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Naval Expansion Act, 14 June 1940


[CHAPTER 364]

An act to establish the composition of the United States Navy, to authorize the construction of certain naval vessels, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the authorized composition of the United States Navy in under-age vessels as established by the Act of May 17, 1938 (52 Stat. 401), is hereby further increased by one hundred and sixty-seven thousand tons, as follows:
(a) Aircraft carriers, seventy-nine thousand five hundred tons, making a total authorized under-age tonnage of two hundred and fifty-four thousand five hundred tons.
(b) Cruisers, sixty-six thousand five hundred tons, making a total authorized under-age tonnage of four hundred and seventy-nine thousand and twenty-four tons.
(c) Submarines, twenty-one thousand tons, making a total authorized under-age tonnage of one hundred and two thousand nine hundred and fifty-six tons: Provided, That the foregoing total tonnage for aircraft carriers, cruisers, and submarines may be varied by thirty-three thousand four hundred tons in the aggregate so long as the sum of the total tonnages of these classes as authorized herein is not exceeded: Provided further, That the terms used in this or any other Act to describe vessels of designated classes shall not be understood as limited or controlled by definitions contained in any treaty which is not now in force.

SEC. 2. The President of the United States is hereby authorized to construct such vessels, including replacements authorized by the Act of March 27, 1934 (48 Stat. 503), as may be necessary to provide the total under-age composition authorized in section 1 of this Act.

SEC. 3. The President of the United States is hereby authorized to acquire or construct naval airplanes, and lighter-than-air craft, and spare parts and equipment, as may be necessary to provide and maintain the number of useful naval airplanes at a total of not more than four thousand five hundred, including five hundred airplanes for the Naval Reserve; and the number of useful nonrigid lighter-than-air craft at a total of not more than eighteen.

SEC. 4. The President of the United States is hereby further authorized to acquire and convert or to undertake the construction of seventy-five thousand tons of auxiliary vessels of such size, type, and design as he may consider best suited for the purposes of national defense.

SEC. 5. There is hereby authorized to be appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury of the United States not otherwise appropriated, such sums as may be necessary to effectuate the purposes of this Act, including not to exceed $35,000,000 for shipbuilding ways, shipbuilding docks and essential equipment and facilities at naval establishments for building or equipping any ship, herein or heretofore authorized, and, in addition, not to exceed $6,000,000 for essential equipment and facilities at either private or naval establishments for the production of armor or armament: Provided, That equipment and facilities procured for the production of armor or armament pursuant to the authority contained herein may be leased, sold, or otherwise disposed of, in the discretion of the Secretary of the Navy, when no longer required for use under naval contract.

SEC. 6. The allocation and contracts for construction of the vessels herein authorized as well as the procurement and construction of airplanes and spare parts, shall be in accordance with the terms and conditions provided by the Act of March 27, 1934 (48 Stat. 503), as amended.

SEC. 7. Vessels of the following categories shall hereafter he deemed under age until the number of years indicated have elapsed since completion: Battleships, twenty-six years; aircraft carriers and cruisers, twenty years; other combatant surface craft, sixteen years; submarines, thirteen years.

SEC. 8. The construction, alteration, furnishing, or equipping of any naval vessel authorized by this Act, or the construction, alteration, furnishing, or equipping of any naval vessels with funds from any appropriation available for such purposes, contracts for which are made after June 30, 1940, shall be in accordance with the provisions of Public Law Numbered 846, Seventy-fourth Congress, approved June 30, 1936, unless such course, in the judgment of the President of the United States, should not be in the interest of national defense.

SEC. 9. For the purpose of modernizing the United States ships New York, Texas, and Arkansas, alterations and repairs to such vessels are hereby authorized at a total cost not to exceed the sum of $6,000,000. This sum shall be in addition to the total appropriation expenditures for repairs and changes to each of these vessels as limited by the Act of July 18, 1935 (49 Stat. 482; U. S. C., title 5, SEC. 468a).

SEC. 10. The provisions of section 4 of the Act approved April 25, 1939 (53 Stat. 590,592), shall, during the period of any national emergency declared by the President to exist, be applicable to naval public works and naval public utilities projects in the Fourteenth Naval District for which appropriations are made or authorized: Provided, That the fixed fee to be paid the contractor as a result of any contract entered into under the authority contained herein, or any contract hereafter entered into under the authority contained in said Act of April 25, 1939, shall not exceed 6 per centum of the estimated cost of the contract, exclusive of the fee, as determined by the Secretary of the Navy.

SEC. 11. In the discretion of the President, there is hereby authorized and established a Naval Consulting Board of seven members to be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, from among eminent civilians in the fields of industry, science, and research, to serve during the pleasure of the President. This Board is hereby authorized to make recommendations to the Secretary of the Navy in any matter concerning the Naval Establishment and the national defense. The members thereof shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed for all expenses incurred incident to their travel and employment as members of the Board. There is hereby authorized to be appropriated out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, not to exceed $25,000 to effectuate the purposes of this section.

Approved, June 14, 1940.


Source: United States Statutes at Large, 1939-41, Vol. 54, Part 1, pp. 394-96 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1941).

30 June 1999