Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations

Subject Copy.                                          File No.

CABLEGRAM SENT 4 December 1918.

To   SIMSADUS, LONDON.                      Serial No.

Prep. by 2-M                      D.R.

For Opnav Mission Number. <70>

I infer from your mission number 491 that Department contemplates using battleships of Force One to transport troops paragraph I suggest that before final decision is made Secretary2 be shown my mission 493 period Admiral Mayo4 in despatch to me on same subject says QUOTE I wish to strongly urge and earnestly protest against use battleships cruisers or destroyers for transporting troops period Such use would destroy their military efficiency and put Fleet back year or two just at time when every effort should be made to maintain the Fleet at the highest possible point of efficiency UNQUOTE My mission 49 was sent after consideration Admiral Mayo’s despatch and also careful consideration of tonnage necessary to supply logistic requirements battleships period I agreed in use cruisers for transporting troops because they can carry sufficient number warrant their use comma however battleships cannot Paragraph Your mission 445 informed me that QUOTE decision finally arrived at in view of your recommendation that battleships will not be used to transport troops Period Armored cruisers and other ships that can be made available will be used UNQUOTE I consider this decision sound and earneslt<l>y hope that Department has not and will not alter this decision any action to contrary is not in my opinion justifiable Paragraph However should the Secretary see fit to render decision in this matter contrary to recommendations of myself and Commander-in-Chief the plan proposed in your mission number 49 is approved Period Should this be made effective inform me names of vessels employed Period Please bring this despatch to the Secretarys personal attention. <184904.>

Benson.                

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. “Form B” appears in the top-left corner of each page.

Footnote 1: This document has not been found.

Footnote 2: Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels.

Footnote 3: This document has not been found.

Footnote 4: Adm. Henry T. Mayo, Commander-in-Chief, United States Atlantic Fleet.

Footnote 5: This document has not been found, but is quoted extensively here.

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