78th Congress Senate Document
2nd Session (Ser. 10862) No. 202
Brief History of Naval Legislation from 1922 to 1944 Pointing Out the Policy of the Government During These Years and Steps Taken in Recent Years to Rebuild Our Navy to its Present Strength
The following is an excerpt from the Congressional Record of June 7, 1944:
"Mr. Walsh of Massachusetts. Mr. President, in view of the fact that the United States Government will be confronted with the problem of the kind and size of the Navy following the present World War, it seems to me that a brief history of the deterioration and rejuvenation of the Navy following World War No. 1 would be timely, and informative. Accordingly, I have personally prepared a concise history of the Navy from 1922 to 1944, pointing out the policy of the Government during these years and the steps taken in recent years to rebuild our Navy to its present strength.
"This naval history is divided into three parts: 1922-30, the period of decline; 1932-36, the period of awakening; 1936-44, the rebuilding and expansion of the Navy. Subjects considered are the effect on the size of the Navy of the limitation of armaments treaties, the Hepburn report, Guam, and a summary of the expansion legislation from 1938 to the present time.
"The information contained in this document should be helpful in determining our naval policy following the present war.
"I ask unanimous consent that this brief resume of naval legislation during this period be printed as a Senate document."
At the time of the ratification of the Washington Limitation of Armaments Treaty (1922), the United States had the largest Navy in the world. Following this treaty, which merely limited the building of battleships and aircraft carriers, the country was lulled into sleep by the slogan that America should lead the way to disarmament by setting an example to other nations. A small minority in Congress from time to time vigorously protested the resultant rapid decline in the strength of our Navy between 1922 and 1930. However, the deterioration steadily continued.
The Congressional Records of Saturday, July 19, 1930, and Monday, July 21, 1930, contain the proceedings while the Senate had under consideration a resolution for the ratification of the second treaty, the London Treaty of 1930, for the limitation of naval armaments which, with some slight modifications, was an extension of the 1922 treaty. While this treaty was under consideration, it was pointed out to the Senate the extent to which the United States Navy had, since 1922, fallen below the ratio strength to which it was entitled under the Washington Treaty. The Washington Treaty limited the number of battleships and aircraft carriers each nation could maintain. It placed no limitation upon cruisers, destroyers, submarines, or airplanes. At the time, the United States scrapped approximately $300,000,000 worth of naval vessels because of the agreement to do so contained in that treaty. Seven new battleships in process of construction; 4 new battle cruisers in process of construction; 4 dreadnoughts; and 15 pre-dreadnoughts; a total of 30 vessels, were destroyed.
It was the Washington Treaty (1922) and subsequent treaties that provided for a 5-5-3 ratio in certain categories between Great Britain, America, and Japan. This means that in certain categories of ships the United States was to have the same size navy as Great Britain, and Japan was to have a navy three-fifths the size of the United States and British Navies. This treaty provided also for the maintenance of the status quo of naval bases and fortifications in the Pacific area. The London Treaty (1930) extended the limitation to cruisers, destroyers, and submarines and made other slight modifications in the Washington Treaty (1922).
Following the Washington Treaty (1922), while other nations were rapidly building up naval ships in categories that were not forbidden and increasing the number of airplanes, the United States practically abandoned all naval construction. On July 21, 1930, in the debate referred to, it was pointed out to the Senate by Senator Walsh of Massachusetts that the United States was below its ratio in aircraft carriers allowed by the London Treaty; that we had submarines and
destroyers built during the World War which were rapidly becoming overage; that all the destroyers the Navy possessed, except 16, and all the submarines, except 17, would be overage before the end of the 6-year period of the London Treaty, namely, December 31, 1936-the date fixed for the termination of the limitation period. The same Senator pointed out that during the 8-year period from 1922 to 1930, while the United States was relying upon the cooperation of other nations to make some real effort toward naval disarmament, the other four great powers, Great Britain, France, Japan, and Italy, who signed the Washington Treaty, had built or authorized 400 naval vessels to our 11.
The following is quoted from the Congressional Record of July 19, 1930:
"Following that conference [Washington] and up to January 1, 1929, the great Powers of the world laid down and appropriated for naval expansion as follows: Japan, 125 naval vessels: Great Britain, 74 naval vessels: France, 119: Italy, 82: and, to the everlasting credit of our own country, the United States, exclusive of small river gunboats, 11."
