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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. <25/2/1>

Cablegram Received  April <4, 1918.> 08406  WHE

Origin Opnav, Washington (Bucon.)1              Ser. No. 4604

     M-1  7 April



Opnav. 4604. Emergency Fleet Corporation has established Department to design manufacture and install Otter gear fittings on their ships2 and they have agreed to equip British vessels in American ports with the same organization. They expect to equip 500 American steamers and 250 British vessels during 1918. Also expect to repair equipment on any ship necessary. Vickers Limited3 have sent 4 experts to this country<;> may send 2 more in connection with this work. Emergency Fleet Corporation utilizing experts for technical advice in connection with designing etc. and requested Navy Department to ask Admiralty for expression of opinion as to compensation which ought to be paid Vickers for the use of experts during this period ending Ded. 31st 1918 covering equipment approximately 500 American and 250 British vessels. Compensation has no connection with the royalties on manufacture of paravanes.

          It is requested further that the Admiralty advise Navy Department if any conclusion arrived at as to amount of Royalties to be paid by the United States Navy to the inventor of the Paravanes through the Admiralty for the use of drawings and manufacture of Paravanes in this country according to original agreement.4 19404, 4604             Benson

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

Footnote 1: “Bucon” was the Navy’s Bureau of Construction.

Footnote 2: An otter is a mine-sweeping hydrodynamic device that is used to pull a mine-sweeping sweep-wire laterally away from the track of the vessel.

Footnote 3: The British firm, Vickers Limited, developed the otter. See, Vickers Limited, The Protection of Merchant Ships Against Moored Mines: a Handbook for the Captains of Vessels Fitted with the Otter Installation (London: Vickers, 1917).

Footnote 4: The paravane, a form of towed underwater "glider" used to deflect mines away from ships, was developed from 1914–16 by Cmdr. Cecil V. Usborne and Lt. Charles D. Burney.

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