Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels
U.S.Naval Forces Operating in European Waters,
U.S.S. MELVILLE, Flagship.
From: Commander U.S.Naval Forces Operating in European Waters.
To: Secretary of the Navy.
SUBJECT: – Merchant ships not in convoy.
Ref: - (a) Opnav cable No 116 of August 10th 1917.
1. As the convoy system is being extended, more patrol vessels are required for exclusive duty as convoy escorts. Vessels sailing singly from the U.S. will therefore not meet the number of patrol vessels formerly found in the areas through which they pass. In fact, some areas are now practically stripped of patrols and single vessels must be prepared to expect little or no protection in passing through the submarine zone. It is realized that there is no power at present to compel American ships to sail in convoy but the losses of vessels sailing singly are thus far so much greater than of vessels in convoy that conservation of shipping makes some control very desirable.
<Wm. S. Sims>
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.