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 Office of the Chief of Naval Operations

 

Action Copy.

Cablegram Sent            Oct. 4, 1917.

To      Opnav   Washington     Serial No. 745

Via            Prep. by J.V.B.  Appvd. by N.C.T.1

    Copies to: [C. of S.?]; J.V.B.;<only>

<VERY SECRET>

745. Following message received by Admiralty from Copenhagen dated October 3 quote U. S. Consul General has for sometime been collecting evidence that Germany intends to send submarine to attack the American Coast based at first on North and South Atlantic ports. Submarines expected to sail early this month and evidence points to Newport Ne<w>s, Pensacola and Mobile as objectives.2 There is absolute evidence that Scandanavian mechanics have enlisted to serve in depot ships and it was reported that Swedish S. S. ELLEN was to leave Kiel second October with supplies. She is reported to be armed and to have Germans on board unquote Director Intelligence Division Admiralty3 expresses skepticism and has no reliable evidence to corroborate. Subject considered worth further investigation. 11104.

Sims.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. This document is on a printed form, with some of the spaces left blank.

Footnote 1: Cmdr. John V. Babcock, an aide on Sims’ staff, and Capt. Nathan C. Twining, Sims’ Chief of Staff.

Footnote 2: It was not until 1918 that six German submarines entered American waters. Although they enjoyed some success against outgoing shipping, their impact on the war was negligible. William Bell Clark, When the U-Boats Came to America (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1920).

Footnote 3: RAdm. Sir W. Reginald Hall, R.N.

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