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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


8 Copies.         

Action Copy.

Cable gram Received      06013 March <12> 1918

Origin Opnav Washington               Ser. No. 3775          

Ref’d. to



13 Mar



               34 ADR



3775. Our 3615 Your 4977.1

First.    In addition to the divisions per month obligated to

the French Front Army has entered into agreement to assign six additional divisions to British Front, send them as soon as practicable, movement to be completed by June, carried in British Tonnage and maintained by British. This additional movement necessitates working available tonnage to maximum efficiency. Conference held March 11th, between representatives War department and British War Office and Ministry Shipping to determine ways and means.

SECOND.   USS LEV<I>ATHEN is engaged now on the “Regular two

division per month program to French Front”, OYLMPIC is chart<er>ed for same purpose and it is understood that the MAUR<E>TANIA, AQUITANIA were to enter same service. The army is now using all available space in 16 English liners in addition to our own troopships to further movement to French Front. Using allof the above resources Army can scarcely meet its obligation of two divisions per month.

THIRD .   To meet the added obligation of six divisions in three

months for the British Front additional British Tonnage over and above that indicated must be found for American Troop Tonnage has reached limit. Of the 40 additional British Liners the number available for movement to British Front would appear [to be] 24 unless Army’s original programs were interfered with. Practical numbers will fall short of 24 unless every effort is made to facilitate turn-around.

FOURTH.   Do the 40 additional Liners include any new

requisitioned by the Admiralty and used as Armed Cruisers doing Escort and Patrol Duty? If not, could not some of these Armed liners be taken from stations and be assigned to the service carrying troops, at least until some of our new troop-carrying tonnage is in service?

FIFTH.    Take up with Pershing2 the following matter:-

Army anxious utilize USS LEVIATHAN to full capacity and believes Brest is capable being made better port for disembarkation troops alone than Liverpool. Commander Cruiser Force3 recommends it and further recommends suitable moorings placed Brest to which ship can lie. Use of this Port would relieve# somewhat congestion Liverpool and cross-channel Ports due to added influx American troops for British Front and increasing number of troops per annum ship can make. Need practically no water for west-bound trips but would require about (80004 tons of coal. Recommendations required. 20012


#”Relieve.” came garbled.

3,400 came garbled but probably correct.

(Recoded and typed by C-2)

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

Footnote 2: Maj. Gen. John J. Pershing, Commander, American Expeditionary Forces.

Footnote 3: RAdm. Albert Gleaves.

Footnote 4: “(3400” appears typed below “(8000”.

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