Following this presentation of the decline of the American Navy, there was offered an amendment to the Naval Limitation Treaty (by Senator Walsh) as follows:
"Resolved, That the Senate of the United States, in the event this treaty is ratified, favors the substantial completion by December 31, 1936 (this was the date when the limitation treaty would terminate and did actually terminate although efforts were made to continue it), of all cruisers mounting guns in excess of 6 1/10 inches, all aircraft carriers, all destroyers, and all submarines permitted under the treaty for the limitation and reduction of naval armament, signed at London on April 22, 1930."
This amendment was defeated, but not until after the Senators proposing the ratification of the treaty promised publicly on the floor of the Senate that they would assist and cooperate in helping to build the Navy up to its entitled treaty strength.
On May 3,1932, the then chairman of the Naval Affairs Committee of the Senate, Mr. Hale, made a motion to have the Senate consider bill S. 51, to authorize the building up of the United States Navy to the strength permitted by the Washington and London Naval Treaties. This was largely to replace old destroyers and submarines, and to build four new aircraft carriers. At this time we had only two aircraft carriers.
The motion to take up the bill was carried by a vote of 46 to 25, and the final vote in favor of its enactment was 44 to 21. No action was taken on this bill in the House and the effort to strengthen the Navy thereby failed.
In 1933 President Roosevelt set aside for naval-defense purposes, from the large general relief fund granted him by Congress to provide employment during the depression, $238,000,000 From this sum of money in the years following, 32 naval vessels (mostly replacement) were built. In 1934, Congress passed the Vinson-Trammell Act, which authorized further new naval construction up to the full limit provided by the naval-limitation treaties. (Authorization by the Congress means approval, but does not necessarily mean the appropriation of the money to proceed at once with the construction.)
The Vinson-Trammell Act, and the moneys appropriated by that act, resulted largely in the very necessary replacement of overage vessels and did not contribute any material expansion in the strength of the Navy. It did result in modernizing the Navy by replacements of obsolete vessels. This act established a new naval policy, as it authorized the permanent maintenance of the Navy at treaty strength by providing that vessels could be replaced when they became overage. It authorized the President to procure the necessary naval aircraft commensurate with a treaty navy, and specified that all profits made by shipbuilding companies in excess of 10 percent of the contract price should be returned to the Treasury.
When the Washington and London Treaty of 1930 for the limitation of naval armaments expired on December 31,1936, the naval building race started in full speed throughout the world. All the other great powers had a decided advantage over the United States at that time, because our Navy was greatly weakened as almost no effort had been made to hold our Navy to the treaty strength to which our Government was legally entitled under the treaties and which the other powers maintained.
The Navy Department and the Naval Committees of the House and Senate undertook early in 1937 to establish a new naval policy.
An expenditure of $50,000,000 was authorized by an act approved July 30, 1937, to build six auxiliary vessels. These vessels were urgently needed for the proper maintenance and operation of a treaty navy.
An act approved May 17, 1938, was the first step taken to increase the United States Navy above the strength permitted by the Washington and London Naval Treaties. This act increased the number and tonnage allowances of combatant vessels in the Navy by approximately 23 percent; increased the number of useful airplanes from 2,050 to a total of not less than 3,000; authorized the construction of 26 auxiliary vessels; and authorized an appropriation of $15,000,000 to be expended at the discretion of the President for the purpose of experimenting with light surface craft.
In 1938 the Congress enacted legislation increasing the officer strength of the Navy and Marine Corps and revamped the laws regarding the creation, organization, and maintenance of the Naval Reserve and the Marine Corps Reserve. This Act authorized the enrollment of an unlimited number of officers and men in the Reserve forces of the naval service. Even at that time, namely 1938, there was much opposition to the new naval building program. Much opposition still existed and 28 Members of the Senate and 100 in the House voted against this first expansion bill. In the Senate demand was made upon those favoring this increase that there should be some concrete evidence about being exposed to attack or invasion before expending this sum of money. It was also urged that this should not be done until the Federal budget was balanced.
To illustrate the public sentiment at that time the following is quoted from a news paragraph dated April 20, 1938, which contained views frequently expressed:
"We can't understand why Senator Walsh is so eager to spend more millions and hundreds of millions for a worse than useless, bigger Navy."
