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Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

Action Copy.                               File No. <16-4-11>

          Cablegram Received April <9, 1918.> 88210 LEM

Origin Opnav Washington               Ser. No. 4762

Ref’d to




Apr 11

<NCT April 9 1918>


     18ADR              <Very Secret>


4762. Your 6214.1 The three reasons given for sending ship to Mourmansk recognized, likewise fact that you have no powerful ship to divert to that purpose except Division 9 which it would be improper to so divert. On other hand you perhaps do not fully realize difficulty confronting Department in its attempt to meet the many requests constantly made upon it. To divert any Armored Cruisers for this particular duty is to encroach upon seriously escorting ships at the very time when proposals are being made to establish additional convoys. To assign pre-dreadnaughts is to interfere with radically their service of training personnel to meet extraordinary expansion the Navy has been called on to meet in its overseas transportation service of supplies to our forces abroad and allies, a service which is a vital and growing necessity if we are to handle efficiently operations of cargo and troop ships crossing Atlantic. Only vessels we have which might be possibly made available for this duty is USS OLYMPIA. If she were assigned following points should be settled <,-> how should she be routed, what arrangements will be made for coal and supplies at Mourmansk, what general instructions should she receive?2     12009     4762


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Olympia departed Charleston on 28 April 1918 carrying an expeditionary force bound for Russia. On 9 June 1918, the ship arrived in Murmansk, deploying the peacekeeping force and assisting in the occupation of the Russian port.

Footnote 1: See: Sims to Benson, 8 April 1918.

Footnote 2: For Sims’ reply, see: Sims to Benson, 12 April 1918.

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