Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, second cable of the day
Sept. 30 1918.
From: Chief of Naval Operations.
To : Comdr. U.S.Naval Forces in European Waters.
SUBJECT:-Repair facilities for U.S.vessels in European waters; compensation to Great Britain.
Reference:-(a) Force Comdr’s letter R-2-40.3.2A, Aug 15,18.
1. The receipt of the above letter is acknowledged, and it explains fully the many difficulties surrounding the problem of the repair of our ships in British dockyards, and the effect of such procedure on British construction.
2. The Department is, however, still of the opinion that it would be unwise to enter into any agreement to pay for such repairs with new construction, for several reasons.
3. All of our new construction for some time to come will be obligated to Army requirements, and it is obvious that the shipping necessary for this purpose should be owned and run by our government.
4. Also the effect on public opinion at home of a transfer of a quantity of our new tonnage to the British flag is a factor that must receive serious consideration.
5. It is also to be borne in mind that a considerable portion of the duty of our vessels is the protectionof British shipping as well as our own. The United States force assigned to Gibraltar is almost exclusively engaged in the protection of British Vessels.
6. While the Department realizes fully the difficulties of the British shipping situation, it is for the foregoing reasons unable to concur in the proposal to pay for repairs in kind.
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document identifier in upper left-hand corner: “OP-06/C-43-90.”