One newspaper with a large circulation, referred to this bill as -"this enormous, indefensible naval program."
We must now consider a very important provision contained in the bill of 1938. When this bill was under consideration the Naval Affairs Committee of the House, of its own volition and without any request from the Navy Department, inserted a new section in the bill which read as follows:
"SEC. 10. (a) The Secretary of the Navy is hereby authorized and directed to appoint a board consisting of not less than five officers to investigate and report upon the need, for purposes of national defense, for the establishment of additional submarines, destroyer, mine, and naval air bases on the coasts of the United States, its Territories, and possessions. (b) The Secretary of the Navy is further directed to cause the report of the board authorized by this section to be transmitted to the Speaker of the House of Representatives during the first session of the Seventy-sixth Congress."
This provision was approved by the Senate Committee on Naval Affairs, and later by the Senate.
In accordance with the directive contained in this act, a Board headed by Admiral Hepburn was appointed by the Secretary of the Navy. The report of the Hepburn Board (H. Doc. 65, 76th Cong.) was submitted to the Speaker of the House of Representatives on December 27, 1938. The estimated cost of constructing all of the projects included in this report was $326,216,000.
With respect to Guam, the Board stated in part as follows:
"109. The defense of the Philippines involves matters of national policy which take precedence over the military problem involved. The military problem itself is one whose solution requires measures beyond any that could be recommended by this Board within the limits of its precept.
"110. Pending settlement of those questions of broad political and military significance which must be considered in connection with Philippine independence the Board recommends maintenance of existing facilities only.
"111. Within this Board's purview in connection with the defense of Guam lie certain possibilities which greatly simplify the military problem of the defense of the Philippines.
"112. Guam is at present practically defenseless against determined attack by any first-class power based in the western Pacific. With adequate air and submarine protection securely based on Guam, the island could be made secure against anything short of a major effort on the part of any probable enemy, an effort that is to say on the same order of magnitude that would be required to establish a footing in the Philippines. Supported by a garrison of only moderate strength in comparison to the important military issues involved, with appropriate antiaircraft and coast-defense equipment, it seems that such a defense force should be able to hold out to the limit of time that its supplies lasted, a period long enough in ordinary probability for adequate support to arrive. The salient military features of the situation above envisaged are as follows:
"(a) The island is well adapted to the maintenance of an air force equal or superior to any similar hostile force that could be assembled within a radius of 1,200 miles.
"(b) Its natural facilities for development of a submarine base are excellent.
"(c) Even without command of the sea extending westward of Midway, the air and submarine strength of the island could be reinforced.
"(d) The island could only be reduced or occupied by an enemy through landing operations supported by naval surface operations on a large scale. Hostile air attack alone could produce no decisive effect, and against defenses of the character mentioned would be likely to incur heavy and unrequited losses.
"(e) So long as Guam existed as a strong air and submarine base hostile operations. against the Philippines would be a precarious undertaking. To an even greater extent Guam would greatly impede, if not actually deny, extensive hostile naval operations to the southward, thus greatly simplifying our naval problem should the fleet ever be called upon for operations in the Far East."
On December 18, 1919, the Joint Army and Navy Board recommended that "Guam be fortified and garrisoned adequate to its defense against any force that could be brought against it," and that a first-class naval base be prepared in Apra Harbor. The Washington Treaty of 1922 put an end to those plans, but that treaty has now expired.
"Confining itself to the purely military aspect of this question, the Board is of the opinion, in which it believes itself supported by the most authoritative sources that have given study to the matter, that a strong advanced fleet base at Guam, developed to the practical limits which the natural resources invite, would assure-
"1 Practical immunity of the Philippines against hostile attack in force.
"2. The most favorable conditions that could be brought about for the prosecution of naval operations in the western Pacific, arising from whatever necessity It would reduce to its simplest possible terms the defense of Hawaii and the continental coast of the United States.
"3. The ability of the fleet to operate with greater freedom in meeting emergency conditions that might arise in the Atlantic."
