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

55/1/1/

                   CABLEGRAM SENT               28th July 1918

To Secretary of the Navy                          Serial No. 145

Via Admiralty “Q”1

          One hundred and forty-five.  Information concerning proposed and actual movements of troops and troop supplies reaches France in various direct and indirect ways (stop) For example from <W>ar Department to its various representatives abroad and from French military and Naval Attaches and from the various French missions in America. (stop) Information <c>oncerning troop movements has even been heard in social circles (stop). The greatest danger of such information reaching the enemy lies in methods of communications and codes used and mu[l]tiplicity of official or other communications exchanged. All experience of war in handling valuable government shipping and all wars secret service experience points to necessity for restricting communications to a minimum and reducing personnel who are to be trusted with vital information involved (stop). I therefore submit that the most important measure that can be taken to insure maximum degrees of safety for troop and troop supply shipping and in fact to provide against disaster is to require that all information concerning movements of such shipping proposed or actual should be transmitted safely <solely>2 through the Navy Department to me holding me responsible for informing all parties concerned on this side in sufficient time (stop). French Ministry M<a>rine and General Pershing are in full accord with these recommendation (stop). The French Government is taking steps to stop future communications by their representatives in America (stop). But it is necessary to also take effective steps to insure that no information concerning above is sent out of Washington by officials of any government or our own except through Navy Department which alone can be responsible for safety at sea. 15028.

SIMS.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Below the close is typed the following note: “Copy handed by Lt. Com. Babcock/to General Pershing and Captain Jackson,/also Col. Lassider.” Lt. Comdr. John V. Babcock was Sims’ personal aide; Maj. Gen. John J. Pershing commanded the American Expeditionary Forces; Capt. Richard H. Jackson was the United States Navy staff representative in Paris; Col. William Lassiter was the United States Military Attaché at London.

Footnote 1: “Q” refers to the code used to transmit this message. It was sent for Sims by the British Admiralty office.

Footnote 2: The message originally had “safely” typed in but someone circled it and in the margin wrote “solely,” which presumably is the correct word.

Tags
Related Content