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THE UNITED STATES NAVY, TO AUTHORIZE THE CONSTRUC-
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON NAVAL AFFAIRS,
Washington, Monday, January 31, 1938. The committee met at 10:30 a. m., Hon. Carl Vinson (chairman) presiding
The CHAIRMAN. Let the committee come to order.
The purpose of this hearing this morning is to consider H. R. 9128. Lut the clerk read the bill. (The clerk read the bill as follows:)
(H. R. 9218, 75th Cong., 4d sess.) A BILL To establish the composition of the United States Navy, to authorize the con
struction of certain naval vessels, and for other purposes Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That in addition to the tonnages of the United States Navy as agreed upon and established by the treaties signed at Washington, February 6, 1922, and at London, April 22, 1930, and as authorized by the Act of March 27, 1934 (48 Stat. 503), as amended by the Act of June 25, 1936 (49 Stat. 1926); the authorized composition of the United States Navy in underage vessels 'ts.-léreby? increased by the following tonnages :
(a) Capital ships, one hundred and five thousand tons, making a total authorized underage tonnage of six hundred and thirty. thousand tons;
(b) Aircraft carriers, thirty thousand tons, making a total authorized underage tonnage of one hundred and sixty-five thousand tons;
(c) Cruisers, sixty-eight thousand seven hundred and fifty-four tons, making a total authorized underage tonnage of four hundred and twelve thousand five hundred and twenty-four tons;
(d) Destroyers, thirty-eight thousand tons, making a total authorized underage tonnage of two hundred and twenty-eight thousand tons;
(e) Submarines, thirteen thousand six hundred and fifty-eight tons, mak. ing a total authorized underage tonnage of eighty-one thousand nine hundred and fifty-six tons.
Sec. 2. The President of the United States is hereby authorized to undertake such construction, including replacements, as is necessary to build the Navy to the total authorized underage composition as provided for in section 1 of this Act.
Sec. 3. The President of the United States is hereby authorized to acquire or construct additional naval airplanes, including patrol planes, and spare parts and equipment, so as to bring the number of useful naval airplanes to a total of three thousand.
SEC. 4. The President of the United States is hereby further authorized to acquire or to undertake the construction of the following auxiliary vessels :
(a) Five destroyer tenders, a total of forty-five thousand tons light displacement tonnage;
(b) Three submarine tenders, a total of twenty-seven thousand tons light displacement tonnage;
(e) Four large seaplane tenders, a total of thirty-three thousand two hundred tons light displacement tonnage; 20680-38---No. 620_1
(d) Seven small seaplane tenders, a total of eleven thousand five hundred and fifty tons light displacement tonnage; and
(e) Three repair ships, a total of twenty-eight thousand five hundred tons light displacement tonnage.
Sec. 5. There is hereby authorized to be appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury of the United States not otherwise appropriated, such sums as may be necessary to effectuate the purposes of this Act.
SEC. 6. There is hereby authorized to be appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the sum of $15,000,000 to be expended at the direction of the President of the United States for the construction of experimental vessels, none of which shall exceed three thousand tons standard displacement.
Sec. 7. The allocation and contracts for construction of the vessels herein authorized and the replacement thereof, as well as for the procurement and construction of airplanes and spare parts, shall be in accordance with the terms and conditions provided by the Act of March 27, 1934 (48 Stat. 503), as amended.
SEC. &. The Act of August 29, 1916, as amended by section 1 of the Act of July 22, 1935 (U. S. C., Supp. II, title 34, sec. 2), is hereby further amended to read as follows:
"That the total authorized number of commissioned officers of the active list of the line of the Navy, exclusive of commissioned warrant officers, shall be equal to 6 per centum of the total authorized enlisted strength of the active list, exclusive of the Hospital Corps, prisoners undergoing sentence of discharge, enlisted men detailed for duty with the Naval Militia."
Sec. 9. For the purposes of this Act, the term "underage” shall be construed in accordance with the terms of the treaty signed at London, March 25, 1936.
Sec. 10. That in the event of international agreement for the further limita- . tions of naval armament to which the United States is signatory, the President is hereby authorized and empowered to suspend so much of its naval construction as has been authorized as may be necessary to bring the naval armament of the United States within the limitation so agreed upon, except that such suspension shall not apply to vessels actually under construction on the date of the passage of his Act.