On January 19, 1939, the Acting Secretary of the Navy, in a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, forwarded a draft of a proposed bill which would authorize the construction of certain of the aviation facilities recommended by the Hepburn Board. The proposed bill was introduced in the Senate as S. 830 by Senator Walsh of Massachusetts, chairman of the Senate Naval Affairs Committee, and in the House as H. R. 4278, by Representative Vinson of Georgia, chairman of the House Naval Affairs Committee. These bills authorized and directed the Secretary of the Navy to establish, develop or increase naval aviation facilities at or in the vicinity of Kaneohe Bay, Midway Island; Wake Island; Johnston Island; Palmyra Island; Kodiak, Alaska; Sitka, Alaska; San Juan, P. R.; Pensacola, Fla.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; and Guam, at a cost not to exceed $65,000,000. Under the terms of these bills the amounts to be expended at Guam were as follows:
(a) $2,200,000 to build a breakwater.
(b) $1,900,000 to dredge the harbor, remove coral heads, to provide a channel for ships and for seaplane operations.
(c) $900,000 to build seaplane ramps and parking space, a small power plant and necessary accessories.
When hearings were held on the bill by the Committee on Naval Affairs of the House of Representatives, Hon. Charles Edison, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, stated:
"It is the present policy of the Navy Department now to ask for development only to the extent stated in the bill before this committee."
"If unforeseen changes in the international situation should indicate a necessity for further development of an airplane base then Congress will be so informed.
"We hope that there will be no necessity for further development; none is contemplated at the present time."
The Honorable Carl Vinson, chairman of the Naval Affairs Committee of the House, on February 21, 1939, when this bill was being considered by the House of Representatives, stated:
"Opposition to this item has been based on the assumption that Guam is to be fortified and made into a strongly defended naval base for airplanes and submarines.
"In view of this opposition the committee has gone into this matter at great length, and I can assure you that there is no intention on the part of the Navy Department to fortify Guam or to do anything further than what is included in this bill."
The bill as reported by the Committee on Naval Affairs to the House contained the $5,000,000 for improvements at Guam. On February 23, 1939, this item was stricken out, after debate, on the floor of the House, by a vote of 205 to 168. The Senate Committee on Naval Affairs later held hearings on the House bill. The following are excerpts from the hearings held before the Senate Committee on Naval Affairs:
"Admiral LEAHY. The one item in the bill which has caused adverse discussion is the harbor improvements in Apra Harbor on the island of Guam.
"The opposition has in general been based on the assumption that what is really intended is the fortification of Guam so as to make it an important and strongly defended naval base for airplanes and submarines.
"This is not the case; the only improvements contemplated at the present time are the building of a breakwater, dredging to improve the seaplane take-off area, and minor preparations for handling planes. * * *
"Senator HIRAM W. JOHNSON of California. How much would be required to make Guam safe from assault, if you were not interfered with or if there were no diplomatic arrangements that in any degree troubled you? How much would it take to make Guam safe from assault by any belligerent nation?
"Admiral LEAHY. I made a rough estimate, Senator Johnson, that with $80,000,000 it would be possible to provide the island of Guam with a sufficient air, submarine, and antiaircraft defense to make it difficult to take by a possible enemy. In order to make a really safe base that could hold out for an indefinite period a much larger amount than that would be required.
"Senator JOHNSON. How much would be required?
"Admiral LEAHY. Again as a rough estimate, something in the neighborhood of $200,000,000. Such a proposition is not in the mind of the Navy Department at the present time. The only improvements contemplated are $5,000,000 for harbor improvements. * * *
"Admiral LEAHY. I must say there is no proposition before the Congress at the present time to establish any kind of a base at Guam, and we are now speaking of things which are not proposed and are not in contemplation by the Navy Department. * * *
"Admiral LEAHY. Senator, there is at the present time no proposal by the Navy Department to do any more at Guam than develop the harbor, in order that it may handle seaplanes safely. Even with that much development it would be useful to us in the event of war, in case it should not be taken by the enemy, which could very easily be done if the enemy should undertake such an operation without any defenses being there to stop them. * * *
"Admiral LEAHY. It is entirely possible, Senator, that in the future it may become necessary, from the point of view of national defense, to fortify the island
of Guam. I am unable to say when that will happen, or whether it will ever happen. At the present time there is no proposal to do more than improve the harbor. * * *
"Rear Admiral ARTHUR B. COOK. Actually the proposal means exactly what it says. It is simply harbor improvement, consisting largely of dredging and a breakwater, which will make the harbor at Guam suitable for the safe operation of large seaplanes and for the basing of these seaplanes there in a temporary status, when assisted by seaplane tenders. The fact that Guam could be fortified or might in the future, if the Congress so decides, actually be fortified, has nothing to do with the harbor improvement that is now proposed. * * * "
From the above quotations it will be seen that the question of fortifying Guam was never presented and was not voted on by the Congress.
