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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations



Date: June 10, 1918

To: Opnav.

Prep: CS                     Code: 34ADR         No. 9337


9337 Your 6489.1 It has been made evident by the attitude of Italian authorities at the meeting of sub-Committee in Rome and by the tenor of a paper submitted for the consideration of the Allied Naval Council by Vice Admiral di Revel2 that Italy will not agree to the proposed Adriatic project, including the mine barrage across the Adriatic, but will insist on completion of the Otranto barrage of explosive nets and mine fields. It is also probable that the French, while not adopting the same extreme attitude of opposition, will not give support to the proposed plan if its execution were to be at the expense of the Otranto Barrage.

          In view of the strong opposition of Italy, the more passive opposition of France and the present military situation, I deem it inadvisable to push our plan further at present and I propose, at the meeting of the Council eleventh instant, to signify the willingness of the United States to continue to assist in making a success of the Otranto Barrage as already planned, combined with an effective mine blockade of the Dardanelles. The execution of the proposed Adriatic project may be considered at a future date should circumstances warrant.

          With respect to the proposed barrage from Cape Bon to Sicily. While realizing the good points of the suggested location, I believe that Italy will refuse to sondider [i.e., consider] it as it adds nothing to the protection of her lines of supply via the Suez Canal and I doubt whether either France or Great Britain could be brough[t] to accept this plan as a substitute for the proposed blocking of the Adriatic and Dardanelles. 23010


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 415.

Footnote 2: VAdm. Paolo Thaon di Revel, Chief of Naval Staff, Italy.

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