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Memorandum from Planning Section, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

P L A N N I N G     S E C T I O N.



SUBJECT:  Steps to be taken by the Navy for Demobilization of the U.S.Army in Europe.


Copies to:

     Navy Department (Operations)

     Force Commander.1

     Chief of Staff.2


     <Admiral Benson>3

November 14, 1918.

P L A N N I N G     S E C T I O N.


     The Planning Section has considered the steps necessary to be taken by the Navy for the demobilization of the U.S.Army in Europe and recommends as follows:-

1.   The immediate organisation of a combined Army and Navy Demobilization Planning Section in Paris, to consist of Staff Representatives of the Force Commander, of the Commander U.S. Naval Forces in France and of the Commander-in-Chief American Expeditionary Forces.4

2.   The organisation of a fuel supply and repair service for each port on the French coast to be used in demobilization.

3.   The establishment and extension as necessary of Naval Port Officer organisations in all ports used in demobilization.

4.   The adoption of the principle of demobilization of all U.S. troops through French ports.

5.   The prohibition of all immigration through Atlantic ports of the United States, and the drastic restriction of all travel across the Atlantic by civilians,until the U.S. Army is demobilized.

6.   The retention of all ex-German ships in the naval service until the army is demobilized.

7.   The placing under naval control of all vessels engaged in the demobilization of the U.S. Army.

8.   The organisation of all U.S. debarkation ports to expedite turn-around of all vessels engaged in demobilization.

9.   The establishment of competition in turn-around with monthly publication of complete records of performances of ships and ports, giving names of officers concerned. Suggest the Army establish competition in loading and unloading.

10.  The immediate demobilization of all U.S. Naval Forces in Europe not needed in the demobilization of the Army.

11.  The fitting of all U.S. general cargo vessels now building or in service with knock-down arrangements for carrying troops so that these vessels may be used to carry cargo when eastbound and troops when westbound. Vessels so fitted to include U.S. colliers and minelayers, if and when practicable.

12.  The employment of all German and Austrian ships now available in German and Austrian ports in carrying troops when westbound and cargo for their own countries when eastbound.

13.  The employment of neutral shipping so far as possible in demobilization of the Army, giving such shipping as is used priority for cargo in the United States.

14.  The employment of pre-dreadnoughts and armoured cruisers in the transportation of the Army, their crews being reduced to the minimum possible in order to increase their carrying capacity.

15.  The retention,if practicable,of the services of the Dutch ships.

16.  The use of all passenger space on trans-Atlantic liners to the limit. These liners to call at a French port to get troops.

S U G G E S T I O N S.

1.   The use in winter time of southern routes for westbound cargo vessels carrying troops.

2.   The use of triangular voyages by vessels of the Argentine Wheat and Beef trade, carrying troops to United States, general cargo to South America and food to Europe.

3.   The bunkering for the round trip of all vessels in the United States so far as possible.

Source Note: Cy, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 49. In forwarding this proposal to the Navy Department, Sims recommended nearly every point for either approval or “favorable consideration.” American Naval Planning Section London, 478-79.

Footnote 1: VAdm. William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters.

Footnote 2: Capt. Nathan C. Twining, Sims’ chief of staff.

Footnote 3: Adm. William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations.

Footnote 4: Sims, RAdm. Henry B. Wilson, and Maj. Gen. John J. Pershing.

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