Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels

SECRET

May 12,1918.       

FROM:     Force Commander.

TO  :     Secretary of the Navy (Operations.)

SUBJECT: U.S.Naval Building Policy.

References: (a) Department’s cablegram 4683 of April 6,1918.1

  (b) Department’s cablegram 5046 of April 17/1918.2

  (c) Force Commander’s cablegram 7484 of May 5,1918.3

ENCLOSURES: 3.

     1.   In accordance with the instructions contained in Departments cablegrams,References (a) and (b) ,a summary of the proposed building program was cabled in my cable No. 7484,which stated that a Planning Section Memorandum on this subject would follow by mail.

     2.   Enclosed herewith are three copies of Planning Section Memorandum No. 21,4which is a complete Estimate of the Situation as affecting our Naval building program,and leads to the decision that a general naval program should include the following:-

First:    Development of main and secondary bases in the Caribbean region.

Second:   Development of main bases in the Hawaiian Islands and at Guam.

Third:    The construction of the following vessels:

Dreadnought battleship   21

Battle cruisers          10

Fighting scouts          24

Super destroyers         54

Scout submarines         54

     3.   The memorandum also recommends that this general building program be not entered upon so long as the demand for merchant tonnage is urgent as it is at present a means for winning the present war. The Memorandum further recommends the order in which the various types should be taken in hand when the program is resumed.

     4.   I do not dissent on any material point from the reasoning and conclusions of the Planning Section Memorandum. With respect,however,to the matter of a West Indian naval base,I am unwilling to approve definitely the recommendation that the main base be located in Samana Bay. That a first class base in the general we region is absolutely generally essential is a fact,but its exact location is a problem by itself.

./s/ WM.S. SIMS.        

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 678. Document reference: “54/1/6. . . CS 17188. . .1/J/K.”

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