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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 September 15, 1918

To : Opnav

Prep. C.S. & M-4 Apvd CD Code 52 ADR    No 4845


Your 904  Allied Naval Council held 5th meeting Paris September 13th & 14th, Council approved practically all recommendations Malta Conference.1 Council considered Military situation would not justify revival of consideration Mid Adriatic Mine Barrier at this time, and did not consider expedient refer question to Supreme War Council.

          Completion Dardanelles Mine Fields in accordance with existing plans decided on. Completion Franco-Italian mine net barrage from Otranto to Fano Island agreed to. This barrage to be reinforced by United States by mines from surface to 45 fathoms depth wherever depth of water permits use of present type American Mines and moorings France and Italy will reinforce by laying deep nets if possible, where our mines cannot be used. Great Britain agreed to undertake immediately development of Mine suitable for deep water, and Council agreed that whichever of United States or Great Britain should first have A ready a mine capable of use in 500 to 600 fathoms of water should furnish such mine to supplement in deep water the mine net barrage from Otranto to Fano Island.

          Principle of Mine barrage across lower Adriatic was accepted exact location to be determined at next meeting of Council, October.

     I favour barrage from Brindisi to Sasseno Island since it passes through shallower water and has strategical advantage for Italy over a barrage placed further South, since it will interpose a strong protective line between the enemy submarine bases and Italian line of communication to Valona. Italian representative strongly favoured this line, but French representative was opposed to it on account of its greater length.2 He will probably agree to it at next meeting. It is understood that this barrage will not be begun by United States until suitability of our mines is demonstrated, and ample supply of wire rope assured. This barrage when laid will extend from surface to 15 fathoms, and will have a gate at Western end not exceeding 5 miles wide, in which nominees will be nearer than six fathoms to the surface. Mines for the barrage will be provided and laid by United States who will control mining operation and maintenance of barrage. Italy will undertake at once connection of necessary hydrographic data.3


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: For a report on the result of the Malta Conference, see: Joseph Strauss to Sims, 20 August 1918.

Footnote 2: Minister of the Marine VAdm. Alberto del Bono, Italian representative; and Minister of the Marine George Leygues, French representative.

Footnote 3: For other determinations of the council, see: Sims to William S. Benson, 14 September 1918.

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