Skip to main content

Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, to Staff of Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

Action Copy.                                 File No. <4/6/8>

Cablegram Received <August 29, 1918.>   EJW

Origin   Opnav, Washington                   Ser. No. 664

Ref’d. to


Action, Notes and Initials.


30 Aug

WAE1        <Aug 29/1918>



                    S E C R E T


664. Your 3383.2 First and second paragraph concurred to reference third paragraph. Department does not consider single service for production and supply of aircraft sound. Designing and construction of seaplanes and land planes are not similar and rapidly become more diversifield. Difference between production of hulls of large flying boats and fuselage of large land planes render separate production of organization imperative. Engineering problem in designing of these 2 types of aircraft also necessitates separate engineering organization. Land machines now developed and built by Army and seaplanes by Navy. In view of foregoing there is no duplication. Naval Aircraft Factory at League Island probably soon be in position to meet majority of requirements of Navy.3 Competition in production by Army and Navy is avoided by all orders placed with commercial firms having been passed by joint Army and Navy Aircraft Boards. United Production results in smaller service being at disadvantage.4 Comment on above requested. 22029. 664.

10.10 A.M. August 30 1918  BENSON.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. The handwritten date is confirmed by the time/date notation just at the end of the message’s text.

Footnote 1: Lt. Cmdr. Walter A. Edwards was an aide on Sims’ staff who focused on aviation matters.

Footnote 3: League Island was in Philadelphia.

Footnote 4: As mentioned in this cable, the large numbers of airplanes needed by the Army meant that manufacturers in the United States focused on the needs of the Army to the detriment of the Navy, which decided it needed its own aircraft factory in order to assure that it had enough airplanes. William F. Trimble, Wings for the Navy: A History of the Naval Aircraft Factory, 1917-1956 (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1990), 3, 8-38.