I HAVE TODAY signed H. R. 12575, the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958.
The enactment of this legislation is an historic step, further equipping the United States for leadership in the space age. I wish to commend the Congress for the promptness with which it has created the organization and provided the authority needed for an effective national effort in the fields of aeronautics and space exploration.
The new Act contains one provision that requires comment. Section 205 authorizes cooperation with other nations and groups of nations in work done pursuant to the Act and in the peaceful application of the results of such work, pursuant to international agreements entered into by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. I regard this section merely as recognizing that international treaties may be made in this field, and as not precluding, in appropriate cases, less formal arrangements for cooperation. To construe the section otherwise would raise substantial constitutional questions.
The present National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), with its large and competent staff and well-equipped laboratories, will provide the nucleus for the NASA. The NACA has an established record of research performance and of cooperation with the Armed Services. The combination of space exploration responsibilities with the NACA's traditional aeronautical research functions is a natural evolution.
The enactment of the law establishing the NACA in 1915 proved a decisive step in the advancement of our civil and military aviation. The Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 should have an even greater impact on our future.