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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


     CABLEGRAM RECEIVED 19th. July, 1917.

For Admiral Sims.

     Opnav eight the following cable received from Petrograd is quoted for your information. “Urge that the Department send patrol vessels to Archangel as both military and political necessities. As many and as fast as possible are required. Signed Crosley.” An expression of your opinion is <in> this matter is desired,1 granted that it might in the near future be possible to send a very limited number of such vessels.2


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG45, Entry 517B. A recipient note under “CABLEGRAM RECEIVED” reads: “Origin Admiral Benson, Washington Serial No.Opnav.8./Via Western Union Sigcode/Copies to Lieut. Commander [John V.] Babcock: File No: 25-9-La/Action referred to:/Lieut-CommanderBabcock, for Admiral.”

Footnote 1: For Sims’ response, see: Sims to Daniels, 21 July 1917.

Footnote 2: President Woodrow Wilson strongly opposed intervening in Russia, as did both Sims and Maj. Gen. John J. Pershing of the army; all believed resources were better devoted to the Western Front. Only after the Russian government fell to the Bolsheviks in spring 1918 did Wilson reluctantly divert forces into Russia, where they participated in an Allied capture and occupation of Archangel. American forces stationed in Russia never participated in combat, and the Bolsheviks ultimately prevailed. Still, Crisis at Sea: 84-90.

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