Franklin D Roosevelt Library
The President's Secretary's File (PSF), 1933-1945
Box 60
Folder: Navy Department August 1944-45

Mrs. Latta

Navy Dept Folder
2-45

THE WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON

SECRET

January 9, 1945.

MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY:

Subject:        Combatant Vessel Construction Program.

Reference:    (a) Secretary's Memorandum (SECRET)
                         to the President, Serial 0035005,
                         dated 8 Jan 1945.

1. I informed the President this morning of your recommendation to proceed with the construction of approximately 730,000 tons of combatant vessel construction already authorized. The President did not have time to study your recommendation but said that you could inform the budget that he favored the construction and authorizes you to take it up with the Budget.

2. This memorandum is to confirm a message I have already given to Captain Roper by telephone.

Very respectfully,

WILSON BROWN,
Vice Admiral, U.S.N.,
Naval Aide to the President.

Note: Lt. Rigden brought this over.

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Serial 0035005

THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY
WASHINGTON

8 JAN 1945

S E C R E T

Memorandum for The President

My dear Mr. President:

The Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations on 6 January 1945 recommended and I approve of the construction of the following combatant vessel program totaling 644,000 tons to supplement the existing program.

Type

Tonnage

No.

Total Tonnage

CVB

Aircraft Carrier, Large

45,000

2

90,000

CV

Aircraft Carrier

27,500

6

165,000

*CVE

Aircraft Carrier, Escort

12,500

* 12

150,000

CA

Heavy Cruiser

17,500

4

70,000

CL(5”)

Light Cruiser

7,500

6

45,000

DD

Destroyer

2,500

36

90,000

SS

Submarine

(about) 1,889

18

    34,000    






644,000

* The above includes eight (8) CVE for which approval was requested in my Memorandum to you, serial 033705 dated 14 December 1944.

There is now available a balance of approximately 750,000 tons of legislative authorization for combatant vessel construction which represents small adjustments in the tonnage of ships already built or building, tonnage made available through cancellations, and tonnage made available as the result of losses which are replaceable under existing law.

Advantage will be taken of the experience gained in the war to improve the designs of the various types to the maximum extent. No radical changes in design are indicated at this time.

Your approval of the above action is requested.

Yours sincerely,

/S/
JAMES FORRESTAL

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8 January 1945

My dear Mr. President:

The enclosed letter deals with the subject which I spoke to you about after Cabinet Friday – namely, getting appropriations to initiate additional construction under our present legislative tonnage balance of 750,000 tons.

The 18 ships involved of above 7,000 tons, i.e., carriers, heavy cruisers and light cruisers, could be completed it is estimated before the expiration of the calendar year 1947. They would follow on ways made available as our present program runs out. Obviously, the work could be stopped if a turn in the events of the war warranted such action.

It occurs to me that you may want to send a message to Congress on this subject. If so, I can get the material up for you. What I have in mind is that an explanatory note may be desirable to tell why it is we want this additional tonnage in the light of the announced damage inflicted on the Japanese Fleet.

Respectfully,

James Forrestal



The President,
The White House.





JF:HCO