811.0141 Phoenix Group/1

The Acting Secretary of the Navy ( Leahy )27 to the Secretary of State

Sir: The Navy Department has agreed to furnish a ship, the U. S. S. Avocet, to transport an eclipse observation party of scientists sponsored by the National Geographic Society, to observe a total solar eclipse on 8 June, 1937.

It is planned that the Avocet leave Honolulu on 4 May, land the observation party consisting of Dr. S. A. Mitchell, in charge, eight other scientists and a working party of thirteen enlisted men under a Naval officer and Naval medical officer, total twenty-four, on Enderbury Island or Canton Island of the Phoenix Group, a British possession. The landing party is expected to be ashore about one month, from about 15 May to about 15 June.

It is requested that the usual diplomatic notification be made regarding this visit, and that authority be obtained for the above-mentioned party to land, with their supplies and instruments, and remain during the approximate period 15 May–15 June, on either Enderbury or Canton Island.


William D. Leahy

Admiral, U. S. N.
  1. Admiral Leahy was Chief of Naval Operations.