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Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

Chronological Copy.                     File No.

Cablegram Received  April <6, 1918.> 11107   EWS1

Origin Opnav Washington                 Ser. No. 4683

CS-2 8 Apr2

     25 D


4683. Following is rough resume of submarine building program of United States. In commission now 51, finished in 1918, 52 boats. Completed in 1919, 45 boats; Total building 97, grand total when this program is completed 148 submarines in service of which 41 of the S type 850 tons and 3 AA type are 1100 tons. All the rest considerably smaller. Up to present no program in submarine projected beyond the above. On account of their general knowledge of the situation as it effects the United States and on account of their special knowledge of tactical use of submarines in war it is requested your planning section in consultation with other officers as you may deem advisable, make estimate of the situation and cable decision answer requested in 10 days if practicable. Sufficient details to indicate clearly answers only required. Special attention should be given to following points:

     1st, what should be basic policy upon which to base our submarine building policy;

     2nd, what changes if any should be made in this basic policy to meet the immediate situation;

     3rd, how much if any should our submarine building program be increased immediately and what is considered final grand total;

     4th, what type are advised additional 148 now underway and how many of each;

     5th, are any antisubmarine submarines recommended.3

16006. 4683.


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: Initials of the transcriber.

Footnote 2: Sims’ Chief of Staff, Capt. Nathan C. Twining.

Footnote 3: Sims’ response has not been found.