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

Action Copy.                                File No.

Cablegram Received  November 16, 1918

Origin Opnav Washington                          Ser. No.

Ref’d. to





<To: Simsadus (For Benson.)>


1150. For Benson. While verbal understanding with Bureau of Navigation has existed a definite written policy with regard to distribution and training of personnel to meet present and future conditions has not been laid down. Bureau of Navigation and Operations have unam<n>imously agreed to policy, main features of which are as follows, quote:

     The ultimate and immediate mission of vessels of Battleship Force Two shall be to maintain themselves in instant readiness for Battle. Ultimate mission of Battleship Force One is to fit itself for battle. To that end it shall maintain permanent nucleus battleship organization of both officers and men sufficient to keep material in constant readiness for battle and permit rapid preparation for battle when battle complement is assigned.

          The immediate mission of Battleship Force one is to train Officers and men for service on other vessels. Unquote. The entire letter is not quoted as rest is somewhat unessential.

          Owing to sudden movement of four dreadnoughts, it becomes necessary to put this policy into effect and Bureau of Navigation desires it at once. I have withheld pending receipt of letter by you, though it is believed to be sound and in accordance with your views and best practice.

          Will you cable your assent that I may release.1 Signed Pratt 09016.

Signed Benson           

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. A note “COPY” appears centered near the bottom of the page. A handwritten note below reads: “Note:/Admiral Benson arrival/London November 7, 1917 [i.e., 1918],/en route to Paris, and sailed from Brest December 7, 1917,/en route to/United States.”

Footnote 1: Benson’s reply has not been found.

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