Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Rear Admiral Sir Dudley R.S. De Chair to British Admiralty

TELEGRAM            No.    6

From           Naval AttacheDate             27.4.17


To             Admiralty           Recd. 11.25 pm

U '16.

6.             From Admiral De Chair. With regard to destroyers sent from U.S.A. to operate in European waters Admiral Benson1 appears to be nervous that British and French Admiraltys might not be agreed as to their base of operations and he fears any friction might reflect on Navy Department here if it was (?thought) by French that undue favour was shown British. Could I be informed confidentially of base to which other destroyers may be sent in near future.2

Source Note: Cy, UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/655. Beneath the text and along the left margin in a column is “1 L./1 SL/DOD.” There is also written on the bottom of the copy: “Reply Your 6 For Admiral De C from 1SL It would in my opinion be a very great mistake to send destroyers both to British & French bases. The number of supply and repair vessels would be increased and the organisation would be much more difficult. Signal arrangements would have to be duplicated. Admiral Sims entirely concurs in this view. It must also be remembered that the danger of starving out Great Britain is far greater than in the case of France. If any vessels are sent to France I suggest they should be trawlers or other vessels so that the destroyers are kept together at the real danger point viz. the trade routes approaching Ireland. We already supply France with vessels and should continue to do so.” This reply was sent, with paragraphing added and a few capitalization changes later that same day. Ibid.

Footnote 1: Chief of Naval Operations Adm. William S. Benson.

Footnote 2: The British wanted the Americans to operate out of Queenstown (Cobh), Ireland. See: Jellicoe to De Chair, 26 April 1917.