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                               PAPER VIII

" . . . 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." 

Message to the Congress recommending increased armament for national 
   defense, January 28, 1938

To the Congress:

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 

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

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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 anti-aircraft materiel 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 8450,000.    

(3) That there be authorized the expenditure of $6,080,000 for the 
manufacture of gauges, dies and other aids to manufacture of Army 
materiel, 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.

(5) That the existing authorized building program for increases and 
replacements in the Navy be increased by 20 per cent.

(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 Navies; and to include the preparation of 
plans for other types of ships in 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 

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 
Canal, would 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.


See also Papers XVI and XVIII of this series recommending appropriations 
for national defense.