Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels

 

                                                       TELEGRAM.                                  No. 171

From Admiralty                                                                                 Date 1 July.17.

To B.Naval Attaché Washington                                                      2050

 

Cypher l

<For>: Secretary of the Navy

     Number sixtyseven. It is absolutely essential that notification be given as far in advance as possible preferably three to four weeks in advance of prospective movements of troop or other government convoy requiring escort of our destroyers (stop) If this is not done plans here for escort of merchant convoys may be fatally interfered with (stop) As merchant and troop convoys approach on widely separate routes and as escorting destroyers are not available for both at same time it is essential that plans be coordinated in advance (stop) It is practically certain that the enemy knew position of the first rendezvous and accordingly sent a submarine to intercept before juncture with destroyers (stop) It is probable that they learned this by interception of messages sent in unsafe codes (stop) It is therefore earnestly recommended that all vitally important messages be sent in British Admiralty codes1 (stop) This isolated instance should not influence Department to extend rendezvous farther westward owing limitation of oil and radius and time absent from other vital duty.

          SIMS.

Source Note: Cy, UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/656. Date “1.7.17” handwritten at the bottom of the page.

Footnote 1: Sims had repeatedly warned the Navy Department about the vulnerability of U.S. Navy cables. He was convinced the Germans intercepted them routinely, and made it a regular practice to correspond with Daniels using British cyphers. See: Sims to Daniels, 1 July 1917; Sims to Daniels, 23 June 1917.

Tags
Related Content