Document 22: Mrs. William Sherman Walker, "Our Peace Establishment: The Navy," DAR Magazine (October 1929), 614-619.

Introduction

        "Working for defense" was not an abstraction imposed upon the chapters with no direction for implementation. In her monthly National Defense Committee column, Mrs. William Sherman Walker instructed chapter members on various aspects of the defense debate and explained materials for program studies. Source materials were sent to each chapter outlining a series of monthly lessons to be used at meetings so that members could "study the facts that they may be equipped to evade untruths about defense.[20] She stressed the importance of supporting the Army and Navy, and asked members to devote the month of April to "an intelligent survey of our peace establishment."

        Walker's goal was not only education of the DAR members, but the entire American public. In her report to the 1929 Continental Congress, the annual DAR meeting, she enumerated the projects that the National Defense Committee undertook during the previous year. These included study groups, national, regional and chapter conferences, radio broadcasts, and speeches to Congressional and Legislative Committees. To demonstrate the Daughters' dedication to this project, she reported that a national Vice Chairman delivered forty addresses in the previous nine months. Walker herself "delivered an address an average of every ten days for the last three years."[21] Walker provided comparative statistics for different types of naval vessels. She compared these numbers to the allotments allowed by the Washington Treaty of 1921-22, proving that the United States was clearly behind the other great powers. By shaping the opinion of many American women on military matters during the 1920s, the DAR contributed substantially to popular support for the expansion of military power.

DEPARTMENT OF
NATIONAL DEFENSE COMMITTEE
Mrs. William Sherman Walker, Chairman

OUR PEACE ESTABLISHMENT

The Navy

        The Naval Policy of the United States as framed by the General Board and approved by the Secretary of the Navy is fundamentally:

"The Navy of the United States should be maintained in sufficient strength to support its policies and its commerce, and to guard its continental and overseas possessions."

In regard to limitation it states:

"The Washington Treaty limiting naval armament is the supreme law of the powers party to the treaty governing their naval armaments as to capital ships, aircraft carriers, and the size and armament of cruisers. The spirit of the treaty indicates two elements of international import: A general desire to avoid competition in naval armament and a partial recognition of a ratio in naval strengths as a means of avoiding competition. Should any power undertake a program of expansion in unrestricted classes of naval vessels or in personnel not consistent with the treaty ratios in capital ships, a new competition in naval strengths would thereby be initiated, until such time as other powers by inequitable conduct in international relations as to United States interests or by their departure from the idea of a suspended competition in naval armaments, indicate other procedure, the Navy of the United States may be governed in naval strengths by the spirit of the capital ship ratios, otherwise it will be necessary to readjust our naval policy."

The first item of the general policy is:

"To create, maintain, and operate a Navy second to none, and in conformity with the ratios for capital ships established by the Washington Treaty."

The principal types of combatant vessels are capital ships (battleships and battle cruisers), aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, submarines.

        The Washington Treaty limited by name of individual vessels the capital ships each nation was allowed to retain. It further provided that the total capital ship replacement tonnage of the contracting powers shall not exceed 525,000 tons for the United States and the British Empire, 315,000 tons for Japan, and 175,000 tons for France and Italy; that the size of capital ships hereafter built shall not exceed 35,000 tons displacement; that the caliber of gun mounted on capital ships shall not exceed 16 inches; that capital ships cannot be replaced until 20 years of age.

        The Washington Treaty established the 5:5:3 ratio for capital ships (i.e., battleships and battle cruisers) and aircraft carriers. The Naval Policy of the United States is to maintain this ratio in other types of combatant crafts, such as cruisers, destroyers and submarines.

        The Treaty limits the maximum size of aircraft carriers, the total tonnage each nation may have, to 135,000 tons for the United States and the British Empire, 81,000 tons for Japan, and 60,000 tons for France and Italy.

        The only limit on cruisers imposed by the Washington Treaty is that they can not exceed 10,000 tons displacement or mount a gun exceeding 8 inches in caliber. Destroyers and submarines are not mentioned in the Treaty and each nation is free to build as many as they wish.

        The Navy Department has laid down that the effective age of capital ships, aircraft carriers and cruisers is 20 years, destroyers 16 years and submarines 13 years.

        The following is the number of the United States vessels of the five principal combatant types within the effective ages before stated. It is apparent that vessels nearing the end of their effective life are not strictly modern as compared with new vessels but they are still within the effective age and are therefore included.

 

Capital Ships

No. Total Tonnage
18.......................................................... 525,850

 

Aircraft Carriers

No. Total Tonnage
Built.................................................................... 3
78,700
Appropriated for but not yet laid down................... 1
13,800
_
______
Total................................................................... 4
92,500

 

Cruisers. Less than 20 years of age

No.
Total Tonnage
Built.................................................................. 10
75,000
Building............................................................. 8
80,000
Appropriate for but not yet laid down................... 10*
100,000*
__
_______
Total................................................................. 25
225,000

* There are five additional 10,000 ton cruisers authorized but not yet appropriated for.

 

Destroyers (all types). Less than 16 years age

No.
Total Tonnage
Built................................. 284
337,996
Building............................ None
Appropriated for................ None
____
_______
Total................................ 284
337,996

        The above total includes 14 light mine-layers (destroyers which have had torpedo tubes removed and minetracks fitted in lieu thereof) and 10 destroyers assigned to the U.S. Coast Guard. There are 12 destroyers (part of the 1916 program) authorized but no appropriations available.

