Franklin D. Roosevelt photo

Letter to the Appropriations Committee on National Defense.

December 28, 1937

My dear Mr. Chairman:

Confirming my conversation with you the other day, I would be glad if you would tell the Chairman and members of the Naval Appropriations Sub-Committee the following:

The preliminary estimates submitted by the Director of the Budget to the Naval Sub-Committee were prepared sometime ago and called for appropriations to commerce during the fiscal year 1939, two battleships, two light cruisers, eight destroyers and six submarines.

Since that time world events have caused me growing concern. Under the Constitution the President is Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy and has, therefore, a very specific duty to safe-guard the defense of national interests. In speaking of my growing concern, I do not refer to any specific nation or to any specific threat against the United States. The fact is that in the world as a whole many nations are not only continuing but are enlarging their armament programs. I have used every conceivable effort to stop this trend, and to work toward a decrease of armaments. Facts, nevertheless, are facts, and the United States must recognize them.

Will you, therefore, be good enough to inform the Sub-Committee on Naval Appropriations that after the next session of the Congress has met, it is possible that I may send supplementary estimates for commencing construction on a number of ships additional to the above program?

Very sincerely yours,

Hon. Edward T. Taylor,

Chairman of the Appropriations Committee,

House of Representatives,

Washington, D.C.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter to the Appropriations Committee on National Defense. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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