Rear Admiral William S. Sims to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels
SENT: April 24th, 1917. TO: Secretary of the Navy.
THROUGH: State Department.1
Replying to Department’s April 22nd.2 Have consulted Admiralty. Conclusion reached is that our destroyers and patrol forces should operate concentrated in same area based on Bantry Bay3 with all possible repair and supply facilities. Effort would be diminished by separation and necessary establishment additional bases. If this be done Admiralty can augment submarine defense Russian coast from their present bases. Submarines and decoy vessels already sent this duty. Situation continues critical. Nine vessels sunk yesterday. Recommend that all destroyers now available be sent earliest possible date if necessary in advance their repair and supply vessels.4 Admiralty can supply and repair temporarily.
NO. OF COPIES. 3. REFERENCE NO. 6072.
Source Note: CS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517. This message was either not received or not understood because on 23 May, Daniels cabled Sims that Daniel’s query concerning sending anti-submarine warfare resources to Russia had not been answered.
Footnote 1: Because of concerns about the vulnerability of the Navy’s codes, Sims was sending his confidential correspondence via the State Department.
Footnote 2: See: Daniels to Sims, 22 April 1917.
Footnote 3: That is, Berehaven, Ireland. The Americans actually used Queenstown (Cobh), Ireland, some seventy-five miles northward, as their main base and Berehaven as an advance base.
Footnote 4: In his testimony before a congressional committee looking into Navy preparedness during the war, Sims pointed to the lack of response to his plea in this cable as evidence that Daniels and the Navy Department were derelict in committing American naval resources to the war effort—a charge that Daniels disputed vigorously. Naval Investigation, 1: 40-43; 2: 2085-89.