The Proposed Naval Holiday

October 27, 1931

Report Outline
Proposals for a Truce in Naval Construction
Results of a One-Year Naval Holiday
Building Under the London Naval Treaty
Naval Appropriations and a Naval Holiday
American Naval Policy and a Holiday
Special Focus

Before November 1, 1931, President Hoover will declare whether or not the government of the United States is prepared for a period of one year from that date to accept a truce in armaments. A resolution requesting the governments which will be represented at the general disarmament conference, scheduled to convene at Geneva on February 2, 1932, to state their attitude toward the proposed truce before November 1, was adopted by the Council and Assembly of the League of Nations at its regular session. This proposal was made to the Assembly by its third committee last September after the committee had considered a proposal of the Italian delegation for the institution of an armaments truce as a, means of preparing the way for the conference, and a draft resolution to the same end submitted by the Danish. Norwegian, Netherlands, Swedish, and Swiss delegations.

The imminence of a presidential announcement regarding a year's truce in armaments has stirred up a lively public debate on American naval policy and building programs. Hoping perhaps to influence the forthcoming declaration of the attitude of the Hoover administration, Senator Hale, chairman of the Senate Naval Affairs Committee, announced on October 3 that he and Rep. Britten, chairman of the House Naval Affairs Committee, would introduce bills in the next Congress authorizing the building of the navy up to the limits of the London Naval Treaty, including the replacement of obsolete ships. Rep. Wood, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, advocated postponement of appropriations for the navy until after the general disarmament conference in a statement on October 13. After a conversation between President Hoover and Senator Borah on October 2, it was disclosed that the President viewed with sympathy Senator Borah's proposal for a naval holiday and that the Senator agreed with the President on reducing the naval budget. And on October 11 the Navy League of the United States issued a statement opposing the League of Nation's proposal for a one-year holiday in naval building. Meanwhile, in accordance with the economy order of President Hoover, the Navy Department has been engaged in paring down its 1932–33 budget estimates. These developments forecast a bitter congressional controversy over naval appropriations. If the supporters of the administration have their way, it is unlikely that any new naval construction will be authorized by the new Congress.

Go to top

Proposals for a Truce in Naval Construction

According to Article 1 of the London Naval Treaty of 1030, the replacements of capital ships (battleships and battle cruisers) authorized by the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 are to be postponed until after 1936. Thus a naval holiday is already in effect as to capital ships. As to auxiliary vessels, two proposals for a naval holiday have been made in specific terms: that of the League of Nations which has officially proposed a holiday in naval building that apparently would allow all construction under way on November 1, 1931, to proceed, but would ban the undertaking of and building in addition thereto during the twelve months between that date and November 1, 1932; and that of Senator Swanson (D., Va.), former chairman of the Senate Naval Affairs Committee, for a five-year holiday in naval building.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
U.S. Navy
Jul. 23, 1976  Navy Rebuilding
Mar. 06, 1968  Sea Power and Global Strategy
Oct. 06, 1945  Army-Navy Consolidation
Oct. 02, 1941  Undeclared Naval Warfare
Oct. 25, 1939  Naval Blockades and Submarine Warfare
Nov. 20, 1935  American Naval Policy
Nov. 19, 1934  Naval Limitation and Pacific Problems, 1921–1936
Oct. 27, 1931  The Proposed Naval Holiday
Jul. 25, 1930  Military and Naval Expenditures
Jan. 16, 1930  The London Naval Conference
Sep. 28, 1929  The Anglo-American Naval Situation
Feb. 13, 1928  The 1928 Naval Building Program
Alliances and Security Agreements
Arms Control and Disarmament
International Law and Agreements