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Rear Admiral Leigh C. Palmer, Chief of the Bureau of Navigation to Read Admiral Henry T. Mayo, Commander, Atlantic Fleet




March 2, 1917

My dear Admiral,

     The shortage of officers has overtaken us, as generally predicted.

     There are several possible employments of ships depending on the war order that may be issued in case of mobilization. In one, the battleships are removed to a safe vicinity for some time depending on the results of operations with smaller vessels. This is the case I am considering at present, and the lack of officers calls for the action taken in the confidential letter enclosed.1

     I am writing personally to tell you that I will not move these officers until absolutely necessary, and that we do not want the petty officers selected to have an inkling of the proposed action for fear it will make them expect, or hope to be, real officers.

Very sincerely yours,


Source Note: ALS, DLC-MSS, Henry T. Mayo Papers, Box 10. On “BUREAU OF NAVIGATION/MEMORANDUM,” stationary.

Footnote 1: The letter referred to was not attached and has not been found. For more on the officer shortage and its effect on the Atlantic Fleet, see: William S. Benson to Henry T. Mayo, 19 April 1917.

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