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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, second cable of the day


File No. 16-9-7.

CABLEGRAM SENT:     20.June <21,> 1918. RLM

To   Opnav Washington              Serial No.  9917

Prep. by  E-2            NCT  D.R.

                              29 ADR.

9917. Your 7482. Admiralty advises that guarantees of safe conduct were issued by German Government to vessels carrying repatriated prisoners of war on direct route between Rotterdam and Boston (England). This does not in any way modify the denial of immunity to hospital ships in English Channel.1 01021  9917.


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. The handwritten date is confirmed by the time/date stamp at the end of the cable.

Footnote 1: Germany accused Britain of transporting war materiel on hospital ships and of using vessels marked as hospital ships as troop transports. It therefore pledged to torpedo hospital ships in certain designated areas, including the Mediterranean and English Channel. This led to the predictable tragedy of multiple ships laden with sick and wounded men being sunk. R.H. Gibson and Maurice Prendergrast, The German Submarine War, 1914-1918 (New York: Richard R. Smith, Inc., 1931), 138-139. The particular incident referenced here was the sinking of the Dutch hospital ship Koningin Regentes on 6 June. See: William S. Benson to Sims, 19 June 1918; and Sims to Josephus Daniels, 21 June 1918.

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