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. <56-1-3>
Cablegram Received April <17, 1918.> 11519 MJK
Origin Opnav, Washington. Ser. No. 5046
CS 19 Apr
40 ARD VERY SECRET
5046. It is desired that your planning Section maker estimates and submit conclusions on the following. Since Advent of United States in<to> this War the following building policy has been pursued<:> Priority has been given to destroyers, submarines, submarine chasers, merchant vessels, to the complete exclusion of battle cruisers and scouts, and to exclusion of dreadnaughts except those well on towards completion. This policy has resulted in intensive destroyer program which will probably carry us into the early fall 1919 before all boats are completed. Your planning Section is now considering proper submarine policy to be adopted. Much pressure is being brought to bear to force upon the Department the adoption of an intensive submarine chaser program additional to the 335 boats 110 feet, already contracted for are practically all completed, and additional to the 100 Ford Chasers to be delivered by the Fall. From close contact of your planning Section with the Anti-submarine campaign and from their general knowledge of the situation, following estimates are required:
First- When will it be wise to revert to the original Naval Building program of a well balanced Fleet the back bone of which is the Dreadnaught.
Second;- If the present policy is to be continued of devoting exclusive attention to anti-submarine unit, should that building program be devoted to submarine chasers or would it not be better to concentrate on another type.
Third- To what extent should United States now begin to devote attention to Battle cruisers and scout type and if advocated what shall be fundamental policy upon which to estimate numbers and types in Battle cruisers and in general what should be their characteristics, also if scouts are advocated would the light cruiser type of half flotilla leaders be advisable or will a heavier ship be advocated.
Fourth.- In view of the increase in size of the hostile submarines to the cruiser type, should the efforts to commit the United States to a small chaser policy be diverted to the light cruiser type with advantage now and in the future. 19017. 5046
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Although the Planning Section most likely took up this request, no official study or report was prepared or submitted to the Benson or the Navy Department.