Statement by the President Upon Signing Bills To Modernize the Tanker Fleet.
THESE TWO BILLS will help to modernize the tanker fleet under the United States flag, reduce our serious mobilization deficit in such tonnage and create a Government-owned and maintained tanker reserve essential to our mobilization requirements. The bills will also give a much-needed stimulus to our nationwide shipbuilding and associated industries.
One of these measures authorizes the Secretary of the Navy to negotiate with private operators for the 10-year charter to the Government of fifteen fast, commercial-type tankers which will be privately owned and operated. These will be constructed in American shipyards of materials and equipment produced or manufactured in the United States. Private shipyard construction, at Government expense, of five similar tankers is also authorized. The building and use of these twenty modern tankers will enable us to put into reserve thirty-seven World War II-built tankers which are now operated for the Department of Defense by the Military Sea Transportation Service.
The other bill will permit ship owners to trade in, for a government credit allowance, tankers built in World War II. This allowance may be applied on the construction of new, more efficient tankers to be built and operated under the American flag. In addition to stimulating tanker construction for private account, this bill will strengthen the competitive position of our private tanker owners, while increasing the potential of our mobilization tanker reserve.
This legislation will, of course, mean jobs in American shipyards. Teams of specialized workers will stay together and keep at the vital task of building ships; the skill of these men, essential to our security, will not be lost by their dispersion into other forms of employment. I have directed the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Commerce to space the new construction in both of these programs in such a manner as to avoid undesirable peaks and valleys in construction and employment.
Note: The two bills are Public Laws 574 and 575, 83d Congress (68 Stat. 680, 681).
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Statement by the President Upon Signing Bills To Modernize the Tanker Fleet. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232471