Submarines. Less than 13 years of age.

No.
Total Tonnage
Built........................................................... 108
81,807
Building...................................................... 2
5,520
Appropriated but not yet laid down............... 3
4,700
(estimated)
___
_____
Total.......................................................... 113
92,027

Contrasting the number of capital ships of the United States with those of the British Empire it is found that the United States has 18 with a total of 525,850 tons, and the British Empire 20 with a total of 556,350 tons.

        It will be observed that we are 42,500 tons behind our treaty allowance and 15,000 tons behind Great Britain.

        When the cruisers now building or appropriated for are completed we will have 28 within the age of 20 years; in addition we have 5 authorized to be laid down in the fiscal year 1930-31. This fact should be memorized by patriotic citizens for it is frequently reported that we already have 40 cruisers.

        In thus claiming 40 cruisers, the pacifists fail to state that the only way they can arrive at such a figure is by including all the obsolete cruisers over 40 years of age. In other words, graphs depicting that the United States is alleged to have 40 cruisers are freely circulated by pacifists without making any distinction between obsolete cruisers and those which can still be classed within the effective age limit as built, building, or appropriated for.

        The United States has only 10 completed cruisers less than 20 years of age. It has 8 in process of building and the remaining 10 are in reality cruisers-to-be, for they have been appropriated for very recently.

        If we complete all cruisers building, appropriated for and authorized, we will have, including the 10 Omahas now built, 33 cruisers of 305,000 tons, within the age of 20 years. The British Empire has built, building, and appropriated for 62 cruisers of about 400,000 tons. If the British Empire maintains this cruiser tonnage the United States will be 100,000 tons of cruisers behind the British Empire; 23 of the 33 United States cruisers built, building and projected are 10,000-ton 8-inch-gun cruisers, and 10 are 7,500-ton 6-inch-gun cruisers. Of the 62 British cruisers built, building or appropriated for 16 are 10,000-ton 8-inch-gun, 4 are 9,750-ton 7.5-inch-gun, 2, possibly 4, are 7,500-ton 6-inch-gun cruisers and the remainder are smaller 6-inch-gun cruisers of 3,750 to 5,250 tons.

        The United States believes that any limitation should be by total tonnage of each type; for example, that there should be a limit on the total tonnage of cruisers, the total tonnage of destroyers, the total tonnage of submarines, etc., and that each nation should be free to build the particular kind of cruisers, submarines, etc., it needs within the total tonnage allowed. It has been found impossible to secure an agreement on this basis as it contended by those opposing that a number of small 6-inch-gun cruisers is not as potential a striking force as an equal tonnage of large 8-inch-gun cruisers. Mr. Gibson at Geneva put forth the idea of a naval yardstick in order to find some method of evaluating cruisers of different sizes and different caliber of guns.

        The replacement of capital ships is strictly governed by the Washington Treaty. We have all the capital ships allowed by the Treaty. Our first two replacement capital ships are scheduled by the Treaty to be laid down in 1931.

        We are allowed 135,000 tons of aircraft carriers. We have 92,500 tons, of which 12,700 tons are experimental and can be replaced.

        At present the United States has a great preponderance of destroyer tonnage over any other nation. This is a result of wartime construction of destroyers to meet the submarine menace. There is no immediate need of construction of destroyers in large numbers. However, the construction of destroyers can not be delayed indefinitely as they will begin to pass the age limit at a rapidly increasing rate. By the end of 1936, 252 of our present 284 destroyers will have surpassed the effective age of 16 years. It is true that a great deal of destroyer tonnage now built in other navies is also rapidly passing the effective age, but the other nations are gradually building and we are not.

        Of the 113 submarines the United States built, building, or appropriated for, only 9 V-boats are of post-war design, although all of our S-boats have been completed since the war. By 1933, 62 of the 113 submarines will pass the effective age.

        In general the ships of the United States compare favorably in size and equipment with those of other countries of corresponding age. The time required to build and equip ships depends on a number of factors, among which are:

The type of ship, i.e., battleship, cruiser, destroyer, etc.
The money (appropriations) available from year to year.
Number of skilled shipbuilders available, and number of ships under construction.
Urgency of demand for the ship, i.e., a ship constructed in time of national emergency will probably be rushed regardless of cost, where the same ship constructed in time of peace will be proceeded with at a normal rate.

The estimated time for completion of United States warships in peace time is:

          Battleships....................................3 years
         Aircraft carriers..............................3 years
         Cruisers........................................3 years
         Destroyers.....................................2 years
         Submarines....................................2 years

        With such accurate facts regarding the Army and the Navy at our command all our members should be in a position to counteract utterances against the Army and the Navy. Attacks upon the Army and the Navy take many forms. Communists seem to be making their fiercest onslaughts against the C.M.T.C. and R.O.T.C. They urge the boys and girls of the Young Pioneers and the young people comprising the Young Workers League to combat military training in high schools and colleges and to resist the Boy and Girl Scout movement. Instances have been discovered of the penetration into the army and navy and into the military training camps for the purpose of infiltration and in the direct hope of obtaining special information of military tactics which they intend to use in revolutionary agitation.

        War resisters, pacifists and socialists have their various methods of opposition to the adequate support of the Army and Navy.

        If patriotic citizens expect to retain the provisions for common defense prescribed by the Constitution of the United States they must be willing to be kept informed on the needs of the Army and the Navy, otherwise domestic tranquillity will vanish and world revolution will be accelerated at a rapid pace.

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