Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to Commodore Guy R. Gaunt, British Naval Attaché in Washington, D.C.

May 4, 1917.

MEMORANDUM FOR COMMODORE GAUNT.

     1. The Navy Department appreciates the advantage of utilizing the destroyers for any desired service in their passage across the Atlantic.

     2. The Navy Department does not consider it advisable to attempt the character of convoy outlined. In large groups of ships under convoy, fog, gales, inexperience of personnel, and general tension on merchant vessels make the hazards of the attempt great and the probability of a scattering of the convoy very strong.

     3. The Navy Department suggests instead the sending of vessels, as an experiment, in groups of four of equal speed, each group conveyed by two destroyers.

     4. The Navy Department will assist the Admiralty in every way possible to carry out the Admiralty plans as an experiment, if the Admiralty so desires.

     5. Halifax is suggested as rendezvous on account of cruising radius of destroyers and desirability of reserve fuel for zigzag work.1

W. S. Benson

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517. This memo was attached to Daniels to David C. Hanrahan, 9 May 1917. Benson’s signature is a stamp.

Footnote 1: Gaunt forwarded a paraphrase of this message to the British Admiralty in a cable of the same day. UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/655.

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