Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to Captain William V. Pratt, Assistant Chief of Naval Operations

Chronological Copy.                              File No.

CABLEGRAM SENT 11/23/18

To SIMSADUS, LONDON                    Serial No.

Prep. by 2-H                      D.R.

FOR OPNAV BENSEC NUMBER            FOR CAPTAIN PRATT.

Your 13022 <mission 24>1 Have assumed that I am still exercising full authority of Chief of Naval Operations in all matters of policy and that all such matters would be referred to me.2 Once policy proposed by me has formal approval of Secretary3 it is your function to make it effective. In this I am guided by what I conceive to be the wishes of the Secretary of the Navy.

Paragraph. After careful consideration of points involved I sent Mission 24 which so far as Office of Naval Operations was concerned required two things colon: First presentation to Secretary for formal approval comma second if approved the execution of the plan issuing such orders as necessary to care for details involved. It is evident from Department’s reply that my mission Number 24 was taken by Operations as a recommendation to that office. Such was not the case. If you have reasons to differ with my proposed policies matter should be presented by you to me before being taken up with Secretary for approval.

Paragraph. My mission 24 stated quote that part requiring action forces in European Waters is being or will be made effective unless otherwise directed by you unquote. Action of office of Operations in radically changing these orders to my subordinates without first taking matter up with me, while doubtless not intended as such, is most embarrassing and not understood.

Paragraph. I must insist upon reconsideration of following details in which reference differs from Mission number 24: colon:

Subparagraph. I object sending subchasers Asiatic station and my Mission 24 should govern without change. Question of selling submarines as stated in my mission number 24 is being taken up and is matter which Commander U.S.Naval Forces Operating in European Waters4 should handle with Department. Keeping me informed.

Subparagraph. Demobilization of Azores should proceed in accordance with my mission number 24. I consider that recommendations of Force Commander and Base Commander|5| should govern.

Subparagraph. I can see no reason for retaining Air Craft station at Azores. My mission number 24 Part two (4) should not be altered.

Subparagraph. Navy has no authority over Naval Railway Batteries until released by Army. Army’s authority continues so long as this equipment is on French soil.

Paragraph. I object to cable correspondence between Operations and Sims on matters of policy. Department should refer such matters to me. After getting thxxxxxxxx opinion from those concerned conclusions and recommendations will be forwarded to Department.

Paragraph. It is not my intention or desire to handle details at this distance but it is my duty to propose policy matters for Secretary’s consideration and this I shall insist upon doing until otherwise directed by the Secretary personally.

BENSON        

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

Footnote 1: See: Office of Naval Operations to Benson, 22 November 1918.

Footnote 2: Benson was in Europe at this time, and Pratt was managing affairs at the Office of Naval Operations.

Footnote 3: Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels.

Footnote 4: VAdm. William S. Sims.

Footnote 5: RAdm. Herbert O. Dunn.

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