Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Chronological Copy. File No.
Cablegram Sent April 30, 1918 MJK
To Opnav Washington Serial No. 7281.
Prep. by CS NCT D.R.
7281. Allied Naval Council held meetings in Paris April twenty-six and twenty-seventh. Council confirmed action of emergency meeting March twenty-third for consideration of Archangel situation as printed in paper number ninety-three. In further consideration of Archangel and Mourmansk situation information was placed before the council indicating a possibility of local Russian or Finnish forces joining the Allies in protecting the Kola Inlet against German aggression. The Council reaffirmed the opinion previously expressed desirable Allies to maintain relations with Russia and to continue occupation of Mourmansk for that purpose, but that they would not be able to provide for the transport, escort and maintenance of any military expedition to Mourmansk.
It was decided that any joint action taken by the Allied Powers in consequence of the infringement of neutral territorial waters by the enemy would be confined to the waters concerned, and that no joint action involving the territorial waters of other neutrals would be either justifiable or practicable.
It was decided to continue the study of the Adriatic project through the medium of a Committee to meet in Rome on May fifteenth to examine there certain plans of operation already in existence. Captain H.E. Yarnell and Lieutenant Colonel R.H. Dunlap have been ordered to represent me on this Committee.
Council agreed that to meet possible situation arising from acquisition by Germany of the Russian Black sea Fleet certain counter measures must be decided upon, and that such of them should be at once placed into force as would not be capable of being quickly adopted if and when the emergency arose.
The conclusions were briefly these:
First: Allied Naval Forces in Mediterranean sufficient, but redistribution required.
Second: Aegean Squadron to be at once reinforced by six French battleships, which with British LORD NELSON and AGEMEMNON shall be stationed at an Aegean base.
Third: Four Italian dreadnought battleships to be moved from Taranto to Corfu for permanent incorporation in the Fleet under the Allied Commander-in-Chief at that place.
Fourth: Plans to be drawn and necessary arrangements made for allocation to the Aegean Squadron and to the combined Fleet at Corfu of a sufficient number of destroyers.
Fifth: A sufficient force of submarines to be similarly allocated to the Aegean Squadron.
Sixth: Plans to be drawn up immediately for additional minefields at the mouth of the Dardanelles, and for the use of nets and other anti-submarine devices in the approaches thereto, and in the various channels leading from the Aegean.
Italian Admiral while agreeing in principle to the transfer of Italian battleships to Corfu, did not concur in the general conclusions reached by the other members, and submitted a dissenting report. It was apparent that Italian Admiral was instructed to agree in principle to transfer of battleships, but to obstruct the plan by raising allpossible objections to its practical execution. He spoke at great length and with considerable heat on this subject at two sessions of the council, and in private session with the French representative. As Vice Admiral di Revel is both Chief of Staff and Commander-in-Chief of the Fleet he loses the most important part of his command by this transfer of battleships and his opposition may be due in part to personal motives, but it is thought that the policy now controlling the Italian Navy is one of saving their ships so as to be superior to Austria after the war. It is the impression in the British admiralty that Admiral di Revel must be removed from both of his present positions before any real work can be expected from the Italian Navy.
The next ordinary meeting of the Council will probably be at Paris on June eleventh. 23501 7281