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SUBCOMMITTEE NO. 3 CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 3366, TO AUTHORIZE THE EXTENSION OF LOANS OF NAVAL VESSELS TO THE GOVERNMENTS OF ITALY AND TURKEY

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES,

SUBCOMMITTEE No. 3, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, February 25, 1959. The subcommittee met at 2 p.m., Hon. L. Mendel Rivers (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Mr. RIVERS. The committee will have under consideration for the first part of our hearing this afternoon the ship loan bill entitled “H.R. 3366." A copy of the bill follows:

(H.R. 3366, 86th Cong., 1st sess.] A BILL To authorize the extension of loans of naval vessels to the Governments of Italy

and Turkey

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That, notwithstanding section 7307 of title 10, United States Code, or any other law, the President may extend the loan of two submarines to the Government of Italy and may extend the loan of two submarines to the Government of Turkey on such terms and under such conditions as he deems are appropriate. The President may promulgate such rules and regulations as he deems necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act.

Sec. 2. The extension of the loan to Italy authorized under this Act is an extension of the loan made under the authority granted by the Act of August 5, 1953 (67 Stat. 363). The extension of the loan to Turkey authorized under this Act is an extension of the loan made under the authority granted by the Act of August 7, 1953 (67 Stat. 471).

Sec. 3. Extensions shall be for periods of not to exceed five years and shall be made on the conditions that they may be terminated at an earlier date if necessitated by the defense requirements of the United States.

Sec. 4. No loan may be extended under this Act unless the Secretary of Defense, after consultation with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, determines that such extension is in the best interest of the United States. The Secretary of Defense shall keep the Congress currently advised of all extensions made under authority of this Act.

Mr. Rivers. Now, Mr. Kelleher, you will take charge of this.

Mr. KELLEHER. Yes, sir. Admiral, if you will sit down and present your prepared statement.

Admiral RITTEN HOUSE. All right. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I am Rear Adm. Basil M. Rittenhouse, Director of the Foreign Military Assistance Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

I appreciate this opportunity to appear before the committee as a representative of the Department of Defense in connection with the extension of certain loans of naval vessels currently on loan to certain foreign governments.

One of the most effective ways to assist our friends and allies is to assist them from our naval reserve fleet. By lending certain countries our ships, we achieve a preparedness that would be otherwise virtually impossible. By this I mean that the ships we lend are automatically deployed in vital areas, fully manned by our allies and organized for immediate action at the outbreak of any hostilities. 34066-39 No. 12

(569)

Also, readiness and maintenance of our reserve fleet is improved. The best way to have a piece of equipment ready for use and in proper condition is to operate it frequently. This is particularly true of ships. Although the U.S. Navy reserve fleet comprises a strong potential, that potential would be vastly increased if it could be properly manned, operated and maintained in an active status.

The cost of this in terms of money and personnel would be prohibitive in peacetime. However, it is entirely feasible for certain of our allies to man and operate some of our reserve ships with their personnel. Turkey and Italy have been outstanding in connection with this proposal. The proposal contained in H.R. 3366 to authorize the extension of loans of vessels to the Governments of Italy and Turkey is designed to assist these countries to carry out their responsibilities in the North Atlantic Treaty area, implementing the recommendations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff concerning support of Allied forces under the mutual defense assistance program.

Both Italy and Turkey are capable of manning and operating submarines. They have proven this ability and demonstrated their proficiency in the operation of submarines over the past 5 years. Because of their vital strategic position, it is mandatory that Turkey and Italy maintain an effective submarine fleet in order to defend their positions. The major naval tasks of these countries as derived from multilateral agreements are to defend coastal waters, essential bases and ports, and to maintain close surveillance of the ports of hostile nations, all requiring that they maintain an active submarine fleet.

In view of the unstable situation in the Middle East, both Turkey and Italy are in vital positions to support the NATO organization and the 6th Fleet, if required. This support dictates that the submarine potential of these countries be the most effective that it is possible to achieve within the capability of the United States to assist.

It is considered a matter of political and military necessity that the existing loans of submarines from the United States to İtaly and Turkey be extended for a period of 5 years. Further, gentlemen, it is recommended that the existing loans of two destroyers to China which expire in February and March of this calendar year be extended for an additional 5 years and the authority for the extension be included in this bill.

