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Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, Circular for Ship Owners

N A V Y   D E P A R T M E N T


Washington, August 28, 1917.


SUBJECT:- Reporting movements of Vessels to Which Armed Guards ard Attached

Sir: -

     In submitting application for Armed Guards for merchant vessels, owners of vessels made formal agreement to report all movements of their vessel to the Navy Department while the Armed Guard was attached thereto.

     In numerous cases this agreement has been neglected and it has frequently occurred that the Department’s first information that a vessel, to which have been furnished Armed Guards, has left a United States port, is information from other sources that a vessel is in a certain foreign port, or, in some cases that she has returned to a United States port.

     It is needless to point out what confusion this has resulted in, and the Department desires to impress on ship owners the necessity of carrying out their agreement to report to the Department all movements of their vessels.

     In connection with this report direct to the Navy Department (Office of Naval Operations), the Department desires that owners of, or agents for, armed merchant vessels report immediately by telegraph or telephone to the Commandant of nearest Navy Yard the arrival of their vessels in any United States port, together with the probable length of stay in port. This should be done even when the vessel in port is from some other United States port. This should be done in order that the naval equipment on board may, whenever practicable, be inspected, overhauled and repaired as found essential, and so that the latest confidential data for Commander of Armed Guard and routing of vessel can be delivered to her before sailing, and such other steps be taken as will assure the highest efficiency of the Armed Guard.1


                              W.S. BENSON,

                                   Admiral, U. S. Navy,

                              Chief of Naval Operations

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document number: “28754-1:25/105.”

Footnote 1: In a subsequent order issued the following day, Benson mandated that no armed guard detachments be assigned to ships not fitted with radios. Benson to Sims, 28 August 1917, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

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