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Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations

              Cablegram Sent          November 14, 1917.

To:       Opnav, Washington                 Serial No. 1444


1444. From Admiral Benson Spent Monday at Rosyth in conference with Admiral Beatty and practically all of the Flag Officers of the Fleet except one.1 also Commander-in-Chief of Station and Commandant Dockyard.2 The present conditions and future probabilities together with action necessary to be taken fully gone into, particularly with Admiral Beatty. He believes sufficient number of vessels carrying aircraft to permit of extensive bombing operations absolutely indispensable to the successful attack on German Fleet, munition plants, and shore batteries. There are strong reasons for such belief.

     Investigation shows decided inferiority of destroyers with main fleet compared to the number that could be sent out by Germany. Every possible effort should be made to speed up our destroyer construction.

     Am holding daily conferences with Admiral Jellicoe and members of the Admiralty.3

     I consider it unfortunate to mix type of vessels as exists in those selected to be sent over. Not only do they differ in caliber of guns mounted, but also in the kind of machinery. I believe a more homogeneous arrangement would be much better.

     I shall direct SAN DIEGO to proceed to Southampton after bringing in next convoy preparatory to taking party back.

Signed Benson,

Signed Sims.4


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: Adm. Sir David Beatty, Commander-in-Chief, Grand Fleet. Located on the Firth of Forth in Scotland, the Royal Naval Dockyard Rosyth was constructed in 1909 as part of Britain’s efforts to keep pace with Germany during the naval arms race taking place prior to the outbreak of World War I.

Footnote 2: Adm. Sir Cecil Burney and Commo. (2c), Henry H. Bruce.

Footnote 3: First Sea Lord Adm. Sir John R. Jellicoe.

Footnote 4: VAdm. William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters.

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