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Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

                        Received Cablegram. <November 20, 1918.>

Date Nov 20, 1918.                           File No. <40-3-2 B>

From Amnavpar Paris                          Serial No. 163

No. 163

     Your 1721 For the present Navy continue to man shipping boards and Army freighters and transports with Naval crews. <P>resent policy regarding repairs and facilities for repairing continue.2

     Your recommendation to retain repair facilities and equipment approved.

     We should continue shipment to United States of repair equipment already ordered for Brest only to the extent that may be required for vessels necessary to demobilize. That part of the equipment which contemplated repairs etc to numerous destroyers and patrol vessels should be cancelled 221020 163


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Notation below close: “Copy 41-1-1.” The handwritten date is confirmed by the time/date notation immediately following the text of the cable.

Footnote 1: On 18 November, Sims sent a cable to Benson asking if the Navy should continue manning Shipping Board and Army vessels. In it, he recommended maintaining U.S. repair facilities in Europe “for minor running repairs” until it was certain that “possible Russian operations” would not require those facilities. Finally, Sims recommended the “continuing shipping” of equipment “already ordered for Brest and needed to complete that plant.” DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 2: Despite what Benson wrote here, the Navy was not able to keep in service many of the reservists manning the transports. As a result, the Army was forced to replace the Navy crews with civilian crews, which they did at such a rate that by the summer of 1919 the Navy operated only three or four troopships. Benedict Crowell and Robert Forrest Wilson, Demobilization: Our Industrial and Military Demobilization after the Armistice, 1918-1920 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1921), 33.

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