The question as to why the Navy Department did not ask the Congress to authorize the construction of all the air, submarine, destroyer and mine bases, was taken up by the Senate Committee on Naval Affairs. Excerpts from the hearings on this phase of the subject are as follows:
"Mr. WALSH of Massachusetts (chairman). Now, briefly, how many naval bases of one kind or another did that report suggest as a basis for consideration of our necessary naval defenses?
"Admiral LEAHY. The board recommended the development of 25 air bases.
"Senator WALSH. How many do the House and Senate bills contain in their recommendations?
"Admiral LEAHY. Twelve.
"Senator WALSH. Why was this bill drafted to contain only 12 instead of the 25 recommended by the Hepburn Board?
"Admiral LEAHY. The bill presented to the Congress was limited to 12 projects for aircraft development because of budgetary limitations, and the 12 projects selected for recommendation were those which were considered of immediate strategic importance.
[NOTE.-It is to be noted that the Navy Department submits all requests for establishing and expansion of bases, or other naval facilities to the Bureau of the Budget before transmitting its request for congressional action.]
"Senator WALSH. So that the Navy Department, in consideration of the financial policies of the administration, recommended the construction of 12 bases at the present time?
"Admiral LEAHY. The Navy Department was authorized to request authorization from Congress for $65,000,000, and with that limited amount those bases were selected which were considered immediately necessary. * * *
"Admiral LEAHY. It is of great value, or will be of great value to our air commerce if it should be developed as is proposed here by the Navy Department. However, the Navy Department makes this proposition based on a feeling that facilities for naval air planes in Guam are of sufficient strategic importance to warrant for $5,000,000 there rather than asking for it in some other place. Our total sum was limited and it was necessary for us to break it down into those places that were considered most important. It is considerable to spend for Guam out of the total of $65,000,000, but the Navy Department considered it was worth spending $5,000,000 for naval purposes. Incidentally, it will be worth much to the commercial airlines. * * *
"Rear Admiral Ben Moreell: * * * I believe the reason he stated was because in the original estimates for carry out the purposes recommended by the Hepburn Board the total amount of money as indicated in this reprint, was $ 326,216,000. That amount was reduced by reducing the number of air stations
that would be included in the bill from 25 to 12 and by elimination of all destroyer, submarine, and mine bases. The original estimates for those 12 stations were $94,000,000, but the President stated that we could not have $94,000,000, we could only have $65,000,000, so we reduced the facilities at each of these 12 stations so as to come within the $65,000,000. It is obvious that if we could get $5,000,000 more for some of these 12 stations, we could use it very effectively, or we could use it at some station which is not included in the list of 12. * * *
"Rear Admiral ARTHUR B. COOK. The point was that we had an authorization limitation of $65,000,000 from the Budget, and the Navy included the items in the bill which they considered of the highest priority. * * *
During the course of the hearings on H. R. 4278 and S. 830 (1939)the Committee on Naval Affairs of the Senate made an attempt to ascertain the facts regarding certain unofficial rumors to the effect that the Japanese Government had fortified the mandated islands that had been placed under the control of Japan in the Treaty of Versailles. A Convention between the United States and Japan, signed at Washington, February 11, 1922, agreed to the action of the Four Powers in conferring upon Japan a mandate to administer the former German islands in the Pacific Ocean lying north of the Equator.
The committee had several communications with the State Department which resulted in the committee being unable to obtain any definite information. The correspondence was kept confidential at the request of the State Department. The State Department, in reply to an inquiry made by the committee, stated:
"With regard to the questions whether the terms of the treaty have been violated by Japan * * * the Government of the United States has at no time raised any question with the Japanese Government in regard to the obligations of Japan to the United States with respect to the Japanese mandated islands."
