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[No. 190]

TO REESTABLISH THE GRADE OF ADMIRAL OF THE NAVY, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES (H. R. 4134). MR. VINSON OF GEORGIA

NAVY DEPARTMENT,

Washington, February 23, 1944. Hon. CARL VINSON, Chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs,

House of Representatives. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: The bill (H. R. 4134) to reestablish the grade of Admiral of the Navy, and for other purposes, was referred by your committee to the Navy Department with a request for a statement of views and recommendations with respect thereto.

The purpose of the bill is to reestablish the grade of Admiral of the Navy. Appointments to this grade would be made by the President, confirmed by the Senate, from among line officers on the active list and retired officers on active duty serving in the rank of admiral. There would not be more than two Admirals of the Navy on the active list at any one time. Pay and allowances would correspond with those provided for the General of the Armies, which are at the present time $13,500 a year as pay, and allowances as provided by the President, understood currently to be $8,000 a year. When an appointment made under the provisions of the bill is terminated, the Admiral of the Navy involved goes to the retired list with the same rank, pay, and allowances.

It is considered that officers of the Navy representing the United States in dealing with foreign governments do not have rank commensurate with the responsibilities of that representation. It appears to be unquestionable that the United States is the leading sea power in the world and will remain so. The commander in chief, United States Fleet, and Chief of Naval Operations, is constantly in contact with officers of foreign navies, who, by virtue of increased rank held by such officers, are his superiors in rank though their responsibilities are not so great. A similar situation exists with reference to the Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, who also holds the rank of admiral; he presides over the Combined Staff which has as members of the British Staff officers with the rank of admiral of the fleet and field marshal.

Enactment of the bill would result in an additional cost to the Government of approximately $10,000 a year for each admiral of the Navy appointed.

The Navy Department recommends the enactment of the bill H. R. 4134.

The Navy Department has been advised by the Bureau of the Budget that there would be no objection to the submission of this recommendation. Respectfully,

FRANK Knox. (1339)

94266-44-No. 190

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(No. 191]

TO VEST TITLE TO THE U. S. S. "WOLVERINE” (ex-"MICHIGAN'') IN THE FOUNDATION FOR THE ORIGINAL U. S. S. MICHIGAN INC. (H. R. 4241). MR. VINSON OF GEORGIA

NAVY DEPARTMENT,

Washington, February 11, '1944. Hon. Sam RAYBURN,

Speaker of the House of Representatives. MY DEAR MR. SPEAKER: There is transmitted herewith a draft of a proposed bill to vest title to the U. S. S. Wolverine (ex-Michigan) in the Foundation for the Original U.S. S. Michigan, Inc.

The purpose of the proposed legislation is to vest complete title to the U. S. S. Wolverine in the foundation, duly incorporated under the laws of the State of Pennsylvania, which foundation is, by its articles of incorporation, to "preserve the original U. S. S. Michigan for its historic value and for educational purposes and to take such action for its renovation as seems feasible.”

At the present time the vessel is in the custody of the city of Erie, Pa., by virtue of the act of December 21, 1926 (44 Stat. 923), which provides

That the Secretary of the Navy is hereby authorized and directed to turn over to the municipality of Erie, Pennsylvania, the gunboat Wolverine, for use in connection with the training of the naval reserve organization of the city: Provided, That no expense to the Government shall be involved.

After the enactment of this statute the council of the city of Erie, under date of June 17, 1927, adopted a resolution directing the mayor of the city to "accept the offer of the loan of the Wolverine."

On receipt of a certified copy of this resolution the vessel was turned over to the city of Erie on July 19, 1927. According to information furnished the Navy Department the vessel has not been maintained in a proper state of preservation and is now lying derelict and abandoned in the harbor of Erie and fast disintegrating, due to lack of care and upkeep.

There is enclosed copy of a letter addressed to the President under date of August 27, 1943, by Ensign Herbert R. Spencer, United States Naval Reserve, chairman of Trustees for the Original U. S. S. Michigan, together with copy of a resolution adopted at a meeting on August 12, 1943, by the organizational meeting of said trustees.

In a memorandum of September 15, 1943, the President expressed the wish that the vessel should be set up as an exhibit and that if such action were taken the admission fees would defray the cost of its upkeep, provided its location was thoroughly available to the public. A copy of such memorandum is attached.

(1341)

94266-44-No. 191

It is proposed in the bill, of which a draft is submitted, to vest absolute title in the foundation above mentioned, so that the corporation may carry into effect the purposes of its organization, to preserve the ship for its historic value.

The Navy Department has been advised by the Bureau of the Budget that there would be no objection to the submission of the proposed legislation to the Congress. Sincerely yours,

Ralph A. Bard, Acting. THE ERIE ENAMELING Co.,

Erie, Pa., January 27, 1944. Rear Admiral T. L. GATCH, United States Navy, Judge Advocate General of the Navy,

Department of the Navy, Washington, D. C. DEAR ADMIRAL GATch: Thank you very much for your letter of January 21 explaining the present status of legislation transferring title of the U. Š. S. Michigan (Wolverine) to Foundation for the Original C. S. S. Michigan, Inc.

Apparently this bill is congealed in the Bureau of the Budget. I am today asking Senator Guffey, as well as our Congressman, to try to pry it loose.

This ship was commissioned August 12, 1844, and the trustees hope to have clear title at her centenary. Your assistance in this is very much appreciated. Very truly yours,

HERBERT R. SPENCER.

THE WHITE HOUSE,

Washington, September 15, 1943. Memorandum for Eugene Casey.

Thank you for those interesting pictures of the old U. S. S. Michigan. If it had not been for me she would be melted up as scrap by now. I wish the people out there on the lake would really set her up as an exhibit. Once this is done, she ought to pay for her upkeep out of admission fees--provided the location is thoroughly available to the public.

F. D. R.

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