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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. ŚREPT.1557,
NAVAL APPROPRIATION BILL.
Feb, 20, 1913.-Ordered to be printed.
Messrs. GREGG, WITHERSPOON, HENSLEY, and BUCHANAN, from the
Committee on Naval Affairs, submitted the following
[To accompany H. R. 28812.)
The undersigned members of the Committee on Naval Affairs beg leave to submit the following report and to express our dissent and objections to the bill reported by the committee.
This bill carries $146,818,364.53. This sum is $23,666,825.78 more than the last appropriation and $9,731,165.48 more than the Congress in the days of its wildest extravagance ever appropriated in one bill. Of this vast sum of $146,818,364.53, $105,587,948.53 is appropriated for the maintenance of the Navy, $22,284,091 for the completion of naval vessels already in process of construction, and $18,946,325 for the first year's work of construction on two battleships, six torpedo destroyers, four submarines, one supply boat, and one transport, which new vessels will cost an aggregate of $46,418,925, and the construction of which will necessitate a larger appropriation next year than this.
The $105,000,000 which the bill proposes to appropriate for the maintenance of the Navy for the year ending the 30th of June, 1914, is about $2,000,000 more than the appropriation last year, and this is true, notwithstanding the fact that the greatest economy possible has been enforced by the Secretary of the Navy and by the chiefs of every bureau in this department of the Government. In the reduction of the cost of powder 10 per cent; in the reduction of the price of torpedoes from $9,500 to $3,500 apiece; in the reduction of large guns, more than $20,000 apiece; in reforms of accounting, and other matters, economies have been accomplished. Not only has the entire Navy Department in all its bureaus manifested a commendable effort to practice economy, but the Naval Affairs Committee, in preparing this bill, has, in our judgment, cut down every item, with the exceptions hereinafter pointed out, as low as is consistent with the efficiency of the Navy. In fact, the efficiency of the Navy is sacrificed by the bill in several particulars in order to prevent the total amount of the appropriation from being so large as to endanger the $46,000,000 building program.
The bill cuts down the amount necessary for the manufacture of torpedoes, in which the Navy is sadly lacking, limits the amount for mines to $100,000, when a great deal more is shown to be needed, fails to provide for an additional powder factory shown to be a necessity, and it ignores the fact that we need 3,000 more officers and that our Naval Academy is wholly inadequate to supply them.
We submit, therefore, that in regard to target practice, torpedoes, mines, powder, the personnel of the Navy, and in other respects which we might mention, this bill is not framed to promote the efficiency of the Navy, but to make it possible to authorize new vessels costing $46,000,000. And although every economy has been practiced in every bureau of the Navy Department, although the committee has reduced every item in the bill which the efficiency of the Navy would permit, and although the bill fails to provide for a number of things indispensible to the efficiency of the Navy, yet the appropriation for the maintenance of the Navy is increased from $102,655,634.28 to $105,587,958.53.
In the face of these facts it would seem incredible that the amount of the appropriation is increased, and it is impossible to understand how this is unless you accept the fact that every new vessel you build not only increases the appropriations to the amount of its cost but it increases the expense of every department of the Navy. Every new battleship necessitates more men, more coal, more powder, more pistols, more barracks, more supplies, more clerical force, more dredging, deeper channels and rivers, more cranes, more sea walls. and more of everything. A battleship causes every expense of the Navy Department to rise just as the revolutions of the moon cause the tides of the ocean to rise, but, unlike the moon, it never causes the expenses to ebb.
And so in this bill we carry $1,983,690.75 more for the pay of the men in the Navy than we did last year, a million more for coal and oil, and other necessary increases which add $2,000,000 to the sum total for maintenance, notwithstanding the economies practiced, the reductions made, and the failure to include many necessary sums. And the sum necessary for the maintenance of the Navy will continue to grow larger every year if we continue to authorize more battleships, and the blame can not be placed on the Secretary of the Navy, nor the chiefs of the bureaus, all of whom we exculpate from criticism for this outrageous bill of $146,818,364.53; but the sole blame must rest on the Congress which persists in adding useless warships to the Navy:
The only just criticism on that part of the bill which appropriates $105,587,948.43 for the maintenance of the Navy is that it embraces about $2,000,000 to be expended for various purposes on the navy yards, and this criticism is not that these items are too large, or that the improvements for which this money is sought to be expended are not useful and needed, but the objection is that the navy yards and stations in which this money is to be expended may be abandoned, in which case the expenditure would be useless. We have 10 navy yards and 18 stations. This necessitates the duplication of expenses in many instances and greatly increases the cost of maintaining the Navy. It has been shown that if all the work of construction and repair could be concentrated in two or three navy yards we would need fewer power plants, less machinery, less dredging
and deepening of channels and rivers, and for this the department has been contemplating the abandonment of most of the navy yards, and the Secretary has named three which ought to be abandoned, but as yet no decision has been reached. Under these conditions a minority of the committee considers it unwise to expend any money for improvements in navy yards because it will be wasted in all those which may be abandoned.
