our intention to limit the enlistments in the home guard to any one class of people, we have definitely expected to have the veterans of the former wars serve as a very real nucleus in the creation and operation of the home guard. We have been in very close touch with the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and other veterans' associations who are cooperating with us very closely, and we have given them assurances, and we have received assurance from them, that a large portion of the men and officers in the home guard would be veterans of former wars. We feel that we can get a thoroughly sound personnel in that way. Many of these men served with great distinction, and are too old, either to be drafted now or to go into the service generally, but they would be of very great assistance to us in the home guard.
Now, so far as the question which you raise as to whether there should be a militia with Federal jurisdiction or a home guard under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Governors of the States, I have no strong feeling, Senator. I can see some advantages in having it under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government, because it could be coordinated with the general defense, always, however, emphasizing the fact that a home guard should be a home guard and that men going into the home guards should be given assurances that they would not be called for duty other than defending their own State. If anything else were done, I believe it would seriously interfere with the enlistments or creation of the home guard.
The CHAIRMAN. That is a very able suggestion, Governor.
Senator GURNEY. Governor, do you have any information as to the number of Federal troops that are quartered in the State of New York now; that would include both the Navy and the Army. You have quite a few men at Camp Upton. I believe that is a going concern, is it not?
Governor LEHMAN. Yes; but I do not think there are very many troops there.
Senator GURNEY. And, Fort Hamilton. That is the only fort that I know of, but there are quite a few in the State.
Governor LEHMAN. We have some at Governors Island, but how many I do not know, and, of course, those are always subject to call and cannot be depended upon for this purpose, and furthermore, I believe that it is, and I am under the impression that Federal troops cannot be sent for ordinary purposes into a State.
The CHAIRMAN. That is true.
Governor LEHMAN. Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee is very appreciative of your being here.
Governor LEHMAN. And may I say, too, I have a memoranda here from our solicitor general pointing out that it would be illegal for me to organize a home guard in the State of New York, save under amended authority given by the Congress of the United States.
The CHAIRMAN. May we put that into the record; would you like to have that inserted in the record?
Governor LEHMAN. I would like to have that statement inserted, and I will be glad to send you a copy of this. There are some things in here that have nothing whatever to do with this question.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well.
STATEMENT OF BRIG. GEN. EDGAR C. ERICKSON, THE ADJUTANT
The CHAIRMAN. The adjutant general of Massachusetts is present. Will you give your full name for the record?
General ERICKSON. Edgar C. Erickson, brigadier general, the adjutant general of Massachusetts, representing Governor Saltonstall.
The CHAIRMAN. Of Boston?
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, the remarks of Governor Lehman have made it easy for me, because he has told you practically everything that Governor Saltonstall asked me to tell you.
I want to say that we concur heartily in his remarks and what he bas said.
I would like to go a little further and just say this, that we include in our equipment for our home guard, Winchester automatic shotguns, which I understand the Army has a large number of.
We learned in the police strike of 1919, when we used some 9,000 State Guardsmen, that were ordered in in 1917, that the shotgun was a much better weapon for handling crowds, mobs, and riots than the regular rifle. So, we have included in our tentative organization of a squad in an infantry company, four shotguns. The rifles you know have a bayonet attached to them, and, that squad is to have four shotguns and six rifles.
Now, we feel very strongly that we must have a State guard, just as soon as the National Guard is ordered into the Federal service.
We have in 1936 a bad flood situation where we used approximately 4,500 officers and men. Now, no other source is available that could be immediately called out to take over the handling—not take overbut assist the civil authorities in maintaining law and order and protecting life and property which, as you know, is the Governor's responsibility.
In 1938, during the hurricane period, we used 5,600 officers and men and some of them were out for a period of 6 weeks.
So we feel very strongly that the Governor should have at his call an organized and trained military force.
Our law provides for it and we have gone so far as to work out the organization of six regiments of infantry and one regiment of engineers, plus a battalion of quartermaster corps troops, an ambulance battalion, and what we call a motorized squadron, and the executive order for the Governor, which is all that is necessary, is already for his signature and for promulgating, and I would like, if I may to leave a copy with the committee.
The CHAIRMAN. Certainly. That may be made a part of the record.
(The matter referred to is as follows:)
MASSACHUSETTS STATE GUARD MOBILIZATION Plan
1. On “M” day or when the National Guard has been ordered into Federal service the following Executive order will be submitted to His Excellency, the Governor and commander in chief, for his signature, calling for the organization of a State guard to consist of a State staff, State guard headquarters, Infantry brigade headquarters, 6 Infantry regiments, 1 State guard motor corps, 3 brigade motor battalions, 1 ambulance battalion, 1 quartermaster battalion, and 1 battalion Infantry (colored), 1 engineer regiment (less 1 battalion), a total of 565 officers, 6 warrant officers, and 8,700 enlisted men. (Total 9,271. See table A.)