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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


ORIGIN   Admiral Benson                                                  Serial No. Opnav 70

Via   Q.211                                                                           Date No. 17001

Copies to                                                                              File No.

Action Referred to.

Action taken.



Ref. No.

Commander Long2


Mr. Tobey4



Notify Naval Attache

8/2 6 pm




     Admiral Sims, London.

          Opnav seventy. Referring to your one hundred and fifty one. Instructions have been issued to the office of Naval Intelligence to cut its cables abroad to the minimum compatible with an efficient information service. Instructions have likewise been issued to discontinue Naval Attache’s code and to send all reports of merchant ships sailing from American ports for war areas through this office by the secret code now in use here.6 17001.


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Printed in the top left-hand corner: “Action Copy.” The cable is on a form so the portion through the end of the table is printed. Below the signature is a handwritten notation: “Noted CCd for Naval Attache [Capt. William D. MacDougall].”

Footnote 1: This is the signal code for the British Admiralty.

Footnote 2: Cmdr. Byron A. Long, the officer on Sims’ staff who, in cooperation with the British Admiralty, supverised the routing of convoys. Morison, Admiral Sims: 368.

Footnote 3:  Reginald Gillmor, Sims' Flag Secretary.

Footnote 4: Paymaster Eugene C. Tobey.

Footnote 5: Cmdr. John V. Babcock, Sims’ aide.

Footnote 6: Sims had repeatedly warned of the vulnerability of the codes used by the United States Navy. See, for example: Sims to Josephus Daniels, 1 July 1917.

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