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Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to Naval District Commandants

Oct. 12, 1917.

From: Chief of Naval Operations.

To: Commandants,    1st Naval District,

                               2nd  "         "

                               3rd  "         "

                               4th  "         "

                               5th  "         "

                               6th  "         "

                               7th  "         "

                               8th  "         "

Subject: Fitting out of tugs for mine sweeping purposes in advance of taking over.

     1. The Department desires to be prepared to place additional seagoing mine sweepers in service at short notice, but in view of the necessity not to interfere with transportation, fishing, or other industries more than can be avoided, intends to have the work incident to preparation done with the least possible withdrawal of any suitable vessel from her normal employment.1

     2. Commandants of Naval Districts will act accordingly in their respective districts, first ascertaining the needs of each of the vessels that may be suitable; then assembling the material therefor; after which, when prepared to prosecute the work of installation on any vessel expeditiously, arranging with her owners as necessary, releasing the vessel immediately upon completion of the work on her.

     3. For the period of time the vessel is thus withdrawn from the owner's use, the Navy Department will compensate the owners, which is another reason for reducing such time to a minimum.

     4. In regard to any vessels of the character in question that may be building or under repair within the district, commandants may be able to arrange for the necessary changes to be made, in whole or in part, in the course of work already in hand, with little or no cost, either to owner or the Government.

W. S. Benson.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. There is an identification number in the upper left-hand corner: “Op-14-s/24514-.”

Footnote 1: There was great demand for sea-going tugs, see: Requests Made by France at Naval Conference with Henry T. Mayo, 11 October 1917; and Memorandum Prepared by Operations Staff, British Admiralty, for John R. Jellicoe, 29 September 1917.

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