The Navy originally thought that the loan of the two destroyers to China could be extended under the authority of the law which authorized their loan, Public Law 188 of the 83d Congress as amended. After consultation with committee counsel and service counsel, there was a question in the Navy's mind if possibly we had not exhausted the authority originally granted by Public Law 188.

Therefore, it is believed that it would be far better to err on the side of safety by requesting the inclusion in H.R. 3366 of the authority to extend the loan of these destroyers to China for another 5 years, rather than to rely on controversial opinions regarding the authority of Public Law 188.

In view of the early expiration dates, prompt action is necessary. The major combatant vessels of the Chinese Navy include three destroyers and five destroyer escorts which are on loan from the United States.

1

The recent incident in the Taiwan Straits proved beyond a reasonable doubt the value of the loan of these destroyers and destroyer escorts to the Government of the Republic of China. It is extremely important that the loan of these destroyers which expire within this calendar year be extended for another 5-year period.

Again, may I express my appreciation for the opportunity to appear before you in support of the extension of existing ship loans of two submarines to Italy, two submarines to Turkey, and two destroyers to the Government of the Republic of China.

Mr. Rivers. Thank you, Admiral Rittenhouse. I think the reason this subcommittee has been assigned this legislation is because Mr. Vinson has assigned me the task of handling the previous ship loan bill in the previous Congress. I am not sure I handled the Chinese one but I know I handled the one we had so much difficulty getting through the other body. What was the reason for the disagreement on the legal interpretation of the Chinese one? Didn't it give the President the right to extend it?

Admiral RITTENHOUSE. That was our opinion, sir, and I think Mr. Kelleher might be able to say something on that.

Mr. KELLEHER. I might explain that, Mr. Chairman. At the time the authority was granted by law to lend ships to China, authority was also granted to lend ships to Japan and Korea. As to two of them, Japan and Korea, the agreement was for 5 years with the possibility of extending it for 5 years.

Through a drafting error, the loan to China was made for 5 years without any wordage in it that would indicate a further 5-year period. The original 5-year loan to China expired subsequent to the date on which the President could make any loan whatsoever. It is a legal question as to whether that authority was exhausted by making the original 5-year loan. The Navy could have made the loan for 10 years, but they didn't, actually through a drafting error as I say. So in order to clear the matter up and make certain that China can continue to have these two ships for an additional 5 years, it was felt best to amend this bill to include that clear authority.

Mr. Rivers. That is a fine explanation, Mr. Kelleher. Even those Members of Congress who have historically been opposed to the theory of foreign aid, many of them have been strong opponents of foreign military aid, MDAP which is now part and parcel of the whole thing.

I recall last year I was in Greece shortly after the Beirut incident and I talked to the people there, including the Premier of Greece, and I was asking why we had trouble landing our airplanes in Greece on the way to Beirut and that was explained in a satisfactory manner, but I recall in inquiring about Turkey, we had no trouble at all. There was no question. We asked Turkey for permission to land at the airport, and Turkey gave permission right off the bat. It was never questioned. They have always fulfilled the spirit of the letter of NATO and they have been one of our most reliable allies and I can say the same thing about what has happened in Italy and our NATO setup down in Naples. It has worked beautifully and I have been close to those loans, and the same way with the rest of them, notably Germany.

What do you have to say, Admiral, about the keeping of these ships in the hands of people which inures to our benefit? They

are combatant ships and no combatant ship may be assigned or disposed of without specific permission of the Congress.

Admiral RITTENHOUSE. That is right.

Mr. RIVERS. The DE is included in that. The LSM and LST doesn't come under that category.

Admiral RITTENHOUSE. No, sir.
Mr. Rivers. I have nothing further to say. Mr. Bray?

Mr. BRAY. This bill only applies to Italy and Turkey, is that right! And then it extends to the Chinese. I remember before how much these people were interested in getting these ships. I remember it was difficult to explain why they didn't get the ships and yet give due respect to our sister body. I do want to say, I think this program has worked out well. I don't think we should be sending ships just to get rid of them or sending countries ships that they are not able to take care of, yet I believe we should send them to those who are capable of using them.

Admiral RITTEN HOUSE. These countries have demonstrated that.

Mr. BRAY. Oh, I understand that. There is no other ship bill of this type contemplated this year, or do you know?

Admiral RITTENHOUSE. Right now we have none, sir.