The CHAIRMAN. Send the bill to the Navy Department and ask for their written report.
I will state to the members of the committee that in accordance with the message of the President on January 28, 1938, asking for a 20-percent increase in the Navy, I introduced the bill that has just been read. At this time, I desire to place in the record the President's message of January 28, 1938.
(The message of the President is as follows:) To the Congress of the United States:
The Congress knows that for many years this Government has sought in many capitals with the leaders of many governments to find a way to limit and reduce armaments and to establish at least the probability of world peace.
The Congress is aware also that while these efforts, supported by the hopes of the American people, continue and will continue, they have nevertheless failed up to the present time.
We, as a peaceful Nation, cannot and will not abandon active search for an agreement among the nations to limit armaments and end aggression. But it is clear that until such agreement is reached and I have not given up hope of it-we are compelled to think of our own national safety.
It is with the deepest regret that I report to you that armaments increase today at an unprecedented and alarming rate. It is an ominous fact that at least one-fourth of the world's population is involved in merciless devastating conflict in spite of the fact that most people in most countries, including those where conflict rages, wish to live at peace. Armies are fighting in the Far East and in Europe; thousands of civilians are being driven from their homes and bombed from the air. Tension throughout the world is high.
As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States it is my constitutional duty to report to the Congress that our national defense is, in
the light of the increasing armaments of other nations, inadequate for purposes of national security and requires increase for that reason.
In spite of the well-known fact that the American standard of living makes our ships, our guns, and our planes cost more for construction than in any other nation and that the maintenance of them and of our Army and Navy personnel is more expensive than in any other nation, it is also true that the proportion of the cost of our military and naval forces to the total income of our citizens or to the total cost of our Government is far lower than in the case of any other great nation.
Specifically and solely because of the piling up of additional land and sea armaments in other countries, in such manner as to involve a threat to world peace and security, I make the following recommendations to the Congress :
(1) That there be authorized for the Army of the United States additions to antiaircraft matériel in the sum of $8,800,000 and that of this sum $6,800,000 be appropriated for the fiscal year 1939.
(2) That there be authorized and appropriated for the better establishment of an Enlisted Reserve for the Army the sum of $450,000.
(3) That there be authorized the expenditure of $6,080,000 for the manufacture of gages, dies, and other aids to manufacture of Army matériel, the sum of $5,000,000 thereof to be expended during the fiscal year 1939.
(4) That the sum of $2,000,000 be authorized and appropriated toward the making up of deficiencies in ammunition for the Army.
SC (5) That the existing authorized building program for increases and replacements in the Navy be increased by 20 percent.
(6) That this Congress authorize and appropriate for the laying down of two additional battleships and two additional cruisers during the calendar year 1938. This will call for the expenditure of a very small amount of Government funds during the fiscal year 1939.
(7) That the Congress authorize and appropriate a sum not to exceed $15,000,000 for the construction of a number of new types of small vessels, such construction to be regarded as experimental in the light of new developments among na vies; and to include the preparation of plans for other types of ships in the event that it may be necessary to construct such ships in the future.
I believe also that the time has come for the Congress to enact legislation aimed at the prevention of profiteering in time of war and the equalization of the burdens of possible war. Such legislation has been the subject for many years of full study in this and previous Congresses.
'It is necessary for all of us to realize that the unfortunate world conditions of today have resulted too often in the discarding of those principles and treaties which underlie international law and order, and in the entrance of many new factors into the actual conduct of war.
Adequate defense means that for the protection not only of our coasts but also of our communities far removed from the coast we must keep any potential enemy many hundred miles away from our continental limits. We cannot assume that our defense would be limited to one ocean and one coast and that the other ocean and the other coast would with certainty be safe. We cannot be certain that the connecting link—the Panama Canalwould be safe. Adequate defense affects, therefore, the simultaneous defense of every part of the United States of America.
It is our clear duty to further every effort toward peace but at the same time to protect our Nation. That is the purpose of these recommendations. Such protection is and will be based not on aggression but on defense.
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT. TŅE WHITE HOUSE, January 28, 1938.
STATEMENT OF ADMIRAL WILLIAM D. LEAHY, UNITED STATES
NAVY, CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS The CHÁIRMAN. Admiral Leahy, as Chief of Naval Operations, have you any statement you desire to submit to the committee with reference to H. R. 9218 !
Admiral LEAHY. I have prepared some notes from which to make a statement.