In a reply to another question by the committee requesting information as to whether the Japanese Government had denied nationals of the United States or naval vessels of the United States the privilege of visiting harbors and waters of the mandated islands, the Secretary of State in a letter dated April 5, 1939, stated:
"In this connection I may state that the files of the Department show that the instances referred to were four in number and that in each instance only one naval vessel was concerned. In no instance was the request "ignored," the reply being the same in all four instances, namely, regret was expressed that the Japanese authorities were unable to give consent to the proposed visits."
At the request of the State Department at the time, the information contained in the Department's letters to the committee were kept secret.
In view of the action of the State Department and in view of the fact that the item of $5,000,000 for Guam had been defeated by such a decisive vote in the House of Representatives, after consulting with the President on this item, the House action was not changed by the Senate.
In addition to the $65,000,000 authorized to be expended for Naval air bases, the Congress authorized an appropriation of $54,674,500 for the construction of public-works projects, including the building of dry docks at various places in the United States and its possessions.
A personnel bill was also enacted authorizing the commissioning of aviation cadets in the Naval and Marine Corps Reserve, upon completion of their periods of training.
In this year the authorized strength of the Navy in combatant-type vessels was approximately doubled, and several new policies were initiated.
The act of June 14, 1940, increased by 21 the number of combatant vessels authorized in the Navy; authorized the construction of 22 additional auxiliary vessels; increased the number of useful airplanes from 3,000 to not more than 4,500, and the number of lighter-than-air craft to a total of 18.
An act approved June 28, 1940, initiated several new naval policies. It authorized advanced payments to be made to contractors in certain cases, and authorized the negotiation of contracts for the acquisition construction, repair, or alteration of naval vessels, naval aircraft, machine tools, and other equipment without competitive bidding. It gave the President authority to establish priorities, as it provided that, naval contracts and orders, and all Army contracts and orders, shall in the discretion of the President, take priority over all deliveries for private account or for export. It also authorized the Secretary of the Navy to use appropriations available to the Navy Department to construct necessary buildings, facilities, utilities, and appurtenances thereto, on Government-owned land and elsewhere, and to operate them by Government personnel or otherwise, and authorized the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of the Treasury to modify existing contracts in order to expedite our military and naval defenses.
On July 19, 1940, the Vinson-Walsh Act (the Two-Ocean Navy Act) was approved. This act increased the authorized strength of the Navy by approximately 70 percent in the combatant categories authorized the building of 100,000 tons of auxiliary vessels, and the expenditure of $50,000,000 to construct patrol, escort, and miscellaneous craft. It also authorized an expenditure of $150,000,000 for essential equipment and facilities at either private or naval establishments, for building or equipping naval vessels; $65,000,000 for the manufacture of ordnance material or munitions at either private or naval establishments; and $35,000,000 for the expansion of facilities; for the production of armament at either private or naval establishments.
In 1941 Congress authorized an appropriation of $300,000,000 to modernize the Navy, and increased its strength in combatant categories by 150,000 tons. It also authorized the construction or acquisition of 550,000 tons of auxiliary vessels and 400 smaller vessels for local defense purposes.
In this year two bills were enacted appropriating money to provide essential equipment at either private or naval establishments for equipping and building naval vessels and providing ordnance and other facilities.
The Congress, early in this year, authorized an increase of approximately 75 percent in the authorized officer and enlisted strength of the Regular Navy and Marine Corps. The permanent peacetime enlisted strength of the Regular Navy was increased from 131,485 to 232,000 men, and the emergency strength from 191,000 to 300,000. The number of commissioned officers in the line of the Navy was increased from 7,562 to 12,760. It also increased the permanent peacetime and enlisted strength of the Marine Corps from 27,497 to 46,400 men and the emergency strength from 39,400 to 60,000 men, and the officer strength from 1,512 to 2,552.
On August 18, 1941, a bill was enacted providing for the extension of enlistments of men in the Navy until 6 months after the termination of the war.
Three bills authorizing the construction of additional public works were enacted. These bills authorized improvements at navy yards and naval stations in the United States, in the Pacific, the Canal Zone, the Caribbean and Alaskan areas, and at naval stations in Trinidad, Newfoundland, Bermuda, and other places where the United States had secured the right to build bases on foreign soil.
