Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to Brigadier General Chauncey B. Baker, Chief of Embarkation Service, U.S.A.

Feb. 20, 1918.

From:     Chief of Naval Operations

To:       Chief of Embarkation Service U. S. A.

SUBJECT:  Ships recently taken by the War Department on time charter basis – Armed Guards or Naval Personnel for same.

     1.   The Navy Department has received applications for Armed Guards from the owners of several vessels taken over by the War Department on a time charter basis, which vessels, the War Department has advised, “will be dispatched without guns, inasmuch as it is felt that present circumstances will not justify delay which arming would necessarily require.”1

     2.   The owners have been advised that “as these vessels have been chartered to the War Department, formal application for Armed Guards, which includes certain necessary data as to availability, etc., should be submitted by the War Department. It is understood the War Department does not intend providing defensive armament for the first trip of these vessels”.

     3.   From information contained in these applications for Armed Guards, received from the owners, it appears that the preparation of some of these vessels can be proceeded with at the present time, without delaying the vessels.

     4.   Information is requested as to whether the War Department desires these vessels to be furnished with Armed Guards, if this can be done without delaying the vessel.

W. S. BENSON.           

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Addressed below close: “Copy to:/Material (Lt. Comdr. [Ronan C.] Grady)/Bureau of Ordnance/Bureau of Navigation/U. S. Shipping Board (Attention Mr. [Clifford] Mallory).” Identifying number: “Op-24-A-2/19.”

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