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Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters


20th July 1917.


     For my personal information please cable your opinion on the advisability of building a few hundred additional wooden submarine chasers, to be finished by next spring, and sent to European waters. I am going on the assumption that all available steel production will be used for merchant ships, and larger type naval vessels. These wooden ships would be a separate industrial proposition. General type about 120 over all (stop) 10ft. freeboard forward (stop) Two 8” guns (stop) about 17 knots. The existing plant cannot build much larger wooden ships but has capacity for three or four hundred. (signed) Franklin Roosevelt 17020.1


Sec. Navy.    

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document was sent from “Secretary of the Navy/via Naval Attache,” with copies to “Lt. Commander [Joseph F.] Daniels.” The document is “Serial Nu. 55/Date No. 17020.”

Footnote 1: Roosevelt’s proposal for additional submarine chasers was approved. In total, the United States constructed 441 boats. Of these, 100 were sold directly to France for use in coastal patrols, and an additional 121 were deployed to Europe, where they operated off the coasts of Britain and France and also in the Mediterranean, where they helped in the construction of the Otranto Barrage. Still, Crisis at Sea: 444-457.

Footnote 2: Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels.