Office of the Chief of Naval Operations to Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations
<Cablegram November 5, 1918 O-6-a>
Received 7 November
Admiral Benson, Paris.
Your 8675.1 Policy. Battleship Force Two2 Directed to hold in readiness and to use present time for any extra drill at sea Vice Admiral Grant informed of general situation. NEW MEXICO guns in calibration test has been sent to Yard for twenty days to replace same, NORTH DAKOTA due to join fleet about November 17 trial new turbines DELAWARE due yard about November 15 but further decision will be made depending upon international situation that date. Secretary holding plan of rotating ships in Division Six, Eight and Nine to await armistice developments. Material instructed give priority to ships Battleship Force Two.
PLANS. Following plans underway in plans section, ocean lanes of transports, salvaging navy material after war, general peace terms, best organization and methods of handling NOTS3 ships after the war, demobilization of fleet including districts, destroyer organization, naval war codes.
DESTROYRERS to November 1st 39 1100 flush deck destroyers commissioned, seventeen of which sent abroad, program about four months behind and not reached. Expected monyhlt <may halt> production about a year (?).4 production of year should be 60 destroyers, by August 150 should be completed.
EAGLE BOATS. One commissioned probably seven will be out on the Lakes under own power by November 15 and arrangements will be made to tow about ten to NewarkNew Jersey for completion.
MINE SWEEPERS. 15 seagoing mine sweepers now in service. Nine more should be made by end of year, authorized program is 54 (?) and 66 more (?) minesweepers are to be built.
DISTRICTS. No more district craft taken over, steps will be taken looking to return of patrol force and selling any useless craft. Commandants directed to pay particular attention mine sweeping particularly along coastwise routes. Still running regular schedules old (?) battleships and patrol method escorting troop convoys, Troops continue slowing down and cargo speed up certain cargo vessels making direct sailing for Bay of Biscay and Mediterranean Ports, advantage being taken to utilize present time effecting needed repairs troop convoys, shipping west of forty running dim lights and coastwise routed direct and away from possible mined areas. NOTS running as usual forty thousand tons Navy shipping turned over to carry necessary Army cargo, problem of handling NOTS and merchant vessels by Navy being carefully considered.
YARDS. Work progressing satisfactorily, some slight friction at Philadelphia but Hughes has not made any report, USS MICHIGAN and USS SOUTH CAROLINA waiting installation broken shafts. USS NEW <J>ERSEY, USS RHODE ISLAND, USS CONNECTICUT, USS MISSOURI, USS MINNESOTA all now overhauling.
OPERATION Eight destroyers sent Sims out of eighteen promised for September and October, twenty nine oil burning destroyers doing duty American waters. delivery thirteen destroyers promised Sims for October will be met,
Three airplanes lost on patrol, no
USS PUEBLO due to arrive November 10th,5 USS SALEM visited La Guayra.6 escort by destroyers still continuing. patrol of submarines temporarily relaxed.
SUBMARINES. Four boats enroute to Azores Islands Two preparing operations from Bermuda Islands USS SAVANNAH with eight “O” boats sailing about November 2 for Azores enroute for Europe BEAVER with six “R” boats assembling Canal Zone enroute for Atlantic Six “H” boats assembling San Pedro California destined for Atlantic One to be turned over to Brazil.7
ORDNANCE. Adraitic [i.e., Adriatic] sea and Aegean mine barrage projects being held up period.
SUBMARINE SITUATION. No submarines operating Western Atlantic, mines laid following places Halifax, N.S., Fire Island, N.Y., Barnegat, Cape Henlopen, Wimble Shoals,8 forty-three mines located and destroyed.
POLITICAL SITUATION. Siberia additional news; South American nothing new and getting mine sweeping man for Brazil; Cuba, slight uprising owing partly to <______> sent 800 Marines via USS HANCOCK; San <Domingo> quiet Mexico quiet,- no change except for better. Radio for trans-Atlantic radio transmitting stations Sayville, N.Y., Tuckerton, N.J., New Brunswick, Annapolis, Md. are in operation and will be able in about week to take at <_________>, messages now received by Otter Cliffs High Power Radio Station Monroe, No. C. authorized. USS SATURN sailing November 12th to install Vladivostock set.9 all radio material shipped Cuba Station being erected Cuban Government. <18005.>
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. There is handwritten document identifier in the top right-hand corner of the first page: “From Opnav/11p-XV-330-329 file” This is also one at the beginning of the text “OAT. 1707-.” There is also a handwritten note vertically along the right margin: “General situation at home.” Finally, the handwritten date is confirmed by the time/date notation, also handwritten, at the end of the text.
Footnote 1: Benson’s cable has not been found.
Footnote 2: Battleship Division Two consisted of Florida, Michigan, South Carolina, Utah, and Kansas.
Footnote 3: Naval Overseas Transportation Service.
Footnote 4: The question mark presumably means the coded text was garbled at this point.
Footnote 5: The armored cruiser Pueblo, formerly Colorado, had been ordered to take Domício da Gama to Rio de Janeiro. Da Gama had served as the Brazilian Ambassador to the United States from 1911 until 22 October 1918, when he was appointed Foreign Minister by Brazil’s newly elected president, Delfim Moreira. Upon conveying da Gama to Brazil’s capital, Pueblo returned to Hampton Roads on 28 November.
Footnote 6: That is, La Guaira, Venezuela. Salem was then acting as a tender for a force of twelve U.S. submarine chasers operating in the Caribbean.
Footnote 7: O, R, and H were all class designations for U. S. Navy submarines.
Footnote 8: Wimble Shoals is off the coast of North Carolina, near Wanchese.
Footnote 9: The Navy collier Saturn was assigned to carry coal and supplies to the United States Expeditionary Forces at Vladivostok, Russia.