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                            PAPER XVIII

"If the United States is to have any defense it must be total defense." 

Message to the Congress recommending additional appropriations for 
   national defense, July 10, 1940

To the Congress: 

As President of the United States and as Commander-in-Chief of its armed 
forces, I come again to the representatives of the people in Congress 
assembled, to lay before them an extraordinary estimate of funds and 
authorizations required for the national defense. 

In my opinion, it is necessary now that the people of this nation and 
their representatives in Congress look at the problem of the national 
defense with utterly dispassionate realism. Never have we as a nation 
attempted to define the word "defense" in terms of a specific attack at 
a certain place at a certain time or with specified land and sea forces. 
In the long sweep of the century and a half since our defenses have been 
concentrated and unified under the Constitution, it has been a prime 
obligation of the President and Commander-in-Chief promptly to advise 
the Congress with respect to any world circumstances calling for either 
increased or diminished defense needs. 

From time to time during the last seven years, I have not failed to 
advise the people and their representatives of grave dangers threatening 
the United States and its people, and the institutions of democracy 
everywhere From time to time I have availed myself of opportunities to 
reassert and to implement the right of all nations of the American 
hemisphere to freedom from attack or control by any non-American power. 

A year and a half ago, on January 4, 1939, in my address to the 
Congress, I referred to the fact that I had felt it necessary on 
previous occasions to warn of disturbances abroad, and the need of 
putting our own house in order in the face of storm signals from across 
the seas. On that day I said that a war which threatened to envelope the 
world in flames had been averted, but that it had become increasingly 
clear that peace was not assured. I said then that all about us raged 
undeclared wars, military and economic. I said then that all about us 
were threats of new aggression, military and economic. I said then that 
the storms from abroad directly challenged three institutions 
indispensable to Americans religion, democracy and international good 

Unhappily, many Americans believed that those who thought they foresaw 
the danger of a great war, were mistaken. Unhappily, those of us who did 
foresee that danger, were right. 

A week later, on January 12, 1939, I submitted a program considered by 
me as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy and by my advisors to be a 
minimum program for the necessities of defense, 

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saying that every American was aware of the peaceful intentions of this 
Government and of this people, and that every American knew that we have 
no thought of aggression and no desire for further territory. The 
Congress granted that request for the minimum program then deemed 

At the beginning of September the storm broke, and on the twenty-first 
of that month, in a message to the extraordinary session of the 
Congress, I said that this Government must lose no time or effort to 
keep this nation from being drawn into the war, and I asserted my belief 
that we would succeed in these efforts. We have succeeded. I believe we 
shall continue to succeed. 

In September last, I increased the strength of the Army, Navy, Coast 
Guard and the Federal Bureau of Investigation within statutory 
authorizations made by the Congress. In January 1940, I submitted a 
budget to the Congress which included provision for that expansion of 
personnel, as well as estimates for the national defense, amounting to 
approximately two billion dollars for the fiscal year 1941. 

On May 16, in a message to the Congress, I pointed out that the swift 
and shocking developments of that time forced every neutral nation to 
look to its defenses in the light of new factors loosed by the brutal 
force of modern offensive war. I called attention to the treacherous use 
of the "fifth column," by which persons supposed to be peaceful visitors 
were actually a part of an enemy unit of occupation, and called especial 
attention to the necessity for the protection of the whole American 
Hemisphere from control, invasion or domination. I asked at that time 
for a sum totaling $1,182,000,000 for the national defense. 

On May 31, 1940, I again sent a message to the Congress, to say that the 
almost incredible events of the then past two weeks in the European 
conflict had necessitated another enlargement of our military program, 
and at that time I asked for $1,277,741,170 for the acceleration and 
development of our military and naval needs as measured in both machines 
and men. 

Again today, in less than two months time, the changes in the world 
situation are so great and so profound that I must come once again to 
the Congress to advise concerning new threats, new needs, and the 
imperative necessity of meeting them. Free men and free women in the 
United States look to us to defend their freedom against all enemies, 
foreign and domestic. Those enemies of freedom who hate free 
institutions now deride democratic Governments as weak and inefficient. 

We, the free men and women of the United States, with memories of our 
fathers to inspire us and the hopes of our children to sustain us are 
determined to be strong as well as free. The apologists for despotism 
and those who aid them by whispering defeatism or appeasement, assert 
that because we have not devoted our full energies to arms and to 
preparation for war that we are now incapable of defense. 

I refute that imputation. 