In 1942, the Congress enacted two bills increasing the authorized strength of the Navy in combatant categories:
The act of May 13, 1942, authorized an increase of 200,000 tons, and the act approved July 9, 1942 authorized an increase of 1,900,000 tons of combatant ships as follows:
Tons (a) Aircraft carriers .................................500,00 (b) Cruisers 500,00 (c) Destroyers and destroyer escort vessels 900,00Several bills were enacted authorizing appropriations for additional shipbuilding and ship repair facilities. A bill approved February 6, 1942, authorized the construction of 1,799 minor combat vessels, and the act of July 9, 1942, authorized the construction of 200 additional small vessels for coastal defense work.
The number of lighter-than-air craft was increased from 48 to 200. Several bills were enacted authorizing the construction or conversion of auxiliary vessels for the Navy.
In January 1942 the emergency strength of the regular personnel of the Navy and the Marine Corps was increased by 66 2/3 percent; the transfer of enlisted men of the Reserve forces to the Regular Navy and Marine Corps was authorized, and a Limited Service Marine Corps Reserve was created. In July of this year a Women's Reserve was established for the purpose of replacing male officers and enlisted men of the naval service for duty at sea.
Three major bills authorizing the Secretary of the Navy to proceed with the construction of certain public works were enacted. One in February 1942 authorized an expenditure of $450,000,000; one on April 28, 1942, an expenditure of $800,000,000; and one on August 6, 1942, an expenditure of $974,634,000.
In 1943, $1,256,607,000 was authorized for public-works projects in the United States, and $210,000,000 for the construction of additional ship repair facilities.
In June of 1943 1,000,000 tons of auxiliary vessels were authorized to be constructed or purchased.
In May 1943 a new policy was inaugurated. Prior to this time district and landing craft had not been specifically authorized by the Congress. Ships of this nature had been built from funds directly appropriated to the Bureau of Ships. In accordance with this new policy, the Congress authorized in May of 1943, the construction of 1,000,000 tons of landing craft, and on December 7, 1943, authorized the construction of 2,500,000 tons of auxiliary vessels and an additional 1,000,000 tons of landing craft.
In 1944, two public works bills have been enacted; one authorizes an expenditure of $281,060,000, and another approved in April 1944 authorizes an expenditure of $1,644,373,024.
In March of this year additional ship repair and ordnance manufacturing facilities were authorized at a cost not to exceed $195,000,000. On May 31 an additional 1,000,000 tons of landing craft were authorized.
The permanent authorized strength of the Navy today, in battleships, aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, and submarines is 5,299 480 tons.
This compares with a strength of 780,000 tons of under-age ships and 300,800 tons of over-age ships as of December 31, 1932. The present strength is almost five times the treaty allowances granted by the Washington Treaty of 1922 and the London Treaty of 1930.
The figures given for the permanent strength of the Navy do not include the many bills passed from time to time since 1940 authorizing auxiliary aircraft carriers, destroyer escorts, several millions of tons of auxiliary vessels, landing and district craft, and other small craft needed for the prosecution of the war. Since June 1940, 10 bills have been enacted by the Congress authorizing the construction of 9,225,000 tons of auxiliary and landing craft of various types.
Since 1938 approximately seven and a quarter billion dollars have been made available to the Navy as a result of several authorization bills, for the construction, on a stupendous scale, of naval and air bases and other public-works. projects, both in the United States and at outlying stations.
Since 1938, the number of useful airplanes authorized to be maintained by the Navy has been increased from 3,000 to the number deemed to be necessary by the President and the number of lighter-than-air craft has been increased to a total of 200. The number of airplanes of all types in our Navy will soon total 37,700. The Congress in July 1940 gave unlimited authority to expand in naval aviation construction.
The number of officers and men, including female personnel, in the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard, on May 1, 1944, was as follows:
Officers ................................ 301,116 Officer candidates ...................... 129,102 Enlisted personnel ...................... 2,970,428 Total ................................... 3,400,646
Of this number, 8,727 were women officers and 71,980 were women enlisted personnel.
On June 30, 1938, the total number of officers and men in the Navy and Marine Corps was as follows:
Officers Men Navy ................................... 10,336 105,599 Marine Corps ........................... 1,359 17,032 Total .................................. 11,695 122,631
The naval appropriation bill for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1945, proposes to appropriate for this fiscal year a total of approximately $29,000,000,000.
A table showing naval appropriations for the fiscal years from 1924 to 1944 is as follows: (Not reproduced.)