Secretary of the Navy John D. Long to Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, Commander, North Atlantic Fleet
BUREAU OF NAVIGATION.
Washington, July 9, 1898.
Sampson, Playa del Este, Cuba.
The telegraphic service now being given the Navy Department is intolerably bad. Very many messages sent you during the last week have not been answered. Many messages from you are forty-eight hours old. When received the ciphers are so mutilated as to be almost unrecognizable and take hours to decipher. This must and shall stop at once. Place a Naval officer at the telegraph office to be used by this Department to supervise the sending and receiving of Navy Department messages. The first word of every message sent by the Department will be the number of that message. Immediately upon a message being received the Navy officer in charge will telegraph to Department number of message and time of receipt. Department desires most vigorous action on your part as regards telegrams, and similar action by Department will be taken at this end of line. I am determined that this inefficient service to Navy Department shall stop at once.
Source Note: C, DNA, RG 45, Entry 29. The file no. “1215199” was handwritten.