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Rear Admiral Roger Welles, Director of Naval Intelligence, to Captain William D. MacDougall, United States Naval Attaché at London




Office of Naval Intelligence


July 8, 1917.


From:     Director of Naval Intelligence.

To:       Naval Attache, London.

SUBJECT:       Armed American Merchant Vessels.

     1.  Complying with the request contained in your telegram No. 13016, there is forwarded herewith a list of American Merchant Vessels to which armed guards have been ordered.1

     2.  This list does not include those vessels which were furnished with Armed Guards, but which have since been sunk or from which the Armed Guards have been removed.

     3.  It should further be noted that the order to furnish Armed Guards to these vessels does not necessarily mean an immediate sailing as where possible the orders are issued with a view to enabling the Companies to prepare gun emplacements, etc., while the vessels are undergoing other repairs, notably in the case of ex-German vessels operated by the Shipping Board.

     4.  It is impracticable to give the destination of all of the vessels as many of them are being operated under the direction of the Shipping Board or under the direction of the Petroleum Board, chartered to Foreign Allied Governments, and the Government to which charter is made is not always determined upon until shortly before sailing.

     5.  Additions to the attached list will be forwarded as orders are issued.

(signed) Roger Welles.  

Source Note: DTS, UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/1437. Attached to the document is an alphabetized list of ships, 102 in number, giving the ship’s tonnage and the number and caliber of guns provided for it.

Footnote 1: The cable number “13016” has not been found. On the Armed Guard program, see: Information for Ship Owners Concerning the Armed Guard Program, 13 March 1917, and Regulations Concerning Armed Guards, 13 March 1917. See also,  William V. Pratt to Sims, 2 July 1917, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 78.

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