May 17,1938
HR 9218
Public No 528

AN ACT

To establish the composition of the United States Navy, to authorize the construction 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 is hereby 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 : Provided, That vessels of tonnages in excess of thirty-five thousand tons each may be laid down if the President determines with respect to the tonnage of capital ships being built by other nations that the interests of national defense so require, in which event the authorized composition of the United States Navy of capital ships is hereby increased by one hundred and thirty-five thousand tons, making a total authorized underage tonnage of six hundred and sixty thousand tons;

(b) Aircraft carriers, forty thousand tons, making a total authorized underage tonnage of one hundred and seventy-five thousand

(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 making 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 not less than three thousand.

Sec. 4. The President of the United States is hereby further authorized to acquire and convert or to undertake the construction of the following auxiliary vessels:

(a) Three destroyer tenders, a total of twenty-seven thousand tons light displacement tonnage ;

(b) Two submarine tenders, a total of eighteen thousand tons light displacement tonnage;

(c) Three large seaplane tenders, a total of twenty-five thousand tons light displacement tonnage;

(d) Seven small seaplane tenders, a total of eleven thousand five hundred and fifty tons light displacement tonnage;

(e) One repair ship of nine thousand five hundred tons light displacement tonnage;

(f) Four oil tankers, a total of thirty-two thousand tons light displacement tonnage ;

(g) One mine layer of six thousand tons light displacement tonnage ;

(h) Three mine sweepers, a total of two thousand one hundred tons light displacement tonnage ; and

(i) Two fleet tugs, a total of two 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, which purposes shall include essential equipment and facilities at navy yards for building any ship or ships herein or heretofore authorized.

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 discretion of the President of the United States for the construction of experimental vessels, none of which shall exceed three thousand tons standard displacement, and the sum of $3,000.000 to be expended at the discretion of the President of the United States for the construction of a rigid airship of American design and American construction of a capacity not to exceed three million cubic feet either fabric covered or metal covered to be used for training, experimental, and development purposes.

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 m accordance with the terms and conditions provided by the Act of March 27, 1934 (48 Stat. 503). as amended.

Sec. 8. 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. 9. The United States -would -welcome and support an international conference for naval limitations and in the event of an international treaty for the further limitations 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 limitations so agreed upon, except that such suspension shall not apply to vessels and aircraft then actually under construction.

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 submarine, 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.

Sec. 11. That the Navy Department shall construct upon the Pacific coast of the United States such vessels as the President of the United States may determine to be necessary in order to maintain shipyard facilities upon the Pacific coast necessary and adequate to meet the requirements of national defense.

Sec. 12. The construction, alteration, furnishing, or equipping of toy naval vessel authorized by this Act, or the construction, alteration, furnishing, or equipping of any naval vessels with funds from toy appropriation available for such purposes, contracts for which are made after June 30, 1938, shall be in accordance with the provisions of Public Law 846, Seventy-fourth Congress, approved June 30, 1936, unless such course, in the judgment of the President of the United States, should not be in the interest of national defense.

Approved, May 17, 1938.