L/T files, “Miscellaneous”
Excerpt From Speech by Senator John W. Bricker1
I was disturbed when I picked up the paper last night. I got a copy of the speech yesterday that General Bedell Smith made before this association.2
Maybe not this section, but before a group of this association. I wish I had been able to explain to them the situation.
I want to say to you very frankly that there were 63 senators with me in this resolution. I don’t intend to have any appointed officer of the State Department tell me what I am going to do about [Page 1809] it. It is not in my nature when the liberty of my fellow men is imperiled to lie down and roll over because somebody says we don’t want you to do it.
They can talk about the unity of the Republican party all they want to. I have worked too long in this party of mine to have somebody come lately into [a] responsible position to say that we’re disrupting the plan of the Republican party.
I want to read a statement of Bedell Smith before this association yesterday. He said the questions of the United Nations and NATO lead directly to a third question confronting the administration. I suppose he speaks with authority from the administration. I don’t know whether he wrote this or not; I can’t believe that Bedell Smith, an assistant Secretary of State, would deliberately mislead the business men of the United States by the statement he made here.
I am inclined to believe that he doesn’t understand what he’s talking about, that he doesn’t know the facts back of this resolution, or doesn’t know why he’s taking the position he’s taken. I’m inclined to think this speech or this section of it was written by another gentleman whom I know and we’ll hear about later.
He goes on to say these organizations developed out of the constitutional authority of the executive to make treaties and agreements. Those are made by the president and ratified by two-thirds of the Senate. Without them, continuing Bedell Smith’s talk, another organization which developed out of this treaty making authority would have been impossible, and our world position would be far graver than it is today. We might indeed be in a disastrous situation. Proposals now before Congress seek to limit the treaty making powers of the president of the United States.
It is a deliberate misstatement.
We do not intend to change the way of making treaties by the president and the Senate. What we do intend to do and in God’s good time it will have to be done, is to say to the rest of the world that the inalienable, God-given rights of the American people are not for barter by anybody, anywhere, anytime.
When the State Department, Mr. President, doesn’t understand that [,] it’s time to begin to wake up and learn a little bit about the constitution of the United States and its beneficient blessing to the people of our country.
He went on to say the administration is opposed to this proposal. As we see it in this emergency it would tie the hands of the executive to a dangerous degree. John Foster Dulles said a year ago in Louisville3 that treaty law is a paramount law. It is superior to [Page 1810] Congressional law. The Congress of the United States, in enacting a statute must comply with the Constitution of the United States or the Supreme Court will say it’s null and of no effect. But the treaty under the Constitution becomes the supreme law of the land when it’s enacted. Enactment under the authority of the United States.
What is that authority? The president and two-thirds of the Senate present and voting.
And, said John Foster Dulles, treaty law can transfer powers from the legislative to the executive authority. What power do they want to trade at this time to take away from the legislative and give to the executive? He said further that it can transfer from the states, powers to the federal government. What power do they want to take away from the states and give to the federal government now?
He said further that it can transfer the power of the Congress of the United States and give it to an international organization or governments. What power, Mr. Dulles, what power, Mr. Bedell Smith, do you want to take away from the Congress of the United States and give to an international authority?
All these problems are far more serious [than] to be glossed over by saying the administration is opposed to it. It goes to the very fundamental basic rights of the people of the United States. I am one who wants to preserve the God-given rights and this is the only country on the face of God’s green earth in all time that ever looked upon the rights of man to band together here as we are. To speak the truth as I believe I am speaking it now, to write it down if they want to, to assemble together, the right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of one’s own individual conscience.
This is the only nation in the history of all time that has ever looked upon those rights as anything other than a government gives to the people. And if government gives them, government can take them away. And in the Declaration of Independence was that inalienable clause that said these are endowed by the Creator, God Almighty, divinely inspired. The Declaration wrote it down, in definite and indelible language.
The Bill of Rights secured it. But now in the past seven years, under the leadership of Philip Jessup and Dean Acheson and some of the rest of the socialists that are trying to socialize the world and us along with them, under their philosophy, treaty law which overrides all of the acts of Congress, the Constitution of the United States and the laws of the states, and, said Foster Dulles a year ago, treaty law cuts across the rights of the American people, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.[Page 1811]
This amendment will protect the American people by writing a bill of rights against treaty law and will keep their inalienable, God-given rights of the American people within the spiritual realm and never permit them to be transferred to the temporal power of governments, either us or international governments.
How far has this thing gone? There is being prepared today a treaty to be ratified by this country providing for an international court of criminal justice, wherein American citizens would be tried for violating treaty law, if they violate a provision of the international covenant of human rights, if it becomes a law, Genocide or any other provision.
They would be tried not in our courts, but they would be tried in this international court of criminal justice. They would not have the right to a free public trial, they would not have the right to be tried where the crime was committed, they would be tried without a trial by jury. There would be no appeal. There is pending today before the Senate of the United States a treaty with France4 which would transfer American boys, taken by draft out of American homes, sent over there to protect the soil of France, transfer them away from the American courts and the jurisdiction of the Army and put them in the charge of the French courts where they don’t have the right to presumption of innocence but are presumed guilty until they prove themselves innocent.
They don’t have the right to trial by jury or a trial where the offense was committed. I want to say to you that the time has come to preserve the inalienable God-given rights of the American people.
I didn’t intend to go that far, but when somebody presumes to mislead the American people to believe that I and 63 other Senators are trying to tremor the administration in the conduct of international affairs, it’s just a misleading statement, and I don’t intend to tolerate it.—Besides, it’s in the Republican platform.
- The source text is identified only by the typewritten heading, “Excerpt from speech by Senator John W. Bricker at Business Leadership Luncheon on Tuesday, April 28.” According to a newspaper report, Senator Bricker was guest speaker at a luncheon on Apr. 28 in Washington, held in conjunction with the 41st annual meeting of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States. The Senator, according to the report, departed from his prepared remarks to comment on a speech given the previous day before the Chamber of Commerce by Under Secretary of State Smith. (New York Times, Apr. 29, 1953.)↩
- For the text of Under Secretary of State Smith’s address to the Chamber of Commerce on Apr. 27 at Constitution Hall in Washington, see Department of State Press Release No. 214, Apr. 27, 1953.↩
- Dulles’ address at the regional meeting of the American Bar Association, Apr. 11, 1952, a copy of which is in file 711.03/4–1152.↩
- This is presumably a reference to the Status of Forces Treaty signed at London on June 19, 1951, by the United States and other NATO members. It had been submitted to the Senate for ratification on June 16, 1952.↩