We fully understand the threat of the new enslavement in which men may 
not speak, may not listen, may not think. As these threats become more 
numerous and their dire meaning more clear, it deepens the determination 
of the American people to meet them with wholly adequate defense. 

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We have seen nation after nation, some of them weakened by treachery 
from within, succumb to the force of the aggressor. We see great nations 
still gallantly fighting against aggression, encouraged by high hope of 
ultimate victory. 

That we are opposed to war is known not only to every American, but to 
every government in the world. We will not use our arms in a war of 
aggression; we will not send our men to take part in European wars. 

But, we will repel aggression against the United States or the Western 
Hemisphere. The people and their representatives in the Congress know 
that the threats to our liberties, the threats to our security, the 
threats against our way of life, the threats to our institutions of 
religion, of democracy, and of international good faith, have increased 
in number and gravity from month to month, from week to week, and almost 
from day to day. 

It is because of these rapid changes; it is because of the grave danger 
to democratic institutions; and above all, it is because of the united 
will of the entire American people that I come to ask you for a further 
authorization of $4,848,171,957 for the national defense. 

Let no man in this country or anywhere else believe that because we in 
American still cherish freedom of religion, of speech, of assembly, of 
the press; that because we maintain our free democratic political 
institutions by which the nation after full discussion and debate 
chooses its representatives and leaders for itself-let no man here or 
elsewhere believe that we are weak. 

The United States is the greatest industrial nation in the world. Its 
people, as workers and as business men, have proved that they can unite 
in the national interest and that they can bring together the greatest 
assembly of human skills, of mechanical production, and of national 
resources, ever known in any nation. 

The principal lesson of the war up to the present time is that partial 
defense is inadequate defense. 

If the United States is to have any defense, it must have total defense. 

We cannot defend ourselves a little here and a little there. We must be 
able to defend ourselves wholly and at any time. 

Our plans for national security, therefore, should cover total defense. 
I believe that the people of this country are willing to make any 
sacrifice to attain that end. 

After consultation with the War and Navy Departments and the Advisory 
Commission to the Council of National Defense, I recommend a further 
program for the national defense. This contemplates the provision of 
funds and authorizations for the material requirements without which the 
manpower of the nation, if called into service, cannot effectively 
operate, either in the production of arms and goods, or their 
utilization in repelling attack. 

In broad outline our immediate objectives are as follows: 

1. To carry forward the Naval expansion program designed to build up the 
Navy to meet any possible combination of hostile naval forces. 

2. To complete the total equipment for a land force of approximately 
1,200,000 men, though of course this total of men would not be in the 
Army in time of peace. 

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3. To procure reserve stocks of tanks, guns, artillery, ammunition, 
etc., for another 800,000 men or a total of 2,000,000 men if a 
mobilization of such a force should become necessary. 

4. To provide for manufacturing facilities, public and private, 
necessary to produce critical items of equipment for a land force of 
2,000,000 men, and to produce the ordnance items required for the 
aircraft program of the Army and Navy-guns, bombs, armor, bombsights and 

5. Procurement of 15,000 additional planes for the Army and 4,000 for 
the Navy, complete with necessary spare engines, armaments, and the most 
modern equipment. 

The foregoing program deals exclusively with materiel requirements. The 
Congress is now considering the enactment of a system of selective 
training for developing the necessary man power to operate this materiel 
and man power to fill army non-combat needs. In this way we can make 
certain that when this modern materiel becomes available, it will be 
placed in the hands of troops trained, seasoned, and ready, and that 
replacement materiel can be guaranteed. 

I take this occasion to report the excellent progress being made for the 
procurement of the equipment already ordered under authorization by the 
Congress. Every week more and more is being delivered. The several 
branches of the Government are working in close cooperation with each 
other and with private manufacturers. 

We are keeping abreast of developments in strategy, tactics, and 
technique of warfare, and building our defenses accordingly. 

The total amount which I ask of the Congress in order that this program 
may be carried out with all reasonable speed is $2,161,441,957, which it 
is estimated would be spent out of the Treasury between now and July 1, 
1941, and an additional $2,686,730,000 for contract authorizations. 

So great a sum means sacrifice. So large a program means hard work-the 
participation of the whole country in the total defense of the country. 
This nation through sacrifice and work and unity proposes to remain 


See Paper XVI of this series for national defense appropriation message 
of May 16, 1940. Note Paper VIII for the national defense appropriation 
message of January 28,1938.