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Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels to the United States Navy

London, England,   

November 25, 1918. 


  1.  The following instructions have been received from the Navy Department in the matter of demobilization of United States Naval Forces in Europe. It will be noted that these instructions follow the sequence of subjects as set forth in Demobilization Plan “Memorandum No.1”1 and that in general they are in accordance with the recommendations therein contained, the principal difference being with respect to the disposition of submarine chasers (See Item 7).

  2.  Department’s No.5600 referred to is quoted in full following demobilization items.

  3.  The Department directs that these instructions are to take effect as fast as the exigencies of the service permit. No officer receiving this Memorandum will regard it as an order to do any of the things herein enumerated. It is issued merely for information and as a basis of reference when orders are issued.

  4.  It will further be understood that the Department’s telegram No.5600 sets forth its policy and all officers are to be guided thereby in making their recommendations to the Force Commander:

(1)    All preparations for mining in Mediterranean Sea and Aegean will cease. (Cancelling of all manufacturing orders in United States will be directed.)

(2)    All shipments of naval materials to United States forces in Italy and Corfu except that necessary for demobilization will be stopped.

(3)    All naval aviation shipments from United States will be stopped.

(4)    All shipments of ordnance material will be stopped.

(5)    The Northern Bombing Squadrons will be demobilized.

(6)    The United States Naval Base at Gibraltar will be demobilized except as to repair facilities, salvage unit tugs and flagships.

(7)    Thirty-six submarine chasers now in Mediterranean Sea will be sent to Asiatic Station under proper convoy as soon as practicable.

(8)    Sixty-six submarine chasers now at Plymouth and Queenstown, will be sold to Allied Governments if purchase is desired by them and a fair price obtainable, otherwise sent home under convoy to Charleston, S.C. via Madeira Islands and Bermuda Islands.

(9)    Eighteen submarine chasers now at Gibraltar will be sent home to Charleston South Carolina via Madeira Islands and Bermuda Islands.

(10)   The question of Mediterranean Sea army store ships carrying surplus naval stores from Gibraltar to United States will be taken up here.

(11)   Azores Islands will not be demobilized at present but will be treated separately.

(12)   All naval air craft stations except Azores Islands will be demobilized and sent home as fast as practicable. Mine carriers and colliers shall be used for the work.

(13)   Mine bases will be demobilized and vessels and material belonging to United States will be sent home but necessary facilities for operation of United States mine sweepers participating in mine sweeping in North Sea will be retained.

(14)   Demobilize bases at Queenstown and Plymouth as soon as practicable send home all vessels, personnel and material in accordance with our 5600 except repair ships and salvage units.

(15)   Continue in full commission Cardiff and Liverpool organizations retaining necessary repair ship at Cardiff.

(16)   Retain in full commission Cross-Channel steamers and their shore organizations as long as needed.

(17)   All naval vessels, naval material in accordance with our 5600, and naval personnel will be sent home from French coast except the following: (A) Vessels, personnel, and material needed in connection with demobilization of army (B) United States mine sweepers until duty completed (C) destroyers until services are no longer necessary.

(18)   All construction work (except on high power radio station) and that necessary for demobilizing plans will be suspended.

(19)   When naval railroad batteries are no longer needed by Army, they will be disassembled by commander and guns and useful ordnance equipment returned to the United States. That part of batteries which can be used commercially such as engines, sleeping cars, etc. except the ten ammunition cars and workshop cars (which are to be returned to United States) will be turned over to the Army provided they are desired or needed by the Army, or if not needed by the Army, to be sold in the same manner as the Army rolling stock.

(20)   Necessary hospitals including Queenstown will be retained with such alterations or reduced complement as may be necessary corresponding to demobilization of naval units dependent on them.

(21)   Such tugs as are required in demobilization of Army and in salvage or other work will be retained in European waters.



“This telegram relates to demobilization of material only. Plans demobilization of material approved. Return following to United States.

     A. – All special material for which there is a definite use in peace time activity of Navy including spare parts machinery, spare sets Navy standard installations and various items which are necessary for upkeep Navy vessels.

     B – Spare parts Navy vessels operating abroad.

     C – Navy standard boats and sea sleds in good condition.

     D – All automobiles, motor trucks, trailers, catterpillar tractors, locomotive cranes, electric industrial trucks, chemical fire engines gas driven concrete mixers hoists with gas engines, motor driven wind drums, gas driven pipe threading and cutting machines, 50 kilowatts generator sets engineering transits and levels, telephone instruments unused valves and pipe fittings 4 inch and above unused insulated copper wire, unused hoisting wire cable.

     E – Aviation. Instruments, ordnance, engines, uncrated sea-planes, sea-plane spare parts, engine supplies and raw material typewriters safes computing machines, tents.

     F – Ordnance, all 14 inch 50 caliber guns, railroad gun mounts and equipment, all ammunition cars and equipment, staff speed cars with equipment, all machine guns, rifles, pistols, technical ordnance material, all ammunition, spare guns for battleships, all U.S. mines and depth charges and such equipment at mine bases as can be used for mine depot in United States, all spare torpedoes, torpedo tubes, torpedo spare parts, torpedo tools and accessories.

     G – Retain material, stock, all spare parts, and equipment for repair and upkeep NOTS2 vessels at base which will be used while operating under Navy.

     H – Take necessary action in accordance with your plan.

     I – In all questions involving legal advice in connection with disposal of article to allied government or otherwise get best advice on spot and obtain approval of Department by telegram or letter before proceeding.



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

Footnote 1: See: Daniels to William S. Sims, 15 November 1918.

Footnote 2: Naval Overseas Transportation Service.

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