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Vice Admiral Sir William L. Grant, R.N., Commander-in-Chief, North America and West Indies Stations to British Admiralty


From: C in C N A & W I.Washington.      DATE. 2.5.18.

To: Admiralty.                          Sent: 11.30 p.m.

                                        Recd. 9.35 a.m.

211.  Your 870.1

(a) Patrol forces would be re-inforced from Boston but are insufficient to prevent submarine operating outside immediate vicinity or to escort any distance.

(b) U.S. Military authority have promised to make their embarkation arrangements elastic and alternative and same precaution has been pressed on Shipping Ministry but anticipate some trouble if ports of embarkation and loading changed and therefore drastic changes should only be made when absolutely necessary.

(c) Generally on whole coast I think if one convoy port is dangerous, existing convoys from other ports should be utilised with modifications of convoy speed as necessary.

(d) If diversion from Halifax becomes necessary consider all troops should embark and all possible H C2 ships east-going New England ports and New York and sail either as H C convoy from New York or in H X3 convoy speed of latter being adjusted. H C ships in St. Lawrence not to take troops but proceed in H S4 convoy from Sydney if necessary.

(e) All H S ships from Southward join New York and H H5 convoys others assemble at Sydney and proceed on arranged date with all possible escort.

(f) As regards incoming traffic which must go to Halifax or Saint Lawrence, this can be dealt with by the system approach routes and Diversion Code.

(g) Consider it essential that Shipping Ministry should at once prepare scheme covering all ports and cargoes by which at any time can at once inform me to what ports individual ships incoming can be diverted with minimum inconvenience.6

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. There is a distribution list at the bottom of the copy that reads: “A.C.N.S. [Assistant Chief of Naval Staff RAdm. Alexander L. Duff]/D.M.M. [Director of Mercantile Movements Capt. Frederic A. Whitehead]/Force Comm. USN [Force Commander, U.S. Navy VAdm. William S. Sims]/Convoy 2 [Convoy Section?]/F.L.O.”

Footnote 1: This cable has not been found but was presumably informing Grant that a German U-boat was en route to the American coast. See: Office of the Chief of Naval Operations to Henry T. Mayo, 2 June 1918.

Footnote 2: Convoys from New York to Great Britain.

Footnote 3: Convoys from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Great Britain.

Footnote 4: Convoys from Sydney, Nova Scotia, to Great Britain.

Footnote 5: Convoys from Hampton Roads, VA, to Great Britain.

Footnote 6: For the revised convoy routes that were instituted because of the threat of the German U-boat, see: Office of the Chief of Naval Operations to William S. Sims, 3 June 1918.

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