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Commodore Guy R. Gaunt, British Naval Attaché in Washington, to British Admiralty

COPY OF TELEGRAM.             IN

From Naval Attache  Washington.         Date 25.4.17

                                        Sent 3:50pm

To Amiralty.                            Recd. 4.19am

xxxx P cypher

     Navy Department told me privately that if urgently required a few guns 4 or 5 inch calibre with ammunition but no crews might be available for arming merchant vessels at New York.1

Source Note: Cy, UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/655. Addressed below close: “1st S L/Sir A K Wilson/D C 2/Trade Y/G/ D I D 2.” That is, in order, First Sea Lord And. Sir John R. Jellicoe; Sir Arthur K. Wilson, a former First Sea Lord and advisor to the Admiralty on matters of strategy; Deputy Chief of Naval Staff [VAdm. Henry F. Oliver], two copies; Director of Trade Division [Capt. Richard Webb]; Director of Intelligence Division [Capt. William E. Hall]. What “Y” and “G” stands for is not known.

Footnote 1: The United States Navy was forced to cannibalize gun crews from the battleship fleet, but shortages remained a continuing problem. See: William S. Benson to Henry T. Mayo, 19 April 1917; and Benson to Mayo, 25 May 1917.