Office of the Chief of Naval Operations to Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations
CABLEGRAM RECEIVED Nov. 14, 1917.
Origin: Opnav, Washington Ser. No. 1118
Via: N C B 19 A D R Date No. 11014
Copies to COS File No. 11-6-12
Action referred to:
1118. For Benson. Following cable received from Admiralty through their Attache: There may be certain coastal vessels which would be useful for transporting troops on ferry service across English Channel or in Mediterranean Sea and request is made whether they could be spared.
Investigation shows that some of following ships could probably be readily spared. GOVERNOR COBB length 289, gross tonnage 2800, radius 1100, mean draft 4 point six, speed 15 to 18; NORTHLAND length 304, gross tonnage 3280, radius 2220, draft 17, speed 16 to 17; MANHATTAN and NARRAGANSETT length 320, gross tonnage 3500 radius 2000, draft 16, speed 15 to 23; BELFAST length 320, gross tonnage 2100, speed 16 to 18, radius 1400, draft 10 feet.
To above list could be added YALE and HARVARD somewhat similar to OLD COLONY purchase in England.
Inquiry of Army indicates that were we able to increase Channel service, the flow of our troops from England to France would be helped. Were any of these ships definitely desired by England? What do you recommend as policy? Shall we commandeer and sell outright similarly to case of OLD COLONY, making delivery over-sea or shall we commandeer, man with our personnel, and operate as part of our force abroad. 11014
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.