The folly of expending large sums of money in places where it will be useless is well illustrated by the facts that upon the navy yards at Pensacola there was expended $12,217,431.11, and at New Orleans $3,401,135.87, and since all this money was wasted the department has discovered that these two navy yards are useless and has actually abandoned both of them. The same folly was manifested by investing $1,786,000 in some coaling stations in which only a very small amount of coal was ever placed, and after the money was squandered it was discovered that these coaling stations were useless, and accordingly they were abandoned. The folly of this waste of money consisted in not discovering the uselessness of these navy yards and coaling stations before the money was wasted; but this bill proposes that Congress shall be guilty of a far worse folly in expending $2,000,000 of the people's money in the improvement of navy yards after we have discovered that many of them are useless and will be abandoned.
We protest against the expenditure of a dollar for the improvement of any of the navy yards until it is definitely determined which will be retained and which will be abandoned. But the point we wish to emphasize in regard to the sum of $105,587,948.53, which the bill seeks to appropriate for the maintenance of the Navy, is not, with the exception pointed out, the result of extravagance in the items of it; that it is an increase of $2,932,314.25 over the appropriation of last year; that this increase is effected, notwithstanding great economies practiced in all the bureaus of the department and notwithstanding the bill fails to provide for many things essential to the efficiency of the Navy; that this increase is caused solely by the increase of the ships of the Navy; and that this increase will annually grow larger by leaps and bounds if we continue to authorize the construction of more ships.
The second phase of the bill to which we call attention is the appropriation of $22,000,000 to complete the construction of vessels heretofore authorized. These vessels are partly built, and the Government is under contracts to complete them. We will either have to abandon these partly constructed vessels and lose what has already been spent on them, or appropriate the $22,000,000 to complete them. And if we authorize the new vessels carried in the bill, which will cost $46,418,925, then in the next appropriation bill we may expect, instead of an item of $22,000,000 for the completion of new vessels, a much larger item, probably $30,000,000. We therefore agree that the $22,000,000 should be appropriated.
The third part of the bill authorizes the construction of two battleships to cost $16,345,275 each, or $32,690,550; six destroyers to cost $7,657,810; four submarines to cost $2,478,936; one transport to cost $2,057,179; and one supply ship to cost $1,534,450; all aggregating $46,418,925; and for the construction work on these vessels for the next fiscal year the bill appropriates $18,916,325, which leaves $27,478,600 to be appropriated in the first session of the next Congress to complete these vessels.
It is manifest that no substantial reduction can be made in this bill if this program for the increase of the Navy is adopted, and the principal question presented by the bill is whether this enormous increase is wise or necessary. The wisdom of this proposed expenditure depends upon the question whether we now have an adequate Navy or not.
We admit that our Navy is inadequate for a great many purposes. It is inadequate for the purpose of conquest. If we were to undertake to conquer England, Germany, France, and Japan, we would find that we have an insufficient fleet for such purpose, and we hope that our Navy will always be inadequate for any such purpose. It is also inadequate to gratify the greed and averice of those who annually make millions of dollars out of the construction, repairs, coal, powder, armor, and armament necessary to maintain and increase our Navy, and for such purpose the Navy would be inadequate if we had a thousand battleships. It is also inadequate to gộatify the wild-eyed extravagance of those who measure all political wisdom by the magnitude of the fund to be squandered. It is also inadequate to defend our country from invasion in case all the great countries of Europe should unite in a war against us; and we are not in favor of building any navy adequate for defense in such case, both because we believe we will never be confronted with any such misfortune and also because in such case we believe the wisest course would be to permit them to land their armies on our shores and depend upon such armies as we could raise to determine again the oft-decided question whether America can be conquered. But for the purpose of defending our country against attack from any nation on earth we confidently believe that our Navy is amply sufficient and fully adequate, and for any other purpose we need no navy, at all.
For the legitimate and reasonable purpose of the public defense we have a Navy whose officers and enlisted men number 65,614 and whose vessels of all kinds number 277. Among this large number of vessels there are included 38 battleships of which 33 are ready for service and 5 are in process of construction; 11 armored cruisers; 63 submarines, of which 47 are complete and 16 in process of construction; 28 torpedo boats, 54 destroyers, and other auxiliary vessels. The 38 battleships are equipped with one hundred and forty-eight 12-inch guns, thirty-two 13-inch guns, and fifty-two 14-inch guns. In addition to this we have guns of smaller caliber, which no man can number.
The strength of our Navy may be more clearly comprehended by comparing it with the navies of other countries, and in making this comparison the experts agree that we need only consider the battleships. Comparing our Navy with that of Japan, ours has one hundred and forty-eight 12-inch guns and theirs 84, a difference of 64 in our favor; ours has thirty-two 13-inch guns and theirs 56, a difference of 24 in their favor; ours has fifty-two 14-inch guns and theirs 12, a difference of 40 in our favor; and ours has in large guns from 12 to 14 inches 232 and theirs 152, a difference in our favor of 80, and yet some people have dreadful visions of the American fleet sinking to the bottom of the sea under the weight of Japanese shells.
Comparing our Navy with that of France, ours has one hundred and forty-eight 12-inch guns and theirs 118, a difference of 30 in our