Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Authorizing the Construction of Two Superliners.
I HAVE TODAY approved H.R. 11451, "An Act to authorize the construction and sale by the Federal Maritime Board of a superliner passenger vessel equivalent to the steamship United States, and a superliner passenger vessel for operation in the Pacific Ocean, and for other purposes."
To build and finance these two luxury liners, the bill authorizes appropriations of 90 to 100 million dollars more than would be required if these two vessels were constructed under existing law and practice. Most of these increased appropriations--which will be advanced as loans-would be the result of the provision of the bill directing that the mortgage financing be provided by the Federal Government--a reversal of this Administration's policy of requiring private financing for such mortgages.
It is for this reason that my approval of H.R. 11451 is with some misgivings. These additional appropriations are entirely unnecessary because it appears that Government-guaranteed private financing could be provided on terms just about as favorable as those specified in the bill, particularly in view of my approval today of H.R. 12739, which will insure that any guaranteed loan will immediately be paid by the Government upon a default, thus enabling shipowners, I am informed, to secure interest rates approaching those of long term Government bonds.
When an appropriation to implement the bill is requested, it will be my strong recommendation that Government financing be denied if the Secretary of Commerce finds that Government-guaranteed private financing on reasonable terms is available. Moreover I urge that the initial appropriation to carry out the bill be postponed until fiscal year 1960.
Note: As enacted, H. R. 11451 is Public Law 85-521 (72 Stat. 359); H. R. 12739 is Public Law 85-520 (72 Stat. 358).
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Authorizing the Construction of Two Superliners. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/233757