Mr. BRAY. Those that we feared to take care of year before last were taken care of in the last year?

Admiral RITTEN HOUSE. Yes.
Mr. BRAY. That is all.
Mr. Rivers. Let me say this. This extends existing agreements?
Admiral RITTEN HOUSE. That is right.

Mr. Rivers. This doesn't transfer any new ships out of your inventory?

Admiral RITTENHOUSE. No, sir.

Mr. Rivers. So this bill keeps faith with the directive given you by the chairman of the other body that he wasn't going to consider any new ship loan bills?

Admiral RITTENHOUSE. That is correct.

Mr. Rivers. This merely extends what has already been done, is that correct?

Admiral RITTEN HOUSE. That is correct.

Mr. Rivers. So we can't be in conflict with the other body, is that correct, Mr. Kelleher?

Mr. KELLEHER. That is a correct statement.
Mr. ANDERSON. Mr. Chairman-
Mr. RIVERS. General Anderson.

Mr. ANDERSON. I wanted to express my strong approval of the program of which this is a part. In the past 2 years I have visited a number of the countries and seen a number of the vessels concerned in our program of supporting our allies with naval vessels for which we do not have an immediate current requirement-Denmark, Italy, Europe--and this past fall I had the pleasure of inspecting one of these destroyers over in China, when I was in Taiwan and I must say that I have never seen a ship under any navy that was more spic and span, maintained in finer shape and with a crew obviously completely competent to not only keep it up but to enable it to do the kind of job that they must do as our allies. I think it is one of the finest programs we have.

Mr. Rivers. Thank you.

Mr. Wampler.
Mr. WAMPLER. I wholeheartedly agree.
Mr.RIVERS. Mr. Morris.
Mrs. St. George.
Mrs. ST. GEORGE. I have no questions; thank you.

Mr. RIVERS. I might say under the German loan, the Germans, unlike so many of these other Governments, have money to pay for the restoration, the rehabilitation of their ships. One of which the Admiral knows is the first one we turned over to them, and the Germans spent more money on it than we have on ours. There are five under consideration. There they are spending their own money. This is the finest investment we have. Now, I think Mr. Kelleher, we ought to read the bill, line items.

Mr. KELLEHER. May I suggest that I read it for the amendments at

this point.

China”.

Mr. RIVERS. Yes. Mr. KELLEHER. On page 1, line 5, insert a comma following the word "Italy" and on lines 5 and 6, strike the words “and may extend”.

Page 1, line 6, insert a comma after the word “Turkey” and add the following language: "and the loan of two destroyers to the Government of the Republic of China”.

Page 1, line 11, change the word “loan” to “loans”, and on line 11, following the word “Italy”, insert the words "and the Republic of

Page 2, line 1, strike the words "is an” and insert in lieu thereof the word "are".

Line 1, change the word "extension" to "extensions”, and on line 1, strike the word “the” where it first appears and on line 1, change the word "loan" to "loans".

The title would be changed to read:
To authorize the extension of loans of naval vessels to the Governments of Italy,
Turkey and the Republic of China.
That will be six ships, four submarines and two destroyers, all exten-
sions of existing loans.

Mr. RIVERS. You don't need a comma after Turkey.
Mr. KELLEHER. That comma will be stricken, sir.

Mr. RIVERS. I remember having studied that in school. Now, do you want to read the bill.

Mr. KELLEHER. I will read it as amended: The title will be "To authorize the extension of loans of naval vessels to the Governments of Italy, Turkey and the Republic of China.”

Be it enacted, etc., That notwithstanding Sections 7303 of title 10, United States Code, or any other law, the President may extend the loan of two submarines to the Government of Italy, the loan of two submarines to the Government of Turkey, and the loan of two destroyers to the Government of the Republic of China on such terms and under such conditions as he deems are appropriate. The President may promulgate such rules and regulations as he deems necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act.

SEC. 2. The extension of the loans to Italy and the Republic of China authorized under this Act are extensions of loans made under the authority granted by the Act of August 5, 1953 (67 Stat. 363). The extension of the loan to Turkey authorized under this Act is an extension of the loan made under the authority granted by the Act of August 7, 1953 (67 Stat. 471).

Sec. 3. Extensions shall be for periods of not to exceed five years and shall be made on the conditions that they may be terminated at an earlier date if necessitated by the defense requirements of the United States.

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